From: Peace Action Wellington
Date: 24 December 2014
In honour of the 1914 Christmas Truce, Peace Action Wellington is holding a family-friendly anti-war football game for all ages and skill levels on Parliament’s lawn. The games start at 12 noon.
‘We want to invite all people interested in peace, justice and self-determination to come along. As the New Zealand State builds up to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, it is crucial to remember the battles of WWI were fought in the defence of European empire and industry, not in the defence of ideals of democracy and freedom. As importantly, we don’t want the events of World War 1 being used to promote new wars today,’ says Valerie Morse, member of Peace Action Wellington.
‘It is really disgusting that the Prime Minister is using the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of young men a 100 years ago as a justification for a new “ANZAC-badged unit” to invade Iraq all over again. The lesson of World War 1 should have been not to fight any more imperial wars of conquest; clearly John Key missed that history class.’
In the first Christmas of World War 1, soldiers disregarded any official orders from their superiors, an unofficial armistice was declared, and men who had been shooting each other began to fraternise. Football games were held in ‘no man’s land’ the area between the German front lines and the English & French front lines. This was the last such informal truce in WW1 as opposing commanders actively forbade it in subsequent years.