As awful as war is, it's still being fought by human beings, and they don't just check their humanity at the door. Sometimes, right in the heat of battle, sympathy and simple human kindness breaks through. Spontaneous truces occur when groups of soldiers decide they just can't take it anymore.
The result is a series of stories that you should bookmark for the next time you're in a bad mood.
6Americans and Nazis Share a Christmas Meal
The below story is so cheesily heart-warming that we would call bullshit if multiple people involved hadn't come forward to verify it. It sounds like one of those corny email forwards.
In the last days of the Second World War, just before Hitler realized that picking a fight with the entire world wasn't going to end well for him, the Nazis launched one final offensive against the Allies. The Battle of the Bulge was not, as we thought in elementary school, the story of one man's battle to hide an unfortunate erection, but a very last ditch effort of a cornered and angry German war machine. Occurring over Christmas 1944, yuletide cheer was running in understandably short supply.
The 32nd division's "Nutcracker Suite (With Occasional Flesh Wounds)" didn't go down well.
In the meantime, in a small cottage nearby on the German-Belgian border, a 12-year-old boy and his mother were busy minding their own damn business. Their dreams of blissful ignorance were shattered when three American soldiers arrived at their front door, one with serious wounds. These Americans were armed, desperate and, with it being Christmas Eve, freezing to death. For Germans under the Nazi regime, sheltering enemy troops was high treason. Fortunately, this German woman didn't give even a single shit about politics on Christmas.
It's not Christmas without some kind of fight over who invaded whom.
So she invited them in and began to tend to their wounds. Then there was another knock at their door.
Four Nazi soldiers had arrived.
"History tends to forget that a good 30 percent of us weren't murderous douchebags."
Though the mother knew they could be shot for violating the rules of war, she took a gamble and sternly told the lost and hungry Germans that there would be no killing that night. The boy and his mother had a Christmas chicken all fattened up and ready to be butchered, so they went ahead and prepared the feast with their unexpected guests. Proving that Hollywood has no monopoly on Christmas magic, the American soldiers and the German soldiers all turned their weapons over to the woman and feasted together, without so much as exchanging passive-aggressive insults.
"What are your plans for the weekend?" "Well, we're -- awwwww, you almost got me. You bastard."
Then, in the morning, when the wounded American had semi-recovered, the German soldiers directed the American soldiers back to their lines, telling them how to avoid all the areas that the Nazis had recaptured.
The story spread after the boy, Fritz Vincken, grew up and told the story to Reader's Digest (it became so famous that even President Ronald Reagan mentioned it in a speech when he visited Germany). You could write it off as something he pulled out of his imagination when up against a magazine deadline, but then in 1995 Fritz found one of the soldiers, who had separately been telling the story to everyone he met for years. On that night, American and Nazi soldiers really did just sit down in the middle of the war and have a quiet Christmas dinner.
That little boy grew up and got to meet the American soldier who gave him the coolest Christmas ever.