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Road Signs – Snoopy and the Red Baron with a message for our times

By Mike Sokol

The Christmas season can now officially begin because my wife, Linda, has finally heard the “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” Christmas song by The Royal Guardsmen. She listens for it every year and says that she’s not in the mood for Christmas until she hears it. Click on the picture to hear the song along with the original cartoon video.

So what is so special about this song, and what can we learn from this precocious beagle and his archnemesis, the Red Baron? Well, it’s about fierce enemies declaring an unofficial ceasefire.

In fact, the song is based on a real incident in WWI when the Germans and British who were fighting in the trenches started signing Christmas carols to one another, and finally declared an ad hoc ceasefire for the evening. They met each other peacefully in the no-man’s land where earlier in the day many hundreds of soldiers from both sides had been slaughtered. But now, they shared chocolates and showed the “enemy” pictures of their own families. Of course, this truce didn’t last, but at least both sides now knew that the enemy wasn’t very different from themselves.

In the Snoopy version of the story, the Red Baron took mercy on Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel biplane. So instead of shooting him out of the sky, they met on the ground below and shared a holiday toast. (Yes, my wife always does the champagne “pop” sound effect.)

Now, I realize that this Christmas there will be many friends and family who consider themselves political enemies. And I think that’s a sad thing when we already have two great examples of WWI troops along with a Beagle and a WWI Ace pilot who could see past their differences, if only for a short while, to drink a holiday toast together.

So thanks to my wife’s love of this song, we’ve had a Christmas tradition for the last 30 years. Yes, the Christmas season can now begin because Snoopy and the Red Baron have declared a holiday truce. Let’s all do the same….

Here are the lyrics, which I think are food for thought…

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum
Do kannst mir sehr gefallen!
The news had come out in the First World War,
The bloody Red Baron was flying once more.
The Allied command ignored all of its men
And called on Snoopy to do it again.
Was the night before Christmas, 40 below,
When Snoopy went up in search of his foe.
He spied the Red Baron, fiercely they fought.
With ice on his wings Snoopy knew he was caught.
Christmas bells, those Christmas bells,
Ring out from the land
Asking peace of all the world
And good will to man.
The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights.
He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight.
Why he didn’t shoot, well, we’ll never know,
Or was it the bells from the village below?
Christmas bells, those Christmas bells,
Ringing through the land.
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man.
The Baron made Snoopy fly to the Rhine
And forced him to land behind the enemy lines.
Snoopy was certain that this was the end,
When the Baron cried out, “Merry Christmas, mein friend!”
The Baron then offered a holiday toast
And Snoopy, our hero, saluted his host.
And then with a roar they were both on their way,
Each knowing they’d meet on some other day.
Christmas bells, those Christmas bells,
Ringing through the land
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man.

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.

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Alan
11 months ago

Love that song!!! And I’m like your wife… it isn’t Christmas until I hear it for the first time that year!!!

E Scantlebury
11 months ago

Correction. The Christmas truce was in 1914 between the British and the Germans who sang carols to each other. The America’s did not enter the war until April 1917. This event is what the song was based on

Mike Sokol
11 months ago
Reply to  E Scantlebury

Oops… fixed it.

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RV Staff (@rvstaff)
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Sorry I missed that, Mike. 🙁 —Diane you-know-who