A Mini Program on War – Ages 8 to 12

These soldiers were supposed to be enemies. They celebrated Christmas Eve 1914 together.

Trench warfare in World I was brutal. 

In 1914, the western front of the war had trenches where French and English soldiers awaited the next attack from the Germans (or vice versa) or simply wallowed in the frost and mud, biding time.

They were very close to each other in some areas — 60 to 80 yards, less than the length of a football field. So close that the soldiers could hear each other cough. And sing.

The region between the men, past the barbed wire, was known as "no man's land," and it's where some of them met as humans rather than as enemies.

Early on in the war, there was some fraternization between the enemy lines, with soldiers from England and France meeting their enemies from Germany. They exchanged cigarettes, chocolate, and even whisky, learning more words of other languages from each other, sometimes tossing verbal jabs back and forth.

Eventually, some agreed to leave each other alone to get out of the trenches and exercise in the morning rather than shoot at each other. Or to let each other have a breakfast without worrying about being shot at.

There were widespread calls for peace that holiday season, with even Pope Benedict XV on Dec. 7, 1914, asking for a Christmas truce, so "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang." Though Germany agreed to this, the other countries refused.

On Christmas Eve that year, what started off on some parts of the front lines as a temporary truce to collect and bury the dead eventually became an exchange between French and German troops of newspapers, cigarettes, and song.

Soon, many of the German soldiers put up tiny Christmas trees on the edges of their trenches — gifts from home — and lit them with candles.

Carols began to ring out, "O Tannenbaum" from the German side, which of course was "Oh, Christmas Tree" for the English. "Adeste Fideles" ("Oh Come, All Ye Faithful") followed.

Thereafter referred to as "The Christmas Truce," it spread to many sections of the western front and came to symbolize the concept that many soldiers had that this war was not something they'd chosen to fight in and that these men were not people they really wanted to shoot at and would perhaps rather be celebrating with.

In fact, as they got to know each other better, you can imagine them wondering who was in their sights when they pulled the trigger. Was it someone they were just sharing a chocolate bar with the previous day, after learning about their family back home?

In some places up and down the lines, the truce lasted until New Year's Day. Eventually, the high command on both sides, hearing of the troops that had met on Christmas Eve of 1914, issued orders for such things to cease.

And indeed, just a few years later, the war had become so brutal and the casualties so frequent, this kind of fraternization no longer happened. It was as if a silent shroud had descended between the men that turned them into something other than what they were that night — fellow human beings, very much alike. 

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Why are we always picking on each other?

A Special Mini Curriculum To Help Young People Understand Global Conflict

Ages 8–12

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Master War Curriculum

For Young People ages 13 and up

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Are we born hardwired for war?

A Mini-Curriculum for Instructors To Help Students Understand What Creates Conflict

Ages 8-12

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ARE WE BORN HARDWIRED FOR WAR? IS WAR IN OUR DNA?

Master Curriculum

A Special Curriculum For Young People To Help Them Understand Their War-Like Feelings

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ARE WE BORN HARDWIRED FOR WAR? IS WAR IN OUR DNA?

workbook

A companion workbook to the Hardwired for War curriculum to help students understand what prevents peace. 20 helpful and creative lessons.

“Enjoy this adventure in finding the roots of war buried deeply in our old brains. See if this is true or not.  Because if it is, then war can end in that immediate insight into what’s preventing peace."

-Quote from the Introduction to the Hardwired for War workbook

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Award ImageRecipient of the Silver Benjamin Franklin Award

Tug of war

PEACE THROUGH UNDERSTANDING CONFLICT

This book is for all children interested in a peaceful world - and in understanding the forces that cause conflict, both in personal relationships and across the globe. Tug of War describes ...

  • What the roots of war are.
  • How we create "The Enemy".
  • A new way to handle violence.

This book is also for adults to help young people gain the skills to successfully cope with individual and global violence.

Illustrated by award-winning artist, Rod Cameron.

"The book excels at helping children understand how conflict works within themselves. Tug of War offers engaging exercises that enhance a child's ability to understand the world. These exercises inspire self-observation, and the drawings of award-winning illustrator Rod Cameron enliven the book."

- FORUM - Newsletter of Educators for Social Responsibility, Cambridge, Massachusettes, USA

"I realize Tug of War's urgency for every child and adult—especially at this moment of unrest. My daughter couldn't stop reading it!"

- Marina Dubrovskaya, Assistant Director, Department of Sociology, Library of Foreign Literature, Moscow

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Cover Art: Why is Everybody Always Picking On Us? Understanding the Roots of Prejudice
Award ImageRecipient of the GOLD Benjamin Franklin Award

Fighting the invisible enemy

understanding the effects of conditioning

This book helps young people see how preconditioned thinking and actions - behavior influenced by war toys, violent television, gender stereotypes, racial prejudice, peer pressure and more - can lead to division and violence. This book explores:

  • What conditioning is and how it can make you act like a robot!
  • What made the boy think he could fly like Superman!
  • How war is created by the way we think.
  • Creative, nonviolent alternatives to fighting.

This book is also for adults concerned about the psychological welfare of young people.

Illustrated by award-winning artist, Rod Cameron.

Fighting the Invisible Enemy – Understanding the Effects of Conditioning was translated into Russian and serialized into the leading Russian teacher’s magazine and distributed to all schools in that country.

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OPERATION WARHAWKS

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE BECOME WARRIORS

This book helps young people to understand what creates war and to see that being a warrior is not a humane and healthy way to resolve conflict. Operation Warhawks is full of information about how to create a more intelligent and peaceful world.

This book also helps young people to understand the conditioning that goes into creating a Warrior Robot that will kill on command.

Illustrated by award-winning artist, Rod Cameron.

“Every publication from the pen of this author should make a significant contribution to peace within and without. Highly recommended!" —

- New Age Publishers and Retailers Alliance Trade Journal.

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