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Title: Belgians Under the German Eagle
Author: Massart, Jean
Language: English
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Vice-Director of the Class of Sciences in the Royal Academy of Belgium

Translated by Bernard Miall

T. Fisher Unwin Ltd.
Adelphi Terrace

First published June 1916

(All rights reserved)


These pages were written in Belgium between the 4th August, 1914, and
the 15th August, 1915.

I employed in this work only those books and periodicals which
entered the country, whether secretly or openly, and which every one,
therefore, can procure.

But to drive conviction into the reader's mind I have observed a rule
of selection in using these documents: I have used those exclusively
which are of German origin, or which are censored by the Germans.

They are--

  (A) German posters exposed in Belgium.

  (B) Books and newspapers coming from Germany.

  (C) Newspapers published in Belgium under the German censorship.

  (D) The _Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant_, the only foreign newspaper
  which has been authorized in Belgium since the beginning of the
  occupation. As for the Belgian _Grey Books_, the Reports of the
  Commission of Inquiry, and books published in Belgium, of these I
  used only those which were known to us in Belgium before the 15th
  August, 1915.

In short, since I crossed the frontier I have not inserted a single
idea into this book: it therefore precisely reflects the state of mind
of a Belgian who has lived a year under the German domination.

I have forced myself to remain as far as possible objective, in order
to give my work the scientific rigour which characterizes the Reports
of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. I have simply transferred, to a
domain which is new to me, the methods of my customary occupations.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is a list of my principal sources, with the abbreviations which
denote them in the text:--

  _N.R.C._       _Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant._ From this journal
                    (with two exceptions) I have taken only those
                    articles which were not stopped by the German
  _K.Z._         _Kölnische Zeitung._
  _K.Vz._        _Kölnische Volkszeitung._
  _D.G.A._       _Düsseldorfer General-Anzeiger._
  _F.Z._         _Frankfurter Zeitung._
  _N.A.Z._       _Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung._
  1st to 12th Report.    _Reports of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry._
  1st and 2nd Belgian.   _Grey Books_.
  _Belg. All._   Davignon, _La Belgigue et l'Allemagne_.

The English edition is not a complete translation of the French text.
To save space, many facts, and above all, many quotations, have been

  J. M.

  _October, 1915_.



  =Preface=                                             1

  =Introduction=                                        9

  INTELLECTUAL LIFE IN BELGIUM                         12

  Prohibition of Newspapers and Verbal Communication--The
  German Censorship--Authorized German Newspapers--Authorized
  Dutch Newspapers--Newspapers
  introduced Surreptitiously--Secret Propagation of News--Secret
  Newspapers--German Placards--Regulations as to
  Correspondence--Railway Journeys.


  =The Violation of Neutrality=                        27

  A. THE PRELIMINARIES                                 27

  The Belgians' Distrust of Germany lulled--German
  Duplicity on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of August, 1914--The
  Ultimatum--The Speech of the Chancellor in the Reichstag.



  Necessity of influencing Neutrals--Absurdity of the First
  Accusations--A Change of Tactics--The Revelations of the
  _N.A.Z._--1. The Report of M. le Baron Griendl, some time
  Belgian Minister in Berlin--2. The Reports of Generals
  Ducarne and Jungbluth--The Attitude of the Belgians
  toward the German Falsifications--Neutral Opinion--The
  Falsification of M. de l'Escaille's Letter.


  The three successive Proposals of Wilhelm II to
  Belgium--Hostilities preceding the Declaration of War--The
  Pacific Character of Belgium--German Espionage in
  Belgium--The Mentality of the German Soldiers at the
  beginning of the Campaign--Letters from German
  Prisoners of War--German Lies respecting the Occupation
  of Liége--The sudden attack upon France is checked--The
  Disinterested Behaviour of Belgium.


  =Violations of the Hague Convention=                 63


  Murders Committed by the Germans from the Outset--Were
  there any "Francs-tireurs?"--The Obsession of
  the "Francs-tireurs" in the German Army--The Obsession
  of the "Francs-tireurs" in the Literature of the
  War--The Obsession of the "Francs-tireurs" in Literature
  and Art--Responsibility of the Leaders--Animosity
  toward the Clergy--Animosity toward Churches--Intentional
  Insufficiency of Preliminary Inquiries--A
  "Show" Inquiry--Mentality of an Officer charged with
  the Repression of "Francs-tireurs"--Drunkenness in the
  German Army--Cruelties necessary according to German
  Theories--Terrorization: "Reprisals" as a "Preventive"
  Incendiary Material--The two great Periods of Massacre--Protective
  Inscriptions--Accusations against the Belgian
  Government--Treatment of Civil Prisoners--The Return
  of Civil Prisoners--German Admission of the Innocence
  of the Civil Prisoners.

  B. THE "BELGIAN ATROCITIES"                          98

  The Pretended Cruelty of Belgian Civilians toward the
  German Army--Some Accusations--The Pretended
  Massacres of German Civilians--Preventive and Repressive
  Measures taken by the Belgian Authorities.


  Military Employment of Belgians by the Germans--Measures
  of Coercion taken by the Germans--Living
  Shields--A German Admission--Belgians placed before the
  Troops at Charleroi--Belgians placed before the Troops at
  Lebbeke, Tirlemont, Mons--Belgian Women placed before
  the Troops at Anseremme--Belgians forcibly detained at
  Ostend and Middelkerke--Bombardment of the Cathedral
  at Malines--The Pretended Observation-post on Notre-Dame
  of Antwerp--German Observation-posts admitted
  by the Germans--Pillage--Thefts of Stamps--Illegal
  Taxation--Fines for Telegraphic Interruptions--Fines
  for Attacks by "Francs-tireurs"--Hostages--Contributions
  and Requisitions--Contributions demanded from the
  Cities--Exactions of a Non-commissioned Officer--Requisitions
  of Raw Materials and Machinery--Conclusions--The
  Famine in Belgium--The Flight of the Belgians--The
  Causes of the Famine--Creation of Temporary
  Shelters--The National Relief Committee--Belgium's
  Gratitude to America.


  =The German Mind, Self-depicted=                    179

  A. PRIDE                                            179

  Some Manifestations of Pride and the Spirit of Boasting--1.
  Militarism--Might comes before Right--2. Disdain
  of Others--Some Inept Proclamations, etc.--Lies Concerning
  the Situation in Belgium--Lies concerning
  "Francs-tireurs"--3. Cynicism--Photographs and
  Picture-postcards--Alfred Heymel on the Battle of
  Charleroi--Surrender of the Critical Spirit. Refusal to
  Examine the Accusations of Cruelty--The Abolition of Free
  Discussion in Germany--German Credulity--Voluntary Blindness
  of the "Intellectuals"--The Manifesto of the
  "Ninety-three"--The Manifesto of the 3,125 Professors--The
  Protestant Pastors--The Catholic Priests and Rabbis.

  B. UNTRUTHFULNESS                                    217

  1. A Few Lies--Written Lies--A French Dirigible
  Captured by the Germans--The Transportation of the
  German Dead--Some Lying Placards--M. Max's Denial--How
  the Officers Lie to their Men--2. Perseverance in
  Falsehood--The German treatment of Mgr. Merrier--3.
  The Organization of Propaganda--(_a_) Propagandist
  Bureaux Operating in Germany--(_b_) Propagandist Matter
  issued by the Publishing Houses--(_c_) Propagandist
  Bureaux operating Abroad--Sincerity of the Censored
  Newspapers--Persecution of Uncensored Newspapers--(_d_)
  Various Propaganda--4. The Violation of Engagements--The
  Independence of Belgium--The Promise
  to respect the Patriotism of the Belgians--The Forced
  Striking of the Flag--The Belgian Colours forbidden
  in the Provinces--Prohibition of the Belgian Colours
  in Brussels--The "Te Deum" on the Patron Saints' Day
  of the King--The Portraits of the Royal Family--Obligation
  to Employ the German Language--The Belgian
  Army is our Enemy!--The "Brabançonne" Prohibited--The
  National Anniversary of July 21st--The Anniversary
  of the 4th August--School Inspection by the Germans.

  C. INCITEMENTS TO DISUNION                          282

  Incitements to Disloyalty--The Walloons incited against
  the Flemings--Inciting the People against the Belgian
  Government--Inciting the Belgians against the English.


  (_a_) Present Prosperity in Belgium--Assertions of the
  German Authorities--The Parasitical Exploitation of
  Belgium admitted by Germany--The Tenfold Tax on
  Absentees--Railway Traffic in Belgium--Trouble with the
  Artisans of Luttre--Traffic suppressed at Malines--(_b_)
  The Germans' Talent for Organization--Conflict between
  Authorities--Supression of the Bureau of Free Assessment--The
  Belgian Red Cross Committee Suppressed--(_c_)
  The Belgian Attitude toward the Germans--(_d_) Behaviour
  of the German Administration--The Appeal to
  Informers--German Espionage--Agents-Provocateurs or

  E. FEROCITY                                         333

  1. Aggravations--Treatment inflicted upon Belgian Ladies--Filthy
  Amusements--2. Physical Tortures--The Fate
  of the Valkenaers Family--3. Moral Tortures--Moral
  Torture before Execution.

  =Index=                                             361


Bismarck was given to quoting, with approval, a saying which has often
been attributed to him, but which was, in reality, first made in his
presence by a hero of the American Civil War--General Sheridan. It was,
that the people of a country occupied by a conquering army should be
left nothing--save eyes to weep with!

And we Belgians, truly, are weeping: weeping for our native country,
invaded, in contempt of the most solemn conventions, by one of the
signatories of those treaties; weeping for our villages, which
are levelled to the ground, and our cities, which are burned; our
monuments, which are broken by shell-fire, and our treasures of art
and science, which are for ever destroyed. We mourn to think of those
hundreds of thousands of our countrymen who have wandered without
shelter along the highways of Europe; of Belgium, lately so proud
of her prosperity, but now taxed and crushed and exhausted by war
requisitions and contributions, and reduced to holding out her hand for
public charity.

Who could help but weep when, in Flanders, our soldiers are defending
the very last corner of our territory; when, in our villages, men, old
folks, women, and children have been, and are yet, shot down without
pity in reprisal for imaginary crimes; when thousands of civilians
are imprisoned in Germany as hostages; when the burgomaster of the
capital, for daring to defend the rights of his constituents, is
confined in a Silesian prison;[1] when our rural clergy is decimated,
to such a point that divine service has necessarily been suspended
in entire cantons; when a scholar like Van Gehuchten dies in exile,
after seeing his manuscripts and his drawings, the fruit of ten years'
labours, disappear in the flames of Louvain?

       *       *       *       *       *

Our sobs are mingled with tears of gratitude for the compassionate
intervention of Holland, America, Spain, the Scandinavian countries,
Switzerland, and Italy ... not forgetting our Allies. It is this
generosity that has prevented us from dying of hunger and want; a
million of our refugees have found in Holland a fraternal succour which
has never for a moment been relaxed; the United States, thanks to the
influence and the incomparable activity of their Minister in Brussels,
Mr. Brand Whitlock, supply us with our daily bread.

Belgium will never forget the exactions of those who have reduced to
famine one of the richest and most fertile countries in the world, nor
the unequalled charity of the nations which have enabled us to live to
this day, and have saved us from death by starvation.

       *       *       *       *       *

We are weeping! But we do not surrender ourselves to despair, for we
have kept intact our faith in the future, and the firm resolve to leave
no stone unturned that we may for ever be spared such another trial.
Above all, we refuse to bow our heads beneath the yoke. In vain have
the Germans afflicted us with increasingly unjust and unjustifiable
and vexatious demands; they will never daunt us. Let them proscribe
the Belgian flag as a seditious emblem; we have no need to unfurl it
to remain faithful to it; they are welcome to forbid the _Te Deum_
on the day of the King's patron saint; since the King and the Queen
are valiantly sharing, on the Yser, in the efforts and the sufferings
of our brothers and our sons, royalty has no firmer supporters among
us than the leaders of Socialism. No, we assuredly are not ready to
abandon ourselves to despair. And nothing can sustain us more than the
international sympathies by which we feel ourselves surrounded in this
our unmerited misfortune.

       *       *       *       *       *

The time has not yet come to judge the events which have delivered
Europe to fire and blood. Yet we hold that it is the duty of all those
who believe themselves in a position usefully to intervene to make
themselves heard. For Germany possesses so perfect an organization for
the diffusion of her propaganda in foreign countries, that the public
opinion of neutral States, hearing but one side of the question, would
finally come to believe our enemies.

It would be useless and ineffectual to accumulate, as did the
ninety-three German "intellectuals," among others, a number of denials
and affirmations, without supporting them by a single definite fact. We
do not wish to put forward anything which we cannot immediately support
by easily verified proofs. This rule which we have compelled ourselves
to observe, has forced us narrowly to limit our field of investigation.
We shall speak only of actions and intellectual manifestations which
are immediately connected with the present war; and as the field
would be too vast even when so circumscribed, we shall say nothing of
military operations properly so-called, nor of all that has happened
beyond the Belgian frontiers. We do not propose to write a history. We
leave to those more competent the task of extricating the truth as to
present events; we shall content ourselves with taking indisputable
documents, which are nearly always cuttings from German books, or
German newspapers, or German posters, and with analysing their mental
significance; and, further, with showing how the Belgians react against
the actions recorded.

In the following pages we shall first of all examine the _violation
of Belgian neutrality by Germany_, then the _infractions of the Hague
Convention of 18th October, 1907_. We shall be careful to invoke only
_precise and unquestionable facts_; but for that matter the number of
German infractions of the law of nations in Belgium is so enormous
that we have been able provisionally to exclude all those which are
not established in the most positive manner. At the same time we
shall endeavour to derive from these facts a few indications as to
our enemies' manner of thinking. This last will be studied in further
detail in a third chapter: _German Mentality Self-depicted_.


A few words as to the documents utilized.

As the Germans occupied our country they took pains to isolate us from
the rest of the world. They immediately suppressed all our journals,
as these naturally refused to submit to their censorship. At the same
time the Germans forced certain journals to reappear; notably _L'Ami de
l'Ordre_, at Namur, and _Le Bien Public_, at Gand. The first of these
journals took care frankly to inform its readers that the military
authorities were forcing it to continue publication.

As for foreign newspapers, their introduction was forbidden under heavy

_Prohibition of Newspapers and Verbal Communications._[2]


  Although the District Commandant[3] is continually causing
  authentic news of the military operations to be published, the
  foreign newspapers are intentionally publishing false news.

  It is brought to the knowledge of the public that it is therefore
  strictly forbidden to any one whomsoever to introduce into Spa and
  the surrounding district newspapers other than German, without the
  previous authorization of the District Commandant.

  Offenders will be punished according to the laws of war.

  The same penalties will be applied to those who have verbally
  spread false news.

  ASKE, _Colonel_.

  SPA, _22nd September, 1914_.
  (_Placard posted at Spa._)


  I call the attention of the population of Belgium to the fact that
  the sale and distribution of newspapers and of all news reproduced
  by letterpress or in any other manner which is not expressly
  authorized by the German censorship is strictly prohibited. Every
  offender will be immediately arrested and punished by a long term
  of imprisonment.


  BRUSSELS, _4th November, 1914_.
  (_Posted in Brussels._)


  In pursuance of 18, 2 of the Imperial decree of 28th December 1899,
  the following persons have been punished:--

  (_a_) The coal-merchant Jules Pousseur, of Jambes, with 2 months'
  imprisonment and a fine of 100 marks, or 20 days' additional

  (_b_) His daughter, Camille Pousseur, with 2 months' imprisonment,
  because they frequently bought foreign newspapers and articles
  from newspapers whose sale is prohibited; and further because the
  daughter copied and collected, with the knowledge and permission
  of her father, poems and articles hostile to Germany, containing,
  for the most part, vulgar and obscene insults in respect of the
  Emperor, the Confederate Princes, and the German Army; and because
  she further, as one may fully realize from the careful manner in
  which the numerous copies were made, communicated the originals to
  others, and finally because Jules Pousseur admits that he has for
  some time been engaged in forwarding letters, which is forbidden.

The terms of imprisonment will run from the first day of detention. The
copies and other writings will be retained.

_L'Ami de l'Ordre_, _4th April, 1915_.

