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(3,743 words)

Author(s): van Ypersele, Laurence
Belgium The status of Belgium during the First World War was a special one. Not only as a small, neutral country that had been drawn into the war against its will, but also as an occupied country that only knew the difference between frontline and occupied territories, Belgium did not experience the war in the same way as the other warring nations. The memory of the war that developed after 1918 was accordingly a different one. An additional psychological burden resulted from the fact that Belgiu…


(514 words)

Author(s): van Ypersele, Laurence
Antwerp Belgian city and fortress. In the aftermath of the fall of Liège in mid-August of 1914 and the fighting on the River Gete, the Belgian king Albert I rejected the proposal of a joint Belgian and French withdrawal to Namur, choosing instead to retreat with his field army (80,000 men) to Antwerp. The fortified city with its 70,000 fortress garrison troops was regarded as the “national redoubt” ( réduit national), the stronghold – and refuge – of the nation. The king and his army were determined to defend themselves and to hold out there, awaiting the arrival …

Albert I, King of the Belgians

(707 words)

Author(s): van Ypersele, Laurence
Albert I, King of the Belgians (April 8, 1875, Brussels – February 17, 1934, accident near Namur), King of the Belgians. Albert was the youngest son of Philippe Count of Flanders and Maria of Hohenzollern. In 1900 he married Elisabeth of Bavaria. They had three children: Leopold, Charles, and Marie-José. In 1909 he inherited the Belgian throne from his uncle Leopold II, and in stark contrast to the latter, immediately enjoyed enormous popularity. Instilled with a sense of duty, Albert also turned out to be a man of sober and level-headed conduct. In political terms Albert strove to end…