In the beginning months of World War I, a very strange thing happened. After the fierce trench warfare of November and December, on Christmas Eve, 1914, the fighting spontaneously stopped. Men on both sides laid down their arms and came to celebrate Christmas with each other. They shared food parcels across the lines, sang carols together, and erected Christmas trees with candles. They buried the dead, exchanged presents, and even played soccer together.
"Silent Night: a hope and prayer"
Christmas 1941 came little more than two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The shock - in some cases overseas, elation - was worldwide. While Americans attempted to go about celebrating as usual, the reality of the just-declared war was on everybody’s mind. United States troops on Wake Island were battling a Japanese landing force and, in the Philippines, losing the fight to save Luzon. In Japan, the Pearl Harbor strike force returned to Hiroshima Bay and toasted its sweeping success.
"not quite as advertised"
General Sherman's Christmas opens on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, 1864, one month before Christmas. Sherman was relentlessly pushing his troops across Georgia, reaching Savannah days before Christmas. His methodical encroachment of the city from all sides eventually convinced Confederate general W. J. Hardee to slip away in darkness across an improvised causeway toward South Carolina to the north.
11 Days in December tells the unforgettable story of one of the grimmest points of World War II and its Christmas Eve turn toward victory. In December 1944, the Allied forces thought their campaign for securing Europe was in its final stages. But Germany had one last great surprise attack still planned, leading to some of the most intense fighting in World War II: the Battle of the Bulge.
Just before Thanksgiving in 1950, five months into the Korean War, General MacArthur flew to American positions in the north and grandly announced an "end-the-war-by-Christmas" offensive despite recent intervention by Mao's Chinese, who would soon trap tens of thousands of US troops poised toward the Yalu River border.
When the 1944 presidential election campaign geared up late that spring, Franklin D. Roosevelt had already been in office longer than any other president. Sensing likely weakness, the Republicans mounted an energetic and expensive campaign, hitting hard at FDR’s liberal domestic policies and the ongoing cost of World War II. Despite gravely deteriorating health, FDR and his feisty running mate, the unexpected Harry Truman, campaigned vigorously against young governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York.
"What a mix! an election and a world war"
In Young Mr. Roosevelt Stanley Weintraub evokes Franklin Delano Roosevelt's political and wartime beginnings. An unpromising patrician playboy appointed assistant secretary of the Navy in 1913, Roosevelt learned quickly and rose to national visibility during World War I. Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1920, he lost the election but not his ambitions. While his stature was rising, his testy marriage to his cousin Eleanor was fraying amid scandal quietly covered up. Even polio a year later would not suppress the ever indomitable Roosevelt and his inevitable ascent.