_The German Censorship._

After the 20th August the eastern half of Belgium was thus deprived of
all intellectual communication with the outside world. For a fortnight
we were left absolutely without news. Then, from the 5th September,
the German Government permitted the publication of journals which were
carefully expurgated, and falsified by a rigorous censorship:[4] _Le
Quotidien_, _Le Bruxellois_, _L'Écho de Bruxelles_, _Les Dernières
Nouvelles_; and later _Le Belge_, _La Belgique_, _La Patrie_, etc., in
Brussels, _L'Avenir_ in Antwerp, and many more. Although submitted to
the censorship, the appearance of these newspapers was only provisional
and uncertain. _Le Bien Public_ reminds its readers of the fact in its
issue for the 13th December, 1914. All these journals were on occasion
suspended; for example, _Le Quotidien_, from the 9th to the 11th
December, 1914, without any reason being given; _L'Ami de l'Ordre_,
from the 2nd to the 7th September, 1914, for having printed an acrostic
regarded as insulting; and _Le Bien Public_, during the whole of May,

The illustrated journals were as much subject to the censorship as
the ordinary newspapers. Numbers 1 to 3 of _1914 Illustré_, published
before the arrival of the Germans, could no longer be exposed for
sale: No. 1 containing portraits of King Albert, Nicholas II, M.
Poincaré, and King George V; No. 2 the portrait of General Leman, and
No. 3 that of M. Max. From November onwards the issues were severely
edited, so that they contained, for example, scarcely any more
photographs of towns burned by the German army. The other illustrated
papers--_Actualité Illustré_, _Le Temps Présent_, etc., also had none
but anodyne photographs, such as portraits of the new masters, military
and civil.

In some degree to replace the newspapers, the printers conceived the
idea of publishing little booklets relating to the war, but giving
no direct news of the military operations. These publications were
naturally subjected to the censorship, and many of those which were
published before the decree of the 13th October, 1914, were prohibited;
it was thus with the very interesting brochure, _M. Adolphe Max,
bourgmestre de Bruxelles, son administration du 20th août au 26th
septembre, 1914_, and the Nos. 1 to 10 of the booklets issued by Mr.
Brian Hill. Illustrated postcards also were censored; the series in
course of publication, representing the ruins of Louvain, Dinant,
Charleroi, Liége, etc., had to be interrupted. Music even had to
receive the official approbation (_see_ the placard of 27th March,
1915, p. 274).

In short, it will be seen that our public life already very closely
approached the German ideal: _Alles ist verboten_. To think that
Belgium, so justly proud of her constitutional liberties, is now
crushed, breathless, under the heavy Prussian jack-boot!

_Authorized German Newspapers._

As a compensation for those which the German Administration felt
obliged to suppress, it allowed us, about the 10th September,
to receive some German newspapers--the _Kölnische Zeitung_,
_Kölnische Volkszeitung_, _Düsseldorfer Tageblatt_, _Düsseldorfer
General-Anzieger_, and also a few illustrated papers, notably the
_Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung_, _Die Wochenschau_, _Du Kriegs-Echo_.
At a later date other newspapers were tolerated: _Vossissche Zeitung_,
_Berliner Tageblatt_, _Frankfurter Zeitung_, _Berliner Zeitung am
Mittag_, _L'Ami du Peuple_ (a special edition, for Belgium, in French
and German, of _Der Volksfreund_, of Aix-la-Chapelle), and also some
new illustrated papers, for example, _Kriegsbilder_, _Zeit im Bild_,
and above all the _Illustrierte Kriegs-Kurier_, published in German,
Flemish, French, and English,[5] whose sixteen pages, all covered
with illustrations, cost only 15 centimes: evidently an instrument of
propaganda, subsidized by the Central Administration. We shall have
occasion later on to insist on its veracity, if one may call it that.
For a long time none of these journals reached us regularly.

We had also access to two journals published by the Government
itself: (1) the _Deutsche Soldatenpost_ (_Herausgegeben von der
Zivil-Vorwaltung des General-Gouverneurs in Belgiën_), originally
reserved for soldiers, but which was also sold to civilians--in a very
intermittent fashion, it is true--from September 1914 to the beginning
of December 1914; (2) _Le Réveil_ (_Écho de la Presse, Journal officiel
du Bureau allemand à Düsseldorf pour la publication de nouvelles
authentiques à l'étranger_), the latter being published simultaneously
in French and German. Forty-nine numbers were published. It felt such
an insurmountable disgust for untruth that having announced in the
introductory article of its first number that Belgium was entirely
in the hands of the Germans, it spoke, in a neighbouring column, of
battles in Western Flanders between the Germans and the Allies. Let
us say at once that from the point of view of sincerity and liberty
of opinion all the newspapers of the Trans-Rhenian world are of equal
worth: official or otherwise, they only publish that which is allowed,
or rather, inspired, by the Government.

_Authorized Dutch Newspapers._

One newspaper not subject to the Imperial censorship, one only, has
found grace with the authorities--the _Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant_.
Its tendencies, clearly favourable to Germany, enable it to penetrate
into Belgium; but not equally all over the country. At Gand one may
subscribe to it; but its sale in single numbers is prohibited. In
Antwerp it was proscribed for several months from the 7th December.

At Louvain and Brussels it may be sold in the street, and also supplied
to subscribers. But it must not be supposed that the paper is anywhere
regularly distributed; the edition of the morning of the 10th November,
1914, was forwarded on the 27th November to a few subscribers who
were particularly persistent in their demands; it is true that this
number contains the article on the letters of prisoners of war made
by the Belgians (pp. 104-5), and that these letters annihilate not a
few accusations made by the Germans, while they throw a singular light
on their lies and acts of pillage. As for the issues for the 6th,
7th, and 8th December, 1914, they were never distributed; an official
announcement, which appeared in _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ of the 9th and 10th
December states that these numbers contain "inadmissible communications
as to the dislocation of troops." The issues of the 24th, 25th, and
26th December were also withheld. Since January 1915 some ten numbers
have been prohibited each month.

From the _Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant_ we have copied only the
articles by contributors and correspondents of the journal itself; it
has seemed to us that to reproduce articles extracted from Belgian
newspapers was a proceeding which, while quite usual among the Germans,
is not entirely honest.

Another Dutch journal, the _Algemeen Handelsblad_ of Amsterdam, arrived
in Brussels at the beginning of November; but its licence was withdrawn
at the end of a week.

From February 1915 its sale was again authorized in Belgium. At
the same time the introduction of a few other Dutch journals was
permitted, their pro-German character being indubitable: such were _Het
Vaterland_, _De Maasbode_, _De Nieuwe Courant_.

_Newspapers introduced surreptitiously._

Let us say at once that despite all prohibitions and all the sentences
pronounced, prohibited newspapers continue to trickle into the occupied
portion of the country. These newspapers were at first those which were
normally appearing in the towns not yet subject to German authority.
Thus _La Métropole_ and _Le Matin_ of Antwerp, _Le Bien Public_ and
_La Flandre Libérale_ of Gand were very soon carried as contraband and
secretly sold in Brussels. Again, in the regions not yet invaded, some
of the newspapers of the towns already occupied were printed: thus
_L'Indépendance Belge_ of Brussels appeared at Ostend until the arrival
of the Germans in that town.

The agents who sold these newspapers had also foreign papers,
especially French and English. Later, when all Belgium, save a corner
of Flanders, was subjected to the Germans, a number of Belgian papers
were printed abroad: _La Métropole_ and _L'Indépendance Belge_ in
London and _Le XX^e Siècle_ at Havre.

We also used to receive from time to time occasional newspapers
published by Belgian refugees abroad. Of these we may cite: _L'Écho
Belge_, of Amsterdam, _La Belgique_, of Rotterdam, _Les Nouvelles_, and
_Le Courrier de la Meuse_, of Maastricht.

It will be understood that prohibited journals are rare. On certain
days, when the hunt for the vendors is particularly fruitful, people
will offer fifty francs, or even two hundred, for a copy of the
_Times_. As it is chiefly across the Dutch frontier that the smuggling
of the English "dailies" is carried on, the authorities have enacted
measures which grow more and more Draconian relating to the traffic
across this frontier. By the end of 1914 it had become practically
impossible to enter Belgium from Holland by the ordinary route (_see_
the _Düsseldorfer General-Anzeiger_ of the 20th December, 1915). The
smugglers of journals are therefore obliged to insinuate themselves in
secret, and their trade is not without danger; only in the suburbs of
Putte (province of Antwerp) the German sentinels killed two of them in
December 1914.

Since the spring of 1915 the frontier has been guarded with barbed wire
and wires traversed by high-tension electric currents; the crossing has
naturally become more difficult. But "difficult" is not "impossible."

_Secret Propagation of News._

So that a greater number of readers may profit by the newspapers
smuggled into the country, the important passages, especially those
relating to military operations, are copied by means of the typewriter.
These extracts are searched after as much as the originals, but none
the less there are those who continue to prepare and to distribute
them in secret. In Brussels alone there are fifteen of these secret
sheets, each of which has its public of subscribers; many of them are
gratuitous. From time to time our oppressors scent out one of these
typewriting establishments, but some other devoted person immediately
continues the business.

In certain well-known establishments one could, for a time, obtain
the use of a newspaper for ten minutes for one or two francs; but the
secret was finally betrayed, thanks to one or other of the innumerable
spies supported by the Government.

_Secret Newspapers._

Finally, not a few persons, possessing a typewriting machine or other
means of reproducing writing, copy and sell clandestinely, for the
profit of some charitable undertaking, articles from foreign newspapers
or reviews, which bear upon the current political situation. Many
documents have reached us in this form.

Lastly, courageous Belgians have undertaken to print, in the midst of
the occupied territory, and in spite of all the German prohibitions,
newspapers which reach a circulation of many thousands. The two most
important are _La Libre Belgique_ and _La Vérité_. In vain have our
persecutors promised the most enticing rewards to those who should
denounce the authors of these sheets; they continue imperturbably to
appear. Which proves, be it said in passing, that the Germans lie most
horribly when they state that numbers of Belgians send them anonymous

_German Placards._

Our intellectual pasture also includes placards. In the first place,
the _Notices_, _Orders_, and _Proclamations_ of all kinds. Then the
_News published by the German Government_, placards usually written in
three languages, in the principal towns. In Brussels, where they are
known as _Lustige Blätter_, they are particularly numerous. At Louvain,
Vilverde, and Mons they are in manuscript, and usually written in
German only.

Two important sources of documentation are completely closed:
photography and correspondence by post. The taking and reproduction of
photographs is strictly prohibited, above all in the towns ruined by
the Germans.


  Whosoever produces, without authorization, representations of
  destruction caused by the war, or who displays, offers for sale,
  sells, or otherwise distributes, by means of postcards, illustrated
  reviews, daily newspapers, or other periodicals containing such
  representations, above all of buildings or localities burned or
  devastated by the war, will be punished by a fine not exceeding
  5,000 marks or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.
  The seizure of formes and plates which shall have served for
  the reproduction of these representations, as well as their
  destruction, may also be ordered.

  _General of Infantry_.

  ANTWERP, _1st December, 1914_.
  (_Posted at Antwerp._)

_Regulations as to Correspondence._

The sending of letters by carrier is prohibited. Until about the
middle of December correspondence was carried from town to town by
the carriers who undertake the goods traffic since the suspension of
the railways; one could still, therefore, easily enough obtain news.
But, as a souvenir of his joyous entry, the Herr Baron von Bissing,
who succeeded the Herr Baron von der Goltz as Governor-General in
Belgium, suppressed this little supplementary vocation of the carriers.
Thus Senator Speyer was condemned to pay a fine of 1,000 marks and to
undergo 10 days' imprisonment for the conveyance of letters. We have
no longer the resource of sending letters by carrier pigeons, as these
are closely scrutinized by the Germans. Finally, two remaining methods
of transmitting letters were taken from us: the use of a bow and arrow
(_N.R.C._, 1st January, 1915), and enclosure in a loaf baked in Holland
and sold in Belgium. So it is needless to say that we have neither
telegraph nor telephone.

There is nothing to be done but to go in search of information oneself,
after finding out the hours (highly variable) during which one is
allowed to "circulate" in the localities through which one has to pass.

Since then it has become very difficult to obtain precise information
as to an event which has occurred in another locality, for obviously
one cannot trust a missive of this kind to the German post, which
accepts only open letters, and passes them through a _cabinet noir_;
moreover, it does not guarantee communication with all points.


  After 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Belgian) there must be no lights in the
  windows of the houses of the town of Herve.

  The patrol has orders to fire into every window lit up, giving upon
  the street.

  AD. CAJOT, _Sheriff_.
  F. DE FRANCQUEX, _Judge_.

  (_Posted at Herve._)

It must also be explained what administrative formalities one
had to fulfil in order to obtain a lodging. Thus, from January
1915 no one could obtain a lodging in Gand, whether in an hotel,
or a boarding-house, or apartments, without first obtaining the
authorization of the _Kommandantur_.

_Railway Journeys._

Once furnished with a proper passport, one has only to set out. By
suitably arranging one's route, one can often take advantage of
the local tramways. All other means of communication are extremely
precarious. The automobile is forbidden. Horses have been requisitioned
by the military authorities.

  _November 1914._


  _of railways at present operating in Belgium under the
  administration of the German Government_. With details of journeys.
  Price, 0 _fr._ 10.


  A certain number of trains have during the last few days been run
  over the Belgian railways by the German Government.

  These are:--

  1. Brussels--Aix-la-Chapelle.
  2. Brussels--Lille.
  3. Brussels--Namur.
  4. Brussels--Charleroi.
  5. Louvain--Charleroi.
  6. Brussels--Antwerp.
  7. Brussels--Courtrai.

  Owing to the defective state of the lines and the telegraphic and
  signalling apparatus, these trains can as yet travel only at a
  moderate pace, and the duration of the journey is not guaranteed.
  For this reason it is prudent to provide oneself on departure with
  the necessary provisions for the journey.

       *       *       *       *       *

The time-table of the railways is often made up in such a way that the
Belgian cannot make use of the trains. Thus the only train leaving
Brussels for Mons in November 1914 reached Mons at 9 p.m. But after
9 p.m. it is forbidden to walk through the streets of Mons. The only
train leaving Mons for Brussels leaves at 12.14 a.m., but one may not
"circulate" in the streets of Mons earlier than 4 a.m.

We see to what extremities the Belgian population is reduced. Well,
well!--despite all these difficulties, we have procured documents of
great importance. We cannot, unfortunately, publish them all at this
juncture; for they would result in the identification of those who
conveyed them to us, and expose them to reprisals; and we have learned,
to our cost, all that this term signifies according to the ideas of our
present rulers.

       *       *       *       *       *

This work, then, will necessarily be incomplete. We publish it only
because we think it useful to demonstrate that in spite of all the
annoyances which they receive at the hands of the Germans, the Belgians
do not allow themselves to be intimidated. Moreover, whatever may be
the provisional lacunæ (mostly intentional) of our documentation, we
cannot in any case be reproached with falsification. This, whatever our
enemies may think, is a point of capital importance.


[1] Since this was written, M. Max is reported to have been released,
and to be living in Switzerland.

[2] These documents are as far as possible translated literally, any
inelegancies of diction may probably be attributed to the German
authors, whose syntax is often peculiar.--(TRANS.)

[3] _Commandant de Place._--(TRANS.)

[4] We give examples of this censorship later (pp. 256-60).

[5] The English text was soon discontinued.



A.--The Preliminaries.

We were too confiding.

With the exception of the military and a few statesmen, the Belgians
were convinced that nations, just as individuals, were bound by
their engagements, and that as long as we remained faithful to our
international obligations, the signatories of the Treaty of London
(19th April, 1839), which set forth the conditions of the neutrality,
or rather of the neutralization, of Belgium (_Belg. All._, p. 3), would
equally observe their obligations towards us.

However, in 1911, during the "Agadir crisis," our calm was a little
shaken by a series of articles in _Le Soir_. According to this journal,
all the German military writers held the invasion of Belgium to be
inevitable in the event of a war between France and Germany.

_The Belgians' Distrust of Germany lulled._

But our faith in international conventions--just a trifle ingenuous, it
may be--very soon regained its comforting influence. Had not Wilhelm
II, "the Emperor of Peace," assured the Belgian mission, which was
sent to greet him at Aix-la-Chapelle, that Belgium had nothing to fear
on the part of Germany (see _L'Étoile Belge_, 19th October, 1911). In
September 1912 the Emperor made a fresh reassuring statement. Being
present at the Swiss manoeuvres, he congratulated M. Forster, President
of the Swiss Confederation, and told him how glad he was to find that
the Swiss Army would effectually defend the integrity of her frontier
against a French attack. "What a pity," he added, "that the Belgian
Army is not as well prepared, and is incapable of resisting French
aggression." This evidently meant that Belgium ran no risk from the
side of Prussia.

It was not only the Emperor who assured us of his profound respect for
international statutes. The German Ministers made similar declarations
in the Reichstag (_Belg. All._, p. 7).

