Friends and Enemies
In all the armies there exists a strict apartheid between the officers, representatives
of the upper class, and their subordinates, almost exclusively proletarians and other
members of the lower orders. The majority of the officers look down on the simple
soldiers with contempt and treat them accordingly. Conversely, they are despised
as enemies by the soldiers. The official “foe,” on the other hand, is not considered
by many of the men to be a genuine enemy. This is illustrated by meetings
and fraternizations between allied and German soldiers, of which the famous
“Christmas truce” of December 1914 is merely the most spectacular example . . .
Jacques R. Pauwels
JACQUES R. PAUWELS has taught European history at the University of Toronto, York University and the University of Waterloo. He is the author of several books on twentieth-century history, including The Myth of the Good War, in which he provides a revisionist look at the role of the United States and other Allied countries in the Second World War. An independent scholar, Pauwels holds PhDs in history and political science. He lives in Brantford, Ontario.