BELGIUM (see 3.668). On Dec. 17 1909, King Leopold II. of Belgium died at the castle of Laeken. He left behind him a Belgium richer and fuller of vitality than that to whose throne he had succeeded. His kingdom's immense economic development, which he had consistently aided and encouraged, had shown him the necessity for such a country, small but overpopulated, of ample foreign markets and colonies. Leopold I. had sought to foster the colonizing spirit in Belgium, but without success. Leopold II.'s eyes were opened by the great African discoveries of 1878 to the possibility of realizing an ambitious scheme for acquiring in his country's interests a vast territory in the centre of the Dark Continent. Amid general scepticism, and aided by a mere handful of men, mostly officers, he had built up the independent state of the Congo. From 1895 onward the Belgian Government had associated itself in his work by opening credits to him, although Parliament remained hostile to the King's bold and enterprising policy. Belgian finance, however, took an interest in affairs on the Congo; and little by little there developed a section of public opinion favourable to the taking over by Belgium of the immense African territory. After a violent agitation against the methods of colonial government in the Congo State, conducted in Germany, England, and America, and supported by certain Belgian politicians, the Congo was ceded to Belgium in 1908. King Leopold realized that if his country was to remain economically powerful her army must be strengthened, and to effect this was his constant preoccupation; but the Catholic party in power since 1884 always frustrated his efforts, and up to the time of his death Belgium still preserved her system of recruiting by drawing lots, conscripts who had been drawn having the right to get themselves replaced by substitutes at the cost of a fine of 1,6oo francs. This system of substitution was abolished by the Chamber in 1909, and the King on his death-bed signed the law enforcing personal service.
Leopold II. had expressed a desire to be buried with the utmost simplicity, in the early morning, and without official ceremonies. The Government did not think fit to conform to these wishes, however, and arranged an imposing funeral. He was succeeded by his nephew and nearest male heir, Prince Albert, whose consort, Elizabeth, had been born a duchess of Bavaria.
I. Pre-War Situation, 1910-4.—By Belgian constitutional law the heir-presumptive to the throne does not become king until he has taken the oath. Leopold II.'s death consequently entailed a temporary regency which, in accordance with Belgian law, was exercised by a Conseil de Rėgence composed of members of the Government : T. Schollaert, L. de Lautsheere, J. Davignon, J. Liebaert, Baron Descamps, A. Hubert, A. Delbeke, G. Hellepette, J. Hellebrut, J. Renkin. On Dec. 23, in presence of the Chambers and of delegations from the constituent bodies of the country, King Albert I. of Belgium took the oath of allegiance to the Belgian Constitution. The new King had already shown his intention to carry on his uncle's work, having, while still heir-presumptive, made a journey to the Congo for purposes of investigation. But alongside that keen interest in colonial, economic, and. military problems in which he resembled Leopold II., he also from the first showed anxiety for his kingdom's intellectual development and social organization.
Belgium had indeed advanced considerably during the reign of Leopold II. She had not only achieved a high degree of prosperity, but had also undergone an intellectual renascence, giving birth during the second half of the century to a school of writers, painters, and men of science worthy of comparison with those of the neighbouring countries. Furthermore, the development of trade, with its increase in the numbers of industrial workers in 1910 they numbered 1,270,484—raised social problems with increasing urgency. Belgian trade had found immense markets, thanks in part to the cheapness of its products due to low wages. The growing strength of the trade unions enabled the workers to claim an improvement in their material conditions, and Belgium began to find herself confronted by the difficulty of entering on the path of social reform without compromising her economic stability. Political struggles of peculiar intensity were rendering the situation still more delicate. In Belgium social and economic claims are always mixed up with purely political questions. Social and professional organizations are at the same time political groups, and their action makes itself as much felt in political affairs as in the economic sphere. In 1907 the trade-union movement was divided as follows:—
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Number of women in unions
The socialist unions first tested their strength in the campaign opened by the Socialist party in 1912 for universal suffrage “pure and simple.” This campaign coincided with the violent struggle on the education question which began just then between the parties of the Left—Liberals and Socialists—and the Catholic party. The Catholics, who commanded a majority in the Chamber, introduced a bill to put the voluntary schools and the State schools on an absolutely equal footing. Education in Belgium, especially primary education, is largely in the hands of the religious denominations. Their schools, recognized and subsidized by the State, were in many communes the only teaching institutions. It was to these denominational schools that the Government proposed to accord the same treatment as that given by the State to its own official schools.
The proposal raised a storm of adverse opinion throughout the country. A monster demonstration organized by the Socialist and Liberal parties took place at Brussels. The Liberal party, rallying to the principle of universal suffrage at 25 years of age and the single vote, formed a bloc with the Labour party in order to oppose the Right, and they issued joint lists of candidates in most of the towns. The Catholic party, nevertheless, proved successful in the elections of 1912, preserving a majority in the Chamber.
These elections, maintaining in power a party that had governed uninterruptedly for 28 years, had grave consequences. The Catholic party was strongest in the rural districts and in the small Flemish towns. The Walloon districts, more industrial in character, returned a large majority of Liberals and Socialists. On the morrow of the Catholic victory violence of party feeling, much exasperated by the new Education Act, led to an outburst of rage and indignation in the more politically advanced parts of the country. In certain Walloon circles there arose the idea of the administrative separation of Flanders from Wallonia. Flanders should remain Catholic; the Walloon country should be free to have the advanced (Left) Government it desired.
This movement, combining with that concerned with the language question, threatened serious results. “Flamingantisme,” which originated in democratic aspirations, seeking to bring together in Flanders the common people, Flemish of speech, and the French-speaking bourgeoisie, had little by little—obsessed by its dominant idea and by a sort of regionalistic mysticism—turned towards reaction. The language question had been dealt with by various laws—that of 1878 regarding the use of the languages by public authorities; that of 1898 about the publication of laws; that of 1910 on free secondary education; and by the laws of 1913, on the use of the languages in the army, and of 1914, on primary education, which were designed to complete the legal equality of the Flemish language with the French. Yet in the hearts of a minority, a desire was shaping itself to expel the French language from Flanders.
In 1913 a bill was introduced in the Chamber proposing the division of the army into Walloon and Flemish units, but was defeated by an immense majority. This did not deter three deputies—a Catholic, a Liberal, and a Socialist—from proposing to the Chamber in 1914 the Flamandization of the university of Ghent, in which French was the official language.
The Government did not perceive that by pursuing a course of purely party politics they were stimulating the growth of this separatist movement, and despite the protests of the Left they once more brought before the Chamber their Education bill, which they had temporarily abandoned. To counter this, and to force upon the Chamber the adoption of the universal suffrage “pure and simple” which they demanded, in April 1913 the Socialist party organized a general strike, which spread over the whole country, involving many hundred thousands of workers. The Government would not yield, however, and their Education Act became law. If in this the Catholic party had gained an undeniable victory, it had been at the price of adopting compulsory education, which for many years past had been advocated by the Liberals. It was now enforced by the laws of May 19 and June 15 1914.
Educational System.—School attendance is obligatory from 6 to 14 years of age. The juge de paix has to admonish recalcitrant parents; and if they persist in neglect of their duty, they are first officially warned before the final steps are taken of the infliction of a fine and the posting of their names in their commune. By the law of May 19 1914 each commune must possess an official school. One or more voluntary schools, if such exist in the district, may be “adopted”; but if this is done a communal school must still be provided, supposing it is demanded by a sufficient number of the inhabitants to ensure it an effective minimum attendance of 20 children. In all schools, whether official or adopted, the teachers must be Belgian and diplomés. The State inspects both communal and adopted schools, and they receive grants from the central authorities of province and commune. Education is free, and the necessary books and appliances are provided free for poor families. The syllabus of primary schools includes religion (but fathers can claim their children's exemption from religious instruction), moral teaching, reading, writing, arithmetic, weights and measures, the language used by the majority of the local population, geography, history of Belgium, drawing, hygiene, singing and gymnastics. In the girls' schools needlework, domestic economy, and housewifery are added. In agricultural districts agriculture and horticulture are also taught. Further, the State subsidizes such initiative on the part of communes as the formation of classes (such as exist in Ghent, Brussels, and Liege) for backward and non-normal children, on the provision of 4th-degree instruction This 4th degree, first adopted by the commune of St. Gilles. consists of technical instruction for children of 12 to 14. Its object is to give elementary training sufficient to enable the child to specialize as artisan or craftsman, and so to enter industrial life already qualified.
Belgium's efforts to develop the technical training of her popula- tion increased steadily during the last few years before the war, much being done in this way by the provinces and communes. Hainault (Hainaut) organized an admirable centre of technical instruction at Charleroi under the name of the Universite de Travail. Future workers, male and female, are admitted to its courses at the age of 13 and they receive salaries, which enable them to pass through the necessary years of training. In 1912 1,700 pupils at- tended this school. All trades are taught there, each with the best possible equipment of tools and machinery. Reading-rooms are open to the pupils, and even also to workmen not attending the school who think they can in the slightest degree improve tools or machines. Concurrently with the technical courses, general courses are given, notably in foreign languages, so that pupils may be in a position to follow the technical periodicals of great neighbouring countries. The province of Hainault finds the large funds necessary for supporting this immense institution by means of a special tax on industrial profits. The great manufacturers of the province not only accepted this tax without complaint, but every year make many voluntary donations to the Universite de Travail. To encour- age the use of this school by the working-classes the employers of Hainault decided to accept no workers under the age of 18; while assuring well-paid posts to every pupil passing out of the Universite de Travail. This close collaboration of public authorities, manu- facturers, and workers produced most remarkable results in the course of a few years. Besides the Universite de Travail there are provincial schools of arts and crafts, agricultural mechanics, hosiery- weaving, and industrial chemistry. The communes and many trade unions provide housewifery schools for young girls and schools for adults.
As regards agriculture, the State endeavoured to promote. special- ization in the subject by courses of lectures given all over the country. Such efforts made by public authorities, more especially by the provincial and communal administrative bodies, whose powers are very extensive, are rendered necessary by the social conditions of the country.
Population. A population which in 1900 numbered 6,693,548 had in 1910 become 7,423,782 an increase of 10-91 %, or over I % per annum. Density increased from 227 to 252 inhabitants per sq. kilometre. East Flanders contained 374 inhabitants per sq. km., the province of Antwerp, 342, Hainault, 331, the province of Liege, 306, West Flanders, 270, Limburg, 114, the province of Namur, 99, Luxemburg, 52. Thickly populated areas and urban centres devel- oped with lightning rapidity: in Antwerp the population increased 187% in 50 years, in Charleroi 147%, in Liege 105%. The whole population depended for support on the internal resources of the country, emigration being almost negligible: in 1910 only 38,854 persons left the country (55 % of them born in Belgium), principally for France (52 %), Germany (13 %) and Holland (12 %). On the other hand, 44,950 immigrants settled in Belgium, coming chiefly from France (41 %), Germany (21 %) and Holland (16%).
To maintain such a dense population agriculture had to be brought to a pitch of intensiveness unknown elsewhere; and industry, with such vast numbers of hands to draw on, was able to develop with marvellous rapidity.
Industries. The various industries of Belgium employ a large part of the population. In 1910 this industrial population comprised :
Employers, or persons employing members of Persons Per cent.
their own families as employees or workers 260,521 15-23
Members of families as above .... 91,693 5-36
Employees 87,463 5-12
Workers 1,270,484 74-29
Total 1,710,161 persons
These were divided among the different branches of industry as follows:
Textile industry 15-36
Metallurgical industry 13-32
Clothing 1 1 -94
Timber and furniture-making 8-30
In 1914 glass-making employed 12,000 workmen, maintained 19 furnaces and produced annually 400,000,000 francs worth of glass, or one-fifth of the world's entire output, 95% being exported. The unchallenged superiority of the Belgian glass-workers, with their
centuries of specialization behind them, ensured a privileged position in the markets of the world. Even so, technical development was still advancing, and in 1914 the new Fourcault process had just been successfully introduced. By means of it glass is drawn without being touched by hand from the moment it comes out of the furnace until it is ready for sale as finished merchandise. There were, besides, seven factories producing annually 2,500,000 sq. metres of plate glass, representing a value of 28,500,000 francs, nine-tenths being exported ; and the factory of Jumet produced annually 12,000,000 bottles. The Belgian cut-glass trade was equally important. The Val St. Lambert, with 5,300 hands, produced daily 250,000 pieces, an output (90% exported) realizing annually 13,000,000 francs.
In 1913 the metallurgical trade included: 21 high furnaces with 20,080 hands producing 96,000 tons of cast iron; 6 steel-works with 7,700 hands producing 1,134,000 tons of rough steel and 671,000 tons of finished products; 15 iron-works with 3,402 hands producing 27,100 tons of finished iron and 19,300 tons of finished steel. The steel industry, including coke-fired furnaces, employed in 1913 a total of 39,500 hands, and was represented by 41 factories with 2,498 coke-fired furnaces, employing 4,229 hands and producing 3,523,000 tons; 19 works with high furnaces, 5,289 hands, producing 2,484,690 tons; 28 Siemens-Martin furnaces producing 274,450 tons of rough steel; 84 converters producing 2,192,180 tons of rough steel and 1,409,940 tons of finished steel; 38 transforming plants produc- ing 304,350 tons of finished iron and 448,400 tons of finished steel. The zinc industry possessed 14 foundries with 600 furnaces and 10 rolling mills, and produced annually 200,000 tons of rough zinc and 51,000 tons of sheet zinc. It employed 9,300 hands. The output, nine-tenths of which was exported, was worth 115,000.000 francs.
The collieries, the presence of which brought also the iron, zinc and steel industries to the provinces of Liege and Hainault the coal- yielding provinces ^occupied a particularly important place in Belgium; 125 collieries, possessing 305 pits and employing 145,337 men, were producing annually 22,841,590 tons. In quantity this output nearly sufficed for the needs of the country, which consumed 26,000,000 tons per annum. But in quality the deficit was con- siderable. The output of steam and domestic coal was excessive, permitting an export of 6,000,000 tons, 5,000,000 of which went to France; while the lack of gas and coking coal necessitated the importation of 9,000,000 tons from Germany.
Although since 1910 the import of coal had exceeded the export, the discovery of two new coal fields permitted the hope that in the future Belgium would produce a quantity far in excess of what she needed for internal consumption. In 1901 deposits of coal were found in the Campine at depths of 430 and 630 metres. The first concessions were granted in 1906, the first sinkings exceptionally difficult because of the water-bearing strata encountered begun in 1909. No pits had started work before the war. Experimental borings, commenced in the south of Hainault in 1908, established the existence of fresh deposits at depths of 400 and 800 metres. No concession had, up to 1921, been granted by the State in these coal fields.
