How did people in the years between 1914 and 1918 experience the discrepancy between the message of peace during Christmas time and the millionfold dying? In what manner did media and propaganda handle the subject of Christmas in times of war? A temporary exhibition at the Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemberg offers answers to these questions and shows how Christmas was celebrated at the frontline and the home front during the First World War.
A field of 24 glazed showcases, each with an integrated black cube at eye level, characterizes the narrative space. Comparable to a large Advent calendar the doors of the numbered cubes can be opened, offering an unimpeded view of the previously hidden exhibits. A timeline and a newspaper band frame the long sides of the field. The Christmas chronology describes the most important incidents during the four December months between 1914 and 1917, refers to the exhibits and puts them in the context of the war. How the national and international press handled the subject of wartime Christmas is documented in the newspaper band with covers of various magazines. A wooden Christmas tree decorated with patriotic Christmas ornaments impressively demonstrates how propaganda made use of Christmas traditions.
The Christmas exhibition is an extension of the exhibition “Carnival of Hell – The First World War and the Senses”, which was also designed and implemented by jangled nerves.