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Text Version of Audio Story:

Silent Night

Audio version may be downloaded at www.TheAmericanStoryteller.com

You can call Germanys Kaiser Wilhelm II whatever you want. Many historians
will tell you he was not responsible for starting the war, but he did little to prevent it. He
was really nothing more or less than a rattling madman driven by the same forces and
emotions responsible for many horrific deeds throughout history.
When the Germans sank the luxury liner Lusitania in 1915, America bit its lip and tried
the diplomatic approach. The last thing President Wilson wanted was war. Twelve hundred sixty innocent British and American citizens would lose their lives when a German
submarine torpedoed the Lusitania. It sunk within fifteen minutes off the coast of Ireland. Kaiser Wilhelm II arrogantly boasted, We can hold the sky on top of German
bayonets.
Finally in 1917, after the sinking of many more passenger ships, President Wilson condemned Germany, calling their actions warfare against mankind. The president
asked, and an outraged United States Congress issued a declaration of war, committing troops to a European Theatre. The full might of the American industrial machine
would be unleashed the entrance of the United States of America in the World War.
Today, we refer to it as World War I.
The war had started several years before the American entrance, 1914 to be exact.
And at the onset, both sides confidently predicted, even promised, there victorious soldiers would be home with their families by Christmas. Before this four year bloodbath
would end, nine million men would die.
Soldiers on both sides must have been lamenting that broken promise as they held
their positions in the muddy trenches that had frozen solid there on Christmas Eve
1914. British soldiers could hear it coming from the German lines. They didnt recognize the words Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht but the melody was recognizable.

Copyright 2007 Nelson Lauver. May not be reprinted, reproduced or published without permission.

Text Version of Audio Story:

Silent Nightpage 2

Audio version may be downloaded at www.TheAmericanStoryteller.com

The Brits looked through their field glasses and could see the enemy soldiers holding
up pine trees illuminated with lanterns, dancing out in the open where they could easily
be shot. The British soldiers could hardly believe what they were seeing and hearing.
They put down their weapons. Slowly and cautiously, and only a few at first, crawled
out of their British trenches. Then more and more would put down their weapons. Both
sides were now walking for the middle ground with the British soldiers joining the song
in English, Silent night, Holy night.
With some immediate trepidation, the enemy lines moved closer and closer. They
reached out their hands, wide eyed and curious, greeting one another with Christmas
cheer. Soon both sides worked to find whatever they could, erecting a bon fire. Men
sat around it exchanging gifts: candy bars, rations, buttons, badges, whatever they
could find in their meager belongings men, who only an hour earlier, were trying to
kill one another.
Many of the Germans spoke perfect English. Most of the conversations were about
how everyone just wished this war could end and all could go home to their wives and
children, back to those simple days filled with hopes and dreams. Their once boring,
mundane lives now seemed like a utopian fantasy.
Finally, after a few hours of camaraderie and laughter and good fun, the unofficial truce
would end. The commanding officers from both sides stood respectfully and saluted
one another. The soldiers returned to their trenches, and the bloody business of killing
one another would begin again.
Im the American Storyteller.

Copyright 2007 Nelson Lauver. May not be reprinted, reproduced or published without permission.