Belgium Prior to WWIEdit
Belgium declared neutrality when it declared its independence from when it broke from the Netherlands in 1831. Great Britain had guarenteed Belgian independence in the Treaty of London in 1839. In 1914, the population of Belgian only totaled to about 7.5 million. Belgium did not believe in maintaing a large since they had no intentions of attacking the neighboring countries. Belgians believed that their neutrality would protect them from attacks.
Belgium During WWIEdit
Germany required the Schlieffen Plan in which German forces violated Belgium's neutrality in order to outflank the French Army which was concentrated in eastern France. German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg dismissed the Treaty of London. Throughout the beginning of WWI Germany engaged in numerous war crimes against the innocent Belgium people. In total 6,000 Belgians were killed, 25,000 homes and other buildings in 837 communities were destroyed. 1,500,000 Belgians fled from invading Germany.
Germany committed brutal acts against the Belgian people. In Dinant, the German army believed that the people were as dangerous as French soldiers themselves. German troops feared Belgian guerrilla fighters so they burned homes and executed civilians throughout eastern and central Belgium. In which in Aarschot 156 died, Andenne 211 died, Tamines 383 died, and in Dinant 674 dead. The victims were not soley men, but also women and children. On August 25, 1914, the German army ravaged the city of Leuven intentionally burning the University's library while killing 248 civilians. Over 2,000 buildings were looted for food and weapons and then transferred to Germany. In Aarschot women were repeatedly victimised between August and September.
Battle of YserEdit
Between October 16 through 31st in 1914 the front line was held by a large Belgian force which succeeded in halting the German advance, though only after heavy losses. After two months of defeats and retreats, the battle of Yser finally halted the invasion that gave Germans control of over 95% of Belgian territory. Victory in the battle allowed Belgium to retain control of a sliver of its territory while making King Albert a Belgian national hero