In Belgium itself the Germans profited by every occasion to celebrate
their friendship for us and their respect for treaties. In 1905, at
the time of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Belgian independence,
Herr Graf von Wallwitz stated at an official reception: "And as for
us Germans, the maintenance of the treaty of warranty concluded at
the birth of modern Belgium is a sort of political axiom which, to
our thinking, no one could violate without committing the gravest of
faults" (_see_ p. 185 of the _Annales parlementaires belges, Senate,

In 1913, at the time of the joyous entry of the King and Queen into
Liége, General von Emmich, the same who was entrusted with the
bombardment of the city in August 1914, came to salute our sovereigns
in the name of the Emperor. He spoke incessantly of the German
sympathies for the Belgians and their country.

In August 1913 Herr Erzberger gave his word of honour, as Catholic
deputy to the Reichstag, that there had never been any question of
invading Belgium, and that Belgium might always count on the party of
the Centre to cause international engagements to be respected. This is
the very party that is now heaping up manifest falsehoods in order to
justify the aggression of Germany.

_German Duplicity on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of August, 1914._

Let us consider the days immediately preceding the war. The German
newspapers were announcing that the troops occupying, at normal times,
the camps near the Belgian frontiers had been directed upon Alsace and
Lorraine; and these articles, reproduced in Belgium, had succeeded in
finally lulling our suspicions.

In the currents of thought which were then clashing in Belgium, it was
confidence that carried the day. Many of us who were present on the 1st
of August at a session of the Royal Academy of Belgium, were speaking,
before the session was opened, of the serious events which were
approaching, the war already declared between Austria and Serbia, and
the conflict which appeared imminent between Germany, France, Russia,
and England. Yet no one imagined that Belgium could be drawn into the
conflagration. That very morning, it was related, France had officially
renewed, through her Minister in Brussels, the assurance that she
would faithfully abstain from violating the neutrality of Belgium (1st
_Grey Book_, No. 15); and there was no reason to doubt his words. A
few days earlier the German Minister in Brussels had affirmed that his
country had too much respect for international conventions to permit
herself to transgress them; and we believed him too! Oh, simplicity!
We still believed him, on the following day, when he repeated the
same declaration (1st _Grey Book_, No. 19; _Belg. All._, p. 7). And
on the evening of that Sunday, the 2nd of August, he presented to our
Government the ultimatum of Germany (1st _Grey Book_, No. 20).

_The Ultimatum._

The telegram of the 2nd of August, by which Herr von Jagow sent the
ultimatum to the German Minister in Brussels, declared: "Please
forward this Note to the Belgian Government, in a strictly official
communication, at eight o'clock this evening, and demand therefrom
a definite reply in the course of twelve hours, that is, at eight
o'clock to-morrow morning" (_Lüttich_, p. 4). Never, since Belgium's
birth, had a problem so breathless been placed before her Government.
And Germany left her twelve hours to solve it: twelve hours of the
night! She was not willing that our Government should have time to
reflect at leisure; she hoped that in a crisis of distraction Belgium,
taken at a disadvantage and forgetful of her dignity, would accept the

       *       *       *       *       *

However, the German Minister in Brussels continued to offer us
explanations which were as perfidious as they were confused and
obscure, and to assure us up to the last of the friendly intentions
of his Government. The Germany fashioned by Bismarck has assuredly
nothing about it to remind us of the Germany of Goethe and Fichte. We
might have guessed as much, for that matter, when we saw the Germans
glorifying the man who _boasted_ of having falsified the famous Ems
telegram in order to make the war of 1870 inevitable, and who succeeded
in making his countrymen accept, as a guiding principle, that "might
comes before right."

_The Speech of the Chancellor in the Reichstag._

However, we may suppose that some slight scruples lingered in the
recesses of the German conscience, since on the very day when the
Chancellor of the Empire told the British Ambassador in Berlin that
an international convention is merely "a scrap of paper,"[6] and
that neutrality is only a word, he recognized, in his speech to the
Reichstag, that the invasion of Belgium constituted an injustice;
but he immediately excused this violation of the law of nations by
strategic necessities.

B.--Justification of the Entry into Belgium.

"Strategic necessities!" said the German Chancellor. These necessities
are expounded in the ultimatum, and may be summed up thus: "Germany
knows that France is preparing to attack her through Belgium."

The first question which occurs to us is: Was France really preparing
to cross our territory, and had she massed troops near our frontier?
There is assuredly no one outside Germany who would admit this. Indeed,
if important bodies of troops had been massed in the north of France
they could effectually have opposed the advance of the Germans through
Belgium. Now in all the battles which the French fought in our country
their numbers were much too small to resist the Germans. Let us also
remark that these attempts on the part of the French were made on
the 15th August at Dinant, the 19th August at Perwez, and the 23rd
August at Semois. How then can any one believe that the French were
massed close to our frontier as early as 3rd August? Moreover, the map
published in the _N.R.C._ of the 16th December, 1914, confirms the
untruthfulness of the German allegations.

This "strategic reason" was again invoked by the Chancellor of the
Empire on the 4th August. But owing to the irrefutable manner in which
the tardiness of the French movements disproved this assertion the
latter is no longer uttered, save in an evasive manner. The German no
longer says: "France was ready to cross into Belgium," but "France
would not have failed to enter Belgium, and we simply outstripped her."
It is thus that Count Bernstoff, the German ambassador to Washington,
expressed himself in the interview published by _L'Indépendant_ in
September 1914, while the same assertion is found in the manifesto of
the ninety-three German "Intellectuals" and the letter addressed by
Herr Max Bewer to M. Maeterlinck (in the _D.G.A._ of October 1914 and
the _Soldatenpost_ of the 14th October, 1914).

Let us now ask if Germany had such suspicions of France as amounted to
a semi-certitude? In other words, was she sincere in declaring that
she knew that France was on the point of invading Belgium? We do not
hesitate to assert that she was lying: for if she had really believed
that France was ready to violate our neutrality it would have been
enormously to her advantage to wait until the violation was committed.
For Belgium has always asserted that in case of war between France and
Germany she would resist by arms the first invader and immediately join
herself to the other Power. Now Germany, however profound her political
perversity may be, had no reason to suspect the sincerity of Belgium;
she knew then--and this time she _did_ know--that by allowing the
French to enter our country she would assure herself of the assistance
of our army against her enemy. And scanty as was her esteem for the
Belgian soldiers--perhaps she has since had occasion to change her
mind!--it was none the less obviously to her interest to avoid having
them as her adversaries.

For the rest, we may boldly assert that the very terms of the German
ultimatum prove, without possible doubt, that she did not believe
in the danger of a French irruption into Belgium. For if she had
entertained this conviction she would have said to Belgium: "I warn you
that if you do not take the necessary measures to resist the entrance
of the French I shall be fully authorized to invade your territory in
my turn, in order to defend myself." In acting thus she would have had
the right on her side ... and the German diplomatists of the day are
certainly capable of distinguishing justice from injustice in cases
where the distinction is so easy.

We say, therefore, that the imminence of a French attack upon Belgium
was only a pretext and a bugbear; a pretext to justify the violation
of Belgium in the eyes of other nations; a bugbear to catch votes of
credit in the Reichstag without previous discussion. "We were not able
to wait for this session before commencing hostilities and invading
Luxemburg, perhaps even Belgium," declared the Chancellor. Observe
how clumsy is this "perhaps"; the German troops entered Belgium on
the night of the 3rd of August (1st _Grey Book_, No. 35), and on the
afternoon of the 4th, at the session of the Reichstag, the Chancellor
had no knowledge of it! We thought the official telegraph service
worked better than that in Germany!

       *       *       *       *       *

What, then, were the real reasons for invading our country? They were
strategic reasons, it is true, but not those which the Chancellor
indicated in his speech! They had been known for a long time; the
German staff had always regarded a sudden attack upon France as an
unavoidable necessity, and for that it was necessary at all costs
to cross Belgium. Moreover, on the very day when the Chancellor was
still invoking the French preparations in the Reichstag, the Secretary
of State, von Jagow, openly avowed the true motive for violating
Belgium. The pamphlet of propaganda, _Die Wahrheit über den Krieg_,
after invoking, without insisting on, the danger of a French attack,
described at length the German plan of campaign; a sudden attack upon
France, delivered by passing through Belgium; then, immediately after
victory, a change of front, and the crushing of the Russian Army. The
same idea is expounded in an infinity of articles and pamphlets.

There can, therefore, be no remaining doubt as to the determining
motives of Germany: she wished to pass through Belgium in order
to fall upon France before the latter was ready. Germany had been
preparing for war for several days, for she knew that she had made the
war inevitable, while France, deceived by her adversary's peaceful
professions of faith, and, moreover, anxious to preserve the peace,
which she still believed to be possible, had hardly commenced her
mobilization. Let us recall the comparison drawn by Mr. Lloyd George in
his speech at the City Temple on the 11th November, 1914. "Imagine," he
said, "that your right-hand neighbour came and made you the following
proposal: 'See, my friend, I've got to cut the throat of your left-hand
neighbour. Only as his door is barred I can't catch him unawares, and
so I shall lose my advantage over him. So you will do me a little
service; nothing that isn't entirely reasonable, as you will see. You
will just let me come through your garden; if I trample down your
borders a little I'll have them raked and put in good order again; and
if by ill-luck I damage or kill one of your children I promise you a
nice little indemnity.'"

And it is because we would not help Germany in this task that she has
spattered us with insults. The Germans cannot understand how we could
have rejected her "well-intentioned" proposal, as the Emperor calls it
in his declaration of war. Evidently they have ideas of honour which
differ from ours. We can regard this proposal only as an insult to the
Belgian people.

C.--German Accusations against Belgium.

There is one circumstance which aggravates the evil deed which has
soiled the German name. It is the insistence with which the Press and
the politicians of Germany seek to cast the blame on Belgium herself.
For if we are to believe them it was Belgium who began.

_Necessity of influencing Neutrals._

When the German rulers discovered, to their utter stupefaction, real or
feigned, that America and the other neutral States did not benevolently
accept the strategical excuse for the violation of Belgian neutrality,
their attitude underwent a sudden modification. Since the whole world,
in a spontaneous impulse of indignation, branded the conduct of
Germany, the traitor and perjurer, in assailing a nation which she was
actually under an obligation to protect, the German Government adopted
the classic procedure of evildoers, which consists in reversing the
rôles, and posing as an innocent victim, driven into a corner by an
adversary who does not abide by legitimate methods of defence. What was
to be done in such a case? The German Government must seem to believe,
and then claim to have proved, that Belgium had already violated her
own neutrality before the German invasion; for then Germany could no
longer be blamed for her attitude.

_Absurdity of the first Accusations._

Immediately the German newspapers invented stories of French troops
disentraining in Belgium from the 30th July, 1914, and of French
officers teaching us how to handle Krupp guns!--of French airmen
flying over Belgium, of French and Belgian soldiers attacking the
Landwehr at Aix-la-Chapelle on the 2nd August, 1914. These pitiful
accusations were demolished by M. Waxweiler in _La Belge Neutre et
Loyale_. We will content ourselves with remarking that all these
infractions of neutrality are anterior to the 4th of August. If they
had really been committed the innumerable spies scattered about Belgium
would have warned the German Minister in Brussels, who would have
telegraphed to the Chancellor, and the latter would have taken good
care to make them the basis of a serious complaint against Belgium in
his speech to the Reichstag. What weight would not these revelations
have lent to his arguments? If he did not do thus it was because he was
not informed, and if he was not informed it was because the facts were
non-existent. They were invented--very clumsily, moreover--after the

If now we cast a glance at the tales which the Germans have imagined
to extenuate their crime against justice, we shall say, with a certain
professor of Utrecht (_K.Z._, 4th November, first morning edition),
that one might with difficulty have pardoned the German rulers for
violating Belgian neutrality if it had been proved that imperious
strategic necessities compelled them to it, but that they should have
stuck to their original declarations, "for," he adds, "we have been
painfully impressed by all the offences which have been alleged after
the event to demonstrate that Germany had the right to act as she did."

To insult and calumniate an innocent person in order to excuse oneself
is an attitude little worthy of a self-respecting nation.

_A Change of Tactics. The Revelations of the_ N.A.Z.

Week by week the German journals add an item to the indictment of
Belgium. One would say that their method of reasoning must be as
follows: "Since we cannot bring forward a single convincing proof, let
us accumulate as many as possible of any degree of value; we shall
end by crushing Belgium with the weight of evidence." In order that
we might judge of the efficacy of this procedure, Germany ought, of
course, to tell us how many bad arguments are to her thinking worth one
good one.

Yet it was extremely important that Germany should be able to bring
forward proof of the crime of Belgium; for directly the neutrals, and
in particular America, began to doubt our political honesty they would
withdraw their sympathies and leave our executioners full liberty of
action. At the same time Germany would be able to pretend that she knew
of Belgium's intrigues, and that by invading our territory in spite of
treaties she was not, properly speaking, committing a treacherous act.

There are reasons for supposing that Germany herself was conscious of
the insufficiency of these accusations. Hence the change of tactics
which we observe after the month of October 1914.

The Government itself entered into the lists. In its official organ,
the _Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_, it commented upon the documents
discovered in the Ministries of Brussels.

To judge of the relevance of this collection of documents we must keep
in mind the two following points: (1) That England played the part
of protector of Belgian neutrality; (2) the probability of a German
invasion in case of war between France and Germany. Let us rapidly
examine these.

1. _England as the Guarantor of Belgian Neutrality._--Every one knows
that for centuries England has been interested, more than any other
nation, in ensuring that Belgium should not be annexed either to France
or to Prussia.

As far back as 1677, says Sorel (_L'Europe et la Révolution française_,
vol. i. p. 338), a French agent in London wrote to Louvois: "It has
been voted unanimously by the Lower Chamber that the English will
sell their very shirts (this is the phrase they use) to make war on
France for the preservation of the Low Countries." During the French
Revolution, and later, under the Empire, the struggle between England
and France was largely provoked by the desire to turn France out of

The Treaty of London (1839) makes no distinction between the five
guarantors of our neutrality: Austria, France, Great Britain,
Prussia, and Russia; but it is none the less unanimously admitted
that England has the most immediate interest in the preservation of
our independence, as it matters greatly to England that Antwerp--that
loaded pistol aimed at the heart of England, as Napoleon used to
say--should become neither French nor German.

Therefore, as soon as Belgium was threatened by an armed invasion, the
traditional policy of England was at once invoked.

It was in virtue of this policy that Great Britain, in 1870, demanded
of France and Germany whether they engaged themselves to maintain
the neutrality of Belgium. The two belligerents gave and kept their
promise. France, driven up against the Belgium frontier at Sedan, did
not even then consider that she had the right to break her word; she
preferred to allow herself to be crushed. If ever there were "strategic
reasons" which would excuse the breaking of a promise, it was then!

All this being so, no one was surprised when in August 1914 the
newspapers announced that England had put the usual question to France
and Germany. This time again France made the reply inspired by her
sense of honour; Germany refused to commit herself.

The historical facts which we have recalled suffice to show that the
protective rôle of England was not invented for the needs of the
moment, as Germany would have the world believe. The Chancellor cannot
be ignorant of these facts; they are known to all. Why then does he
persist in asserting that England would not have intervened had France
been the country to violate our neutrality?

2. _The danger of a German Invasion._--For several years German
generals have been agreed in admitting the necessity of marching the
German army across Belgium in case of war with France.[7] In military
circles this was a _secret de polichinelle_, as the _N.R.C._ remarked
on the 22nd December, 1914 (evening edition).

Moreover, the Germans themselves held that the Belgians could not
have been ignorant of the threat of a German invasion; this idea is
expounded, notably, in a booklet of official aspect, entitled _La_
_part de la culpabilité de l'Angleterre dans la guerre mondiale_.

Belgium therefore had serious reasons for expecting a German attack.
There was evidently only one thing for her to do: to demand assistance
of the country which had constituted itself the protector of her
neutrality, and on which she had always been accustomed to rely with
unshakable confidence.


_Falsification of the Greindl Report._

On the 14th October, 1914, the German Government posted on the walls of
Brussels a placard entitled: _England and Belgium_ (_Documents found at
the headquarters of the Belgian Staff_). A reproduction of this placard
was distributed gratuitously, thousands of copies being issued the same
day. This document contains, first, a rapid summary of a report on the
relations which existed in 1906 between the Belgian Chief of Staff
and the British military attaché. Then the placard reproduces, "word
for word," a portion of a report made by M. Greindl, dated the 23rd
December, 1911. In this report M. Greindl warns the Belgian Government
of the possibility of a French attack.