There were 62 factories for making coal dust into briquettes and other forms of patent fuel. In 1913 these employed 2,000 hands and produced 2,608,640 tons.
Next to the mines must be mentioned the important industry of the stone quarries. In 1913 1,556 quarries, 481 of them subterranean, employed 34,893 workmen, and produced 70,500,000 francs worth of paving-stones, broken stone, hewn stone, marble, chalk, lime, phosphates, plastic clay, dolomite and slate. Depending on the quarries were 70 cement factories in a state of rapid development, the cement export having risen from a value of 12,000,000 francs in 1908 to that of 22,000,000 francs in 1912.
A third group of important industries consisted of the textile manufactures of Flanders (flax, cotton, hemp, jute), and of the Verviers district (wool). In 1910 they accounted for 270,000 workers, employees, and masters; while the related clothing industry em- ployed another 200,000 persons. The total value of the products represented 800,000,000 francs, 350,000,000 of which came from export.
The following table will indicate the relative importance of the different textile industries, and their development during the last years before the war:
Linen .... ... Hemp and Jute . . ... Wool .... ... Cotton .... Silk ... Artificial silk ... ... Lace .... ...
26,205 3,610 32-285 20,435 655 o
48,157 1,391 3,573 81,213
Imports of raw materials, spun raw materials and woven goods amounted in 1911 to 838,700,000 francs, in 1912 to 985,300,000 francs, in 1913 to 998,400,000 francs. The exports of raw mate- rials, spun goods, and woven goods amounted in 1911 to 871,400,000 francs, in 1912 to 1,033,400,000 francs, in 1913 to 998,700,000 francs.
Commerce. Belgian commerce wasas flourishing as Belgian indus- try. Facilitated by a network of ways and communications com- prising 2,000 km. of water-ways (67 m. per sq. km.), 4,665 km. of broad-gauge railways (158 m. per sq. km.), 4,107 km. of narrow- gauge railways, 9,851 km. of main roads, and 32,000 km. of local roads, import and export trade and transport were intensely active. Belgium's free-trade policy largely contributed to her commercial prosperity. In 1913 the import duties affected only 16-8 % of im- ported goods. They were, moreover, extremely light, in 1900 repre- senting 2-3% of the value of imports, in 1910 1-6%, in 1913 only 1-4 %. It is true that a movement was already beginning towards the imposition of duties to check the dumping practised by certain foreign industries, or to induce other nations to admit Belgian goods freely; but this was merely a defensive policy, rendered necessary by that of foreign states.
Commercially Belgium held the sixth place in the world. The total figures of her import and export trades, not including goods in transit, rose as high as 8,765,673,061 francs. In 1913 this total was composed as follows :
Imports . ... Exports In Transit
32,656,282 20,885,182 7,803,734
5,049,859,234 3,715,813,827 2,459,924,818
Between 1900 and 1913 Belgian trade had doubled, marking the greatest rate of progress it had ever achieved.
The following table analyzes the elements of the import and export trades :
Imports thousands of francs.
Exports thousands of francs.
Live animals . ... Beverages and foodstuffs Raw materials and goods hav- 1 ing passed through only one [ simple process of preparation ' Manufactured articles Gold and Silver
The bulk of the imports consisted of foodstuff products and raw materials. Exports were chiefly manufactured articles and materials which had been subjected to a single process.
In 1913 the trade was chiefly with the following countries:
Imports in thousands of francs.
Exports in thousands of francs.
France Germany Great Britain . . . Holland United States Argentina . . . Russia Congo
1,000,297 761,765 518,475 356,998 420,496
316,797 267,237 48,674
762,187 940,378 5"-7lo 320,930 103,381 91,154 88,379 26,978
It is interesting to note that 87-4 % of goods in transit travelled by land and 57-4% by sea figures which demonstrate the immense importance to the port of Antwerp of the foreign hinterland.
Marine trade was served by the ports of Antwerp, Ghent, Ostend, Zeebrugge and Nieuport. The total tonnage of Belgian ports amounted in 1910 to 15,101,171 tons, in 1911 to 16,353,933 tons, and in 1913 to 16,907,417 tons, Antwerp taking first place. The details are as follows :
Number of vessels Tonnage
In 1913, out of 61,500,000 tons of total imports and exports, 23,650,000 tons passed through Antwerp. The public authorities had devoted ceaseless attention to the development of the port of Antwerp, and at the outbreak of the war it was one of the finest ports in the world, possessing 5,500 metres of riverside wharves, 19,000 metres of wharf-docks, 392 cranes of 2 tons, 8 cranes of 15 to 120 tons, 12 pneumatic floating grain-elevators, one automatic coal-weigher, one barge for ore. The Entrepot Royal could accom- modate 100,000 tons of goods; the granary store had a capac- ity of 350,000 tons. Numerous private stores and warehouses, a close network of railway lines, and six great dry-docks completed the equipment of the port.
Agriculture. Belgian agriculture was no less important than Belgian trade and industry. In 191,1 the value of its products amounted to two milliards of francs. Agriculture was carried on at a high degree of intensity. Of the 2,945,000 hectares which con- stitute the national territory, 1,950,000 were in cultivation and pasture, among a population of nearly 7,800,000. The cultivable area per head of population was only 25 ares (in France loo ares, in Great Britain 45 ares). Belgium, therefore, could not be self-support-
ing. She was importing f of her consumption of corn. Other food- stuffs were produced in almost sufficient quantity, thanks to scien- tific specialization. In 1914 stock-breeding produced 300,000 tons of meat, 40 kgm. per head of population per annum. Of sugar, pota- toes, fruit, vegetables and horses there was even a considerable sur- plus available for exportation. The subdivision of land had been carried to an extreme point, 1,950,000 hectares being divided among 829,000 cultivators; 458,000 holdings were of less than one- half hectare; the average for the rest being about five hectares per farm. Thanks to intensive breeding (Belgium in 1914 possessed 317,- ooo horses, 1,879,000 horneti stock, and 1,954,000 pigs) agriculture commanded larger supplies of manure than in any other country (275 kgm. per hectare). It followed that the yield per hectare of wheat, rye, barley, oats and potatoes also exceeded that of any other country.
- The area of cereal cultivation was not very extensive: 750,000
hectares out of a total of 1,430,000 hectares of ploughed land. Permanent pasture represented only 26 % of cultivable land (65 % in England) ; while on the other hand plants used for industrial pur- poses, root-crops and forage-crops which yield a much higher return in money, were largely cultivated.
Thus industrial crops occupied 95,000 hectares; forage, 292,000 hectares ; orchards, 65,000 hectares ; market gardens, 27,000 hectares ; horticulture, practised especially in the environs of Brussels and Ghent, occupied 100,000 hectares, and provided a considerable export. As regards breeding, the export of Flemish horses brought in 50,000,000 francs.
Finance. Depite the country's growing prosperity the revenue from taxes was not increasing in amount. Revenue and expenditure for the period 1910-4 (in thousands of francs) were as follows:
I9IO 1912 1914
815,404 777,501 807,314
Taxes produced an average of about 300,000,000 (40 francs per head of population) of the revenue. In 1913 the national debt amounted to 4,277,000,000 francs. The analysis is as follows (in thousands of francs) :
136,204 352,485 534,272
3,839,608 4,092,119 4,277,299
The Army. Fully occupied with her economic development, and confiding absolutely in the neutrality which was supposed to be her safeguard, Belgium was giving no real thought in these years to defence. The Liberal party alone stood for the principle of universal military service. The Catholic party had always from electoral motives been firmly opposed to any reenforcement of the army or increase in military expenditure. The King, however, well informed on the international situation, never ceased to press for improvement in the country's military condition. In 1912 M. de Broqueville, then head of the Government, succeeded, despite his party's reluctance, in passing an Act establishing the principle of universal military service. In 1913 a complete reorganization of the army was voted. Having obtained the necessary credits for the fortification of Antwerp, Baron de Broqueville got several bills passed and promul- gated numerous orders bestowing extended powers on the general military staff; creating a Supreme Council of National Defence (Conseil Superieur de la Defense Nationale) ; establishing schools of artillery, cavalry and military engineering; reorganizing the Ecole de Guerre and the Ecole Militaire; creating inspections generates of infantry, cavalry and commissariat ; and considerably improving the equipment. These reforms were to be completed as a whole in five years. Already, however, the effective forces were augmented in number; the inclusion of all social classes in the army made it truly representative of the nation; a completely organized mobilization was prepared ; confidence was at last felt in both officers and troops.
Such was the situation when suddenly the army found itself called on to the stage of war, to confront alone the formidable hosts of Germany.
II. THE WORLD WAR, 1914. On Aug. 2 1914, the German Minister at Brussels handed the Minister for Foreign Affairs an ultimatum requiring him to permit the German troops to pass through Belgian territory, and to use the citadels of Liege and Namur for the purposes of their operations against France. A delay of 12 hours was granted for the acceptance of Germany's proposals; on the expiration of that time Belgium would be treated as an enemy. That same night the King presided at the council of ministers; the reply was formal: Belgium was resolved to defend her neutrality, sword in hand. On July 29 the Belgian army had been placed on a reenforced peace footing. On July 31 mobilization had been ordered; 15 classes of militia had been called up, the eight first forming the offensive force, the others
being reserved for the defence of the fortresses. Loyal to her international obligations, Belgium had disposed her forces so as to defend all her frontiers. The first division kept watch in England's direction; the third confronted Germany; at Namur the fourth defended the entrance of the Meuse Valley; while the fifth, concentrated in Hainault, guarded the French frontier.
Germany's ultimatum showed on which side danger lay. Yet the Belgian Government, wishing to sustain to the last mo- ment the part assigned to it by the treaty of 1839, still refused the support of France. It was only when Germany's intention to cross her territory became evident that Belgium informed the nations who had guaranteed her neutrality ' that she assumed the defence of her fortresses, and that she declared herself ready to cooperate with the Powers in maintaining the integrity of her territory. The third division of the army, under General Leman, was charged with the defence of Liege; the fourth division held Namur; the bulk of the army was massed in the centre of the country, covering Brussels and the lines of communication with France, so as to be prepared for all eventualities.
The Government had convoked the Chambers for Aug. 4 on grounds of urgency, and the King had announced his intention of making the speech from the throne. On the morning of Aug. 4 the King, accompanied by the Queen, proceeded to the Parlia- ment House, in the midst of -great popular enthusiasm. His speech affirmed the country's definite decision to offer the enemy an unyielding resistance. The Chamber greeted these words with wild enthusiasm. After the departure of the King, who proceeded immediately to G.H.Q., Baron de Broqueville, as head of the Government, read the note just sent by Germany to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, expressing her intention " to execute, if necessary by force of arms, the measures of security rendered indispensable in view of French menaces." Parliament unanimously accepted war with all its consequences. M. Van der Velde, leader of the Socialist party, announced that his group would support the Government unreservedly. All parties rallied round the King. The Government, moreover, ceased to be a party-government, MM. Goblet d'Alviella and Hymans, leaders of the Liberal Left, and M. E. Van der Velde being appointed Ministers of State.
The Chamber at once set to work on the measures of law necessitated by the situation. Suddenly M. de Broqueville rose to read a telegram announcing the violation of Belgian territory by the German army. The deputies from Liege and its neigh- bourhood informed their colleagues of the news that their dis- tricts had been brutally invaded and occupied; and at once de- parted for their constituencies, to afford help and protection to the suffering inhabitants. As hour by hour the invasion of Belgium proceeded, the Chamber continued to pass laws delegat- ing its powers, in the event of the invasion of each locality, to the local authorities; augmenting the contingent of the army; granting the Government a preliminary credit of 200,000,000 frs. ; penalizing crimes and offences calculated to endanger the safety of the State; cancelling the ineligibility of soldiers for member- ship of Parliament, in order to permit the immediate enlistment of several members.
The spirit of the country was the same as that of the Chamber. Volunteers were besieging the recruiting-offices. In two or three days 40,000 had been equipped, and tens of thousands, still in their civilian clothes, had been dispatched to the camps for volunteers that were being formed in all direct ions.
A series of regulations were issued by the Government intended to prevent food-hoarding and the raising of prices, and to assure the food supplies of the nation. Bread was rationed at 400 grammes per head per day; in Sept. this ration was reduced to 250 grammes. Maximum prices were fixed for bread and the various kinds of flour. The right of requisition was given to governors of provinces for bread and flour; to burgomasters for potatoes, salt, sugar and rice; in the event of the invasion of a province the governor's powers of requisition passed to the commissaires d'arrondissement, in the case of their retreat to the burgomasters of the communes.
At the Ministere de I'interieur a Central Commission was formed, consisting of one delegate for each province, with repre- sentatives of the central administration and of the army, its duty being to see to the sharing-out of the food supplies among all parts of the country. In each province the deputation per- manente (standing committee) of the provincial council was made responsible for the victualling of the province, and had to form committees in the communes to distribute provisions. Each week a return of all the food in the province had to be made by the deputation permanente.
To ensure the proper working of this great system of food control and distribution, newly created in every detail, penalties were decreed for anyone trying to withhold goods from requisi- tion; such hoards were to be confiscated and handed over to the Bureaux de Bienfaisance.
While these regulations were framed to safeguard the nation's economic life, its administrative life was being safeguarded in the event of enemy occupation by the measure passed by the Chamber on Aug. 4 providing for the delegation of powers, which was supplemented later by various royal decrees. Notices were posted in every commune of the country, warning the public that civilians were definitely forbidden to take part in operations of war, and that all arms must at once be given over into the hands of the authorities.
The Invasion. During the night of Aug. 3-4 the German army crossed the Belgian frontiers. It immediately put into practice a system of terrorism in its dealings with the inhabitants, hoping in this way to terrorize the Government, demoralize the army, and break the national resistance.
The forward march of the German army was marked by an uninterrupted succession of atrocities. Once it was perceived that the Belgian army meant to offer a resistance on which Germany had not counted, pillage, burnings, and massacres began.
