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So, it seems that, despite Belgian neutrality, the Germans in WW1 invaded, partly because it was in the way.  Going through Belgium was a frontier, and a way to get to France.  Over at WW1, there’s this description on how the German’s comported themselves:

Official Report by U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Brand Whitlock, to the U.S. Secretary of State, 12 September 1917

Over all this area, that is in the country lying about Vise, Liege, Dinant, Namur, Louvain, Vilverde, Malines, and Aerschot, a rich agricultural region dotted with innumerable towns, villages and hamlets, a land of contented peace and plenty, during all that month of August there were inflicted on the civilian population by the hordes that overran it deeds of such ruthless cruelty and unspeakable outrage that one must search history in vain for others like them committed on such a prodigious scale.

Towns were sacked and burned, homes were pillaged; in many places portions of the population, men, women, and children, were massed in public squares and mowed down by mitrailleuses, and there were countless individual instances of an amazing and shameless brutality.


Take, for example, the following cases: Battice, in the province of Liege, is about five kilometres from Bligny.  It was pillaged and burned on the 6th of August by Germans who had been repulsed before the forts of Liege.  Thirty-six persons, including three women, were massacred, the village methodically burned, and the church destroyed.

The Germans entered Aerschot on August 19th.  The greater part of the inhabitants who had remained in the town were shut up in the church for several days, receiving hardly any nourishment.  On August 28th they were marched to Louvain.  Upon their arrival there they were let loose and were fired upon by German soldiers.  The following day they were marched back to Aerschot, the men being again shut up in the church and the women were put in a building belonging to a Mr. Fontaine.  Many women and young girls, it is said, were raped by the German soldiers.  Upon one occasion seventy-eight men were taken outside the town and were made to pass before German gendarmes who struck them with the butts of their revolvers.  Of these seventy-eight men only three escaped death.

At another time a number of men were put in rows of three, the Germans shooting the third man in each row.  The Germans killed over one hundred and fifty of the inhabitants of Aerschot, and among this number were eight women and several children.  The pillage and firing of houses continued for several days, and a great quantity of furniture and objects of art were sent to Germany.  On the 6th of September, three hundred of the inhabitants were carted off in wagons to Germany.

There, is, of course, more detail to be had.  However, I didn’t want to copy and paste all of it.



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