Whosoever will attentively read the exhibited portion of this report
will at once remark that its phrases lack connection and logical
sequence. Thus, there is certainly a hiatus between the opening phrases
and those that begin with: "When it became evident that we should not
allow ourselves to be alarmed by the pretended danger of closing the
Scheldt, the plan was not abandoned, but modified, in the sense that
the English army of assistance would not be disembarked on the Belgian
coast, but in the nearer French ports." Now what is meant by this
"pretended danger"? Pretended by whom? And then "we should not allow
ourselves to be alarmed." Who is "we?" Remark that a few lines farther
on the report speaks of the eventuality of a battle between the Belgian
army and the British army; Belgium, which was just now the ally of the
British, is now their adversary, although nothing indicates how she
passed from the first attitude to the second. In the same sentence
the closing of the Scheldt is spoken of with an English landing on
the _Belgian coast_; yet we cannot imagine M. Greindl placing Antwerp
on the Belgian coast. Can we doubt after this that phrases have been
suppressed in this portion of the document? Evidently not; for it is
radically impossible to realize the bearing and the meaning of the
report by reading the portion published. What, then, is the conclusion
forced upon us? It is that the German Government has "cooked" the
text; omitting to copy certain passages which would not tally with the
deductions which it wished to draw from it, and that it has perhaps
even twisted the meaning of certain phrases.

The publication of the complete report was demanded by the Belgian
Government (see _K.Z._, 24th October, first morning edition). But
Germany refused; the report was too long, it replied, by the medium of
the _N.A.Z._ (25th November, 1914). All that could be obtained was the
publication in facsimile, in the same issue of the _N.A.Z._, of the
heading and the two first lines. Since the German Government did not
publish the rest, we have the right to conclude that this was because
it had subjected the document to falsifications such as were introduced
in that we are now about to consider. In any case, the report as it
was published means nothing. One feels that it was intentionally made
confusing. By whom?


The falsifications inserted in these documents by the German
diplomatists have already been lucidly exposed (for example, by E.
Brunets, _Calomnies Allemandes_); so there would be no need to return
to the subject, had not the German Government thought fit to attempt to
use these documents in order to demoralize the Belgians.

At the end of December 1914, and in January 1915, Germany distributed
hundreds of thousands of copies of a pamphlet containing several
documents, among which were translations (into Flemish and French) and
facsimiles of the Ducarne and Jungbluth reports. The famous words of
the "reference" are replaced in their natural position in the middle
of the fourth paragraph,[8] but--and this was a wholly unexpected
discovery--they were also found in the commentary. According to the
copy in the text, one reads: "The document bears on the margin: 'The
entrance of the English into Belgium would take place only after the
violation of our neutrality by Germany.'"

Disconcerting fecundity of Kultur! The Germans have reason to be proud
of their chemical industry. Thanks to a special fertilizer prepared in
the offices of Wilhelmstrasse, the famous phrase, which occurs only
once in the original document, is promptly multiplied and is able to
appear twice over.

_The Attitude of the Belgians toward the German Falsifications._

Note that to give more weight to their explanations the Germans were
careful to have them printed in Flemish and in French, on the paper
and with the type habitually employed by the _Moniteur belge_. It is
then, in the last resort, the Belgian public which has paid the cost of
printing this falsification of a public document. Well, well! they have
mistaken our psychology, for despite these "revelations" our conviction
is unshaken. Not a Belgian has criticized the actions of his Government
in respect of the defensive agreement with England. It would be like
blaming a man whose house was destroyed by fire for having insured it
with a reliable insurance company.

Confronted by the failure of their endeavours to discourage the
Belgians and to embroil them with their legitimate Government, Germany
returned to the charge. A placard dated 10th March, 1915, posted in
Brussels, stated that the Belgian statesmen replied to the publication
of the Ducarne and Jungbluth reports only after the lapse of three
months. The placard evidently alludes to the Belgian Note of the 13th
January, 1915 (_see_ the 2nd _Grey Book_, No. 101). Now the first
sentence of this Note states that the Belgians had already replied on
the 4th December, 1914. Germany could not have been unaware of this
reply; let us add that we ourselves knew of it on the 10th December,
thanks to the issue for the 7th of _L'Indépendance Belge_ (appearing in
London), which was smuggled into Brussels.

The third document contained in the pamphlet of the German Government
related to the _military geographical manuals_.[9] It shows that a
final collaboration (after the violation of her engagements by Germany)
was carefully devised by the British and Belgian staffs. Truly it ill
becomes the Germans, so proud of the introduction of their scientific
method into the art of war, which leaves nothing unthought of, to
reproach others for acting in the same way, and for making meticulous
preparations at an opportune time! In two places the article insists
on the fact that the preparations of these manuals was effected in
"time of peace." But come! should the Belgians and the British have
waited until the Germans were in Belgium before thinking of measures of

Finally, the pamphlet contains _Fresh and Serious Proofs demonstrating
the complicity of Belgium and England_. Documents were found on the
escritoire of the British Legation in Brussels relating to the Belgian
mobilization, the defence of Antwerp, and the French mobilization. The
accusation is this: these documents were found in the British Legation,
a proof that the Belgian Government had no military secrets from the
British Government, and that they had a close military understanding.

Once again: was Belgium, aware of the Germanic peril, to deliver
herself bound hand and foot to the invader, who, not content with
forgetting his international obligations, was about to run precisely
counter to them? It would evidently have been more agreeable to Germany
to have found in Belgium a lamb all ready to allow itself to be
sacrificed on the altar of _Kultur_. Unhappily for _Kultur_, Belgium
behaved like an enraged ram, determined to sell its life dearly.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whatever aspect of the question of Belgian neutrality we may consider,
we always come back to this fact: Germany violated this neutrality on
the 4th August, although Belgium had given her no plausible excuse for
doing so. Since then the Germans have undertaken a campaign for the
purpose of justifying their "injustice," as their Chancellor termed
it. But none of the accusations invented after the event can in the
slightest degree extenuate this injustice; their only effect has been
to render still more execrable the treachery of the perjured protector.

_Neutral Opinion._

It is pleasant, in this connection, to cite here the opinion of four
writers belonging to countries which have not taken part in the war.

A Dutch writer published in _De Amsterdammer_ an interesting article
which was translated into French, but of which the sale in Belgium was
immediately prohibited by the Germans.

In a lecture which has achieved a very great celebrity, Herr Karl
Spitteler, a well-known literary man of German-speaking Switzerland,
also took the part of Belgium. We know of this lecture only by the
slashing which it received in the _K.Z._ on the 30th December, in the
first morning edition.

Here is a passage which particularly infuriated the German paper:--

"I consider that to take the documents from the pockets of the gasping
victim (Belgium) is, as to the spirit which inspired the act, a gross
fault of taste. It would have been quite enough to throttle the
victim; to blacken him afterwards is too much. As for Switzerland, if
it associated itself with these calumnies against Belgium, it would
commit not merely an infamy, but a mistake; for on the day when another
Power grudges us our national existence, the same accusations might be
employed against us: do not let us forget that malice is now counted
among the munitions of war."

Another Swiss writer, M. Philippe Godet, expresses his opinions with no
less energy in the _Journal de Genève_ (8th September, 1914).

_The Falsification of M. de l'Escaille's Letter._

In the preceding pages we have dealt only with matters relating to
Belgium. Do not let our attitude be misunderstood. We have not the
presumption to suppose that Belgium has ever occupied the foreground
in the negotiations described; on the contrary, we are perfectly
well aware of the diplomatic insignificance of our country in the
discordant "Concert of Europe" which has ended in the present war.
Our sole object is to show that Belgium has not played the unavowable
rôle which the Germans attributed to her. As to the origin of this
war, and the responsibility which the German rulers seek to foist
upon Great Britain, in order that their own country, and, above all,
their ally, Austria, may evade it, this is a discussion into which we
do not wish to enter, for it lies outside the programme which we have
set ourselves. We ought, however, to speak a word as to the placards
which the German authorities had posted up in Belgium during the month
of September 1914. The first is dated the 16th September; it gives
the résumé of a letter written by M. B. de l'Escaille to the Belgian
Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ten days later a new placard appeared: this time the complete text of
the letter was given, and it was explained how it came to fall into the
hands of the Germans.

Let us leave this last point: it concerns the criminal law, not
diplomacy. Let us examine only the summary which was published and the
conclusions which the Germans drew from it.

Was the summary honest? To discover this let us take the essential
sentence, printed in heavier type: "They possess even the definite
assurance that England will come to the assistance of France"; and let
us compare this with the corresponding passage of the text: "To-day
they are strongly convinced in St. Petersburg, they even have the
assurance, that England will support France." The term "assistance"
(_secouer_) in the summary can apply only to military assistance, while
the text speaks only of "support" (_soutien_), which means diplomatic
action. So the second conclusion also is false--"that England did
not intervene in the war on account of Belgium, but because she had
promised France to give her assistance."

Let us now look at the first conclusion. It is "that Germany was
actuated by pacific intentions, and sought by all means to avoid war."
In reality the text, like the summary, states only that Germany sought
to avoid a general conflict, which means that she wished to localize
the war between Austria and Serbia; in other words, Germany wished
Europe to give Austria a free hand to crush Serbia. Nowhere does the
text say that Germany did anything to avoid "the war": the only war
which was declared on the 30th July, that of Austria against Serbia. In
short, this conclusion is falsified.

There remains the phrase which introduces the two conclusions: "By
this report of the diplomatic representative of Belgium at the Court
of St. Petersburg it is proved".... Was M. de l'Escaille really the
diplomatic representative of Belgium in St. Petersburg? Open an
administrative almanack, and you will see that _the_ representative was
M. le Comte Conrad de Buisseret-Steenbecque de Blarenghien. As for M.
de l'Escaille, he was Secretary of Legation.

The conclusions concluding here, there is no room for further

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not our intention to make an exhaustive examination of the
diplomatic documents relating to the war; the more so as this
examination has been conducted in masterly fashion by MM. Dürckheim and
Denis, by M. Waxweiler, and by the author of _J'Accuse_. It is enough
for us to prove that Germany has intentionally falsified documents,
since this simple proof disposes of all her attempts to befoul Belgium;
for he who has a good argument at his disposal is not so foolish as to
spoil it and deprive it of all real value by means of falsifications.

D.--The Declaration of War and the first Hostilities.

_The three Successive Proposals of Wilhelm II to Belgium._

Under its dry, cold, diplomatic phrasing the reply to the ultimatum
(1st _Grey Book_, No. 22) scarcely conceals the indignation which
thrilled the heart of Belgium when Wilhelm II offered her the chance
of associating herself with his crime against loyalty. But the
German Government did not understand this indignation, neither was
it conscious of its own infamy. Otherwise how could it have repeated
the same offer a few days later--an offer at once contemptible and
full of contempt, as was so well said by M. Jules Destrée before the
meeting of the Federation of Advocates, on the 3rd August, 1914. Two
remarks on the subject of this fresh proposal (1st _Grey Book_, No.
60). In the first place the United States Minister in Belgium, who was
entrusted with the German interests, refused to transmit it; as for the
Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, he accepted the mission "without
enthusiasm." In the second place, when the Emperor affirmed, on the
9th August, that the fortress of Liége had been taken by assault, he
must have known that the fortress was still resisting; for although the
_city_ of Liége was occupied by the Germans from the 7th, the _forts_
were intact. Let us remember that the first fort which fell was that
of Barchon, on the 8th August, 1914; that of Évegnée fell on the 11th,
that of Fléron on the 14th, that of Loncin, commanded by General Leman,
fell only at 5 p.m. on the 15th: and several forts were at that time
still holding out.

German diplomacy naturally received a fresh indignant refusal (1st
_Grey Book_, No. 23).

Even then official Germany, dazzled by the brilliance of its _Kultur_,
had not yet grasped the full baseness of its crime, since on the 10th
September it posted up in Brussels its new proposal and Belgium's reply.

Could candour in perfidy go any farther? Yes! for the German
Government, during the siege of Antwerp, made proposals of peace
for the third time. This offer was secret. The terms have not been
published; even the Germanic Press sought to deny that it had been
made; but the avowal appeared in a Viennese newspaper, the _Neue Freie
Presse_, and was reproduced by order of the German authorities in _La
Belgique_ (Brussels, 13th January, 1915).

_Hostilities preceding the Declaration of War._

So the Emperor Wilhelm II did not succeed in making us his accomplices.
Needless to say, we did not tremble before the two bogies which are
given so large a place in his harangues: his store of dry powder and
his newly-whetted sabre.

And so the sovereign of the formidable German Empire declared war upon
tiny Belgium. "He would find himself, to his keenest regret, obliged
to execute, if need be by force of arms, the measures of security set
forth as indispensable," as the declaration of war expressed it (1st
_Grey Book_, No. 27). This declaration reached Brussels at 7 a.m. on
the 4th of August. But, apparently unknown to the Emperor, the German
troops, before the telegram had reached Belgium, had crossed the
frontier during the night of the 3rd.

We have just seen that the declaration of war reached Brussels on the
4th August, at seven o'clock in the morning. This, at least, is what
we learn from the official documents published by Belgium. What does
official Germany say upon this point? Nothing. Nowhere is any mention
made of the declaration of war, and it is this intentional vagueness
which allows the Germans to declare, without blushing, that the German
troops entered Belgium on the night of the 3rd August. They let it be
supposed that the state of war existed from the moment when Belgium, on
the 3rd, refused the German ultimatum. Thus the _Chronik des Deutschen
Krieges_ (p. 33) gives the text of the ultimatum; then, in two lines,
a summary of the reply. The first document which follows relating to
Belgium is the proclamation of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of
the Meuse (_6th Report_, I).

This is very vague as to the political relations between the two
countries: are they at war, or are they not? No one could say. Of the
declaration of war, which should have found a place here, not a word;
there is no further question of Belgium before the telegrams of the 7th
August (p. 84).

When we say that the declaration of war is not mentioned in any German
publication, we are going too far. _Die Wahrheit über den Krieg_
("die Wahrheit!") speaks of the declaration of war; but only to say
that Belgium declared war (p. 40): _Belgiën antwortete darauf mit der

The same publication appends some documents; No. 41 (p. 160) is a
reproduction of the ultimatum. One would naturally expect that No.
42 would be either Belgium's reply or the declaration of war. By no
means; these two documents are not given. Any one who reads the text
and hopes thereby to learn "die Wahrheit" concerning the war will be
no better informed by the documents. Let us in passing remark that
the German Government, in the _White Book_ published for the session
of the Reichstag of the 4th August, had also, by its own admission,
made a selection among the documents which it submitted to the members
of Parliament. This procedure is no doubt a logical consequence of

_The Pacific Character of Belgium._

Nearly all the nations of Europe cherish national animosities, racial
hatreds handed down from century to century, the heritage of conflicts
never pacified, which a mere nothing suffices to renew; or the survival
of oppressions and spoliations suffered of old by men's forbears, whose
abhorred memory is transmitted like a sacred trust from generation
to generation. And in all these countries, moreover, there is a
chauvinist, a jingo party, which urges a "war of revenge against the
hereditary enemy." In Belgium, as Mr. Asquith stated in his speech in
Dublin, there was nothing of the kind. We had no spite against any one,
and our people, laborious and peaceful, only asked to be allowed to
live in friendship with its neighbours. Never had there been in Belgium
any manifestation against a foreign country; never had a political
party inscribed in its programme any sort of hostility towards another
people. Who, then, will be persuaded that "the Belgian Government had
for a long time been carefully preparing for this war,"[11] as the
Emperor Wilhelm II asserted in his telegram to the President of the
United States (in which he also stated that his heart was bleeding!)?
No, there is no possible doubt on this point: Belgium brought into the
conflict no racial enmity,[12] and if she has found herself thrown into
the furnace, despite her constant love of peace, it is solely because
her haughty neighbour confronted her with this dilemma: either peace
with dishonour, or honour with war. The choice was not in doubt.

_German Espionage in Belgium._

It is idle to insist on the accusation of premeditation, for it is
unhappily too certain that Belgium was is no way ready for war. But
it is also incontestable that Germany had "for a long time carefully
prepared for" the invasion of Belgium. We cannot as yet reveal in
detail the facts as to German espionage, with its often odious methods,
for in most cases these revelations would expose those who have
informed us to reprisals. We must for the present be intentionally
vague, reserving preciser details for a later date.

When the occupation comes to an end we shall report in detail the case
of a German engineer, who, in returning to us with the rank of officer,
presided over the systematic destruction by fire of the workshop
which he had managed; and the case of another engineer, who commanded
the gang ordered to set fire to the quarter adjoining the factory in
which he had been employed. Thanks to his knowledge of the locality,
he was able in a few seconds to set fire to the richest streets of
the neighbourhood. We shall be able to mark on a map the foundations
of reinforced concrete for the great German guns, constructed long
in advance, in the localities most favourable to bombardment; we
shall also point to the store of timber intended to serve for the
construction of a bridge over the Scheldt, which was found in a factory
established by Germans on the banks of the river. As for the store of
Mauser rifles discovered at Liége, our newspapers spoke of that at the

Here is a fact which can be related without danger. A German officer
dropped from his pocket--we shall state later on in what locality--a
detailed plan of the town of Soignies, in which his troops had lodged a
few days earlier. This plan gives, besides the details of streets, and
even houses, information concerning the occupants of certain buildings:
pharmacies, breweries, tanneries, the Communal treasury, the bank, and
other establishments where the army might need to make requisitions.
The large buildings are coloured blue. It was there that the troops
were lodged. This plan, drawn in Chinese ink and coloured, dates from
fifteen years back according to the indications which it contains.
But it has quite recently been revised and completed, for the latest
alterations in the town have been added in pencil; improvement of the
Senne, creation of a public square, etc.