On the pretext that the inhabitants were armed, that/ranw tireurs attacked the German troops, the invading military com- mand methodically organized the devastation of the country. Maps were issued to the officers indicating what towns and villages were to be burned down. The siege of Liege, with the preliminary repulses suffered by the German regiment which first attacked the outer forts, gave the signal for a campaign of reprisals directed against the civil population. The villages of Berneau, Mouland, Blegny-Trambleur, Barchon, Melen, Sou- magne, Romsee, Harcourt, Hermee, Heure le Romain, Vivegnies, Julemont, Olne St. Hadelin, Battice, Grivegnee, Sprimont, Erneux, Francorchamps, and the towns of Vise and Herve, were burned to the ground, although they had been occupied for several days by the German army. Scenes of indescribable savagery were enacted: 623 persons were shot, massacred, or driven with blows of the rifle-butt into the flaming houses to be burnt alive. At Melen 72 men chosen haphazard were shot en masse, and finished off by blows with the butt-end under the eyes of their wives and children, who were then ordered to bury them at once. At Soumagne 55 men were shot by the firing- party detailed for executions, while the soldiers perpetrated shocking massacres of men, women and children in the village. At Vise, after the massacre of more than 20 persons, 631 men were led away captive. Not a single village escaped the fury of the troops; everywhere there was a reign of fire and sword. The burnings were scientifically organized. All units were provided with incendiary pastilles, and petrol was sprayed on the houses to be destroyed. At Herve, where more than 300 houses were burned, German inscriptions written by the troops revealed that the abominable deed had been performed by the " In- cendiary Army of Diisseldorf."
The entry of the German troops into Liege was marked by tragic incidents. Although the town was completely in the invader's hands, on Aug. 7 German companies suddenly opened fire in the most frequented quarters, where they also set fire to 38 houses, shooting down the inhabitants as they tried to escape. Fifty-two persons perished in the flames or fell by the German bullets.
Between Aug. 4 and 20, in the province of Liege alone, 1,061 persons were massacred, shot, hanged, or burnt by the German troops; more than 2,000 houses and 4 churches were burnt deliberately and by order, not counting those destroyed by bombardment. In the province of Limburg during the same period 65 persons fell victims to similar cruelties.
Liege having been occupied, the German army advanced up the Meuse Valley, and at the same time invaded the province of Luxemburg. The first French contingents now joined the Belgian troops in the neighbourhood of Dinant, Namur, and Arlon. Everywhere advance-guard fighting was delaying the enemy's progress and every skirmish was followed by cruel reprisals on the civil population.
The siege of Namur began on Aug. 20, and was the signal for more butchery. On the eve of the attack on Namur scenes of incredible savagery were enacted in the towns of Andenne, Seilles, and Landen. Without having received the faintest provocation, for three whole days the German troops in occupa- tion of these places never ceased massacring and burning. More than 250 persons perished. These scenes of horror, accompanied by the burning of over 150 houses, culminated on Aug. 21 in the execution of numbers of men, by order of the military authori- ties. They were shot en masse, and finished off with the bayonet or the butt-end, or by kicks. The whole canton of Andenne suffered similar horrors; nine persons were murdered by the German soldiers after subjection to horrible tortures.
Other localities suffered as cruelly. At Spontin 130 of the 160 houses that composed the village were burnt and 43 persons were massacred. At Somme-Leuze, Franc- Waret, Leuze-Long- champs, fire and murder reigned. Scarcely had the tragedy of Andenne been finished when the small town of Zamines was the scene of a yet more terrible drama. After skirmishes with Belgian and French advance-posts, the Germans, who had fought pushing a screen of civilians in front of them, made the civil population responsible for their losses. All the men were first shut up in the church, and then massed in a field, and on the word being given by the military commanders they were shot down by machine-guns. Some were finished off afterwards, chiefly by stretcher-bearers of the Red Cross; 383 men perished, about zoo were wounded, only 200 escaped. The town was burnt to the ground. The whole canton was subjected to horrible atrocities; in the neighbouring villages 114 men were killed by German troops and 567 houses burnt.
Just at the time of the fall of Namur, the German military at Dinant organized an appalling demonstration of terrorism. The town had been occupied on Aug. 22 after some hard fighting with French troops. At nightfall on Aug. 23 German soldiers rushed shouting about the streets, and everywhere fires broke out. The church, the town hall, the entire town were soon in flames. The inhabitants, arrested en masse, were either massa- cred, or else driven into different enclosed places where, after a while, a methodical extermination was commenced. In the presence of their families men were formed into groups and shot; 665 persons were killed, including 75 women and 35 children. This horrible butchery was copied in the neighbouring villages. Ah 1 of them were partially or completely burnt, any men found the inhabitants had taken to the woods were shot; at Anth6re and Surice more than 40 men were executed. In the cantons of Dinant, Walcourt, Florennes and Gedinne 946 persons were put to death; and besides the whole town of Dinant and two entire villages Outraye and Sorrines 1,732 houses and seven churches were destroyed.
On Aug. 23 the German troops entered Namur. Warned of the massacres by frightened peasants who had come fleeing before the enemy, the inhabitants abstained from any demonstration of feeling. The entry of the victorious army was devoid of incident. Yet suddenly on Aug. 24 a violent fusillade rang out in the streets, tc continue all that day and all the next. The bishop, Mgr. Heylen, proceeded to the German headquarters to protest against this useless cruelty. He was arrested. After two days the terror ceased; 75 persons had fallen, 15 of them women and 4 children. The town hall, the communal archives,
and no houses had been burnt down. In the villages surround- ing Namur, also, the same brutal work had gone on; between Aug. 23 and 26, 53 men were butchered and over 200 houses burnt.
While thus in the province of Namur 1,949 inhabitants were murdered, and more than 3,000 houses systematically burnt (not counting those destroyed by ordinary acts of war), the province of Luxemburg in its turn was suffering martyrdom. From Aug. 1 1 onward, wherever the enemy appeared in Luxem- burg, atrocities followed, those at Rossignol, Arlon, Zuitigny, Ethe, and Latour being sadly notorious. All these massacres were reprisals for engagements with the French forces. After the battles of Aug. 22 wounded soldiers found in the cantons of Virton and Etalle were killed, and the civil population hunted down and decimated. At Bleid 84 French wounded were tortured and then shot. At Latour Prince Oscar of Prussia presided in person over the execution of 71 inhabitants. At Ethe 218 persons were killed. The inhabitants of Houdemont, warned of the fate which awaited them, escaped massacre by flight; n of them were found by the Germans and put to death. At Touches the burgo- master was hanged; at Zuitigny 84 men were executed; at Rossignol, after the village had been set on fire, all the men were collected together and driven as far as Arlon, where 165 of the poor wretches were shot in cold blood. During the month of Aug. over 800 inhabitants of this province perished, and over 1,500 houses were deliberately destroyed.
While the German army was dominating the Meuse Valley by the seizure of Namur, it was at the same time working to- wards the heart of the country to assure a route for the invasion of France. The Belgian army, after its victorious stand at Harlen on Aug. 12, isolated, unsupported, menaced by n enemy army corps, was now forced to fall back on Antwerp.
On Aug. 19 the German army entered Louvain. Just as Vise had been burnt to terrorize the Liegeois, and Andenne and Di- nant to bring about Namur's submission, so Louvain had to be burnt in order to hold a terrible example up to Brussels. When the German army was in effective occupation of Louvain, menaced with no further trouble, orders were suddenly given to burn the centre of the town. The inhabitants were subjected to cruel mental torture. The men were collected and decimated, 79 being shot in the presence of their wives and children, while 334 others were sent captive to Germany, where they were paraded through the streets of Cologne under the insults and threats of the populace who pelted them with mud and stones.
Louvain's cathedral of St. Pierre was devoured by the flames, her ancient university and marvellous library were annihilated, and 1,120 houses were ruined. The suburbs suffered likewise. In that canton 1,71 7 houses were burnt down,86i houses pillaged, 226 inhabitants shot, and 653 deported to Germany. Aerschot was reduced to ashes, and 178 of its inhabitants were killed.
Enraged by the opposition they met within the environs of Tirle- mont, and by the sorties of the Antwerp garrison, the Germans vented their fury upon the numerous villages of Brabant, 594 inhabitants of which perished in the course of burnings, pil- lagings, and executions.
On Aug. 20 the German army entered Brussels. The entire Belgian army was massed under the protection of the forts of Antwerp. Sorties were made on Aug. 25 and 26 and Sept. 4; on Sept. 9 a general sortie of all the Belgian forces took place, with the object of diverting pressure from the French army, which was fighting on the Marne. Forced to protect itself from ihe Belgian army's perpetual attacks on its rear, on Sept. 28 the German army commenced the siege of Antwerp. On Oct. 6, after the destruction of the forts, the Belgian army retreated; and on Oct. 10, having eluded capture by the enemy, it took up position on the Yser.
The siege of Antwerp brought yet more fire and carnage. Over 1 60 persons in the fortified zone fell victims to the German soldiers. The town of Termonde, where the Belgian army again and again successfully opposed the crossing of the Scheldt by the German troops, was at last taken, and was then burnt to the ground.
The province of Hainault did not escape. At Charleroi, after the great battle which took place there, 108 persons were mas- sacred, at Marchienne au Pont 75, at Mons 39, at Tournai 34, at Chatelet 67. In the other villages through which the enemy forces passed, 182 persons were put to death.
It remains to mention the massacres perpetrated by the in- vaders in East and West Flanders. For these provinces, however, precise figures cannot be quoted, the work of compiling the lists of victims not being yet completely terminated.
The Occupation. Brussels once in her power, Germany began to organize the occupation of the country. The activities of the government of occupation headed successively by von der Goltz, von Bissing, and von Falkenhausen were considerable in all spheres. Always the same main policy emerged : in matters political, economic or social, the one aim of Germany was to make Belgium and all her resources serve the needs of the war; while preparing for her annexation at the very least for her absorption in the event of the German victory, and rendering her in any case innocuous as an independent nation by effecting her economic ruin.
The governor-general formed round him a central govern- ment, in which the Ziviherwaltung (civil administration) played the chief part. Executive powers were in the hands of the gover- nor-general, who legislated by promulgation of orders. A German governor was placed over each province. The Belgian commis- saries were deprived of their authority over the arrondissements, being replaced by Germans, subordinate to whom were the military commandants who controlled the cantons. The country was divided into the Gouvernement General, placed directly under the authority of the Zivilvenvaltung; and the Zones d'itapes, including Flanders, the arrondissements of Tournai and Mons, and the southern part of the province of Luxemburg, governed by the military authorities, who had the right of promulgating orders. These Zones d'etapes were completely separated from the rest of the country. Access to them and exit from them were forbidden without permits, which were not readily granted.
Everywhere bureaux de controle were established to keep a watch on the inhabitants, persons placed under their special surveillance being obliged to report themselves periodically. A network of espionage was spread over the country, enabling the authorities to know what citizens were dangerous, or even simply too influential, so that they might be regarded with sus- picion, and arrested on the first pretext.
Not only was the Belgian administration completely deprived of executive power, but the powers of the provincial councils were gradually undermined. In 1915 the right of meeting in ordinary session on fixed dates was taken from them, while the deputations pcrmanenles (administrative bodies appointed by the provincial councils from among their members) were placed under the direct authority of the presidents of the German pro- vincial civil administration. Still further, from 1917 onward these presidents in each province were authorized to assume themselves the powers of the provincial councils as regarded the receipts and expenditure of the annual budget, and the methods of raising the necessary funds to meet the expenditure. The struggle between the provincial councils and German authority became bitter indeed when the governor-general claimed their collaboration in assessing liabilities for the enormous war-tax varying between 40, 50 and 60 million francs per month with which he had saddled the country. Nearly all the provincial councils refused cooperation, preferring to accept an arbitrary assessment decreed by the government of occupation, rather than to yield a semblance of legality to its decisions. Hence- forward the military governors, and also the German presidents of civil administrations, were empowered to ensure the payment of the tax, and to that end had the right of raising loans in the name of the province. On July 6 1918 the provincial councils were definitively suppressed. Nothing then remained of the Belgian administrative system.
In vain, however, did Germany destroy the machinery of the country's self-government; she could not break the spirit of the nation. The glorious example set by men like M. Visart de
Bocerm6, burgomaster of Bruges, who at 80 years of age stood up fearlessly to the German military power, or like M. Max, burgomaster of Brussels, who boldly led the resistance of his townsfolk, going so far as to post on the walls an official con- tradiction of the news published by the Germans concerning the march of military operations, from, the earliest days of the occupation sufficiently indicated to the invaders what the public attitude was going to be. M. Max, when arrested and sent to Germany, there to be subjected to a system of reprisals, had for successor M. Lemonnier, whom in his turn the Germans were obliged to arrest and deport. In every class of society acts of admirable devotion occurred. Hundreds of Belgians were deported to Germany or shot. Names such as those of Gabrielle Petit, Philippe Baucq, the Englishwoman Edith Cavell, J. Cor- bisier, Louis Neyts, Bodson, Le Grand, Lenoir and many others stand for the heroism of an entire population.
Neither deportation nor executions could ever prevent the spying on behalf of the Allies carried on by thousands of Belgians, nor the publications of a secret press which fought energetically against the occupant power. On Feb. 2 1915 La Libre Belgique appeared. Each week until the Armistice it was published and distributed throughout Belgium. At Louvain the Revue de la Presse gave the most interesting extracts from the Allied press. In Brussels L'Ame Beige made vigorous political propaganda, continuing to appear despite the arrest and imprisonment of its editor. In 1918 Le Flambeau, by the method of analyzing foreign politics, taught the public why to expect victory. At Ghent L'Aulre Cloche stood firm against the Germans and against Activism, as did De Vrye Stem at Antwerp. Besides these journals, directed by secret committees of priests, lawyers, university professors and journalists, other smaller papers, appearing less regularly, such as La Soupe, Le Beige, Ca et La, Patrie, and De Vleemische Leeuw, sustained Belgian patriotism.
German Legislation. German legislation was abundant, more especially that of a repressive type. The most trivial regulations carried penalties of extreme severity. Maximum prices, requisitions of bread and cereals, were enforced by pen- alties extending to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 20,000 marks. Such Draconian measures were not imposed for the sake of the German army's safety; they applied only to the country's internal organization, martial law reigning over all that directly affected the army.
Military tribunals, without any intimation to the public of their creation or of their competence, were charged throughout the country with the application of these new laws. These courts afforded no security to those amenable to their jurisdiction, their procedure was neither public nor contested; the dossier not being even shown to the defence, they constituted a purely arbitrary means of government, not a judicial authority.
