The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I

TitleThe Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsZuckerman, Larry
Number of Pages339
PublisherNew York University Press
CityNew York

In August 1914, the German Army invaded the neutral nation of Belgium, violating a treaty that the German chancellor dismissed as a "scrap of paper." The invaders terrorized the Belgians, shooting thousands of civilians and looting and burning scores of towns, including Louvain, which housed the country's preeminent university. This book recalls the bloodshed and destruction of the 1914 invasion, and the outrage it inspired abroad. The author then takes us on a harrowing journey over the next fifty months, documenting Germany's occupation of Belgium. Despite the duration of the siege and the destruction left in its wake, in considering Belgium, neither the Allies nor the history books focused on the occupation, and instead cast their attention almost wholly on the invasion. Featuring extensive archival research, including previously untapped Belgian government archives, this volume draws on a little-known story to emphasize the horrors of war. The author also shows why the Allies refrained from punishing the Germans for the occupation and suggests that had the victors followed through, Europe's reaction to the rise of Nazi Germany might have taken a very different course.

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