The case related by the _N.R.C._ of 19th August (evening) is
particularly instructive. When the Germans occupied Liége and Seraing
the Cockerill workshops naturally refused to work for them, since the
Germans wished them to make munitions for them. The German Colonel
Keppel then assumed the direction of the works, promising the workers
an increased salary of 50 per cent. And this officer did not blush to
sign his proclamation: "Attaché of the German Government at the Liége
Exposition." He had consequently profited by his privileged situation
in Belgium in order to make himself familiar with the organization of
the Cockerill works. But it must be supposed that matters were too
difficult for him, for Herren Koester and Noske (_Kriegsfahrten_, p.
21) assert that he had to abandon the position.

_The Mentality of the German Soldiers at the beginning of the Campaign._

Until the very last moment our enemies deluded themselves as to the
loyalty of the Belgians: they still hoped that the latter would
only resist as a matter of form. This idea is openly expressed in
the Chancellor's speech of the 2nd December; it is also implicitly
contained in the proclamation of General von Emmich (see _6th Report_,
I). The officers and soldiers who crossed the frontier at the beginning
of the war were quite bewildered by the unforeseen resistance of the
Belgian Army; this is what the German prisoners interned at Bruges tell
their relatives; they even go so far as to deplore having to fight a
neutral country.


We hear from Belgium:--

The correspondence of the German prisoners of war (to the number of
about two thousand) who, at the beginning of the war, were interned in
the barracks of the Bruges Lancers, has passed almost entirely through
our hands.

All say they are well treated. Some even hope that the Belgian
prisoners in Germany will be as well treated as they. One wounded
soldier in a Bruges hospital relates that the Belgians treat the German
wounded like brothers; another speaks only of his "Belgian comrades"!
The good food served to them seems to make a great impression. Most
of them say, "We have enough to eat"; or even, "We have food in
abundance." Only one complains of "beer without flavour and bad wine";
but another says with much simplicity: "The people here are very
kind to us, for we have enough to eat and drink." The word _for_ is

The letters of the officers are quite different. No more joy because
their lives are safe. The war absorbs them entirely. They are warriors
at heart and the struggle interests them passionately. They know
nothing of what is happening, or rather they are not told what is
happening, and they want to know ... to know, and it is painful to hear
in each letter the same question: what news? The forced inactivity
becomes a torture. Boredom presses on them: they are discouraged and
greatly disillusioned; they had hoped to pass very rapidly across
Belgium (it must be remembered that at this time the war was only
beginning, that Brussels was not yet occupied, and that the letters
date from this period).

The attack upon Belgium does not seem to please a great many of them.
"We have attacked a neutral country," says a medical officer, "and we
shall now have to suffer the eventual consequences."

"When we got out of the train," says another, "we received the order
to fight against Belgium, a thing which is to me and to all highly
antipathetic. But what is commanded has to be executed."

"The attack on Belgium was from the first a shameful thing."

"We violated Belgium before any declaration of war had been made"!

All the letters show how little the resistance of Liége was expected.
Many say: "Of all our company, of our battalion, of our regiment,
there are left only so many or so many men." One relates how in a
few minutes his colonel, his major, the captains, and nearly all the
lieutenants were mown down by the balls. "We are all mightily deluded,"
admits another; "we were too confident; we thought the Belgians were
disheartened"! "The Belgians fight like lions," says another.

_German Lies respecting the Occupation of Liége._

It is the truth, although the news is partly from a German source, that
the Germans entered Belgium on the night of the 3rd of August; they
crossed the frontier near Gemmenich at two o'clock in the morning, and
the following night (of the 4th of August) they were already attempting
an attack upon Liége. But the official telegrams from Berlin have never
mentioned this date. To make it believed that the capture of Liége
was extremely rapid and that the German army had met with no serious
resistance, the staff pruned the siege of Liége at both ends; it made
the operation commence on the 5th August instead of the 4th, and
declared that it was already completed by the 7th August.

We could not give a more precise idea of the manner in which the
Government and its "reptile Press" deceives public opinion than by
reproducing two telegrams relating to the fall of Liége. On the 7th of
August, having reported the entrance of the troops into Belgium on the
previous day, the telegrams announced the capture of the fortress of
Liége.[13] Note this: the capture of the _fortress_ (Festung). Now the
Germans had merely occupied the town of Liége, a town absolutely open,
without ramparts or defences of any kind. They themselves were forced
to own, on the 10th, that the forts had not been captured; but they
added that the guns were no longer firing, which was false (p. 50).

  BERLIN, _7th August_.--Our advance guard entered Belgium the day
  before yesterday, along the whole frontier. A small division
  attempted, with great valour, a surprise attack upon Liége. A few
  cavalrymen pushed on into the city, and attempted to seize the
  commandant, who was only able to escape by flight. The surprise
  attack against the fortress, constructed according to modern
  principles, did not succeed. Our troops are before the fortress,
  in contact with the enemy. Naturally the whole enemy Press will
  describe this enterprise as a defeat; but it has no influence on
  the great operations; for us it is only an isolated fact in the
  history of the war, and a proof of the aggressive courage of our

  (_Kr. D. des K. Z._, p. 9.)

  BERLIN, _7th August_. Official. (_Wolff Agency._)--The fortress of
  Liége is taken. After the divisions, which had attempted a surprise
  attack upon Liége, had been reinforced, the attack was pushed to a
  successful termination. This morning at 8 o'clock the fortress was
  in the power of Germany.

  (_Kr. D. des K. Z._, p. 11.)

However, it was necessary to prevent the bad effect which would be
produced on the population by foreign communiqués announcing that the
German army was continuing to besiege Liége after taking it. After the
complete success announced on the 7th the task was, in fact, rather
difficult. How was it to be effected?

(_a_) Discredit might be thrown on news coming from abroad, for
example, by "demonstrating" its untruthfulness. _Der Lügenfeldzug_
gives on p. 19 the announcement of the taking of Liége, and on the
_following_ page the Havas telegram stating that Liége is not taken.
What will the superficial reader conclude if he does not take the
trouble to dissect the telegrams? That the Allies are shameless liars,
going to the length of denying the obvious. But examine the dates:
Liége was taken, according to the Germans, on the 7th August, at 8
a.m., while the Allies declare that Liége is not taken--on the 6th!
And to think that the book which perpetrates this trickery is entitled
_Der Lügenfeldzug unserer Feinde_ ("Our Enemies' Campaign of Lies")!
and that it undertakes the mission of calling attention to the lies and
calumnies of the enemy in order to correct them!

(_b_) To establish confusion between the city and the fortress. As
early as the 7th August the false newsmongers were rejoicing over
the taking of the fortress, intentionally confusing the city and the
fortified place, so that the reader of these communiqués no longer
knows what to think, and naturally accepts the official news of his own

_The sudden Attack upon France is checked._

To understand how completely it was in Germany's interest to create the
belief that Liége was taken in two days by a small body of troops, we
must remember that the object of the Germans was to traverse Belgium
as rapidly as possible, in order to crush the French and capture
Paris. The author of _J'accuse_ reports the remark of old Marshal
von Haeseler, who proposed to celebrate in Paris the anniversary of
Sedan--on the 2nd September, 1914. We ourselves copied a charcoal
inscription written on the front of a house burned down at Battice,
making an appointment in Paris for the 2nd September with a certain
regiment of artillery.

Now this sudden march was completely spoiled and the German plan of
campaign undone by the unexpected resistance of the Belgians, first at
Liége, then at Hesbays. This loss of a few days was fatal to Germany,
and Germany bears us malice on that account.

_The Disinterested Behaviour of Belgium._

One last point as to the violation of our neutrality.

The Germans now pretend to pity the poor Belgians, who allowed
themselves to be fooled by England as much as by their King and
Government, and who, by their credulity, brought the war upon
themselves. But what am I saying?--the German Government assures the
world that we ourselves desired the war. Official Germany has become
incapable of conceiving that a people should remain faithful to its
international obligations, and if need be sacrifice itself for them.

"Why," our adversaries ask us, "did you not accept the proposals of
Germany? You would have profited by them." And indeed our eastern
neighbours offered us £200,000 as the price of our complicity (F.
Bettix, _Der Krieg_).

It would be very interesting to know on what data Germany calculates
the value of a nation's honour; in any case, we may assure her that no
one in the world would be so simple as to offer so great a sum for hers.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the rest, as far as we Belgians are concerned our interest has
never entered into our calculations. It was not in order to profit
by it that we resisted Germany; it was because we judged that such
was our obligation as an honest nation. And yet, as the Minister, M.
Carton de Wiart, remarked, at the Hotel de Ville in Paris, on the 20th
December, 1914, we had, even then, the vision of our country ravaged
by the Prussian hordes; but even to-day, after suffering such terrible
atrocities, there is not a Belgian "who would change his poverty for
the profits of a bandit."


[6] The Germans do not like one to quote these words of Herr
Bethmann-Hollweg. A series of pamphlets, _Histoire de la guerre de
1914_, which has appeared in Brussels during the occupation, reports
the last conversation of the Chancellor with the British Ambassador on
the 4th of August, 1914 (p. 206), but the "scrap of paper" does not
figure therein: the censorship suppressed this too compromising passage.

[7] See, for example, Bernhardi's _How Germany makes War_, pp. 190,
191, 192. On the 4th of March, 1882, the _Nord. Allg. Zeit._ declared:
"Germany has no political motive for violating Belgian neutrality, but
the military advantage which might result forces her thereto." Emile
Bauning, _La Belgique au point de vue Militaire et International_,
Brussels, 1906, p. 58.

[8] Apparently such unusual honesty cannot long survive in the mind of
a German diplomatist. The phrase is in its proper place in the French
text, but it is lacking in the Flemish text, which is printed facing it.

[9] _K.Z._, 2nd December, 1st edition, morning, published the same
revelations. This article is more complete than that printed in
Brussels. We hasten to correct a numerical error which renders the
opening of the second paragraph incomprehensible: it states that five
years had elapsed between 1905 and 1914. According to the _K.Z._ one
should read 1909 instead of 1905.

[10] The same lie figures in _Lüttich_, p. 5.

[11] The French text here quoted is that which was posted up. The
German text, also posted, states that Belgium had long ago carefully
armed the civil population (see p. 208).

[12] An article on "Flemings and Walloons" in _K.Z._ for 13th March
(noon edition), declares that Belgium knew nothing of chauvinism, nor
even, adds the writer, of nationalism.

[13] These lies die hard. Herren Koester and Noske, in the introduction
of their book, _Kreigsfahrten durch Belgiën und Nordfrankreich_,
literally state: "The German troops entered Belgium on the 6th of
August; on the following day the fortress of Liége had been taken by



A.--The "Reprisals against Francs-tireurs."

Under the pretext that France was making ready to attack her, Germany
hastened to invade Belgium and Luxemburg. But France was not preparing
to invade the Rhine provinces of Prussia, and this pretended threat of
aggression was merely a trick, intended to frighten Parliament, and
to obtain a vote approving the actions of the Ministry and giving it
_carte blanche_. The manoeuvre completely succeeded; the Government
received a unanimous vote, in spite of the Chancellor's admission: "We
are committing an injustice, and we are violating the law of nations;
but when one is driven into a corner as we are, all means are good."

We discovered immediately, alas! what these words meant. Hardly had
the German soldiers crossed the frontier, when they began to burn and

_Murders committed by the Germans from the outset._

On the very day of the invasion--the 4th August--a motor-car carrying
four German officers arrived at Herve, and then pulled up. One of the
officers demanded information of a youth of sixteen, one Dechêne; the
latter did not understand, or perhaps refused to reply (which was his
right, and even his duty towards his country); we do not know, but in
any case the officer shot him with his revolver.

On the 4th of August, too, the Germans shot peaceful citizens at Visé,
when the 2nd battalion of the 12th regiment of the line, under Major
Collyns, had the audacity to resist them. Of course they pretended that
the civilians took part in the fighting. A few days later they burned
the church and the greater part of the town.

One sees plainly from these, and too many other examples, what
was the object of our enemies: (_a_) They wished to terrorize the
population, in order to make them more amenable to requisitions and
demands of all kinds; (_b_) they wished to make their own troops
believe that in fighting the Belgians--which they at first did with
great unwillingness--they were merely defending themselves against
treacherous attacks; (_c_) they wished to multiply opportunities of
pillage; (_d_) finally, perhaps, they reckoned that by displaying to
the Belgian Government the horrors to which its first refusal had
exposed the country, they would induce it to reconsider its position
and could obtain from it a free passage.

_Were there any "Francs-tireurs"?_

It would be impossible at this moment to state that the Belgians never,
at any point of the frontier, fired upon the invaders. Let us remark,
moreover, that if they did they would have been, from the purely human
point of view, perfectly excusable.[14] What! here is Germany, who,
pretending to be in a state of legitimate defence, falls unawares
upon an inoffensive third party! And this third party had no right to
oppose force to violence! In all logic, was it not Belgium that was in
a state of legitimate defence; was it not for Belgium that all means
were good? And notice, please, that it was not against an imagined and
imaginary menace that we were defending ourselves: the Germans had
most undeniably invaded Belgium. Would it have been astonishing if
the Belgians, exasperated by this unspeakable aggression, had seized
their rifles? In sane justice, one could not regard such action as
a grievance; on the contrary. Does this mean that we believe in the
story of civilians attacking the German army? Most certainly not;
because we know from reliable sources that in _every_ case where it
has been possible to hold an inquiry, this inquiry has shown that the
"francs-tireurs" were merely the pretext; the real motive for all the
devastation and massacre was the desire to terrorize the population.
It is, therefore, in a fashion entirely theoretical, and with the
most express reserves, that we admit, in default of opportunity to
investigate, in each case, the affirmations of our enemies, that in
some cases, certainly extremely rare, isolated civilians, or small
groups of civilians, may have been taken with arms in their hands. But
our enemies will please admit also that the attitude of these civilians
would have been amply excused by the more than brutal fashion in which
the Germans behaved from the very first moments of the war. Let us
add that when one erects terror into a system, as the Germans do, one
should understand the defensive reflexes of the victims.

What were the rights of our enemies in these exceptional cases? They
could, as they themselves proclaim, have shot the individual offenders,
and, for once in a way, have burned their houses. But nothing in
the world could justify the executions _en masse_ and the wholesale
burnings to which the Germans surrendered themselves.

_The Obsession of the "Franc-tireur" in the German Army._

One point at first remained obscure to us in the German "reprisals":
how did the German officers induce their men to commit this horrible
carnage? Very simply: their minds were worked upon beforehand; they
were crammed with legends of francs-tireurs dating from the war of
1870-71, and were made to believe that the Belgian population was
revoltingly brutal. So as soon as they set foot on our territory they
expected to be attacked by civilians, and, very naturally, prepared to
sell their lives dearly.

Nothing is more typical in this respect than the collection of
soldiers' letters published for the edification of the German nation
in _Der Deutsche Krieg in Feldpostbriefen_.--_I. Lüttich, Namur,
Antwerpen._ In more than half is there mention of "francs-tireurs"; but
scarcely ever does the writer speak of having himself seen them. Read,
for example, the first letter (that is No. 2 in the volume, for Letter
No. 1 is not a soldier's letter). The writer, an officer, asserts that
during the attack on the forts of Liége, on the night of the 6th of
August, the night was so dark that it was impossible to distinguish
friends from enemies, and that the Germans were firing on one another.
Nevertheless, as they were fired on, and as they saw three men running,
they immediately shot them as "francs-tireurs." During this same night
their baggage-column having been surprised (he does not say by whom),
a village was burned and the inhabitants were shot.

The whole mentality of the German soldier in respect of civilians is
reflected in this letter; it is so dark that the Germans fire on one
another, but that does not prevent them from recognizing that those
attacking them are "francs-tireurs," even though their men are "falling
_en masse_," which excludes all idea of francs-tireurs.

Francs-tireurs! From the very first days of the war it is a fixed idea,
an obsession, engendered by previous reading and conversation, and
carefully nourished by the leaders.

_The Obsession of the "Franc-tireur" in the Literature of the War._

Francs-tireurs! This idea invades the whole of their contemporary
literature. All the books on the campaign in Belgium and France swarm
with tales of this kind. Let us add that the authors do not assert that
they themselves have seen the attacks of the "francs-tireurs." But they
have been told of them, and they hasten to repeat the story without the
slightest means of verification.

