- Rape of Belgium
The Rape of Belgium (4 August through September 1914 [cite book | last = Zuckerman | first = Larry | authorlink = Larry Zuckerman | coauthors = | title = The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I | publisher = New York University Press | date = 2004 | location = New York | pages = | url = http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=271021113600404 | doi = | id = | isbn = 978-0-8147-9704-4 ] ) was a series of
German war crimesin the opening months of World War I. The neutrality of Belgiumhad been guaranteed by Prussiain 1839. Germany accepted Prussia's diplomatic obligations and offered additional guarantees in 1871 and at the Hague Conferencein 1907. However the German war plan, known as the Schlieffen Plan, called for Germanyto violate this neutrality in order to outflank the French Army, concentrated in eastern France. The German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollwegdismissed the Treaty of London, 1839as a mere "scrap of paper".
German troops, fearful of Belgian guerrilla fighters, or "
francs-tireurs", burned homes and executed innocent civilians throughout eastern and central Belgium, including Aarschot(156 dead), Andenne(211 dead), Tamines(383 dead) and Dinant(665 dead). The victims included women and children. On August 25, 1914the Germans ravaged the city of Leuven, burning the University's library of 230,000 books, killing 248 residents, and forcing the entire population, 42,000, to evacuate. These actions brought worldwide condemnation. [ Commission d'Enquete, Rapports et Documents d'Enquete, vol. 1, book 1. pp679-704, vol. 1, book 2. 1922. pp605-615. ]
The invasion of Belgium was cited by the
United Kingdomas a reason for entering the war on France's side. The war crimes galvanized support for the government's decision. They also sparked much wartime propaganda-- in sensationalist war posters in Britain, the Germans were drawn as Huns or gorillas, completely dehumanized and immoral. In his book "Roosevelt & Hitler", author Robert E. Herzstein states, "The Germans could not seem to find a way to counteract powerful British propaganda about the 'Rape of Belgium' and other alleged atrocities." (p.8). Reports paved the way for other propaganda of the war such as The Crucified Soldier, The Angels of Mons, and the German corpse factory, Kadaververwertungsanstalt.
In an attempt to substantiate the rumors, official commissions were established in Belgium and Britain. Thousands of witnesses were interviewed. While the conclusions of the British government in
The Bryce Reportwere correct, the Appendix included some dubious testimony, particularly from Belgian soldiers. Testimony in the reports of the Belgian commission, particularly in the two volumes on war crimes issued after the war, is more accurate.
In-depth historical studies on this subject include "German Atrocities 1914: A History of Denial" by John Horne and Alan Kramer, "The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War 1" by Larry Zuckerman, and "Rehearsals: The German Army in Belgium, August 1914" by Jeff Lipkes.
While some civilians may have fired on German troops in the opening days of the war, the German White Book ("Die völkererechtswidrige Führung des belgischen Volkskriegs") identified only two by name, both incorrectly. There were no legitimate trials or courts martial. None of the thousands of Belgian civilians deported to Germany was ever charged with any crime. There is good evidence that the German Army sought to terrorize civilians in order to assure a speedy passage through Belgium and to deter sabotage against supply lines. In some places, particularly Liege, Andenne, and Leuven, there is evidence that the violence against civilians was premeditated. [ J. Lipkes, Rehearsals: The German Army in Belgium, August 1914. 2007. pp543-574. ]
Even today, the war crimes of August 1914 are often dismissed as British propaganda. Scholars in the U.S. and U.K. began taking them seriously in the mid-1990s. The debate is now between those who believe the Germans acted primarily out of paranoia (Horne and Kramer) and those who emphasize additional causes (Lipkes). Zuckerman documents the continuing oppression of Belgians under German occupation, arguing that this is the real "rape of Belgium."
* [http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=48071096633975 H-Net] Review of Horne & Kramer, "The German Atrocities of 1914 : A History of Denial".
* [http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=271021113600404 H-Net] Review of L. Zuckerman, "The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I".
* [http://www.historyofwar.org/bookpage/lipkes_rehearsals.html HistoryOfWar.org] Review of J. Lipkes, "Rehearsals: The German Army in Belgium, August 1914".
* [http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.php?id=14776 H-Net] Review of J. Lipkes "Rehearsals: The German Army in Belgium, August 1914" by Jeffrey Smith.
* [http://www.janpieterchielens.be/shotatdawn/page39.html Prof. John Horne, "German War Crimes".]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Rape (disambiguation) — Rape derives from the Latin rapio , to seize . Rape may refer to:*Rape, forced sexual intercourse. **In some jurisdictions rape refers to other forms of sexual assault *Rape crisis centers, organisations that help victims of rape, sexual abuse,… … Wikipedia
Belgium — /bel jeuhm/, n. a kingdom in W Europe, bordering the North Sea, N of France. 10,203,683; 11,779 sq. mi. (30,508 sq. km). Cap.: Brussels. French, Belgique /bel zheek /; Flemish, België /bel khee euh/. * * * Belgium Introduction Belgium Background … Universalium
Belgium — A country the size of the state of Maryland situated in northwest Europe and surrounded by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and the North Sea. It was an advanced industrial economy and secondary imperial power by the late… … Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914
Belgium — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Belgium (disambiguation). Belgian redirects here. For the article on the people, see Belgians. Kingdom of Belgium Koninkrijk België (Dutch) Royaume de Belgique … Wikipedia
Rape during the occupation of Germany — Territorial changes and occupational zones of Nazi Germany after its defeat. Includes the front line along the Elbe from which U.S. troops withdrew in July 1945 As Allied troops entered and occupied German territory during the later stages of… … Wikipedia
Rape in the Bosnian War — During the Bosnian War many women from all Bosnian ethnic groups were raped. Estimates of the numbers raped range from 20,000 to 50,000. This has been referred to as mass rape , … Wikipedia
Rape Art Productions — Infobox record label name = Rape Art Productions image bg = parent = founded = 2002 founder = Javier Riera defunct = distributor = genre = Japanoise, Noise music, Harsh noise, Ambient country = location = Latacunga url =… … Wikipedia
History of Belgium — The history of Belgium, from pre history to the present day, is intertwined with the histories of its European neighbours, in particular those of the Netherlands and Luxembourg. A feature of modern history is the number of wars between other… … Wikipedia
Marital rape — Sex and the law Social issues Age of consent · Antisexualism Censorship · Essentialis … Wikipedia
German war crimes — The government of Germany ordered, organized and condoned several war crimes in both World War I and World War II. The most notable of these is the Holocaust in which millions of people were murdered or died from abuse and neglect, 60% of them… … Wikipedia