Although this policy was approved by the parliament, Belgium, in its determination to resist all aggression, constructed a line of defense from Namur to Antwerp. He was sworn in on December 6, 2011, becoming Belgium’s first Socialist prime minister since 1974, its first Francophone prime minister in more than three decades, and the EU’s first openly gay head of government. The answer to this question likely involves the troubled history of “propaganda” and its complex role in the war. Here the human problems began to multiply. Modern research, as we shall see, has confirmed that the Report’s conclusions were substantially correct. The federation counted around 120,000 members in 1920. Strikes broke out in the same year and led the tripartite government of Paul van Zeeland to establish paid holidays for workers and a 40-hour workweek for miners. until late September 1919. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. A coalition government formed in 1981 by the Liberals and the Social Christians pursued a program of restrictive monetarism and structural reform: the Belgian franc was devalued (1982), and the increase in the money supply was brought under control by cutting public services and by ending governmental subsidies to the old industries. Eight were elected in the legislative elections of 1919: three on the Frontpartij list, and five on the Catholic Party list. The reform failed, precipitating the fall of the government in March 1926.  Even if the war was over, these casualties contributed to the very palpable fear of social disturbance. The central role of Belgium (particularly Brussels) in the European unity project became more apparent, with massive urban renewal projects initiated in Brussels to make room for the expanding EU administrative corps. Brussels 1918, p. 415. Of course, Belgians refused to let them through, so the Germans decided to enter by force and invaded Belgium on Aug. 4, 1914. The above image is an extract from a proclamation by the German General Otto von Emmich, distributed widely in Belgium in the autumn of 1914 as the German army crossed the tiny nation’s borders and began its slow march south. Several days passed before order was reestablished in the capital city. In the process, Belgians tended to define their interests increasingly in international terms. No known copyright. After the warlike statements made after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28th June, 1914, the Belgian Army (43,000 men) were placed on its borders. De Bock, Stefan: Erkenning voor “onze helden aan den Ijzer”? This caused deep offence and he later apologized and praised the Belgians for their industrious qualities. The history of Belgium in World War I traces Belgium's role between the German invasion in 1914, through the continued military resistance and occupation of the territory by German forces to the armistice in 1918, as well as the role it played in the international war effort through its African colony and small force on the Eastern Front. By war’s end, the Germans would kill some 5,521 civilians in Belgium (and 896 in France). Belgium was less affected than its neighbours, but still suffered significant damage.
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