Thus, in _Kriegsfahrten_, by Herren Koester and Noske, there is mention
of "francs-tireurs" on pages 10, 12, 13, 20, and 22; and they return to
the subject in the last chapter (p. 113).

Herr Fedor von Zobeltitz, in _Kriegsfahrten eines Johanniters_, also
constantly heard mention of attacks by Belgian civilians: at Tirlemont
(p. 39), at Louvain (pp. 39, 53, 54, 91), at Malines (p. 49), at
Eppeghem (p. 86), and in Antwerp (p. 154).

The volume entitled _Die Eroberung Belgiëns_ is full of stories of the
same sort. Thus, of thirty-eight illustrations, which are neither maps
nor portraits, ten are devoted to the attacks of Belgian civilians.

It is interesting to compare the tales of people who have not been
present in the battles fought in Belgium, and who speak only from
hearsay, with the narrative of Herr Otto von Gottberg, _Als Adjutant
durch Frankreich und Belgiën_. He took part in September in the
battles which accompanied the siege of Antwerp. Nowhere did he see
francs-tireurs. Yet he by no means loves the Belgian civilians, and
he certainly would have been tremendously pleased to shoot down a
few. Read, for example, what he says of the provocative attitude of
the people of Brussels, and above all of the women of Brussels (p.
55), and of passing through the streets of Lebbeke (near Termonde),
where his soldiers proposed to fall upon the inhabitants who scowled
at them (p. 65). However, he says, he did not burn a single house (p.
67). We may remark that Herr Gottberg's companions showed themselves
less amiable, or at least equitable, than he, for the "reprisals"
against Lebbeke were particularly atrocious (see _9th Report_). It is,
however, highly improbable that the inhabitants would have deprived
themselves of the pleasure of firing on the little patrol led by Herr
Gottberg, afterwards to take up arms against troops which were much
more numerous. However it may be, the legend of the "francs-tireurs"
of Lebbeke was willingly accepted by Herren Koester and Noske

_The Obsession of the "Franc-tireur" in Literature and Art._

The obsession of the "franc-tireur" is also found outside the limits of
military literature properly so-called. Herr Bredt has just published
a book on _Le caractère du peuple belge révélé par l'art belge_. The
illegal attacks of the Belgian population upon the regular German
troops, he says, were not in the least surprising to those who were
acquainted with the productions of Belgian art.

It would be difficult to surpass, in this respect, an article which
appeared in the January number of _Kunst und Künstler_. It gives the
reproduction of an engraving by Callot: a camp in which musketeers
are putting to death condemned men bound to stakes. "Execution of
francs-tireurs," says the legend in German. That there should be a
question of "francs-tireurs" in the time of Callot, who died in 1635,
may in itself seem somewhat strange. But the engraver has taken care
to inscribe, under his work, some lines describing the scene which it
represents, which may be translated as follows:--

  "Those who to give their evil nature sway,
  Failing in duty, take the tyrant's way,
  Infringing right, delighting but in ill,
  Whose acts are full of treason and self-will,
  Cause in the camp full many a bloody brawl,
  So die this death, the end of traitors all."

It is enough to read this legend to realize that they are traitors who
are being punished; but the German mind of to-day is so steeped in
the idea of "francs-tireurs" that the artists no longer understand
what their predecessors wrote, and, like the soldiers, they see
francs-tireurs everywhere.

_Responsibility of the Leaders._

But it is above all the great massacres of Andenne, Tamines, Dinant,
Termonde, Aerschot, Louvain, and Luxemburg, which are for ever
inexcusable, and will remain, an eternal disgrace, as a stain upon the
German flag. Their appetite whetted by the atrocities committed during
the first days of the invasion, the soldiers themselves invented or
simulated attacks of "francs-tireurs," in order to have the pleasure
of afterwards repressing them, killing, pillaging, and burning entire
cities. Let us say, to be just, that not the soldiers but their leaders
will bear, before the bar of history, the responsibility of this
revival of the monstrosities of barbarism. Is it not obvious that in an
army as highly disciplined as the German, an army in which the officers
drive their men into battle under the threat of their revolvers, and in
which the soldiers obey such injunctions, such deliberately prepared
tragedies as that of Louvain are possible only with the complicity
of the officers, or rather by their orders? How else can we conceive
that soldiers would post themselves in a garden and thence fire their
rifles into the streets? (_N.R.C._, 10th September, 1914, evening
edition). And it is not the subaltern officers that we have to call
to account for these butcheries, but the generals, such as Baron von
Bissing, since become Governor-General of Belgium, who counsels the
soldiery to show themselves pitiless, and not to allow themselves to be
swayed by any humanitarian consideration, for compassion would be an
act of treason (_compare_ p. 336). The soldiers are advised that it
is permissible for them "to make the innocent suffer with the guilty"
(p. 84); that they may hang, without further ceremony, those who have
committed the crime of being found present, for whatever reason, in a
house where munitions or arms have been found (p. 335); and also those
who have attempted to escape while they were being held as hostages (p.
151). The previous Governor-General of Belgium announced that soldiers
need not be sure whether suspects are accessories or not, but that "if
any hostility is displayed towards them they may raze a city to the
ground." Such is the fate that General von Bülow promised the city of
Brussels. The same general thought it incumbent upon him officially
to inform the people of Brussels, Liége, and Namur that it was with
his consent that the town of Andenne was burned, and about one hundred
persons shot (_6th Report_, IV).

By these proclamations and others equally sanguinary the military
authorities wished to influence both the Germans and the Belgians.
The former were absolved beforehand of the horrors they committed,
and were assured of impunity for all the "reprisals" they might be
pleased to undertake. Moreover, they were kept in perpetual horror of
"francs-tireurs." Are they assailed unexpectedly by soldiers of the
enemy's army? They fall back without assuring themselves of what has
really happened, and return with the main body of the army to expend
their rage against the "francs-tireurs." This is what took place at
Tamines where more than four hundred citizens were shot down by rifle
or machine-gun fire, and also in a dozen villages of Bas-Luxembourg,
which were razed to the ground, and in which a thousand inhabitants
were shot.

_Animosity toward the Clergy._

The military chiefs bear an especial grudge against the clergy. In
the manifestoes against "francs-tireurs" the priests are specially
mentioned, which amounts to recommending them quite specially to the
savagery of the troops. The latter are convinced that the priests
incite their flocks from the pulpit, and that they place machine-guns
in the belfries. So, in the sack of a village, the worst treatment is
always reserved for the priests and the churches.

The pastoral letter of His Excellency Cardinal Mercier gives a list of
forty-three priests shot or executed.[15]

There is no ignominy the troops have not inflicted on the priests. A
few examples among hundreds will suffice.

They forced members of the Louvain clergy to lie naked in the dung of
a pig-sty.

The curé of Pont-Brûlé was beaten, by order of the German soldiery, by
his own parishioners.

The January number of _Kunst und Künstler_ gives a drawing representing
a curé hanging from a tree.

At Cortemarck it was the priests who were punished because an
inhabitant was in communication with the enemy (read, "the Belgians").

On the 30th August, 1914, the Germans arrested the dean and vicar of
a village in Brabant, under the pretext that they had made luminous
signals from the church tower. Now the priests had been prisoners
since 2.0 o'clock of the afternoon; how then could they have ascended
the tower at 5.30 p.m.? Despite their protestations they were taken
to Louvain, whence a so-called Council of War sent them to Germany.
Arriving in a prisoners' camp, they were accommodated in the latrines,
which consisted of a trench and a plank perforated with holes. Each
time a German soldier had to satisfy his need, he took the opportunity
of insulting the priests in the most filthy manner. A German major sent
for them and informed them that they were about to be shot. The vicar
asked that he might confess. "No," he was told, "hell is good enough
for you." They were led away to die ... but were sent to a seminary,
where they remained prisoners until January 1915.

_Animosity toward Churches._

Against the churches their rage was unloosed with even greater fury.
In the part of Brabant that lies north of Vilvorde there is hardly
a belfry left erect: Beyghem, Capelle-au-Bois, Haecht, Humbeek,
Pont-Brûlé, Sempst, Eppeghem, Houtem, Weerde, Hofstade, Elewijt,
Werchter, Boortmeerbeek, etc., are all burned.

At Termonde all the churches have been either burned or profaned. But
in the midst of this city, where twelve hundred houses were burned out
of fourteen hundred, the Béguinage remained intact, an oasis of calm
isolated amid the calcined ruins. On the grassy plain that surrounds
the bright little houses of the béguines stood the chapel. This did
not find favour with the Germans, and its blackened walls attest that
Kultur has passed that way. Were the béguines perhaps "francs-tireurs"?

We have already stated that the peculiar irritation of the Germans
against the clergy and their sanctuaries was due to the fact that they
regarded the curés as the leaders of the "francs-tireurs." The falsity
of this allegation was recognized by Dr. Julius Bachem, the editor
of the _Kölnische Volkszeitung_, one of the most prominent Catholic
newspapers in Germany. Dr. Bachem published, in the issue for April
1915 of the _Süddeutsche Monatshefte_, which was principally devoted
to Belgium, an article on the religious problem in Belgium. He based
his proofs on the authority of Baron von Bissing, Commandant of the
7th Army Corps, at present Governor-General in Belgium, and also on
the special inquiry undertaken by the Union of the Catholic Priests of
the Rhine, _Pax_. This inquiry, mostly conducted with the aid of the
present military authorities in Belgium, proved that the clergy was
absolutely innocent, and that all the accusations brought against it
were purely imaginary.[16]

The Emperor did not wait for the confirmation of the crimes attributed
to the priests before making violent accusations against them in his
telegram to the President of the United States. He has not retracted

_Intentional Insufficiency of Preliminary Inquiries._

Never was there the least justification for reprisals. Read the Reports
of the Commission of Inquiry, and the narratives of ocular witnesses,
and you will find that the most horrible things are continually done
without any pains being taken to verify the facts. Soldiers greedy for
pillage say, without justification, _Die Civilisten haben geschossen_;
and that is enough. The order is given to kill the men and reduce
the neighbourhood to ashes. Or shots have really been fired on the
Germans; the civilians are suddenly accused, and without listening to
the unhappy prisoners, who offer to prove that the shots were fired by
Belgian or Allied soldiers, the Germans proceed to execution.

A very typical case is that of Charleroi. We knew that French troops
were still occupying the town when the Germans entered. But these last
immediately accused the civilians, since, they said, shots were fired
from the interior of the houses, as though their adversaries had not
the right, quite as much as they, to take cover in the buildings.
Moreover, when they later were confronted with the proof that the
French were there, they merely remarked that the latter's mission was
to organize and to discipline the civic guards and "francs-tireurs"[17]
(_see_ Heymel's article, p. 196). Could one imagine a finer example of
preconceived opinion?

M. Waxwieler insists emphatically on the unspeakable frivolity with
which the Germans carry out "reprisals." He cites notably the case of
Linsmeau (p. 256) and that of Francorchamps (p. 270). As this is an
essential point, I may perhaps be permitted to relate a few more cases.

On entering Wépion on the 23rd August the Germans pretended that the
citizens had fired on them, and they shot, then and there, six of them,
among whom were the two younger Bouchats. Now those who had fired
were Belgian soldiers armed with machine-guns, who were covering the
retreat of the Belgian troops. A moment's reflection would have enabled
the Germans to realize their error, since civilians obviously had no
machine-guns at their disposal. While they were being led to their
death, one of the Bouchats begged a glass of water of their mother. But
the Germans refused to allow it to be given him: "It's not worth the
trouble now," they said.

In August 1914 a French patrol and a German patrol came into collision
at Sibret (Belgian Luxembourg) and exchanged shots; they then retired,
leaving a wounded German on the ground. Two inhabitants of Sibret
carried the wounded man toward an ambulance; the clerk to the _Justice
de Paix_ of Bouillon, M. Rozier, accompanied them. He was carrying the
rifle slung over his shoulder and the soldier's knapsack in his hand. A
German patrol came up and questioned M. Rozier, telling him, no doubt,
to raise his hands or throw down his rifle. As neither M. Rozier nor
any of his companions understood German, and were unable to comply with
the order, the Germans fired on M. Rozier, killing him.

Every time it has been possible to obtain any kind of inquiry from the
Germans it has resulted in their confusion; at Huy the bullets found in
the bodies of Germans were German bullets; the General was forced to
stop the burning of the village; he even admitted that a mistake had
been made.

An example of another kind, also taken from the _N.R.C._, is equally
characteristic. During the night a German soldier fired a rifle-shot,
no one knew why, in a village of Western Flanders. Great alarm
immediately. "The village is going to be burned!" But before they
had time to get to work an important piece of evidence, the empty
cartridge-case, proved that it was really a German soldier who fired.
However, if by chance this blessed cartridge-case had not come to hand
the village would have burned. Too often, alas! the German army does
not trouble to postpone the reprisals awhile ... and the houses are in
ashes before the falsity of the accusations has been proved. It is to
be remarked, indeed, that it is never the Germans who prove the truth
of their allegations, but the Belgians who have to prove the Germans in
error. It is justice reversed.

It is easy to understand that a _non-lieu_ does not please the German
authorities. In fact, their object is not to render justice but to
terrorize the population; and if it were necessary to examine the
_bona-fides_ of their accusations they would not be able to exercise
"reprisals," which would not suit them at all!

If the accusations had really been justified by the attacks of
"francs-tireurs" the Germans would have taken care to establish their
existence irrefutably. For we must not forget that according to Article
3 of the Hague Convention they ought to indemnify us for all the
burnings and massacres commanded by them.

_A "Show" Inquiry._

They know, however, how contrary these summary executions are to the
spirit of justice, and they sometimes attempt to lay a false trail.
Read, for example, the chapter devoted by Dr. Sven Hedin to the
"francs-tireurs." The great Swedish geographer, of whose wonderful
Asiatic journeys every one has heard, made a tour along the Western
front. He therefore visited the occupied portion of France and
Belgium, and wrote an enthusiastic book on the German Army, _Ein
Volk in Waffen_. In the course of this work, he describes the manner
in which an inquiry is held into the circumstances of an attack by
"francs-tireurs." Everything is done as regularly as possible, and
the affair ends in an acquittal. Was the tribunal authentic, or was
it merely a parody?[18] It matters little; the essential thing for us
is that it was desired to prove to Dr. Hedin that the Germans are not
barbarians, and that they observe the forms of justice even while on

_Mentality of an Officer charged with the Repression of

Let us now compare with the account of Dr. Hedin that of a German
officer entrusted with the repression of "francs-tireurs." Captain Paul
Oskar Höcker gives a few curious details in his interesting book, _An
der Spitze meiner Kompagnie_. He had to clear of "francs-tireurs" a
portion of the territory comprised between the German frontier and the
Meuse. His mission consisted in this: to present himself at houses,
to ask if there were arms, and in case of a reply in the negative, to
search the house; if arms were discovered the householder was shot on
the spot; in case of resistance the house was burned (p. 83). The first
farm he visits is Jungbush, near Moresnet; the inhabitants assure him
they have no arms. They are told that if they are hiding one rifle
they will be punished with death; they repeat that they have none. And
now the soldiers bring up a boy of fifteen who was hiding under the
straw with a Belgian rifle and five cartridges. He is shot without
further inquiry (p. 26). It is permissible to ask whether it would
not have been juster and more humane to have looked into the matter a
little more closely. The remainder of the book instructs us as to the
psychology of Captain Höcker. At the house of the vicar of Thimister,
where he passed the first night in Belgium, his bedroom door did not
lock, and this was enough to make him shake with fear (p. 29). On the
following morning he had a pigeon shot, which he suspected of being a
carrier of despatches to "francs-tireurs"; "and in truth," he says,
"the pigeon bore a stamp on the left wing" (p. 30). This proof is
perhaps somewhat slender in a country where all pigeons which take part
in matches have a mark of this kind. He confiscates all the small-arms
and parts of arms in the establishments of the innumerable armourers of
the district, and smashes everything in their workshops. On one such
occasion he burns a house whose owner does not consent with good grace
to the destruction of his plant (p. 30). On the same day he finds that
all the houses from which shots were fired have been burned; in his
satisfaction he does not even ask himself whether those who fired were
soldiers or civilians (p. 31). Neither has he a word of reprobation
for the fury which the Germans display against Belgium: Belgium,
forced to take the side of the Allies when her territory was violated
by Germany. He reaches Visé at the moment of its burning; he accepts
immediately the legend according to which the bridge has been destroyed
by "francs-tireurs" (p. 34). According to him, the Belgians of good
society do not become soldiers; he is convinced that substitution
is still in force with us, and that for 1,600 francs (£64) one can
escape from one's military obligations (p. 39). To him, therefore, all
civilians appear cowards, and he is not surprised to see them become
"sneaking francs-tireurs." When he passes through the streets of
Louvain he listens to the story that Germans have that very day been
fired upon (p. 47). Further on he admits without hesitation that the
German soldiers taken prisoners before Liége must have expected to be
shot by the Belgians (p. 71).

