Christmas Truces and Other Ironies of War by John Cali




US B17 Bomber  (left) and German BF109 Fighter (right)

As a former commercial pilot, I had lots of exciting adventures (and a few brushes with death)—some of which I’ve talked about in these posts over the years.

But I never had an experience like that of Lieutenants Charlie Brown and Fritz Stigler, both World War 2 pilots. They met on December 20, 1943, 5 days before Christmas, in skies over Germany.

Charlie was a US bomber pilot returning to England after an attack on Germany. Fritz was a German fighter pilot whose mission was to shoot down American bombers.

I thought their story would be a fitting way to close out this year, when our planet is still struggling with the horror and violence of war. Charlie’s and Fritz’s story is fitting not because of the horror and violence that was World War 2, but because of the way their story ended.


In the video below, please pay careful attention to Fritz’s words to Charlie at 4 minutes and 47 seconds. It’s a powerfully poignant moment.

Related links:
Snoopy and the Red Baron
The Spirit of Christmas

To me it’s ironic there have been “Christmas truces” throughout the history of war—during World War 1, World War 2, even the US Civil War. Soldiers laid down their guns and celebrated Christmas with enemy soldiers. The next day they resumed the bloodshed.

What are your thoughts about Christmas truces?

What other subjects would you like us to talk about in these posts? Please email me.

About John Cali
John Cali is a writer, blogger, and channel for a group of spirit guides. His next book is Conversations With Spirit: Real Answers to Life’s Pesky Questions, Book 1. John lives in northwestern Wyoming. Sign up for his newsletter here.

14 Responses

  1. Shirley White

    Wow! We humans seem to have an incredible ability to be hypocritical. Not so surprisingly also about war. I am so anti-war that I can barely have a discussion about any aspect of it. It is the most senseless thing that I can think of that humans insist upon creating and encouraging. I have yet to be able to see anything good that comes from it. I can’t even begin to understand why any human wishes to kill a fellow human. For what possible purpose? There is no sense to be made of it.

    I know many disagree with my total pacifist views, but there just is no other place for me to stand.

    Anytime we can stop the killing for a few hours or days must be a good thing. By why start it in the first place? Mostly because some other person or persons or groups think or believe differently than we do? How ridiculous and un-evolved we are.

    It is my never ending desire that there be no more war or fighting ever more. Just as the beautiful Chief Joseph said.

    Blessings to all and Joy in the season regardless of how or if you celebrate it.

    Namaste` and love evermore to each of you
    Always Shirl

  2. Pat

    If I may say so, the thought that all must honor the same holidays is exactly the problem that leads to war. It is enough that we recognize one another’s holidays and honor them. There are many who do this already and have been doing so for a long time now.

    • John Cali

      I agree, Pat. The refusal to allow differences is the leading source, in my opinion, of most of our world’s problems. So it’s very heartening to me to see more and more of us honoring the traditions of others.

  3. Sarah Drury

    Hi John,
    hope you have had a joyous Christmas or celebration with many happy memories.
    I loved this video and inspiring story. Very moving. Beautiful in fact..

    • John Cali

      Thank you very much, Sarah. I hope you had a beautiful Christmas too. That certainly is a moving and inspiring story!

  4. Susan

    Thank you, John, for another very powerful and beautiful reminder from Spirit.

    Love and blessings,

  5. Pat

    Thank you, John. This is an incredible story likened unto the character of Nelson Mandela. I had heard of similar stories where during Christmas the shooting stopped and enemies camped close to one another would hale or wave. I had never heard of this one.

    Truly is a testament to what we’re capable of as humans in the worst of times.

    • John Cali

      You’re most welcome, Pat.

      It really is a powerful testament to what we’re capable of in the worst of times. It’s unfortunate, in my opinion, it takes the worst of times to bring out the best of us.

      But we’re getting there, albeit not as quickly as some of us (like me!) would like.

  6. Roy

    Hello John
    While I think any ceasefire is a good thing, it has also baffled me how today I sit with you, share food, drink, laughter, stories about family and tomorrow we will do our best to kill each other.
    As I was typing, I wondered if a ceasefire would work if your enemy does not honour the same holidays as you?
    There isn’t a quick answer to this question!
    When we as a race truly understand that we are all one, then we might make some progress to avoiding war in the first place, we still have a very long way to go.

    • John Cali

      Hi Roy,

      I agree — a halt in the slaughter is always a good thing. Good question about honoring the same holidays. I guess — at least in the 2 world wars and the US Civil War — many of the fighters were Christian. That in itself seems ironic.

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