Along with these military courts von Bissing established by an order of Feb. 5 1915 a judicial system of two degrees. The Ger- man governors set over the Belgian provinces were given un- limited power of instituting penalties. Heads of arrondissements and commandants were empowered to institute penalties amount- ing to three weeks' imprisonment. Besides being thus granted legislative powers, these functionaries were authorized to try persons who disobeyed their regulations, the governors sitting as judges of appeal from the judgments of their subordinates. This edict, conferring as it did judiciary powers on officials, opened the door to administrative tyranny, destroying the in- dispensable safeguard afforded by the separation of judicial and administrative authority. Still worse, this edict established for repressive purposes the principle that a penalty imposed on a guilty person could, should the judge so decide, be inflicted on some other person. Such a measure, permitting the penalizing of an innocent person, when the culprit himself was out of reach, annihilated the personal liberty of the inhabitants of the coun- try. These penal powers were carried yet further by an order of Aug. 3 1917, authorizing the governors to sentence delin- quents to total or partial confiscation of property.
Besides endangering public liberty and security these edicts illegally weakened the authority of the Belgian tribunals. It
sufficed for the government of occupation to publish an order concerning any offences, jurisdiction on which it wished to keep in its own hands, and obviously by that act Belgian justice was deprived of its rights, to the profit of German justice. The creation of these tribunals occasioned public protests from the bar of Brussels, as a result of which its president, the Batonnier Theodor, was deported to Germany. Even certain offences against common laws were selected by the German administra- tion to be dealt with by itself instead of by the judicial system of the country; a police, des moeurs (police of public morals) formed in all the large towns being given powers which Belgian law assigned to the public prosecutors and the Belgian courts alone.
But soon the administration of justice was completely taken over by the invaders. On April 7 1918 a permanent German judicial system was established by order in Flanders and Wal- lonia, their administrative separation having just been effected by von Bissing. The Belgian courts were replaced by German tribunals Kaiserliche Bezirksgerichte established in the differ- ent arrondissemenls. The judges, the public prosecutors and their staff, the recorders and clerks, all were exclusively German, appointed by the governor-general in accordance with the usages of German law. The language of these courts was German, their procedure was that of the German code. Usually one judge presided, but in cases where the authorized penalty exceeded five years' imprisonment sentence was pronounced by three judges. Procedure was rapid. The public prosecutor made all inquiries and perquisitions, and warrants of arrest were issued without preliminary judicial inquiry. The court dealt summarily with all affairs in which the authorized penalty did not exceed one year's imprisonment; in other cases procedure was by judgment. The court decided whether or not the accused should have the right of being defended, defence not being officially authorized save in cases tried by three judges. There was no appeal; and in all cases, immediately the sentence had been pronounced, the judge called upon the military authorities to put it into execution. In the case of a death-sentence the governor-general had the right of pardon. Judges were removable.
This edict, therefore, replaced Belgian judges by German judges, who, being removable, could not afford security. It abolished the right of appeal, and replaced Belgian procedure by German procedure. The accused found himself being tried in a foreign language, without the right of employing defence, or even of defending himself, the courts having power to set aside any evidence they chose to disregard. The Assize Court was sup- pressed; the jury, that indispensable safeguard of personal liberty, no longer existed. Thenceforward, the same tribunals dealt with misdemeanours and with crimes, inflicting all pen- alties, including that of death.
In issuing an order of such scope, the governor-general was acting as a legislator. The Belgian constitution, the judicial organization of the country, were abolished and replaced by German laws and judges. Belgium was being treated not as occupied territory, but as a conquered country.
Before describing the transformation of civil justice it will be well to glance at the principles which these German tribunals were established to apply. On Sept. 2 1914 Marshal von der Goltz enunciated in his proclamation the principle underlying the repressive system of an occupant power: " It is a harsh necessity of war that the punishment of hostile acts falls on the innocent as well as on the guilty." The same principle is found again in the edict of Feb. 5 1915, authorizing the governors to decide that penalties decreed by the German courts of justice should in certain cases be transferred to other persons in de- fault of the culprits themselves. The same principle was applied by a series of edicts empowering the German authorities to take hostages who should pay with their lives for damage done to railway tracks, to inflict heavy fines on communes, to deport the entire population of villages in whose area railway lines had been damaged, to punish whole families for faults committed by single members of them, to treat as guilty all persons found in company with anyone committing an offence. Again, the
Belgian was penalized for "not having done" or for " having had the intention to do." Counting on having its task facilitated by the citizens informing against one another, German justice proclaimed that not to give information constituted a misde- meanour, if not even a crime. That a person had " probably been cognizant of an infraction " sufficed to place him in the same position as the culprit, liable to the same penalty. Not only all who should aid, lodge, or feed the subjects of states at war with Germany, but even those who should not give information of their presence, were punishable by imprisonment or penal servitude. One sole mitigation is found: a wife who does not denounce her husband wanted by the German authorities may plead extenuating circumstances and is only liable to from 3 months' to 2 years' imprisonment or penal servitude. Again, every citizen was obliged, under pain of 3 to 15 years' penal servitude, to give information of the arrival in the country of any person belonging to one of the Entente nations, to denounce anyone making or storing munitions, to furnish all information in his power concerning British establishments in Belgium, to denounce anyone refusing to work for Germany.
Yet another new offence was that of being absent from Belgium and not having returned there within a period of two months. This offence was punishable by a fine fixed at ten times the amount of the taxes for which the absentee was liable. And besides new offences, new penalties were also introduced into Belgium by this German legislation. General confiscation of entire property, definitely forbidden by the Belgian constitution and by Article 46 of the Hague Convention, was decreed for infliction upon anyone not immediately denouncing to the Ger- man authorities persons placed under special surveillance; and upon persons under German police supervision who, being sen- tenced, could not be found and arrested. This penalty might be inflicted by the mere order of a governor. It may be added that this attempt on the part of the government of occupation to force the inhabitants of the country to denounce the activities against Germany of persons attached to the Allied armies contra- vened Articles 52 and 44 of the Hague Convention.
Deportation was introduced as a penalty in 1915 and was inflicted upon those who refused to work for the German author- ities, also upon those who did not comply precisely with their obligations towards the police control. It is a fact that deporta- tion was inflicted, even without trial, on persons who for any reason appeared undesirable to the civil or military authorities.
Civil Law. Belgian civil law was also profoundly modified. On Feb. 3 1915 the Government of occupation abolished the decree of 10 Vendemiaire au IV, concerning the responsibility of communes in the case of pillage committed openly by force and accompanied by violence. At the moment of Germany's declaration of war against Belgium certain German establish- ments in the large Belgian towns had been sacked by the mob. The government of occupation deprived the Belgian courts of their competence to try these cases, establishing instead for the purpose a special arbitration court composed of three members the president, appointed by the German governor-general, one member appointed by the president of the German civil administration of the province, one member appointed by the deputation pcrmanenle of the province (Belgian administration). The presence of this single Belgian adjudicator afforded no security, the president being empowered to replace him by the president of the German civil administration.
Exceptional tribunals were also set up, supplanting the regular Belgian courts, to try cases of dispute concerning house rents. Belgian refugees abroad found themselves unable to enforce their rights in these new courts, the bar always a special object of German hostility not having access to them.
A general transformation of the judicial system was begun on April 7 1918. A complete system of German courts was estab- lished, comprising courts of first instance (Bezirksgerichte), and two courts of appeal (Obergerichte), that for Flanders sitting at Brussels, that for Wallonia at Namur. These " imperial tribunals " administered justice in the name of the German Emperor; their personnel was German, appointed by the governor-general; their language was German. The courts of first instance were each presided over by a single judge, the courts of appeal by three judges. The Belgian bar was denied the right to defend persons tried before these tribunals. Such persons, if granted the assistance of counsel, had to apply to the Justizkommissar, who assigned them a counsel for defence. These courts dealt with all causes in which a German or a neutral was concerned; they could besides declare their competence in other cases. They continued their functions until a few days before the Armistice. The administration of justice had now been taken completely into the hands of Germany.
Attitude towards the Belgian Magistracy. From the first days of the occupation the German attitude towards the Belgian magistracy had constantly impeded the normal administration of justice. The German authorities were continually interven- ing, either to stop prosecutions at common law of Belgians in their own pay, or to prevent the application of repressive measures rendered necessary by the conduct of the German soldiery against the demoralization of minors; or to liberate prisoners on remand or after sentence, who were for some reason favoured by the government of occupation. The functions of juges de, paix and juges d 'instruction were alike subject to constant interference from German officials. Such violations of the in- dependence of bench and magistracy raised vehement protests from the royal procurator, the procurator-generals, and the chief magistrates of the country. Conflicts ensued which often ended in the arrest of magistrates, judges, or royal procurators, and their deportation to camps of civilian prisoners in Germany.
Hostilities between the German Government and the Belgian magistracy became peculiarly bitter in Feb. 1918, when, con- formably to Belgian law, the arrest was ordered of the Activists Bonn and Zack, promoters of the separatist movement in Flan- ders. The royal procurator of Brussels was at once ordered to set the prisoners free. Upon his refusal the German authorities employed force to liberate their proteges. At the same time the head of the German civil administration informed the Brussels Court of Appeal that its judicial activities must cease. As a pro- test the Cour de Cassation at once suspended its sessions and the entire judicial system of Belgium followed suit. Instantly the three presidents of the Brussels Court of Appeal, Levy M,oulle, F.rnst and Carez, were arrested and deported to Germany with- out trial. This final crisis of the struggle between the govern- ment of occupation and the magistracy is but one episode of Germany's attack on Belgium's unity, and even existence.
Separation of Flanders and Wallonia. To disintegrate the Belgian nation was Germany's constant aim from the first days of the war, and the exploitation of the language differences of the country formed her chief means of pursuing it. Imagining that favour shown to the Flemish language would suffice to stimulate the separatist movement, the German Governrnent adopted an attitude distinctly hostile to the use of French. In the zones d'elape of Flanders the military authorities totally discontinued the use of French in their public notices. The Censure only passed Flemish posters and advertisements. Finally the German Government announced its intention to transform the university of Ghent, whose language had hitherto been French, into a Flem- ish university.
These methods proving devoid of effect, they were succeeded by others more forcible in character. In 1916 various edicts abolished the official use of French in Flanders. From Jan. i 1917 communications to the Government from that province and all official publications had to be exclusively in Flemish. In 1916 the Ministry of Science and Arts was divided into two distinct sections, one Flemish, the other Walloon, to prepare for the complete separation of public instruction in the two different linguistic regions.
It was on March 21 1917 that the German Government put into execution von Bissing's carefully elaborated scheme for the division of Belgium into two fragments, the edict running as follows: " Two administrative regions are hereby formed in Belgium, one of which comprises the provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, East Flanders and West Flanders, with the arrondis-
sements of Brussels and Louvain; the other the provinces of Hainault, Liege, Luxemburg, and Namur, with the arrondis- sement of Nivelles. The first region will be administered from Brussels, the second region from Namur."
A series of orders followed, organizing the separation. All ministries were duplicated, those for Wallonia being transferred to Namur. Language separation was complete. On Aug. 9 1917 Flemish was proclaimed the official language of Flanders, the use of French being forbidden to all bodies either administrative or charged with any public service. In Wallonia, on the other hand, Flemish and German remained authorized in communica- tions between administration and public.
Although the Belgian nation as a whole regarded German legis- lative activities as unworthy of notice, and yielded no submission to this new administrative organization of their country, designed as it was to compass her ruin, yet the invaders were supported in the matter by a handful of Belgians who had passed into their service, and who claimed to represent Flemish public opinion. It was from these persons, who called themselves the " Activist party, " that the Germans formed the " Raed van Vlaenderen," charged with organizing the new Flemish state, to be independent under German tutelage. That this council might have some semblance of legality there were to be elections in Flanders in Feb. and March 1918. As it was recognized that such elections, if honestly conducted, could only result in disaster for the German schemes, it was decided that the members of the Raed van Vlaen- deren should be chosen only by such electors an infinitesimal minority as should be convoked by name for the purpose. The elections were to be by acclamation, held within closed doors, and under guard of German armed forces. Electoral meetings took place in Antwerp, Mechlin, and Tirlemont; they turned into patriotic demonstrations, and instantly the German Govern- ment forbade the continuance of the elections. On Feb. ir 1918 there was a huge demonstration in Brussels against separation. Delegates from over 1,000 associations political, social, in- dustrial, intellectual, and economic met in the Grande Place with the object of presenting a solemn protest to the Communal Council. German troops dispersed the demonstrators. In all the towns of Belgium there were protests from the public bodies and great associations. In face of such an explosion of public feeling the German Government dared not confer on the Raed van Vlaenderen the legislative powers it had intended to give that body. A commission composed of the chief German civil authorities in Belgium and of exalted members of the German juridical world met at Brussels to study the subject of the forma- tion of the Flemish and Walloon states. After months of work this commission decided that, as Belgian public opinion was utterly hostile to the separation, there could be no question of creating two independent states; but that, on the contrary, the new states must during a long transition period be placed under the authority of German governors, with the assistance in Flanders of the Raed van Vlaenderen as consultative council.
The Raed van Vlaenderen therefore, figuring as an emanation from the Flemish people, found itself empowered to choose from among its members u plenipotentiaries to form a permanent council which should participate, as a consultative body, in the exercise of that legislative power conferred on the governor- general. This tool in the hands of Germany was perfected by the addition of a Ministry of Defence, charged with raising in Flanders an army of volunteers, which was to fight at the side of the German army against the Belgian army.
At this moment the Brussels Court of Appeal intervened, issuing orders to the public prosecutor to arrest and prosecute the principal members of the Raed van Vlaenderen, who were ac- cordingly immediately imprisoned by the Belgian police. This bold act had as consequence the arrest of the presidents of the Court of Appeal; and the conflict which ensued between the mag- istracy and the government of occupation resulted in the sus- pension of all sessions of justice throughout the country, despite the reprisals taken upon the chief magistrates. This solemn protest on the part of Belgian justice stimulated greatly the national movements of resistance.
The nation was further encouraged in its firmness of attitude by the protest of the communal authorities of Ghent, whose refusal to recognize the division of Belgium was answered by the arrest of the aldermen and the deportation of the burgomaster, M. Braun. Ghent was thenceforward administered by a college of aldermen appointed by the German governor-general, who reserved the right of controlling them and substituting him- self for them in the exercise of their functions. A German military officer was appointed burgomaster of the town.
The government of occupation hoped to use education as a potent weapon for dividing the country. The Flemish language was proclaimed the only one permitted in the State and volun- tary schools of Flanders. Even in Brussels, where French is spoken by a large majority of the population, Flemish was to be the only language of instruction. A transition period was con- ceded, but from Sept. 5 1918 primary education was to be com- pletely Flemicized.
