The repercussions of the war among “intellectuals” and purveyors of cultural mores in Europe, reflected in their art and philosophies a wholesale abandonment of biblical ethics, moral restraints, and hope in the future. An unrestrained moral turpitude and relativism, born in the evolutionary theories of the previous century, reached their climax in the post-war era. They quickly sifted down to popular culture and produced equally unrestrained offshoots of reaction and nationalistic paganisms represented in the Fascists of Italy and Nazis of Germany, not to speak of the revolutionary excesses of the Bolsheviks in Russia. In modern parlance, The First World War was the tipping point of world-wide change, and not for the better.
On December 25, 1914, with the British and German troops facing each other in their respective trenches across the frozen wastes of no-man’s-land—over which both sides had already shed much blood—a remarkable phenomenon occurred about which entire books have been written. Almost spontaneously, men on both sides began singing Christmas carols. Men so determined the day before to exterminate each other, probably for the last time in all of their lives, commemorated the birth of Christ in music. On the German side, men wore belt buckles stamped “Gott mit uns” (God with us), believing that they were on the side of right. On the English side, numbers of men came from Christian homes, and remembered the carols of safe and warm family celebrations where they sang hymns composed by German and English writers.
Unbelievably, several men climbed out of the trenches with hands up, from both sides, and met in no-man’s-land. Someone kicked out a soccer ball and they formed teams and played. Others exchanged souvenirs and talked about home and families. A few years ago, Sainsbury’s grocery chain in England memorialized that famous Christmas truce with this ad: