Christmas and Diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire During WWI

85.     History and the Holidays

Christmas Day in Ottoman Bethlehem
American Colony, c1900-1920 (LOC)
World War I disrupted all aspects of life in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Within the context of a brutal war, soldiers sought to protect the culturally-symbolic holiday of Christmas from these disruptions through events such as the Christmas Truce of 1914. In the Ottoman Empire, charity organizations and foreign governments worked with the Ottoman state to secure Christmas meals and privileges to contact their families for prisoners being kept in Anatolia. However, all-out war also brought conflict, violence, and politics to the Christmas season. In this podcast, we examine a few Christmas cases from the WWI period based on research in the Ottoman archives.

MP3 File

Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see

Citation: "Christmas and Diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire During World War I," Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 85 (December 20, 2012)

~ To read the archival documents associated with this episode, see our article in Tozsuz Evrak ~

Music: Fairuz - Kenna Nzayyen Sajra Sgheeri and Talj Talj