Flemicizing of Ghent University. The centre of the whole scheme for the Germanizing of Flanders was to be the university of Ghent. It was to become a tool in the hands of Germany. Flemicization was decided upon in 1915 by the German Govern- ment and overtures were made to the professional body. On that body's refusal to submit to the invaders' desires reprisals began, Profs. Henri Pirenne and Paul Fredericq, accused of leading the resistance, being arrested and deported to Germany. The Ghent professors did not flinch before these intimidatory measures, but stood firm. On March 15 1916 an order was issued that thenceforward all lectures in the university of Ghent were to be given in the Flemish language. Professors who did not deliver their courses of lectures were to be placed on the retired list. The new university retained only four professors from the staff of the Belgian university, one of them a German. To fill its professional chairs it had to draw on students, members of the " Activist " party, Dutchmen and Germans. Shortly after, the German authorities celebrated the opening of the university, and the King of Bavaria graced the ceremony with his presence. A characteristic touch was the omission of Belgian history from the syllabus of the university. To attract students all the scholar- ships in Belgium were allotted to the university of 'Ghent, and a shameless campaign of intimidation was organized: students in the zone d'elape were given the alternative of either being trans- ported as forced labour to Germany or pursuing their studies at the " Activist " university. The latter alternative was backed by substantial advantages, extra food rations being added to the scholarship grants of money. Despite all this, and despite the suspension of lectures in all the universities of the country, not 200 students were recruited.
In 1917 the German authorities began to understand that Flemish opinion could not be counted on to aid in the dismem- berment of Belgium, and consequently their treatment of the working-class population of Flanders increased in harshness, deportations becoming particularly frequent. But still attempts were made to foster Activist ideas. Lectures and meetings were promoted for the exposition of German views; the publication of pamphlets and tracts was facilitated; every form of autono- mistic propaganda was supported by armed force. In the end it became obvious that no result would ever be achieved by these means, so a new form of propaganda was adopted. At Courtrai an association was formed with the name of Volksopbcuring (regeneration of the people). Its supposed object was to raise the moral standard of the Flemish people and relieve distress. It was supported by a committee in Holland consisting of the most exalted personages. In reality it had no other aim but to promote the idea of Flemish autonomy. Its activities were ignored, and remained without result until the day in 1918 when the German Government transferred to it the responsibility, till then belonging to the communal authorities, of distributing sugar, syrup, jam, potatoes, butter, etc. Thenceforward, the whole population of Flanders being forced to apply for those necessaries to the Volksopbcuring, propaganda could be made in terms of food, and constraint be exercised directly on each in- dividual through the distribution of the necessaries of life. To
make this organization quite omnipotent the Government was further inspired to entrust it with the distribution of the home- grown food supplies. Resistance to anti-Belgian propaganda would then have been reduced by starvation. This project, however, produced such a fury of indignation throughout the country that the foreign legations were moved to protest and succeeded in preventing its realization. The true role of the Volksopbeuring had become so flagrantly apparent that in 1918 it was disavowed by the Dutch committee which had been formed to support it.
The Economic Situation. The occupation of Belgium by the German army profoundly disturbed the country's economic situation. Industry suffered from the very outset, owing to the measures taken for military reasons. Raw materials were at once requisitioned, and to facilitate that the declaration of stocks was made obligatory, while they might not be disposed of with- out permission. In Dec. 1914 the declaration was made obliga- tory of stocks of benzine, petrol, alcohol, glycerine, oils, fats, carbides, india rubber and pneumatic motor tires. On Jan. 25 1915 this order was extended to stocks of lead, copper, alumi- nium, antimony, zinc, nickel, mercury, tin and alloys of metals.
Besides requisitions, other measures threatened and destroyed Belgian industry. On Nov. 26 1914 commissaries had been appointed by the German Government to supervise industrial or business concerns belonging wholly or in part to nationals of countries at war with Germany. On Feb. 17 1915 this super- vision was changed into sequestration. All such undertakings, whether Belgian or foreign, were sequestrated if they could be useful to Germany or if they might be harmful to her. They were temporarily taken out of the hands of their proprietors and their management assumed by the government of occupation, which either continued to work them in the interests of Germany, or proceeded to liquidate them. Over 100 industrial concerns were sequestrated in 1915, about 20 in 1916, about 10 in 1917. They were great metallurgical works, building works, stone quarries, collieries, electrical generating stations, etc. Foreign under- takings, principally British ones, were put into liquidation.
The establishment of central depots for the monopoly of coal, oils, fats, water, gas and electricity completed the capture of Belgian industry by the invader. In Oct. 1914 the Belgian col- lieries resumed work. On April 24 1913 the government of occupation established the Kohlenzentrale. Collieries had to send their entire output to the " Central," excepting only what was consumed in their own works. Contracts for deliveries existing at the moment of the publication of the edict were annulled. The Kohlenzentrale was intended to provide coal for the rail- ways and the German army. This object rapidly expanded, and the " Central " became an instrument of official pillage.
The obligation to declare stocks was imposed simply to facilitate requisitions. In Oct. 1914 Germany introduced into Belgium a double system of requisitions: on the one hand, requisitions made directly for the army and the military author- ities; on the other hand, general requisitions. The scheme for working them had been framed by Dr. Rathenau, who was en- trusted with the creation of the " Department of raw materials of war " at the War Office in Berlin. Such raw materials were first seized, and could no longer be sold save tolhe " Centrals " which fixed their price. If the vendor refused the price offered he was expropriated, and handed a requisition voucher. From 1915 onward requisitions of raw materials and of machine tools were made throughout the country. Belgian industries, de- prived of raw materials, protested vehemently to the govern- ment of occupation that the requisitions should at least be paid for. They were told in reply that if the war tax of 60 millions per month was regularly paid, the price of requisitions would be paid in cash from Jan. i 1915. This promise was never fulfilled, a thousand pretexts for delaying the payments being offered: difficulties in transporting and classifying the goods, and in checking the requisition vouchers; disproportion between claimed value and the real value; the necessity of not allowing German specie to leave Germany. Moreover, Germany never regarded herself as responsible for the price of the requisitioned goods;
she said they would be paid for by Belgium after the war. The impossibility, however, for Belgian industry to go on without capital obliged the governor-general to seek some solution. On April 2 1915 a Caisse de prits (loan bank) was established at Brussels to make advances on the security of the requisition vouchers. For requisitions made by the army, prices were fixed by the military authorities; for other requisitions valuation was made by the indemnity office in Berlin. The Caisse de prcts might advance 75% of such valuation, if the claimant accepted the price offered. The Caisse de prets merely gave a voucher, which the Societe Generale de Belgique was required to cash; the latter in return being granted by the Reichsbank a credit equal to the sums disbursed, but not to be drawn upon until three months after the signature of peace. The Societe Generale vigorously resisted this measure: on the one hand, be- cause the payment of the enormous number of German requisition vouchers must produce an inflation of the fiduciary circulation, with the immediate result of raising the cost of living and in- creasing poverty; on the other hand, because the Societe Gene- rale objected to helping Germany in her requisitions. The So- ciete Generale never consented to cash any vouchers save those issued for requisitions of raw materials. As claimants usually refused to accept the prices fixed by Berlin, the total of the loans granted did not exceed 75 millions of marks.
Requisitions were not confined to industry alone. In all private houses objects of copper, bronze, metal alloys and wool mattresses were seized. The following table shows the requisi- tions made in the area of General Government during the second half of 1917:
Copper and alloyed metals from private houses .
Copper from industrial estab- lishments ....
Iron from demolitions .
Sulphate of copper .
Lead (different forms) .
Rough zinc ....
Chemical products: Sulphuric acid
Chloride of lime . Muriatic acid
Skins of large cattle calves horses
sheep .... various animals rabbits
Leather and leather straps
Boots and shoes
" " " wooden soled
Osier (wicker) for munition baskets
Wool and hair
Manufactured cottons .
Cotton and cotton thread
Cottons, confiscated, various.
Manufactured flax and prod- ucts
Hemps and jute
Coconuts and piassava .
Quantity requisitioned during second half of 1917.
20,877-7 tons 6,065-0 ' 570-0 ' 886-5 " 270-0 ' 151,664 pieces 60,624 " 12,868 27,710 173,710 1,227,819 4,987,000 kgm. (value of 4,915,000 mk.) ( ' 4,251.955 " )
( 79,948 " )
800 tons 165 " 840,270 kgm. 831,685 200,273 1,748,261 5,009,772 301 ,032 3,152 36,694
5,748 150,112 916,333 pieces 171.119 kgm.
8,424 574,173 pieces
copper from factories
Up to June 1918 there had been requisitioned: 290,000 tons of iron 7,000 3,5oo
copper produced in Belgium lead
" in different forms, produced in Belgium zinc and also 8,550,330 marks worth of leather and leather straps.
Producers were obliged to deliver their total output to the " Central " at very low prices. The " Central," after having supplied the army and the railways, resold the surplus at very high prices to the factories which were authorized to work. Two offices for the distribution of coal to the Belgian population were established at Brussels and Namur, but the quantity allotted for this purpose was quite insufficient. Indeed, the Kohlen- zentrale tried to export as much coal as possible to neutral coun- tries, for the sake of the large profits realized in that way.
In 1915 the export of Belgian coal to Germany reached 115% of the pre-war figure, in 1916 95%, in 1917 25%. Germany, on her side, imported approximately equivalent amounts of coal into Belgium.
The export to neutral countries was much greater, being in 1915 190% of the pre-war figure, in 1916 230%, in 1917 tailing to 90%. The exportation of Belgian coal seemed to Germany a lucrative operation. At the meeting of the Economic Com- mission on June 19 1915 Kardoff, representing German trade, declared: " The coal production of Belgium must first supply military requirements and afterwards Belgian consumption. The surplus must serve German purposes, notably as an export to neutral countries." This was the accepted doctrine.
In 1917 the distribution of Belgian coal was as follows:
Belgian population and authorized industries . Troops and railways Occupied French terri- tories .... Export ....
Military needs absorbed 4,665,975 tons, one-half of the total output. Thanks to the Kohlenzenlrale's monopoly, the profits realized by it were large. The figures are as follows:
Profit on sales.
In Germany .... " Switzerland " Scandinavia " Holland ....
972 340,892 1,688,646 705,693
48,619 5,856,376 10,547,467 5,542,120
The total profits for the three years amounted to about 34 millions of marks, which were used as a German war loan.
An oil " Central " on the same model was established on June 3
1915. It realized a profit of 11,815,266 francs in the years 1915,
1916, 1917; 6-5 millions of which were for 1917 alone. Finally, on July 26 1915 the " Central " for water, gas and electricity was instituted, important services thus being placed under the direct control of the German administration.
The German Government now controlled all the elements indispensable to industry. Henceforth no undertaking could escape its power. Industry was forced into absolute submission to the terms imposed by the invader.
The Belgian marine export trade had, of course, been stopped by the war. Belgian factories closed down one after the other and the numbers of unemployed quickly became enormous. The Comite National, whose activities will be described later, organized relief measures, got work of public utility started, and established bourses de travail (labour scholarships), which, while supporting the unemployed person, exacted meantime his attendance at technical classes. The German authorities in- tervened in 1915 and opposed this great organization for assisting the unemployed.
It was soon realized that the only efficacious method of helping the Belgian masses was to revive trade, and in Aug. 1915 a
Comite Industriel was formed for that object. It entered into negotiations with the Allied Governments in order to obtain permission to import raw materials into Belgium such raw materials, once manufactured, to be reexported and the proceeds realized applied to the purchase of foodstuffs necessary for the victualling of the Belgian population. The Allies were willing to agree to such an arrangement, but the German Government made the condition that payments for the exported goods should be deposited in a Belgian bank. England declared that she could not accept such a condition, which would have meant that the Allied Powers would be helping Germany, so the Comite Industriel dissolved without having achieved anything.
The numbers of the unemployed became dany more alarming. In 1916 they reached 650,000. On Oct. 16 1916 the Comite National made a fresh attempt to revive trade, proposing the authorization of exports, their proceeds to be handed to the Commission for Relief in Belgium as payment for food sent in return. Germany refused consent. Part of Belgian industry still remained active but the factories sequestrated by the enemy had great difficulty in finding labour, considerable numbers of the working-classes obstinately refusing to work in the interests of Germany. On Aug. 14 and 15 1915 appeared the first edicts instituting severe penalties for those refusing to undertake work for the German authorities.
The government of occupation was also undermining Belgian industries by requisitions of machinery and tools. Commissions of German engineers and heads of industry were sent into Bel- gium to seize from Belgian factories any machinery which could be utilized in Germany. The real object was to destroy Bel- gium's trade, as being a dangerous rival to that of Germany. Pure vandalism characterized these requisitions, the experts even destroying machinery which they found it impossible to remove.
Again official orders of Jan. 10 and Oct. 10 1916 forbade more than 24 hours work per week in the textile and boot-making trades; and those of Feb. 17 and July 21 1917 forbade work in all workshops and factories of Belgium save by authorization of the president of the civil administration.
The working-class population of Belgium was reduced to beggary. The masses of unemployed became more and more numerous. Germany desired them more numerous still. Public works started by provinces and communes to provide employ- ment were suddenly prohibited. Germany exposed her hand.
The president of the civil administration expounded the German theory in a speech delivered before the deputation permanente of Luxemburg. Relief of the unemployed, he said, was inadmissible in the case of persons deprived of work by the German regulations. Workers aged from 18 to 50 could go to Alsace-Lorraine or Germany, and work there for good wages. If able-bodied members of the working-class would consent to go to Germany, communes would be once more authorized to provide public work for the unemployed of under 18 or over 50.
Thus, by means of a skilfully planned series of edicts, Germany had attained her object had completely ruined Belgian indus- try and had created an unemployed class of nearly 700,000 work- ers, whom she forbade the public bodies to provide with work. Nothing remained but to transport this potential labour into Germany.
From 1917 onwards Belgian industry was subjected to sys- tematic destruction. By June 30 1918, 167 factories had been completely destroyed, 161 factories were mentioned by the administrative report to the governor-general of the section for commerce and industry as to be destroyed immediately, 93 large halls were being demolished, others had been cleared out, 52 halls were to suffer the same fate. Of the 57 high furnaces existing in Belgium, 26 had been razed to the ground, 20 were seriously damaged, n pnly remained fit for use.
