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January 30th 1948: Gandhi assassinated

On this day in 1948, Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. Gandhi was famous for his non-violent struggle for Indian independence, instead using mass civil disobedience to secure India’s independence. His goal was achieved a year before his death. Gandhi is referred to as ‘Mahatma’ (meaning ‘Great Soul’) and ‘Bapu’ (‘father’) in India, as he is remembered as the ‘Father of the Nation’. He was shot at point-blank range whilst walking to a platform to address a prayer meeting by Godse, a Hindu nationalist who felt Gandhi was sympathetic to Muslims and held him responsible for weakening India by insisting on payment to Pakistan. Gandhi was mourned nationally, and is still revered today and considered a martyr. Supposedly, his last words were "Oh God"

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December 24th 1914: Christmas Truce

On this day in 1914, troops across the Western Front during the First World War laid down their arms. Soldiers from all sides participated in the widespread, unofficial ceasefires for the Christmas period. Troops, mostly German and British, exchanged Christmas greetings, songs and even gifts. Both sides also held joint burials where they mourned both their dead. They met in ‘no man’s land’, an area which was usually deadly. The truce began on this day in 1914 when German troops near Ypres decorated their trenches and sang carols, which led to responses from the British troops. As the war progressed, and the violence increased, suspicion grew between the two sides and superiors were stricter about ‘fraternisation with the enemy’ and so less truces were held. However, the truces of 1914 serve as a poignant example of humanity and peace in a horrific and violent situation.

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