“I shall not easily forget those long winter nights in the front line. Darkness fell about four in the afternoon and dawn was not until eight next morning. These sixteen hours of blackness were broken by gun flashes, the gleam of star shells and punctuated by the scream of a shell or the sudden heart-stopping rattle of a machine-gun. The long hours crept by with leaden feet and sometimes it seemed as if time itself was dead.”
F. Noakes, in ‘The Distant Drum’
In pairs, watch one of the documentaries from the BBC on the Great war.
1. A short commentary on the content of the movie you watched.
2. A paragraph explaining the relationship between the movie and the diary entry.
3. Prepare the reading of the poem. Find good links to the analysis or background information of the poem.
4. Two questions for someone who is going to watch the movie.
5. A personal opinion about what the movie has taught you related to the “human experience” of war.
6. A detailed glossary containing the specific vocabulary included in the chapter you analysed.
For the end of this lesson, a bonus, a gift, a song in the hope that the stupidity of war is not repeated by our younger generations.
The Xmas truce of 1914.
“It was a day of peace in war,” commented a German participant, “It is only a pity that it was not decisive peace.”
One of the most remarkable incidents in history was the impromptu truce that took place on the Western Front on Christmas Day 1914. Beginning late on Christmas Eve, the entrenched British and German troops began serenading each other with songs and carols. By the next day a full truce was on, with soldiers and officers from both sides fraternizing and exchanging gifts. There was even an international soccer match played with teams comprised of warring soldiers. On December 26, 1914 the First World War started again. How sad. Ninety-four years later, in 2008, soldiers from the same opposing regiments reenacted the famous Christmas Truce in the same location.
In 1983, Paul McCartney wrote a beautiful song about this amazing event in History.