The Service de Recuperation Induslrielle subsequently identified in Germany 24,308 Belgian machines and 89,635,640 kgm. of various kinds of plant. Machinery that could not be carried away entire, had been broken up by hammer blows and the pieces sent to Germany; 290,000 tons of iron, 7,000 tons of lead (coming
chiefly from the storing chambers for sulphuric acid) had been taken from the factories.
Metallurgical works, textile factories, chemical works, quar- ries (save those requisitioned by Germany), cemeteries, gun- foundries, works of public bodies all were completely despoiled. The collieries alone, being indispensable to Germany, were spared. But when the German army was in final retreat measures were taken to destroy the mines completely. On Oct. 26 1918 orders were given for work to cease in the coal-fields of Hainault. On Nov. i pits and machinery were mined, pumping and ventilation were stopped, boiler furnaces extinguished. This would have meant the putting of Belgian mines out of action for years. In face of such an act of vandalism the neutral Powers protested, threatening Germany with economic reprisals, whereupon pumping was recommenced, and the pits and machinery were spared.
In all this policy of destruction Germany had a double aim. On the one hand, she was ruining Belgian trade and eliminating future rivalry from that quarter; on the other hand, unemploy- ment was being daily increased, hundreds of thousands were being thrown out of work, and she was provided with a pretext for requisitioning human labour as she had already requisitioned raw materials and machinery. A series of edicts now prepared for that.
The Deportations. In Oct. 1916 the military authorities made the first requisition of men for work in Germany. At that time nearly a million persons were in receipt of public relief in Belgium. In Nov. burgomasters were ordered under heavy penalties to furnish the German authorities with lists of the unemployed receiving relief in their communes. In every case the enemy Government was met by refusal on the part of the communal authorities. The military authorities thereupon began a general requisition of able-bodied men throughout the country, whether unemployed or not. Notices posted in the communes ordered all men aged from 17 to 60 to present themselves at the Kommandantur in the town of the arrondissemenl. There the assembled men were paraded within double lines of infantry and cavalry. Non-commissioned officers next proceeded to designate those who were to be deported to Germany or to the zones of the front. These unlucky ones were immediately marched to the nearest station, put on a train, and sent under guard to Germany.
Generally speaking, the inhabitants of Flanders the zone d'etape were sent to the Yser front or to that in the north of France. They were set to work constructing railways, repairing roads, or digging trenches in the zone of fire. Many of them were killed by the Allied bombardment. Workers requisitioned from other parts of the country were concentrated in great camps at Munster, Altengrabow, Guben, Cassel, Meschede, Soltau and Wittenberg. They were ordered to sign labour contracts, and their obstinate resistance was met by the most inhuman methods of intimidation and coercion. Deprived of food, beaten even with blows of the bayonet left tied to posts in the snow for entire nights, numbers of them yet perished rather than work for the enemy. In the camps the " purveyors of men " came to take delivery of the human merchandise allotted to them, and dis- tributed it to farms, factories and mines throughout Germany. The invincibly recalcitrant were sent to Strafbataillonen at the front, where they were treated like convicts. Such camps, that at Sedan for instance, were responsible for many victims. From time to time convoys of sick were sent back to Belgium; the lamentable state in which they arrived provoked a great protest movement through all the country.
The first voice to make itself heard was that of Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines. He addressed a protest to the governor-general against the inhumanity of the deportations. In particular he said: "I will not believe that the imperial authorities have said their last word. They will consider our unmerited sufferings, the reprobation of the civilized world, the judgment of history, the chastisement of God." On Nov. 9 1916 the members of the Belgian Parliament in their turn addressed a courageous protest to von Bissing and appealed to the neutral legations. On Dec. 16 the magistracy in its turn protested. In Nov. Senator Magnette, Grand Master of Belgian Freemasonry, addressed a letter to German Freemasonry, in which he wrote: " The brutal and total suppression of personal liberty, a repeti- tion of the most painful wanderings of Jewish history, the cap- tivity of an entire innocent nation, which for over two years has given an example of marvellous calm, dignity, and patriotism does not all this cry for vengeance, are you going to disregard it ? " German Freemasonry made no reply, but M. Magnette was arrested and imprisoned.
The censorship prevented publication of these numerous pro- tests, which would have encouraged national resistance. Car- dinal Mercier determined to address the nation from the pulpit of Ste. Gudule, the cathedral of Brussels. There, on Nov. 26, he addressed the faithful, lashing with burning words the in- humanity of Germany, and exhorting Belgians to stand fast in resistance, in patriotism and in faith in their ultimate victory. The vast throng of his hearers received these words with in- describable enthusiasm.
Finally, on Feb. 14 1917, the most important members of the clergy, the Comite National, Parliament, the magistracy, the bar, the nobility, financial circles, etc., addressed the German Em- peror in a letter at once dignified and firm, demanding the re- patriation of the deported Belgians. The foreign legations still at Brussels those of the United States, Spain, and Holland also showed sympathy. Cardinal Mercier had appealed to the Pope, and on Nov. 29 1916 the Pope had approached the German Government on behalf of the victims of deportation, but without effect. The United States now protested to Berlin against such violations of the principles of the Hague Convention, and the Dutch legation did the same. At the time of the fall of Antwerp in 1914 the inhabitants of that town, terrified by the massacres of Vise, Dinant, Andenne, Termonde, Tamenes, Aerschot and Louvain, had fled en masse into Holland. The German Govern- ment had requested the Dutch Government to assure the Belgian refugees that if they returned to their country they would not be subjected by Germany to requisitions or any other molestation. On the representations of Holland the people of Antwerp re- turned to Belgium. Germany had now taken thousands of men from among them for deportation, and Holland could not but protest against such disloyalty to promises made to her. These interventions also remained without result, but at last the insistence of Spain, the country which was protecting Belgian interests in Germany, succeeded after a preliminary repulse in obtaining a compromise from the German Government. The Marquis of Villalobar, Spanish Minister at Brussels, proposed an arrangement by which Germany should engage not to deport more than 250,000 men, who should be chosen from the unem- ployed; to allow those of the already deported who possessed means of existence to return to their homes; to permit deported Belgians to correspond with their families and send them money; and finally, to place Belgian workers in Germany under neutral surveillance. Germany agreed to all these conditions except the last.
The neutral legations next intervened to effect the trans- mission to the governor-general of claims from families whose deported members should, by the terms of the above conven- tion, be authorized to return to Belgium. These claims were nu- merous; in one month the Dutch legation received 33,000 for transmission.
The deportation policy had proved a disappointment to Ger- many. The exiles refused to work, and, when forced into a sem- blance of submission, met coercion with an inertia which rendered their labour valueless. The whole world's indignation at this return to slavery seemed to decide Germany on a movement of clemency. In reply to the letter of Feb. 14 from distinguished Belgians the Emperor announced that he would examine the matter with benevolence. It was speedily decided that the victims of deportation should be repatriated on June i 1917, and Germany published this decision far and wide. It proved but a piece of abominable treachery. Numerous convoys of the deported did indeed return to Belgium, but soon after they were again summoned to the K ommandantur, and,- under pain of being deported anew, were forced to accept work in the requisitioned Belgian factories. Moreover, the authorities declared that the Emperor had not promised that Belgian workmen should not be deported into France, and many of the convoys which arrived from Germany were immediately sent off to the invaded French departments. A yet more hypocritical construction was put on William II. 's words. He had promised the repatriation of the deported Belgians, but once repatriated there was nothing against their being deported a second time as unemployed. So the deportation began again, only to be ended by the Armistice. Statistics of the Deportations. Deported into Germany.
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over 70. 5
Died during deportation in Germany: 1,304.
Deported to the Zivil Arbeiterbataillonen at the front.
50-60. 1, 080
over 70. 3
Died during deportation at the front: 1,227.
Total number deported: 115,259.
Total of deaths resulting from bad treatment: 2,531.
Deported from each arrondisse- ment. '
To the zone of the front.
1 1 ,074
Feeding the Belgian Population. Belgium could not feed her population unaided. She did not produce above a quarter of her wheat consumption. Thus as early as Aug. 14 1914 the Belgian Government had rationed bread. By Nov. scarcity was being felt in Hainault; and in the following month the provinces of Limburg and Luxemburg and all the towns were short of flour, while the rural districts lacked coffee, salt, yeast, coal, petrol and soap. Prices began to rise sharply. The situation was the more critical because, the country once occupied, the German governor had abrogated all measures already taken by the Belgian Govern- ment to ensure its food supplies. The public administrative bodies could no longer act; private initiative had to take their place. Everywhere committees were formed. At Antwerp a Comite de secours collected 2,000,000 francs for organizing relief to the necessitous; while a Comite de ravitaillement, formed by the communal authorities and including ip its sphere of action the 82 communes of the fortified area, secured 10,000 tons of wheat, bacon and lard, 2,000 head of cattle, and 2,000 pigs. At Liege a Comite d' alimentation was formed to manage the provisioning of 23 communes. At Brussels the Comite de secours du Luxem- bourg endeavoured to succour those left homeless by the burnings and devastations of the German army. At Bruges and Ostend committees were formed to purchase wheat. Everywhere such organizations appeared, but they were impotent to save the country from the famine which menaced it, for the German Government, in order to exercise pressure on the Allies, declared
that, as the British blockade prevented it from maintaining the provisioning of Belgium, it had no further concern in the matter.
A central committee was formed in Brussels, consisting of personages of the financial world, presided over by E. Solvay, and under patronage of the ministers for Spain and the United States. It took the title of Comiti centrale de secours el d 'ali- mentation. An executive committee was appointed with M. Francque as chairman, the first meeting taking place on Sept. 3 1914. It at once opened canteens and food depots, obtaining through the good offices of neutral ministers a guarantee that they would not be seized.
But by Sept. 1914 famine was already imminent. The Comitt centrale tried to get food from England; the British Government objected. Active negotiations procured an agreement: Marshal von der Goltz promised to exempt totally from requisition food so imported; the British Government on their side consented to the importations on conditions that the supplies should be con- veyed to the Belgian frontier under patronage of the ambassadors of Spain and the United States, and that once in Belgium they should be under the patronage of the Spanish and American ministers at Brussels. The Commission for the Relief of Belgium was constituted to organize this scheme. The importation of food supplies now made the Comile centrale a body of great im- portance, and its activities extended all over the country. In each province a Comit& d' alimentation was set up, its president sitting on the ComitS centrale in Brussels. The Comiti centrale now took the name of Comile national de secours el d' alimentation.
Permission to import food was not enough, a method must be found of paying for it. Von der Goltz would not allow money to be transmitted to the Allies; funds must be procured outside Belgium. The Belgian Government and the British Government each opened a credit of 100,000 to the C.N. The Societe Generale put its own foreign credits at the C.N.'s disposal. A consortium of bankers and of the firm of Solvay et Cie. provided a loan of 1 5 million francs in gold, advanced by the London branch of the Banque Nationale de Belgique. In addition donations to the amount of 60,000,000 francs were collected in Belgium itself, and zealous propaganda was made abroad with the result that 60,000,000 francs were collected in England, 30,000,000 in America, 10,000,000 in other countries.
Huge quantities of foodstuffs had to be imported; 60,000 tons were needed every month, which implied at the same time 180,000 tons purchased, stored, or in transit, representing a value of 70 to 80 million francs. The funds at the C.N.'s dis- posal were insufficient. True, the proceeds from the sales of the imported goods would have balanced expenses, but the German Government would not allow money thus received by the C.N. to leave the country. An arrangement was therefore made be- tween the C.N. and the Belgian Government, whereby the C.N. undertook to pay the salaries of the Belgian officials, while the Belgian Government in return paid over monthly an equivalent sum to the Commission for Relief in Belgium. This sum was fixed at 25,000,000 francs per month, but that proved in- sufficient, and in Jan. 1917 it was augmented to 37,500,000 per month. Just then, however, the submarine war stopped im- portations for several months, and the price of foodstuffs rose enormously in consequence. Moreover, the transference to Belgium of 150,000 French refugees who had to be supported by the C.N. further exhausted the latter's resources. New measures became necessary. The Belgian Government concluded an arrangement with the American Government, by which the latter gave 15,000,000 dollars per month to the C.R.B. to pay for purchases of food made in the United States. For purchases made in Holland the C.N. obtained use of the credits possessed in that country by all Belgian banks.
The functions of the C.N. did not consist in merely securing the arrival of supplies of food in Belgium, but also in distributing them throughout the country, and in those districts of northern France whose provisioning it undertook in 1915. The essentially private character of the C.N. and the refusal of the German authorities to allow it to organize a police de surveillance to safeguard its activities, made the situation very difficult. It is
true that the Cour de Cassation, by authorizing the courts to punish persons who contravened the C.N.'s regulations, gave it valuable help; but its task was only rendered possible by its admirable organization. At first decentral in system, the C.N. was forced by events to centralize. It was worked by its executive committee, whose president, M. Francque, possessed the widest powers. He in fact directed the vast organization, assisted by a general secretary. The C.N. was divided into two departments: the dipartement d' alimentation, responsible for provisioning the country, and the departement des secours, responsible for relief measures. These two departments worked in close col- laboration with the Commission for Relief in Belgium, formed in London in Oct. 1914, under direction of Mr. Hoover, and under patronage of the Spanish and American ambassadors at London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, and The Hague. The C.R.B. had offices in New York, London, Rotterdam and Brussels. The three first effected the purchases for which they received orders from the C.N., the fourth supervised the distribution in Belgium.
The departement d' alimentation had a subsidiary department for the study of alimentary questions, and another for inquiry into the needs of the country. Guided by these it gave its orders to the C.R.B., received the goods, and distributed them among the provincial committees. The vast scope of its functions necessitated the creation of a goods book-keeping department and a financial book-keeping department, also the putting under public control of the manufacturing processes applied to some of the materials received.
To show the magnitude of its task it may suffice to mention that up to Dec. 31 1918 it had delivered food to the provincial committees to the value of over 3-5 milliards of francs, 2-5 milliards having been for Belgium and one milliard for France.
