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Friend or Foe and football - remembering the 1914 Christmas truce


The University of Bradford is making its own unique contribution to a national project to mark one of the most iconic episodes of the First World War, the Christmas truce of 1914.

Football Remembers week, from 6-14 December, is a joint initiative from the British Council, Premier League, Football League and FA, commemorating the moment in 1914 when British and German soldiers left their trenches and weapons and mingled in no man’s land to chat, exchange gifts and, in some instances, play football.

During the week, players in all matches will pose together as a mark of respect and there will be a tournament in Ypres, organised by the Premier League.

The British Council approached Professor Tom Woodhouse, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford, to contribute to an education pack for schools nationwide and he created a conflict resolution simulation game called Friend or Foe.

Based around the Christmas truce, the game involves two teams using Friend and Foe cards and challenges students to think about their actions as well as the cause and effect of conflicts. It explores a process two sides might use to reach a truce and how that might succeed or break down.

The game also includes original source material including regimental and personal diaries from the time and has been made available to 30,000 schools.

Professor Woodhouse said: “The aim of the week is to use football to highlight what happened during the Christmas truce. Friend or Foe particularly highlights the value of peace and peace-making and gives pupils the opportunity to reflect not only on what happened in 1914 but also on how they approached the issues presented by the game.”

Friend or Foe can be seen here (PDF)

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