December 24, 1914: The “Christmas truce” on the Western front begins.
The first Christmas of World War I took place four months after war broke out, before the bloody battles at Somme and Verdun and elsewhere, before the introduction of the tank, and before the use of chemical weapons became widespread on either front. Two years and hundreds of thousands of casualties later, the idea of a ceasefire to the scale that occurred on the Christmas Eve and Christmas of that year was inconceivable.
But it did happen in 1914, when British and German troops near Ypres began singing Christmas carols to each other from their trenches. Soldiers across the front crossed into “No Man’s Land” to greet each other and exchange food, tobacco, alcohol, newspapers, chocolate, handshakes, and Christmas greetings. The soldiers may have even played football with each other; such activities were detailed in letters that have surfaced over the years. One describes how British and German troops buried their dead and conducted services beside each other; soldiers elsewhere sang the other side’s national anthem to each other or took photographs together.
Attempts were made the following Easter and Christmases by both sides to initiate ceasefires, but neither could match the original, which had involved at least 100,000 troops along the Western Front and was described a year later by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the “one human episode amid all the atrocities which have stained the memory of the war”.
war kills people from the inside out sometimes
“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”
The military suicide rate doubled in July. That’s one of our troops, almost every day.
To come up with an answer, the Army recently gave 3 million dollars to a university of Indiana research center, and those researchers came back with this: Anti-Suicide Nasal Spray.
Katie Drummond of The Daily reports researchers found a naturally occuring neurochemical called thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH, that has euphoric, calming, anti-depressant effects. News of the nasal spray comes as a relief to some, who had to endure spinal taps for injections of the medicine.
The Pentagon, which tracks military suicides, reported that troops have committed the act at an 18 percent increase over the same period last year. Now, more troops die by their own hands that by the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The spray is only possible because of advances in “nanotechnology delivery systems.” Researchers plan to run a full battery of trials over the next few years, and hopefully put the spray not only in the hands of soldiers, but civilians as well.
Konstantin Makovsky (Russian, 1839-1915), Zaporozhye Cossack, 1884.
Zippo Lighters From The Vietnam War by Bradford Edwards
These customised Zippo lighters all belonged to soldiers in the US Army during the Vietnam War. The collection consists of over 282 lighters, and were gathered from war zones by American artist Bradford Edwards. I find it fascinating how each lighter reflects the emotions of their respective owner. With many soldiers being drafted in to service there is a clear feeling of betrayal and hopelessness, and a longing for the lives they were forced to leave behind. A regular sentiment engraved on the lighters which reflects this feeling is “We the unwilling led by the unqualified to kill the unfortunate die for the ungrateful”
[via: HUH Magazine]