A bonus was deducted from the sales of goods and paid over to the departement des secours. The German authorities showing signs of intending to assume a share in the control of these sales, the C.N. asked the C.R.B. to deduct the bonus, so that it should escape German surveillance. Thanks to these bonuses, to which were added the voluntary donations from foreign countries, the departement des secours accomplished a vast amount of relief work. A commission for the purchase of clothing and materials, with workrooms for cutting and making and for the training of apprentices, also with technical courses for students, supplied the provincial committees. Grants of money were also given; up to Dec. 31 1918, 1-3 milliards of francs had been distributed to the necessitous poor. This department gave grants besides to the societies for aiding officers' and non-commissioned officers' wives, families deprived of means by the war, the unemployed, and the lacemakers, to the societies for providing food for infants, succouring war orphans, the homeless, foreign refugees, artists, wounded soldiers, etc. Under its patronage were the Societe cooperative d'avance et de prfts (formed to help State officials and employees), the Sociiti des habitations ouvribres, the Ligue centre la tuberculose, the Union des vttles et des communes beiges pour venir en aide aux sans-abris sinistres, the Agence de ren- seignemenls pour prisonniers et internes, the Cantine du soldat prisonnier, the Caissette du soldat beige. From Nov. 1917 its scope was widened further by fusion with the society for the relief of unemployment.
Delegates from the C.R.B. took an active part in the work of the C.N. They attended the meetings of the provincial com- mittees, and thus provided the necessary liaison between them and the central executive, which could not have been done by members of the C.N. as the Germans did not permit them to travel about freely. The collaboration of the C.R.B. was also valuable in regard to the transport within Belgium of provisions for the provinces. The C.N. placed the flotilla it had formed, of 137 vessels (45,000 tons) and of 29 tugs, beneath the flag of the C.R.B., thus avoiding requisitions.
The C.R.B. undertook the frequently necessary negotiations with the German and British Governments. The gravest dif- ficulty ever encountered was when in 1915 the German authori- ties prohibited the C.N. from dealing with the distribution of the indigenous foodstuffs. These were to be distributed by the
provinces and communes and thus neutral control was eliminated while Germany was enabled to requisition Belgian produce in her own interests. Besides the crops 92,000 horses (out of 3 1 7,000) , 560,000 head of horned stock (out of i ,879,000) , 2 50,000 pigs (out of 1,494,000), 3,000 sheep, and 1,690,000 fowls were sent to Germany. To stop this England threatened curtailment of the food supplies for Belgium. This serious crisis was averted by the good offices of the C.R.B.
Upon America's entry into the war Mr. Hoover resigned his function on the C.R.B., after three years of devoted work. Holland replaced America, and the Comite Hispano-Neerlandais took up the task of the C.R.B.
The Belgian Government during the War. The gradual occupation of the country by the German army compelled the Belgian Government to retire first to Antwerp, then after the fall of that town to Ostend, finally to Havre. Ministers ac- credited to the Belgian Government followed it there, except the Spanish Minister, the Marquis of Villalobar; the American Minister, Mr. Brand Whitlock; and the Dutch charge d'af- faires, M. van Vollenhoven, subsequently appointed Minister these three remained in Brussels.
At the time of the Government's removal to France over a million Belgians were fleeing before the German armies to foreign countries: 200,000 took refuge in France, 100,000 in England, 700,000 including nearly the entire population of Antwerp in Holland. Germany's assurances that Belgians who returned to their country should not be molested brought back the in- habitants of Antwerp, to suffer subsequently from deportations despite the promises of the governor, von der Goltz. Fifty thousand refugees remained in Holland.
The Government at Havre found itself faced by a gigantic task. The army, deprived of bases and depots, was without munitions, food supplies, or clothing. All had to be reorganized. Yet not for one moment were the Belgian field forces withdrawn from the front. To reinforce them the King appealed to Belgians residing abroad, and they formed a first contingent. Thousands of Belgians who had remained at home also responded to the call of their King, and managed to get out of Belgium despite the strictness with which the frontiers were guarded, the high-pres- sure electric wires separating Belgium from Holland, and the severe penalties decreed against those who joined the Belgian army. On March i 1915, having succeeded in establishing the necessary centres of instruction, the Government called up all Belgians between the ages of 18 and 25 resident in non-occupied Belgium, in France, or in England. On July 21 1916 all Belgians aged 18 to 40 resident in allied or neutral states were called to the service of their mother-country.
Colleges for officers were established in France at Gaillon and Bayeux for infantry; at Onival for artillery; at Campagne for cavalry; at Ardres for engineers. Centres of infantry in- struction were established at Parigne Leveque, Auvoury, Hon- fleur, Granville, Saint Lo, Coutances, Carteret, Barneville, Valogne, La Haye-du-Puits. The artillery instruction centre was at Eu, that for auxiliary troops at Buchard.
On March 16 1915 a royal decree ordered the creation of building and repairing workshops, munitions factories, foundries, farrieries, storehouses, etc. Huge establishments improvised at Havre provided the army with all its artillery munitions.
Hospitals capable of accommodating all the Belgian wounded were provided at the front. A school of reeducation for the mutilated was established at Vernon. Belgian schools were started in France, England, and Holland. Necessitous refugees were helped.
Thanks to unremitting efforts the army was kept up at an effec- tive average of 150,000 strong, and the field army at 75,000.
III. AFTER THE WAR. When the offensive of 1918 brought liberation to Belgium the work of restoration to be accomplished was enormous. The Treaty of Versailles did not facilitate it. Shut out from the deliberations of the Supreme Council, Belgium could neither claim her rights nor defend her interests as, if represented, she would have been able to do.
For Belgium the most important question raised by the war
was the revision of the treaties of 1839. Those treaties had fixed the international status of the country by declaring it neutral in perpetuity under guarantee of the Powers. They had moreover mutilated Belgium by taking from her the half of Limburg with Maestricht, and giving it to Holland, and the half of Luxemburg, which was created a grand duchy. This mutilation gave Belgium frontiers impossible to defend Maestricht forming a bridge-head on the Meuse, which was the country's natural line of defence. There was, further, pressing for settlement, the question of the Scheldt, that essential organ of Belgium's economic life; its estuary was in the possession of Holland, who could thus control the economic and military fate of Antwerp.
Nothing was done. Rather than take from Germany the ancient Dutch provinces of Guelders and Cleves, which would have served as territory to exchange for the cession of Limburg to Belgium, the Treaty of Versailles prevented a political and military solution of the Limburg question; while Holland on her side refused to solve it by a treaty of common defence between Belgium and the Netherlands. The grand duchy of Luxemburg was the object of French designs, which prevented its restitution to the mother-country. The question of the Scheldt was left hung up. Belgium only obtained two of the 14 Walloon cantons incorporated in Prussia in 1815 Malmedy and Eupen. She was also given the right to connect Antwerp with the Rhine by a canal.
As regarded finance, Belgium was relieved of her war debts (six milliards) to the Allies, who declared Germany responsible for them. Priority was granted to Belgium for a payment of 2-5 milliards from the German indemnity, this representing the reimbursement of 2-5 milliards extorted from her by Germany under the designation of war tax.
Belgium was left to seek unaided a solution to the grave prob- lems which beset her. She entered on negotiations with Holland. These were going badly for Belgium; it seemed likely that the Scheldt would remain in Holland's possession, and that the defence of the eastern frontier would continue to be an insoluble problem, when Holland put forward a claim for recognition of her sovereignty over the pass of Weilingen that is to say, over Belgian territorial waters from the Dutch frontier to beyond Zeebrugge. This manoeuvre made possible by the isolation in which the Allies had left Belgium, and by the favour shown by England to Holland's doctrine that the Scheldt should be closed to Belgian warships had for object, and would have entailed as consequence, Holland's right to deny Belgium access to the port of Zeebrugge, which would have meant that she was completely cut off from the sea. The general movement of protest throughout Belgium against the signature of such a Dutch-Belgian treaty compelled the Government to break off negotiations.
In 1918 Belgium joined with France in a treaty of defensive alliance, attempts being made to secure England's participation. As a result of negotiation France renounced in favour of Belgium her economic union with the grand duchy of Luxemburg.
As regarded Africa, Belgium did not succeed in gaining recog- nition of her rights over the territories conquered by her in German East Africa. Only Urundi and Ruanda were allotted to her; the other territories passed to England.
In the occupation of the Rhine Belgium was represented by a force of 1 2 ,000 men.
The Work of Restoration. Internal problems were very grave. Before all it was necessary to ensure the food supplies of the country. This task was enhanced in difficulty by the fact that private enterprise could not touch it, owing to the sharp fluctua- tions of the exchange. The State itself was thus forced to pur- chase abroad the cattle, butter and margarine needed by the population. Maximum prices having proved inefficacious, a number of administrative orders were issued, forbidding specula- tion in foodstuffs, authorizing the requisition of indigenous prod- ucts, establishing inspection to prevent vendors from adulterat- ing goods, and repressing excessive prices.
The social situation was terrible. There were 800,000 unem- ployed; and 2,400,000 persons a third of the population only
existed by the aid of public relief. The State had to assume the support of these unemployed masses. Labour exchanges were established to facilitate the distribution of recruits to reviving industry. The vast numbers of the workless might have led to famine wages; to obviate this the State decided that any workmen offered less than the minimum rate of one franc per hour in the towns and 0-75 in the country, might refuse work, while yet continuing to draw out-of-work relief. Workers, moreover, were organizing themselves so as to improve labour conditions. The trade-union movement advanced with enormous strides. In 1919 the number of organized workers had risen to over 600,000, hav- ing been only about 200,000 in 1914. Wages, as a matter of fact, never fell below one franc per hour. Industrial workers in general have obtained two francs per hour, metallurgical workers earn 2-25 to 2-50 francs per hour, miners 16 to 20 francs per day.
The astonishingly rapid reconstruction of 2,000 km. of destroyed railway lines, effected by the end of 1919, the re- newed activity of the collieries, which in the first quarter of 1919 produced 8-5 million tons of coal (against 11-5 million tons in 1914), and of the coke furnaces, which in May 1919 produced 58,000 tons (against 245,000 tons in May 1914), helped on the gradual revival of industry.
The Commission de rfcuperation induslrielle gave a first stimu- lus to industry by recovering Belgian machinery from Germany, and by 1919 huge orders from English and American firms had restored the country to economic activity. These orders were made possible by credits opened to Belgian industry by the banks. After the war the banks had indeed become of capital importance. The 13 principal banks of Belgium increased their capital by 380,000,000 francs.
In Dec. 1919 the output of the mines reached 81-3% of the pre-war output. The coal-fields of Limburg were becoming active; in 1919 the Winterslag mine began work, producing 500 to 600 tons per day, in 1920 a second mine was opened. The metal- lurgical industry achieved 20% of its 1913 output of cast iron, and 49% of steel and finished iron.
Alimentary industries, the building trade, industries of art and precision, were now employing 75% of their pre-war staffs, glass-may ng 80%, mines and transport over 100%, chemical industries, ceramics, paper-making, linen-weaving, tobacco manufacture 70%, clothing 87%, metallurgy 64%, the timber trade and furniture-making 66%.
Such a revival, effectuating itself in the midst of the gravest economic difficulties, could not but raise one problem after another. Questions of wages and of hours of labour were con- tinually endangering relations between employer and employed. Thanks to a policy of foresight and moderation the Government managed to avert most of the conflicts. In April igig two com- missions were appointed to inquire into the possibility of re- ducing hours of labour in steel manufactories and in mines. The principle of the 8-hour day was admitted. On June i 1919 work was reduced to 8| hours per day, on Dec. i to 8 hours per day.
In June another commission took up the same question for mechanical construction. Later, national councils were appointed for the public services of gas and electricity, for ice factories, the building trade, the timber trade, and furniture-making, glass- making, the textile trade of Flanders, and the port of Antwerp. The committees, presided over by officials, and composed of employers and employed in equal numbers, discussed questions of wages and conditions of work. They often passed resolutions constituting actual collective contracts, in some cases they pro- ceeded to codify their decisions. They settled many local dis- putes, and checked movements dangerous to national life. The law does not enter into either their constitution or their functions; they have no means of enforcing their decisions other than the appeal to public opinion; yet there had not been one instance up to 1921 where resolutions passed by the committees had not been loyally applied. Employers and employed found in these bodies a means of discussing and solving problems which formerly would have been met by a strike. The establishment of these committees marks an interesting tendency towards the
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Thou- sands of francs.
Germany France . England Holland United States Argentina Congo .
1,550,142 2,087,273 1-805,573 623,868 900,804
659,921 1,850,476 1,687,474 585,098 I,547,8o8 519.954 87,327
166,333 1,931,946 223,364
471,883 3,885,704 685,701
1,491,553 317,961 52,656 21,342
decentralization of economic legislation, towards a professional organization quite outside political parties, towards the assump- tion by the worker of his share in the solution of industrial problems.
Since the war, as a general rule, wages had risen considerably, with a tendency towards uniformity and towards their fixation according to index numbers published by the Government. In Dec. 1919 the index number was 359 relatively to the month of April 1914.
Belgium's resumption of commerce after the war is shown in the following table in which the imports for 1919 and the ex- ports for 1919 and 1920, from and to the chief regions in ques- tion, are shown.
These figures show the war's disastrous effect on Belgian com- merce. In 1914 exports and imports were fairly equivalent. In 1915 imports exceeded exports by about three milliards of francs. In 1920, it is true, the export trade to the seven countries named above began to revive, improving from 4,749,701 tons to 6,926,800 tons. But trade was involved in the gravest difficul- ties. Markets had been captured during the war by England and the United States. France's protectionist tendencies and Ger- many's easy rivalry in foreign markets owing to the depreciation of her exchange were also causes of the serious commercial crisis that Belgium was passing through in 1920-1.
The resurrection of the port of Antwerp was rapid. In 1919 4,820 vessels, registering 5,245,048 tons, entered the port; in
1920 7,698 registering 10,852,341 tons (in the same year Rot- terdam received 5,951 registering 7,609,777 tons). Antwerp's development is closely linked with Belgium's prosperity. The port's connexion with the Rhine by means of a ship canal was in
1921 under consideration.
Belgium made great efforts to develop her commercial marine. The Lloyd Royal Beige, entirely promoted by Belgian capital, was formed to add to the Red Star Line's already existing service between Antwerp and America regular services to Brazil, the British West Indies, the Far East, Australia, Spain, Italy and the Near East.
But though Belgian commerce and industry were showing their powers of rapid recuperation, the country's financial situation could not but be serious. Scarcely was it back in Belgium when the Government had to face the cost of redeeming the marks put in circulation by Germany; the amount represented 7-5 milliards of francs. Other heavy charges upon State finances were: the payment of arrears of salary due to officials; the augmentation of salaries necessitated by the enormously increased cost of living; the expenses of victualling the country and of reconstruct- ing railways, canals and roads; the sums voted for compensation to industrial concerns and private persons for war damage and destruction.