We do not question the sincerity of Captain Höcker. But why was so
credulous and so suggestible a person selected to search out and punish
"francs-tireurs"? Assuredly because it was desired that "reprisals"
should be carried out without previous discussion, and by some one
whose conscience should, nevertheless, be at rest.

_Drunkenness in the German Army._

We have just seen that massacres very frequently took place without any
pretext having been brought forward to excuse them. In nearly all cases
alcoholism was the cause of these, for the German soldiers, and above
all the officers, are scandalously addicted to drink.

The first thing requisitioned by the officers is always wine, by
hundreds of bottles at a time.

Turn over a collection of German illustrated papers: every time a
meeting of officers is photographed there are bottles and glasses on
the table. At the ambulance installed in the Palais de Justice of
Brussels the military surgeons have not been ashamed to steal the
wine of the wounded men, wine offered by the citizens of Brussels. The
general and his staff who installed themselves on the 21st August,
1914, in the Palais Royal of Laeken levied such vast contributions on
the cellars of the Palais that on the following morning an officer was
found, in the costume of Adam, dead-drunk in front of a bath which he
had not had the strength to enter. When they left the Palais they took
with them many hampers of wine, and a few days later they had a search
made for further hampers of the vintages which were their preference.
The cellars were soon empty.

They were drunken soldiers who provoked the burning of Huy, the
assassinations at Canne (_N.R.C._, 23rd August, 1914, morning edition),
and in part at least the massacres of Louvain. When they occupied Gand
the police had to collect them, dead-drunk, on the very first morning;
they had already begun to fire revolver-shots.

It was after a tavern brawl between drunken soldiers that the burning
of a portion of Tongres was decreed (_N.R.C._, 22nd August, 1914,
morning edition). In Brussels, on the 28th September, 1914, some
drunken soldiers in a German cabaret situated in the Rue de la Grande
Ile, were firing rifle-shots to amuse themselves; bullets lodged in the
house-fronts opposite. The officer whom some one went to fetch that
he might witness this misbehaviour believed that an attack was being
delivered by "francs-tireurs," and, trembling like a leaf, refused to
go thither. The _N.R.C._, 28th January, 1915 (morning edition) states
that a young girl of Eelen was arrested as a "franc-tireur" because
rifle-shots had been fired by drunken soldiers.

Let us add that drunkenness might have had harmless consequences if
the authorities had not exerted themselves to make the troops believe
that every unexpected shot is necessarily fired by a "franc-tireur,"
and that so black a crime can only be paid for by a general massacre
accompanied by the burning of the village concerned.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is only one fashion of explaining the horrors committed by the
Germans: it is to admit that they are modelled beforehand according to
a carefully devised system of intimidation: the systematic inhumanity
of their treatment of the enemy population being intended to facilitate
other military operations.

_Cruelties necessary according to German Theories._

Compare, for example, the laws of war according to the German Great
General Staff[19] with the stipulations of the Hague Convention. As
the last is based on humanitarian considerations and seeks to lighten
the scourge of war for non-combatants, so the Germans systematically
refuse to make war less cruel; on the contrary, they start with the
principle that the more terrible the war the more swiftly and surely
will its object be attained. Read the chapter, "The Object of War,"
and you will be edified. Even jurists like Baer, blinded by warlike
passions, dare to maintain that all must yield to military necessities,
including--what blasphemy!--the law of nations. The characteristic
theory that war should be "absolute" and barbarous is the idea
underlying the manifesto of von Bissing which has already been cited
(p. 70). In fewer words Hindenburg says the same thing[20] (p. 206).
So that Belgium might realize the fate that awaited her the German
authorities made haste to advertise their opinion. It is true that they
have since then posted up reassuring phrases as to the humanitarian
sentiments of the German Army for the moment. Had our butchers
renounced their attempts at terrorization?

_Terrorization: "Reprisals" as a "Preventive."_

According to this hypothesis, that the great "reprisals" undertaken at
the outset of the war would serve as examples, the Germans wished to
instil terror into the very marrow of our bones, so that they might
then be able to rule us with a small garrison of Landsturm. Reflect,
for example, that Brussels, an agglomeration of 700,000 souls, has
never had a garrison of more than 5,000 men, and has often had only

Such a calculation is so abominable, so fundamentally inhuman, that we
shrank from the harshness of this supposition, and accepted it with
all manner of reservations.[21] Well, our hesitation was futile. In an
article whose frankness is calculated to make one's hair stand on end,
Captain Walter Blöm, adjutant to the Governor-General, published in the
officially-inspired _Kölnische Zeitung_ of the 10th February, 1915, the
confirmation of that which we hardly dared to imagine. Here are his
exact words:--

"The principle according to which the whole community must be punished
for the fault of a single individual is justified by the _theory of
terrorization_. The innocent must suffer with the guilty; if the latter
are unknown the innocent must even be punished in their place; and
note that the punishment is applied not _because_ a misdeed has been
committed, but _in order that_ no more shall be committed. To burn a
neighbourhood, shoot hostages, decimate a population which has taken
up arms against the army--all this is far less a reprisal than the
sounding of a _note of warning_ for the territory not yet occupied. Do
not doubt it: it was as a note of warning that Battice, Herve, Louvain,
and Dinant were burned. The burnings and bloodshed of the opening of
the war showed the great cities of Belgium how perilous it was for them
to attack the small garrisons which we were able to leave there. No
one will believe that Brussels, where we are to-day as though in our
own home, would have allowed us to do as we liked if the inhabitants
had not trembled before our vengeance, and if they did not continue to
tremble. War is not a social diversion."

Any commentary would weaken the force of these declarations.

_Incendiary Material._

We are not in the confidence of the German Staff, and we can only form
hypotheses as to its mentality. But here are two facts, easy to verify
and interpret, which show that the atrocities were committed with

Firstly, the existence of various incendiary materials. When a town
is condemned to be burned the execution of the command is confided to
a special company of the engineers. (The _carnet_ of an officer of an
"incendiary company" was picked up in a commune of Hainaut.) Generally
a first squad breaks the windows and shutters; a second pours naphtha
into the houses by means of special pumps, "incendiary pumps"; then
comes the third squad, which throws the "incendiary bombs." These last
are of many different kinds. Those most commonly employed in Brabant
and Hainaut include discs of gelatinous nitro-cellulose, which jump
in all directions. Thanks to the inflammable vapours which fill the
houses, the latter catch fire on all their floors simultaneously. It
took only half an hour to set fire to the Boulevard Audent at Charleroi.

No one can suppose that so perfect an organization was improvised
during the campaign. Moreover, where and how could the discs of
fulminating cotton have been procured?

At Termonde the Germans probably employed cylinders of naphtha. At all
events one can still see, in houses which did not catch fire, holes
made in the ceilings and floors, into which holes long strips of linen
are introduced to serve as wicks. The Germans sprinkled them with
naphtha, and it was enough to put a match to such a wick in order to
set fire to the joists of the floor overhead. At Termonde 1,200 houses
were burned in a single day.

_The Two Great Periods of Massacre._

We discover, then, that the great destructive operations were conducted
according to a general plan. Let us place in chronological order the
most important of the massacres and the conflagrations, that is, those
which could not have been carried out except by order of the officers,
omitting, therefore, the killings in detail and the burning of farms
and isolated houses, attributable, no doubt, to soldiers acting on
their own initiative, or to small bands greedy for pillage. What do
we see? That apart from the atrocities which marked the outset of the
campaign, the majority of the great killings and burnings, in France
as well as in Belgium, were ordered during two periods: one from the
19th to the 27th August, and one from the 2nd to the 12th September,
1914. Now it is quite certain that in a country already occupied,
and deprived of means of communication, the "francs-tireurs" could
not possibly have agreed among themselves as to the moment of their
attacks. The only people who could transmit an order were the Germans;
and the legitimate conclusion which one forms from this lamentable list
is that the pretended attacks of francs-tireurs were elaborated in
Berlin, whence they were ordered by telegraph to break out on a given

Another interesting fact revealed by a chronological list is that
the so-called attacks of "francs-tireurs" very often do not coincide
with the entrance of the Germans into a given locality, but break
out a few days later. One might at a pinch understand that poachers,
or impulsive individuals, might fire a rifle at a patrol; but it is
wholly improbable that they would make their attempt at a moment when
they were already impressed by the formidable warlike equipment of our
enemies. This is so contrary to common sense that the Germans try to
get out of it by lying. Let us cite a case. They assert that on Tuesday
the 25th August, 1914, there was in Louvain only a weak garrison of
Landsturm, and that the civil population profited by this circumstance
to attempt an attack, which could only be repressed by incendiarism and
massacre. Now the people of Louvain had been warned that very morning
that 10,000 men were to arrive during the day, and that many houses
which had not yet billeted soldiers would do so the following night.
And, indeed, that afternoon several fresh regiments were seen to enter,
notably the 53rd, 72nd, and 7th Hussars.

When, by exception, the Germans assert that the "francs-tireurs" have
attacked a column on the march, one almost always remarks the three
following points: (1) the attack takes place while a village is being
traversed; (2) it happens when a great part of the column has already
passed, so that the "francs-tireurs" are caught between two fires; (3)
the "francs-tireurs" are concealed in the houses. A moment's reflection
suffices to show that these are precisely the most unfavourable
circumstances which civilians could choose for their attack.

_Protective Inscriptions._

All this shows that we have not to deal with acts of indiscipline,
which are, God knows, the inevitable accompaniment of any war, yet
which are almost excusable. We have here a maturely considered system,
prepared at the Great General Headquarters, and then frigidly applied.
In other words, the "reprisals against francs-tireurs" form part of
the plan of campaign of the German army. If additional proof were
needed that they are disciplined cruelties, as the Minister of State,
M. Emile Vandervelde, remarks, it would be found in the inscriptions
and placards placed upon property which is to be respected.

Besides the inscription which says simply that the house must not be
burned save with the authorization of the _Kommandantur_ (at Louvain,
after the great fires of the 25th and 27th August, nearly all the
houses which were spared received one of these placards), there are
others giving the reasons for the protection accorded to the building.
Here are some of these reasons: the inhabitants are respectable
(_gute_) people; they have German sympathies; they have already given
the troops all they possessed; they are protected by the Legation; an
officer knows them personally. The fact that with very few exceptions
these houses escaped disaster well demonstrates the strength of German
discipline. It is by no means astonishing, therefore, that in the
localities which are still intact the inhabitants should have taken
precautions; thus, there have been houses in Brussels which were
provided with a protective inscription. Other buildings have been
marked on a plan (_N.R.C._, 14th September, 1914, evening edition).
This reminds one of the tenth plague of Egypt and the sign which the
Jews had to place upon the lintel of their dwelling, that the Lord
might recognize it. When the Lord passed, He spared the marked houses
(Exodus xii. 7, 22). In the German plague which has settled upon our
poor country, the Destroying Angel has the aspect of an officer with a
single eye-glass.

_Accusations against the Belgian Government._

What makes the German accusations against the "francs-tireurs"
particularly serious is, firstly, the terrifying, infernal nature of
the punishments which follow these accusations; and secondly, the
fact that they involve our constituted authorities.[22] "The Belgian
Government has openly[23] encouraged the civil population to take part
in this war," says one whose word has weight in Germany, for he is
none other than the Emperor in person. And he did not content himself
with telegraphing this to America; he spread this impudent assertion
over the walls of our cities (p. 208). Had he at least the excuse of
believing what he said? Most certainly not; for years he had been
informed by his spies of the details of our military organization; he
knew, then, perfectly, what Belgium was or was not doing.

At the time the first accusations of this kind were made the Belgian
authorities had informed Germany that, conformably with the laws of
war, they were fighting only with their regular troops (2nd _Grey
Book_, Nos. 68, 69, 71). And they posted everywhere proclamations
recommending the people to keep calm, forbidding civilians to take part
in the fighting, and counselling the citizens to deliver their arms to
the communal administrations (2nd _Grey Book_, No. 71). At the same
time the principal daily papers repeated, day by day, on the first page
and in large type, the text of these placards.

These appeals were heard, and our compatriots, if they owned rifles,
immediately took their arms to the _maisons communales_. Would you
believe it, this measure of precaution was exploited against us! For
later, when the Germans occupied our _hôtels de ville_, and discovered
the presence of rifles, each ticketed with its owner's name, they
pretended to have brought to light a proof of premeditation (_N.R.C._,
4th September, 1914, evening edition): "Look!--say the officers--with
what care the Belgian authorities have prepared for the guerilla war!
Each citizen has his rifle ready to hand at the _hôtel de ville_!"
The soldiers must indeed have been ridden by the "fixed idea" of the
"franc-tireur," or they must have realized the poltroonery of such

But the Germans made assertions much more extravagant than this. In
Belgium repairs to buildings are effected with the assistance of
scaffoldings suspended against the outer walls; and at the time of
building the house openings are left immediately under the cornice,
in which the cross-beams supporting the scaffolding are fixed when
required. These openings are closed outwardly by some sort of
decorative motive. Now, a German captain gives a detailed description
of these arrangements, and arrives at the conclusion that these are
_loopholes for francs-tireurs_!

What a mentality for an officer! So fantastic an explanation evidently
will not bear a moment's reflection; but that matters nothing; it is
none the less reprinted by the work _Die Wahrheit über den Krieg_, to
be served to the Germans remaining in the country. The authors of the
statement know that their compatriots have lost the critical sense and
that they are ready to accept, their eyes closed, and their minds also,
anything that is told them.

This example shows that while inciting the soldiers in order to bring
them to the required pitch of irritation, the rulers of Germany are
equally concerned to create a violent current of hatred in their own
country. It was necessary, in fact, since there was nothing with which
the Belgian nation could be reproached, and since nevertheless they
were making war upon it, to invent a few serious motives of animosity.

In a preceding chapter we examined the wretched diplomatic accusations
which the Germans have forged in an attempt to compromise our political
circles. We shall presently deal with the abominable accusations of
cruelty brought against the Belgians. Here we will content ourselves
with citing yet one more fact relating to the "francs-tireurs."

When the civil population of a locality was accused--or convicted, as
the butchers said--of having borne arms against the German troops,
the procedure was generally as follows: The houses were fired, and
the inhabitants driven towards a public square, or into the church.
They were divided into two groups: one of men, the others of women,
children, and old folk. Then a certain number of men were shot;
often, too, a few of the women, children, and old people. After the
execution, which took place in the presence of the whole village, the
women, children, and old people were set free to wander amid the
smoking ruins. The officers used to make it their duty to be present
at these operations, as much to encourage and, at need, to assist the
executioners, as to enjoy the spectacle. At Tamines they sat at table
in the open, drinking champagne, while the victims were being buried.
The Germans themselves realized what disgust such behaviour excited;
they tried to deny the facts, but these were proved.

_Treatment of Civil Prisoners._

What was done with the men not killed? They were sent into Germany
in order to show the "francs-tireurs" to the people. One can easily
imagine what the journey was like: in cattle-trucks, where they
remained packed together for several days, without even having room
to sit down; tortured by hunger and thirst to the point of losing
their reason--which meant being shot there and then. The stoppages in
the railway stations, when the population came to insult them, making
gestures of cutting their throats ... one can picture it all. Then the
life in camp, where they are even less well treated than the soldiers,
for at least these latter are regarded as prisoners of war, and, in
that quality, as being protected, up to a certain point, by the Hague
Convention; while the "francs-tireurs" are criminals in common law,
who are given, for food, scarcely anything but soup made of beet,
fish-heads, and slaughter-house offal.

It is extremely difficult to obtain information as to their sojourn
in Germany from those who have returned. Before leaving, it seems,
they were forced to make a promise to reveal nothing, under penalty
of being sent back to Germany. We know, however, that certain of
these prisoners, coming from an agricultural district, were forced
to go down the coal-pits of Essen (_N.R.C._, 10th October, 1914,
evening edition), while others were made to gather in the harvest in
Westphalia. When they refused to go to work they were beaten with
sticks; a young man on the outskirts of Brussels still bears the marks
of such treatment.

This is a revival of the deeds of antiquity. The ancients also reduced
the able-bodied inhabitants to slavery, employing them in agriculture
or the mines. It only remains for the Germans to sell us at auction,
as Julius Cæsar did in the case of the 53,000 Belgians captured at
Atuatuca (_De Bello Gallico_, ii. 33).

They sent not only "francs-tireurs" into Germany. They made prisoners
also in localities where nothing had happened. Thus they took all
the inhabitants of the non-active civic guard of Tervueren. The list
bore 135 names; as many of the men had left the commune, the Germans
completed the number by taking the first civilians who came to hand;
for they had to have 135 prisoners from Tervueren to exhibit in Germany.

