Christmas in Times of War – The Battle of the Bulge

American Minute with Bill Federer

battle of the bulgeThe Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest battle during World War II on Europe’s western front, with casualties of 81,000 Americans and 100,00 Germans.

It began at the end of 1944 when Nazis amassed three armies for an enormous attack against the Allies in the Ardennes Forest.

The 101st Airborne Division parachuted in, but was soon surrounded in the town of Bastogne, southern Belgium.

When Nazis demanded their surrender, DECEMBER 22, 1944, U.S. General Anthony McAuliffe answered with one word: “Nuts.”

This response caused the Nazi commander to hesitate.

Marching to the rescue was the U.S. Third Army, but it was hindered due to bad weather.

General Patton directed Chaplain James O’Neill to compose a prayer, which was printed on cards and distributed to the 250,000 troops to pray:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle.

Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.

The reverse of the card had General Patton’s Christmas Greeting:

To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas.
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory.

May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.- G.S. Patton, Jr., Lieutenant General Commanding, Third United States Army.

The weather cleared, the Allies counterattacked and the deadlock was broken.

Four months later, Hitler committed suicide and the Nazis surrendered.

In his order, DECEMBER 22, 1944, General Eisenhower had stated:

By rushing out from his fixed defenses the enemy may give us the chance to turn his great gamble into his worst defeat.

So I call upon every man, of all the Allies, to rise now to new heights of courage…with unshakable faith in the cause for which we fight, we will, with God’s help, go forward to our greatest victory.

On December 24, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt stated:

It is not easy to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to you, my fellow Americans, in this time of destructive war…

We will celebrate this Christmas Day in our traditional American way…because the teachings of Christ are fundamental in our lives…the story of the coming of the immortal Prince of Peace.

Great for Christmas – There Really is a Santa Claus – The History of Saint Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions

The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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