Malcolm & Dan Joe (WW1)

"Dan-Joe & Malcolm (WW1)" -- TOC

Ch. 3 - "The Rape Of Belgium"

Rape Of Belgium, Propaganda

The conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia (Map) also made the Russians nervous. The Russians had a "neurosis over control of the Balkans" as the Balkans was the key to Russia's back door; through which the Russians had to pass in order to get its ships in and out of the Black Sea.10 It made Germany nervous, too. Why! Some nation, like France, may get a head start on a war, the plans for which, as a military exercise, Germany had long since made.11 Such a head start -- it was thought by the military minds of the day -- would give the first starting nation an immediate superiority in the business of war making. And so it was, that Germany delivered an ultimatum to Belgium demanding permission to use their territory if it became necessary to prosecute a war with France, the ultimatum expired on August 3rd, 1914. On the following day, on the pretense that a French plane had violated German airspace, German troops moved across the Belgium border. This immediately triggered the involvement of both France and Great Britain as these two countries, many years back, had guaranteed Belgian's neutrality.12

In 1914, the German High Command thought it not too early to get their planned war underway. The plan was to attack and beat the French before the lumbering Russian army could get itself up to its western borders. The German desire was to take a piece of northern France, Alsace-Lorraine, which was once part of Germany, years ago. There was no logic - supposing that there is an inherent logic to waging war - to the way the Germans proceeded. To attack France, who was not a party to the eastern quarrel, and to do so by running over the declared neutral state of Belgium, is not logical if its intention was to assist, in the east, the Austrians in their quarrel with the Serbs.

(As for the term, "The Rape of Belgium," it is the usual historical term regarding the treatment of civilians by the Germans. Atrocities certainly seemed to have happened, as is usual in war; but in Great Britain it was likely blown up out of proportion. It is thought by a number of historians that "The Rape Of Belgium" was just so much British war-propaganda, given out in order to stir up support both at home and in America.)

NEXT [Chapter 4, "France On The Defensive"]


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Peter Landry
2015 (2018)