A war in a measure unexpected, a war whose reality was unanticipated, a war which some thought would be over in a short time, became all too soon a reality. English public schoolboys and others who had compared shooting the enemy to a pheasant shoot, soon discovered a very different and terrible reality. Movements of troops took time. My father, when a boy in the brewery town of Alton in Hampshire, remembered the troops which had marched from the garrison town of Aldershot, camping on the Butts Green, as the first stage on their three day march before they prepared to move on to Southampton or Portsmouth to embark for France and Flanders. The journey to the front took time ”“ as it took time as the first Christmas of the war approached for Christmas greetings and Christmas gifts to be brought to those at the front….
So what happened at the Christmas Truce in 1914? It was conditioned by the new situation of industrialised warfare, and in particular trench warfare. No longer were battles charges of cavalry, whirling swords and thrusts of spears, knights in armour, or even the firing of cannon balls.