In 1919 the national debt amounted to 12,964,050,000 francs; in 1920 it was over 30 milliards. To meet a situation of such gravity new taxes had to be imposed. The income tax established by vote on Oct. 21 1919 took 10% on unearned incomes, and a graded percentage on earned incomes which only reached 10% when such an income was over 48,000 francs.
On Oct. it 19193 new law of inheritance imposed a tax varying with the heir's degree of kinship to the deceased from i to 50% upon the sum inherited; while inheritance from an intestate was suppressed in favour of the State beyond the fourth degree of kinship. New taxes fell on beer, tobacco, alcohol, and cinemas. On March 3 1919 war profits were taxed progressively up to 10% and railway fares were doubled. Despite these efforts it was obvious that the Belgian budget could not be restored to financial equilibrium save by Germany's payment of the war indemnity. In order to have some guarantee of that indemnity the Government, on Nov. 10 1918, placed under sequestration all property belonging to subjects of the enemy countries. The chief item of expense was the indemnification of war damage, estimated at over 35 milliards. The State supported the formation of cooperative societies, advancing to persons who had suffered war damage up to 70 to 95% of the compensation due to them, and the creation of the Credit National Industriel, also supported by the Banque Nationale, and serving as intermediary between the State and the claimants. To provide the advances these organizations issued 5% bonds guaranteed by the State up to the value of the compensation for damages. Thus the debt was brought into the hands of several groups, which should greatly facilitate its liquidation.
The work of national reconstruction was being accomplished up to 1921 amid political and social calm. After the Armistice the Government was composed of ministers belonging to the three great parties. All political strife had ceased, a truce having been brought about by mutual concessions. Universal suffrage “pure and simple” at 21 years of age was established at the demand of the Socialist party. As compensation the Catholic party claimed votes for women, which the Chamber conceded for communal elections but not for parliamentary elections. The elections of Nov. 16 1919, with universal suffrage at 21, deprived the Catholic party of the majority it had enjoyed since 1884, while the Socialists gained considerably.
Thanks to this political calm, Parliament was able to introduce such important reforms as the income tax, and the prohibition of the sale of alcohol in public (law of Aug. 29 1919).
The only disturbing elements in Belgian public life in 1920-1 was the Activist movement. Promoted by German intrigue during the war, it still existed, making the independence of Flanders its ostensible object. At the last election its candidates only polled 62,000 votes out of 1,757,104 cast, and it was generally condemned by public opinion. The members of the Raed van Vlaenderen and certain Activists who had assisted the enemy were convicted of high treason and sentenced, but they had escaped to Holland, where they were well received by both the Government and the public.
Belgium took an honourable part in the proceedings of the League of Nations. Like Brazil, Greece and Spain she was invited to join the Council along with the Great Powers, and her delegate, M. Hymans, was elected president of the first general assembly at Geneva. At that assembly Belgium was reflected as member of the Council, to sit on it with Brazil, Spain, China, and the Great Powers. With the object of extending Belgian influence abroad, the diplomatic and consular services were completely reorganized. The Association Internationale des Académies has chosen Brussels for its centre of activity.
On Aug. 19 1920 the Académie de la langue française was inaugurated at Brussels. Dr. Bordet, professor of Brussels University, was awarded the Nobel prize. University life had revived. The civil status granted to the universities of Louvain and Brussels was on July 5 1920 extended to the universities of Ghent and Liege. The profits realized by the C.R.B. were presented by the president, Mr. Hoover, to the Belgian universities. Each of them was the recipient of a donation of 20 million francs, intended to develop the scientific side of their work. Mr. Hoover moreover presented a sum of 80 millions to the Fondation Universitaire, the income to be allocated by a committee of university professors to encourage the advance of science in Belgium.
Finally, mention must be made of the reform of justice, the creation of single judge tribunals, reforms in the treatment of prisoners, and the institution of a school of criminology. The Government established a school of agriculture at Ghent, a school of social service, and a colonial school. A commission of inquiry was appointed to investigate the violations of international law committed by the Germans in Belgium. Archives of the war were founded to collect all the documents relative to the history of Belgium from 1914 to 1918.
Bibliography.—From the historical point of view: H. Pirenne, Histoire de Belgique (5 vols.); idem, Les anciennes Democraties des Pays-Bas (English trans.); Cammaerts, Belgium. From the political point of view:—H. Van der Linden, History of Belgium; Van der Essen, A Short History of Belgium; E. Descailles, Charles Rogier; P. Hymans, Histoire parlementaire de la Belgique; idem, Frere Orbans; Van der Smissen, La Correspondance de Leopold I.avec M. Beernaert; Baffin, La Jeunesse de Leopold I.; Le Lime gris beige. From the economic and social points of view:—Seebohm-Rowntree, Comment diminuer la misere en Belgique; Levinski, Le developpement industriel de la Belgique; Waxweiler, Enquete Industriette (published by the Ministère du Travail); H. Charriaut, La Belgique Moderne; Passelecq, Les deportations des ouvriers beiges pendant la guerre. (H. P.; J. P.)
It cannot be said that any very extraordinary new talent either in prose or in poetry revealed itself in Belgian French literature between 1910 and 1921.
The fame of Maurice Maeterlinck and Emile Verhaeren remained world-wide. Maeterlinck's play L'Oiseau Bleu (1911) was first performed at Moscow, then in London (translated as The Blue Bird), and later in Paris and New York. The writer's poetic imagination and serene philosophy contributed to make his play intensely popular. A continuation under the title of The Betrothal was produced in London in 1921.
During the war Maeterlinck published, in 1916, a volume of articles he had written in various newspapers and lectures he had delivered in England, France and Italy, under the title of Les Débris de la Guerre. He also wrote L'Hôte Inconnu (1917), Le Miracle de St. Antoine (1919), Les Sentiers dans la Montague (1919) and Le Bourgmestre de Stilemonde (1920), a play dealing with the horrors of the German invasion in Belgium.
Emile Verhaeren's tragedy Hélène de Sparte was first published in German, translated by Stephan Zweig, then in Russian, and appeared in French in 1912, when it was performed in Paris. Verhaeren's forcible and rather rugged style is perhaps not absolutely suited to the subject he treats. His poems, however, Les Rythmes Souverains (1910), Les Villes à Pignons (1910), Les Fleurs du Soir (1911), Les Plaines (1911) and Les Blés Mouvants (1912), are as intense in feeling and vitality as his earlier work. Verhaeren's accidental death (he was crushed by a train in Rouen station Nov. 26 1916) was a great loss to Belgian literature. La Belgique Sanglante (1915), Parmi les Cendres (1916), Villes Meurtries de Belgique (1916), Les Ailes Rouges de la Guerre (1916) have been read and admired all the world over for their ardent patriotism and their righteous indignation as well as for their felicity of expression. These war poems will live wherever the French language is spoken.
In Les Libertins d'Anvers, Légende et Histoire des Loistes, Georges Eekhoud has told the story of the heretic sects in Antwerp in the i6th century. In this book Eekhoud, according to his custom, exalts his native city in her vices as well as in her virtues. Other books written by Eekhoud are Les Peintres Animaliers Belges (1911), and L'Imposteur magnanime, Perkin Warbeck (1914).
A tragedy in four acts by Camille Lemonnier, Edénie, set to music by Leon du Bois, was performed in Antwerp in 1912 with great success. The poem, written in blank verse, has all the charm of Lemonnier's vivid imagination and forcible style. Lemonnier died in 1913. His last book, Au Cœur frais de la Forét, was published in 1914.
Albert Giraud's La Frise Empourprée (1912) is a collection of poems, in which their author remains faithful to the Parnassian tradition. In 1919 Giraud published a volume of poems, Le Laurier, written in Brussels during the war, and in 1920 Éros et Psyche.
Ivan Gilkin published in 1911 poems called La Nuit, the first of three volumes, of which the others were to be called L'Aube and La Lumière, and in 1920 a play in blank verse, Le Roi Cophetua.
Grégoire Le Roy, in his collection of poems called Le Rouet et la Besace, illustrated by himself, deals with the sufferings of the poor. La Couronne des Soirs (1911), Contes d'après Minuit (1913) and Joe Trimborn (1913) are collections of short stories. Jean Dominique (pseudonym of Mlle. Marie Closset), whose volume of poems, Le Puits d'Azur, was published in 1912, is undoubtedly one of the most gifted of contemporary women writers. Mlle. Closset is a teacher and lives in Brussels. Another original and interesting woman writer, Neel Doff, has published Jours de Famine et Détresse (1911) and Contes Farouches (1913).
A considerable number of books and poems dealing with and inspired by the war were published by Belgian writers in England and France during the war, as well as in Belgium itself after the refugees and soldiers returned home. During the German occupation Belgians had necessarily been debarred from publishing works inspired by their patriotic feelings. Besides Verhaeren's war poems, Emile Cammaerts' Belgian Poems (1915) may be mentioned.
Professor Pirenne's Souvenirs de Captivité en Allemagne (1920) are a notable contribution to Belgian war literature in prose. An interesting book which consists of a series of essays on the war and the German occupation, L'Œil sur les Ostrogoths, by Ernest Verlant, director of Fine Arts, may live as a record of the impressions of a subtle mind and a cultivated personality. A monthly review Le Flambeau, published clandestinely in Brussels during the German occupation, by Oscar Grojean, Henri Grégoire and Anatole Muhlstein, a young Pole, and which continues to appear, edited by Grojean and Grégoire, is without doubt the most interesting literary and political review in Belgium. Amongst contemporary writers and poets in Belgium may be mentioned: Fernand Severin (La Solitude Heureuse, 1901); Max Elskamp (Sous les Tentes de l'Exode, 1921; Les Commentaires et l'Idiographie du jeu de Loto dans les Flandres, 1914); Georges Raemaekers (Les Saisons Mystiques, 1910); t'Serstevens (Un Apostolat); Blanche Rousseau (Le Rabaga, 1912; Lisette et sa Pantoufle, 1913); Glesener (Chronique d'un petit Pays, 1913).
In 1920 Crommelynck's play Le Cocu Magnifique created a sensation in Paris where it had a long run at the Theatre de l'Œuvre. In Brussels it obtained more or less of a " succes de scandale." It deals with a case of pathological jealousy. Crommelynck's other plays are Le Sculpteur de Masques (1908) and Les Amants Puerils (1921). Other Belgian plays include Kaatje and Malgré Ceux qui tombent, by Paul Spaak; Les Étapes, Les Liens and Les Semailles (1919) by Gustave van Zype, and Le Mariage de Mademoiselle Beulemans by Fonson and Wicheler, a picture of the life of the lower middle class in Brussels.
In Flemish literature there has been marked activity. Stijn Streuvels, a nephew of Guido Gezelle, and by profession a baker at Avelghem, a village in Flanders, has made a considerable reputation both in Belgium and in Holland. His descriptions of rural life are both poetic and realistic, and he has been compared to Tolstoi, whose psychological subtleties and epic amplitude Streuvels however does not possess. His style is of rare perfection, and this remark applies to the whole of the modern Flemish school of writers. Streuvels's work, Het Glorieryke Licht (The Glorious Light), was written in 1913. In 1914 he published Dorpslucht and in 1920 Genoveva van Brabant, a historical novel.
Cyriel Buysse may be called the Flemish Maupassant. He is a realist. His works, which deal with the life of the people both in towns and in the country and, to a lesser degree, with that of the middle classes, form a complete picture of Flemish life. Buysse is passionate, robust, full of revolt and of pity, very human. His De Vroolyke Thocht (The Joyous Expedition), Stemmingen (Impressions), and in collaboration with Virginie Leveling, a popular woman author, Levensleer (Education through Life) appeared between 1910 and 1912. In 1915 Buysse published Zomerleven (Life in the Summer), a sort of diary, and in 1921 Zooals Het Was (As It Was). Maurice Sabbe's De Nood der Bariseeles (The Plight of the Bariseeles), In 't Gedrang (1915, a book about the war), and 't Pastorke van Schaerdycke (1919, The Little Pastor of Schaerdycke) and E. Vermeulen's Herwording (Renaissance), which deals with the life of the peasants in West Flanders, may also be mentioned.
Rene de Clercq and Karel van de Woestyne are the most typical Flemish poets of the present generation. Ren6 de Clercq proceeds directly from the inspiration of Guido Gezelle (1830-89). His poems are essentially popular, vigorous, full of life and good spirits, although through these one feels his tenderness, his pity for the misery of the Flemish peasants. He has published a volume of Gedichten (Poems). Karel van de Woestyne has a more complex personality. His poems are very varied in feeling, sometimes simple and direct, at other times complicated, full of metaphors. His sphere is that of the soul, and for him things are real in so far only as they partake of the spiritual life. It is necessary to add that there are contrasts in Van de Woestyne's nature which he does not always dominate, and which give a certain want of harmony to his works. A volume containing prose essays on Flemish painters and writers is Kunst en Letien in Vlaanderen (Art and Life in Flanders). A volume of poems is De Gulden Schaden (The Golden Shadow). In 1918 Van de Woestyne wrote a book in poetic prose, mystic and difficult, called De Bestendige Aanwezigheid (The Eternal Presence), and in 1920 a volume of poems De Modderen Man (of which the nearest translation is The Man of Clay), the first volume of a trilogy. A new Belgian Flemish writer of outstanding importance is Felix Timmermans who, before he became celebrated in Belgium and Holland, sold sweets in a little shop in his native to wn of Lierre. Pallicter (1916) is epoch-making in contemporary Belgian literature. It is as forceful as Rabelais and yet tender and poetic, with a pantheistic feeling for nature: the ecstasy of a human being who incorporates himself with woods and streams, flowers and beasts, and who revels in every form of life. One may say that this book takes an important place in European literature. It had already reached 12 editions in 1921, and a French translation was then about to appear. Another book of Timmermans, Het Kindeken Jesus in Vlaanderen (1918, The Christ Child in Flanders), is a most poetical transplantation of the story of the childhood of Christ. This has already been done in Belgian French literature by Eugene Demolder. But whereas Demolder's book is full of literary devices Timmermans's comes as it were from the heart of the people. Another Flemish prose writer is Herman Teirlinck: De nieuive Uylenspiegel (1920, The New Eulenspiegel), a fantasy; and amongst the best-known recent poets Auguste van Cauwelaert, Frits Francken and Daan Boens may be mentioned. Cyriel Verschaeve has written a dramatic poem Judas, and Eug. Schmidt a play Het Kindernummer (a turn performed by a child at a music-hall).