New book recounts the last Christmas of World War II
Christmas Under Fire, 1944 describes the circumstances in which the last Christmas of World War II was celebrated by military, civilians and camp inmates alike. Even in the midst of warâ€™s violence, Christmas remained a hopeful beacon of western civilization.
A Nazi Guide to Christmas - leaflet instructs Party Members How Christmas Should be Celebrated
Unearthed from an archive in the German city of Dresden is a leaflet with the printed title stating A Nazi Guide to Christmas. The said pamphlet lists a number of instructions on how a Nazi party member should decorate and celebrate Christmas. What`s more, in this said leaflet, the Virgin Mary is turned German and the archangel Gabriel into an Aryan goddess. The leaflet A Nazi Guide to Christmas is composed of 20 pages filled with clear-cut instructions for Nazi Party members on how to celebrate their Christmas. It was printed way back in 1937 by the Nazi Party`s Saxony branch, the Heimatwerk organization -- formed as the `promoter of Saxon Germanic culture as a shining example of true Germanness`.
Photos: The Nazi Christmas party of 1941 must have been the worst ever
December 1941 was not a good time for Hitler - and you can see it on his face in these color photos taken by his official photographer, Hugo Jaeger. The war was supposed to have been over by this point - but the Russian campaign was turning into a fiasco and the Americans had now entered into the fray. Hitler was having a hard time getting into some Christmas cheer. While he was setting the world ablaze, Hitler organized a Christmas party for his generals in Munich. Earlier that spring, when the Russian campaign was launched, he had promised everyone that the war would be over by Christmas.
Photographs of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler celebrating Christmas in 1941
Pictures of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi officers around a Christmas tree in 1941 have emerged after years hidden in a glass jar underground.
Photographs: Christmas on the Second World War battlefields
World War II photographs: How troops spent Christmas on the field.
LIFE photographs: Inside a Nazi Christmas Party, 1941
LIFE photographs from a 1941 Nazi Christmas Party. "We cannot accept that a German Christmas tree has anything to do with a crib in a manger in Bethlehem. It is inconceivable for us that Christmas and all its deep soulful content is the product of an oriental religion," stated Nazi propagandist Friedrich Rehm in 1937, in pre-war campaign to take religion out of the holiday and replace it with the pagan Julfest, a Germanic festival of the winter solstice.
How the Nazis stole Christmas: Swastika Christmas tree ornaments and other nazi symbols
Swastika Christmas tree ornaments, Germanic cookies and made-up traditions: An exhibition at the National Socialism Documentation Center in Cologne reveals how the Nazis tried to take Christ out of Christmas. It all started in the mid-1970s, when Rita Breuer began collecting old German Christmas ornaments. As time passed Breuer came across more and more objects that didn't fit with the peaceful image of Xmas, such as WWI-era miniature soldiers, bombs and hand grenades designed to hang on the tree. The Breuers got interested in how Christmas had been creally treated for propaganda purposes over the years, most blatantly by the Nazis.
Holidays at War: Canadian recollections from the WWII frontlines
1939-1945 over 1 million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served either on the home front or overseas, fighting for king and country. During that time, most would spend the holidays on the frontlines rather than at home. Here 7 veterans share their recollections of the holidays during the World War II.
Xmas at the Battle of the Bulge 1944 -- 11 Days in December
Leave it to General George Patton to capture the true meaning of the season: "A clear cold Christmas, lovely weather for killing Germans." With 11 Days in December, Stanley Weintraub takes us to the end of 1944 when the triumph of the Allies seemed a foregone conclusion to everyone but Adolf Hitler. It is the bold-face names who make the most impact, and not just generals like Bernard Montgomery and Patton. Also popping up are the war correspondent Ernest Hemingway, fighting a terminal hangover; David Niven, who had a hard time convincing the American soldiers that he was David Niven; and Marlene Dietrich on a USO tour.
World War II vet sought after xmas present found on battlefield
A long-ago xmas present lost by a Canadian soldier who fought in one of the closing battles of World War II has turned up in a German wood. In Feb 1945, the Reichswald Forest was the scene of fighting as the First Canadian Army along with 9 British divisions and Belgian, Dutch, Polish and US units - the largest Canadian-led force ever - began their final assault on Nazi Germany. The Nazi army had blown up dikes, flooding the landscape. The Allies faced thousands of well-dug-in german soldiers, like crack parachute regiments, who were fighting for the first time to defend their own soil.
I don't enjoy Christmas says former WW2 POW (Article no longer available from the original source)
Bob "Buck" Barger hates Christmas. 62 years after being captured by German soldiers and spending Christmas 1944 in a POW camp. His first combat jump was on June 5, 1944, over Normandy, the day before D-Day. his chute collapsed, and he fell 60 feet, breaking a hip, cracking ribs and dislocating a shoulder. After two months he joined the 326th Airborne Medical Company and fought during the Battle of the Bulge at the city of Bastogne. His unit was taking wounded soldiers from Bastogne to Paris when it was ambushed by German soldiers and taken captive. "And, boy, were they mean S.O.B.'s."
The coldest Christmas ever World War II vet Hugh Sonner recalls
"We were right outside Bastogne, firing our guns on the Germans. They said it was the coldest winter in 50 years. There was no such thing as Christmas Eve. It was just firing continuously. Around the clock. All day long, and all night long. Night and day. ... I don't know how many rounds we fired. Thousands. The Germans were determined to hang in there. They just did not want to break that ring around Bastogne. Artillery was the only thing that stopped them... You might have a lull in the firing, until the next fire mission came. Maybe half an hour. If you slept, you slept two men together... You couldn't sleep by yourself. You'd freeze to death."
11 Days in December: Patton, Hitler and 1944 Christmas
Ordered to turn his tanks around and race north, General Patton faced the Wehrmacht and the weather. He went to a chapel near his headquarters, and as if the Deity were a general: "Sir, This is Patton talking... Who’s side are you on anyway?" He asked for 4 days of clearing weather, "to kill Germans." His chaplain protested, but, Patton wrote "My prayer seems to be working still as we have had 3 days of good weather and our airforce has been very active." Bastogne was reached, and he prayed again: "awful weather which I cursed so much" hindered the Germans more than us. "That, Sir, was a brilliant military move, and I bow humbly to a supreme military genius."
Nazis tried to steal Christmas as a part of re-paganize program (Article no longer available from the original source)
The plan to take Christ out of Christmas was part of an overall program to re-paganize the German people during the rise of the Third Reich, in keeping with notions of Nazi "racial purity." The religion of Hitler's state was a "kind of murky pantheism," a thinly veiled attempt to overlay paganized, nationalistic fervor over Christianity. Traditional Christianity was seen as "foreign" and suspect to the sovereignty of the Third Reich. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels said he wished to do away with celebrations of Weinachten (Christmas) altogether.
A treasure from the toughest Christmas: WWII's The Happiness Box
The days leading up to Christmas in 1942 were particularly difficult for wartime Australians, especially for the prisoners of war locked up in Singapore jails. To try to boost morale, some Australian POWs decided to make some presents for the imprisoned women and children. The little illustrated book, The Happiness Box, didn't make it to the children in Changi that Christmas. It was buried in a secret place by inmates after the Japanese General suspected it contained coded messages. But the book survived the war, and today it's still put under Christmas trees for children around the world.