For decades, militaries have weaponized Christmas songs, symbols, and sentimentality for psychological warfare and propaganda purposes. Here are some bizarre tales about ersatz Christmas cards during World War II, controversial Christmas trees, and decking the halls in the Colombian jungle.
1.) The Korean DMZ Christmas Tree
This week, South Korea lit up a 95-foot-tall metal Christmas tree along the North Korean border for the first time since 2004. Frosty relations with Pyongyang have impelled South Korean officials to keep the tree lit until January 8, which is also the birthday of DPRK successor Kim Jong-Un (South Korea insists that this is a coincidence). Here's a description of South Korea's massive metal Tannenbaum:
[The] giant, brightly lit Christmas tree [is] reportedly visible from Kaesong, the border city on the northern side of the demilitarized zone dividing North and South. The tree serves a propaganda role, reminding of repression and the lack of religious freedom in the North. Yet even in the tumult of plummeting North-South relations, it may also serve as a beacon of continuing Korean brotherhood.
The Yoido Full Gospel Church had tried to light the tree in years past, but the recent deficit of goodwill between the two nations (due to the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan) has led to resumption of South Korean pop propaganda, including the threat of sexy weaponized K-pop.