Resource Packs for Teachers
Let it never be said that Roots & Wings is an organization that doesn’t love peace. As such, we’ve been working with fellow peace lovers Northumbria and Newcastle Universities Martin Luther King Peace Committee to produce a resource pack to help teachers engage pupils with commemorations for the hundred year anniversary of the First World War, focusing on one of the war’s most remarkable events…the December 1914 Christmas Truces.
On Christmas Eve 1914, British and German soldiers put up makeshift Christmas trees, sang bilingual carols across no mans land, and emerged from the trenches to exchange souvenirs, swap names and addresses, and even in some cases play football. The fact that all this actually happened is attested to by numerous letters written by soldiers who participated in these extraordinary events, occurring all along the Western front from the North Sea to Switzerland. Many soldiers wrote of their surprise that the German soldiers were in fact “a fine bunch of fellows”, and not the monsters they had been portrayed as through propaganda campaigns. Obviously the high commands on both sides were furious that their troops had been fraternizing with ‘the enemy’, and in many cases soldiers ‘tainted’ by the truces were redeployed elsewhere. Although the truces were short-lived, they represent a hopeful moment for humanity amidst the chaos of World War 1.
We hope teachers of Key Stage 2, 3 & 4 across the UK will use these resources to engage students with the First World War addressing notions of peace invoked by the Christmas Truces, rather than focusing commemorations on the era’s militaristic and nationalist agendas. The resource pack is available to download for free from the Martin Luther King Peace Committee website. We have also had a limited number printed as hard copies (pictured above) so the MLKPC can promote the pack at events across the country.