Mary Theroux writes movingly about it at the Independent Institute.
Such warm fuzzies for “the enemy”, of course, undermined the cause of their rulers, and eventually all along the front officers retook charge of the situation, in some cases ordering their soldiers to take up arms or be shot themselves; in one case, a British officer shot a German soldier walking unarmed in no-man’s land, bringing the truce to a bloody end.
And thus the secret to maintaining war: we must never come to know our declared enemies, must never think of them as humans just as we are, loving their families, hoping for home and a better life. Faceless caricatures are so much better for keeping passions pitched.
And thus the secret every good ruler knows: divide and conquer. Portray “them” as different, sub-human, unworthy of the consideration we hold as our due, and certainly ones to whom Christ never intended the Golden Rule to apply.
“Them-ism” is equally effectively applied to our co-nationalists of a different color, socio-economic status, or religion. Keeping us suspicious of one another well serves our political masters, accruing ever-greater power.
Do you love Christ more than you hate those your rulers tell you are the cause of your problems and should therefore hate? They can, for the time being, fleece us and boss us around, but do we really have to let them stir up hatreds within our hearts for others, for whom Christ also died?