On several occasions it happened, during the period of the great
massacres, from the 20th to the 27th August, that bands of prisoners
taken into Germany were not accepted and were sent back to Belgium.
Such was the case with numerous prisoners from Louvain, who were taken
back to Brussels, then taken to near Malines, and there left in the
open country; the same was done with several hundreds of men, women,
children, and old folk from Rotselaer, Wesemael, and Gelrode. Here, in
a few words, is their Odyssey. To begin with, they were expelled from
their houses, that these might be burned, on the 25th and 26th August.
Then they were driven by the troops as far as Louvain, and there
crammed by force into cattle-trucks, which in two days conveyed them
to Germany. There they were witnesses of a violent dispute of which
they were the object, and finally, after they had been given a little
food in the railway station, they were put back into their trucks.
They reached Brussels on the 31st August, where they were restored to
liberty; that is, they were told: "Get out of here, and be off with
you." And there were these unhappy folk, turned out of the railway
station, dejected, bewildered, their glances vacant, almost dead with
drowsiness and fatigue, the men supporting the old people, the women
carrying the children. The people of Brussels who saw this lamentable
procession go by will never as long as they live forget the impression
of misery which they received. Assistance was organized immediately,
and our poor compatriots were given shelter in the various public
establishments of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode. They remained there several
weeks before daring to return "home."

How many civil prisoners were there in the various camps of Germany:
Celle, Gutersloh, Magdeburg, Münster, Salzwedel, Cassel, Senne, Soltau,
etc.? The lists which have been published in _Le Bruxellois_ are
very incomplete. On the other hand, persons who were believed to be
prisoners in Germany have in reality been shot. Thus, in the little
garden facing the railway station of Louvain a trench was opened on
the 14th and 15th January, 1915, in which were found a Belgian soldier
of the 6th line regiment and twenty-six civilians of Louvain, who were
believed for the most part to be in Germany; among them were two women
and the curé of Herent.

Many of the people of Tintigny, Rossignol, and other localities, who
had been taken away as civil prisoners, were shot by the roadside.
Those of Musson escaped only because the order had come from Germany
not to kill any more prisoners: by July 1915 they were not as yet

_The Return of Civil Prisoners._

In November and December there returned to their "homes" (we mean to
their native towns, not to their houses, which were burned) about 450
inhabitants of Dinant, more than 400 of Aerschot, and several hundred
people of Louvain, of the 1,200 which had been taken away.

Many of them bore, painted in white oil paint on the back of their
waistcoats the words: _Kriegsgefangene-Münsterlager_. Until March 1915
those living at Dinant had to present themselves regularly before the
military authorities.

On the occasion of their return the communal administration of Dinant
was compelled publicly to thank the Germans.


  On the occasion of the return of a portion of our civil prisoners,
  I believe it my duty to invite the whole population to observe the
  most absolute calm. Any demonstration might be severely repressed.

  The return of a portion of our fellow-citizens, held in captivity
  for nearly three months, constitutes an act of benevolence, an act
  of generous humanity on the part of the military authorities, to
  whom we offer the thanks of the administration and those of the
  people of Dinant. By its tranquillity the latter will endeavour to
  manifest its gratitude.

  I also beg the returning prisoners immediately to resume their
  labours. This measure is necessary, as much in the interest of
  their families as in the interest of society.

  For the Burgomaster, absent,
  _Communal Councillor_.
  DINANT, _the 18th November, 1914_.

At the end of January 1915 about 2,500 inhabitants of Brabant were sent
back in a body. They had left the camps on Sunday, the 24th January,
and they reached Louvain on Friday the 29th, and Brussels and Vilvorde
on Saturday the 30th. During this five days' journey they had not been
allowed to leave the trucks into which they were crammed; for all
nourishment they received some black bread and water, and on occasion
a turnip or a beet. The Louvain prisoners had the greatest trouble
in the world to walk as far as the ruins of their houses. Those from
beyond Assche were set down at the Gare du Nord in Brussels; they
had to be carried as far as the tram for Berchem; their swollen feet
refused all service. These unhappy people were still wearing the light
clothes which they were wearing in August, when they were dragged from
their villages, and since then they had never had a fire. Those from
Tervueren were taken from the trucks at Schaerbeek; they were driven
home in carts.

_German Admission of the Innocence of the Civil Prisoners._

What crime had these unhappy folk committed to be treated in so
terrible a fashion? None. The Germans themselves admit it; none (2nd
_Grey Book_, No. 87). The German authorities communicated the following
note to the Belgian newspapers--we copy it from the _Écho de la presse
internationale_ of the 30th January, 1915:--

  The Commander-in-Chief of the German Army has authorized the return
  to Belgium of the Belgian civilian prisoners: (1) against whom no
  inquiry of any military tribunal is in progress; (2) who have not
  to undergo any penalty of any kind. Consequently all the women (17)
  and 2,577 men will be able to re-enter the country.

The Commander-in-Chief of the German Army is the Emperor. It was he,
then, who recognized the innocence of the civil prisoners.

No charge, therefore, could be brought against them; these prisoners
were recognized as being completely innocent; the authorities admitted
that it was without any motive that they were kept five months in
Germany, without care, without fire, almost without food, herded
together like beasts, in perpetual fear of being shot, knowing nothing
of their families--for they were unable for many weeks either to write
or receive news. Some of them succumbed under their privations; others
were shot; many have become insane; all were so aged and enfeebled by
ill-treatment, methodically applied, that their neighbours hesitated to
recognize them. Will they ever recover from such an experience?

No doubt the German authorities knew long ago that the deportation
of these civilians was a judicial error; or rather that they were
sent into Germany to give the people there the occasion to torment
and insult the "francs-tireurs captured alive." And yet they were not
repatriated until the moment when the fear of famine forced Germany to
organize the seizure of foodstuffs and to ration her population. It
was not at all because of a spirit of justice that the civil prisoners
from Belgium were sent home (and also part of those from France);
it was only a measure of economy; the authorities merely wished to
prevent their eating German bread, which had become too precious; they
preferred to place them in the care of the American charities.

And when they were at last sent home, how were they treated? Did the
Germans at least show the consideration which the slave-dealers used to
show for their black cargo? No; for the slave-dealers had a pecuniary
interest in preserving the market value of their flock, while for
German militarism the Belgian civilians do not count: _Es ist Krieg_.

B.--The "Belgian Atrocities."

_The Pretended Cruelty of Belgian Civilians toward the German Army._

In order to organize the massacres by means of which it expected to
terrorize our country, the Great General Staff had to have at its
disposal troops on which it could count without reserve, which would
not shrink before the bloodiest task, and to which no repressive
measures would seem excessive. The Staff had to be certain it would be
obeyed without hesitation when it ordered, as at Dinant, the death of
seven hundred men, women, and children. To obtain soldiers who would
undertake such barbarous operations, and operations so contrary to the
military spirit, the obsession of the "franc-tireur" would perhaps be
insufficient; for there are soldiers even among such troops who are
brave and who do not tremble at bogy-stories; there might be honest
men among them to whom theft would be repugnant by whatever name one
adorned it, and who would not be tempted by the bait of pillage; all
were not so imbued with Kultur as that officer who proposed not to kill
the "francs-tireurs" outright, but to wound them mortally, afterwards
to leave them to die slowly, in agony, untended (p. 342).

But these soldiers, even the more gentle, would regard it as a sacred
duty to avenge crimes committed against innocent persons. Let them be
led to believe that the Belgians have tortured peaceable tradesmen, or
have mutilated wounded soldiers incapable of defending themselves, or
that they employ dum-dum bullets, producing frightful wounds from which
recovery is almost impossible ... and immediately these soldiers will
have only one thought: to make the first Belgian encountered expiate
the crime of which his fellow-countrymen have been guilty. Before their
thirst for vengeance all distinctions disappear: children, old people,
men and women, all equally deserve to be punished. From that moment
it will be needless to order reprisals, for the army will be only too
ready to show itself pitiless, and to call for an eye for an eye and a
tooth for a tooth, in order to make all the Belgians indifferently pay
for the offences committed upon inoffensive Germans.

_Some Accusations._

It is precisely this psychology which the rulers of Germany have
exploited. Immediately after the opening of the campaign their
newspapers began to publish articles describing the horrors committed
by the Belgians; articles which make one's flesh creep. Belgian women
pour petrol over the wounded and set fire to it; they throw out of
the windows the wounded confided to their care in the hospitals; they
pour boiling oil over the troops, and thereby put two thousand out of
action; they handle the rifle and revolver as well as the men; they cut
the throats of soldiers and stone them; they cut off their ears and
gouge out their eyes; they offer them cigarettes containing powder,
whose explosion blinds them. Even the little girls ten years of age
indulge in these horrors. The men are no better; to begin with, they
are all "francs-tireurs," even when they assume the appearance of
respectable schoolmasters; besides which they crawl under motor-cars to
kill the chauffeurs; they kill peaceable drinkers with a stab in the
belly; they foully shoot an officer who is reading them a proclamation;
they saw off the legs of soldiers; they finish off the wounded on the
field of battle; they cut off their fingers to steal their rings; they
fill letters with narcotics in order to poison those who open them;
they set traps for soldiers in order to torture them at leisure; even
the humanitarian symbol of the Red Cross does not stay their homicidal
hands; they fire on doctors, on ambulance men, on motor-cars removing
the wounded.

That the soldiers leaving for Belgium were made to believe that their
adversaries were horrible barbarians, and that the troops were inspired
with an ardent desire to avenge the innocent victims of the Belgians,
is amply proved by all the tales dating from the beginning of the war.
See, for instance, in the story of _La journée de Charleroi_ (p. 195)
the impatience with which the author awaits the moment of entering
Belgium to take part in the reprisals, and his delight when he at last
sees houses burned to ashes and a curé hung from a tree.

Let us note in passing that the Austrians also, desirous of declaring
war upon us, resorted to the invention of "Belgian atrocities." In
its reply to the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war, our Government
protested against this defamation (1st _Grey Book_, Nos. 77, 78).

       *       *       *       *       *

All these stories appeared, in the first place, in the newspapers.
We must not be surprised if in time of war, when men's minds are
over-excited, the journalists willingly publish articles containing
statements of the kind we have cited, without troubling to verify
their authenticity. But it is unpardonable that they should have been
reprinted in cold blood, when their falsity had become so obvious that
it must have struck even the most prejudiced. We know of two pamphlets
devoted entirely to atrocities committed by the Belgians: _Die
Belgischen Greueltaten_ and _Belgische Kriegsgreuel_. The work already
cited, _Die Wahrheit über den Krieg_, also deals at length with these
atrocities. Finally, there is no lack of information concerning them in
the pamphlets _Lüttich_ and _Die Eroberung Belgiëns_.

One remark occurs to us immediately. The narratives are based on
details given by witnesses "worthy of credence." Now all verification
is impossible, for we are never given a hint as to the date; moreover,
the locality is very rarely mentioned; in _Die Wahrheit_ there are only
three place-names: Gemmenich, Tavigny, and Demenis.

Demenis does not exist, and we have in vain sought to discover what
locality is meant. And what did really happen in the other two
communes mentioned? At Tavigny the Germans never had occasion to
commit any reprisals; not a man was killed, not a house burned; the
troops merely proceeded systematically to loot the place. Nor did
anything more happen in any neighbouring commune which the narrator
might have confused with Tavigny. Nor was there any confusion of names
with Tintigny; in the latter village the Germans behaved in the most
atrocious fashion, but the mode of operation was quite different. As
for Gemmenich, we have no information as to what passed there, But we
can assert that not a single house was burned there. Now it is very
certain that if the Belgians had committed the atrocities of which the
Germans tell, the latter would have set fire to the village; it is
therefore highly probable that nothing happened there. In short, of the
only three place-names given all three are incorrect.

We cannot be expected to refute all these allegations. Many are
utterly ridiculous: for example, the story of the narcotics at the
Liége Post Office; that of the fingers cut off the dead and wounded
and then carefully preserved in a bag (one may well ask why); that of
the boiling oil is no better: try to imagine the incredible store of
oil that must have been possessed by the women who killed and wounded
therewith 2,000 Germans; moreover, either the German army does not
march down the middle of the street, or else the women had special
apparatus to throw jets of boiling liquid to a distance without danger
to themselves.

Let us confine ourselves to examining the legend of the gouged-out
eyes. It is that which crops up most frequently under the pens of
the German publicists, so well calculated is it to arouse horror and
indignation in the readers. Well! its falsity appears from an inquiry
made by the Germans themselves. Not only have their newspapers--notably
the _Kölnische Volkszeitung_ and _Vorwärts_--on several occasions done
justice upon this lie, but an official commission, instituted by the
German Government, has also admitted that there is not _a single case_
in which a wounded German soldier has been intentionally blinded (see
_Belgian Grey Books_, Nos. 107, 108).

The Germans themselves admit that the accusation is unfounded. Has
their Press for that reason ceased to make use of it? We little know
the Germans if we imagine that it has. The entire Press continues
imperturbably to spread these abominable calumnies. The _Kölnische
Zeitung_ of the 15th February (four o'clock edition), referring to an
article by Étienne Girau, pastor of the Walloon community of Amsterdam,
once more declares that the Belgians have ill-treated the German
wounded. It is enough to make one ask whether the Belgians have not
_morally_ blinded all the "intellectuals" of Germany.

Another example. In February 1915--that is, when no honest German could
any longer believe in the legend of the gouged-out eyes--_Vorwärts_
protested against a little work by a Pastor Conrad, of which
150,000 examples were printed and sold at 8 pfennigs per copy to
school-children, in which the Belgians were still accused of having
blinded their prisoners (_N.R.C._, 12th February, morning edition).

The Berlin Government also acts as though it was ignorant of the
conclusions of its own commissions of inquiry. Wishing to refuse
General Leman, a prisoner in Germany, the privilege of receiving a
visit from his daughter, it based its refusal on the atrocities of
which German soldiers have been the victims in Belgium, and on the
inhuman fashion in which the Belgians have treated the wounded and
prisoners in their hands. The second accusation is as ill-founded as
the first. The German soldiers taken prisoner by the Belgians were
interned in Bruges; they made no complaints, far from it (pp. 56-8); as
for the wounded in our hospitals, here are precise facts.

Let us quote, first of all, from the correspondence published in the
_Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant_, giving a few details from letters
written by the German wounded under treatment in Antwerp.

_How the Belgians treat their German Prisoners._

  A private correspondent writes to us from Antwerp:--

  The fact of knowing that the prisoners of war of the belligerent
  States are treated as well as possible should also touch the hearts
  of the Dutch.... I give you here some extracts from the letters of
  wounded Germans under treatment in the hospitals of Antwerp.

  I am in a very good Belgian hospital and they treat me very well.

  KARL HINTZMAN, Military Hospital, Antwerp.

  I am very well looked after and have very good food.


  They treat us very well in Belgium. What the German papers said in
  the summer about the Belgians is utterly untrue. The Germans could
  not look after us better. Moreover, the nation is highly developed.


  A number of comrades are here. We are extraordinarily well looked
  after. Everybody is very kind to us.


  Several comrades of my company are here. I am very well looked
  after. One could not look after us better in Germany.


  We could not hope for better care.


  The medical treatment is very good. We are sounded every day, and
  our wounds are dressed daily. The doctors are very capable here. We
  have food in abundance; all is excellent.

  SÖLLIGER (Braunschweig).

  It must not be forgotten that the majority of these prisoners fell
  into the hands of the Belgians at Aerschot, where the Germans had
  imprisoned several hundreds of civilians in the church, at the
  time of the investment of the town. I can speak from experience.
  The German prisoners are treated with fully as much kindness in
  other parts of the country. At the house of the commandant of the
  _service de garde_ in Bruges I saw an assortment of German books
  and card games which had been sent by Mme. E. Vandervelde, who had
  visited the prisoners a few days earlier in the company of her
  husband, Minister of State and the Socialist leader of Belgium. The
  latter wished to make sure that the prisoners lacked for nothing.

  We can say that Belgium does not seek to avenge her unheard-of
  sufferings by maltreating the German victims of the war. Suffering
  evokes pity in a sane mind. I can only express the hope that these
  proofs may fall into the hands of German readers.

  (_N.R.C._, 8th October, 1914, morning edition.)

But we have something better than these documents of a private nature.
The German authorities exhibited, at Spa, a statement that the German
wounded there were perfectly well cared for. At the moment when the
Germans dispensed with the collaboration of the clinical staff of the
Red Cross in Brussels, they did homage to its devotion and competence.

  SPA, _18th August, 1914_.

  _To the Burgomaster of Spa._

  The Commander-General of the 10th Army Corps thanks the Burgomaster
  of Spa for the good reception accorded to his troops by the city
  of Spa on the 11th and 12th August, 1914. Thanks to his care and
  efforts, he recognizes that the wounded in the hospitals of Spa are
  particularly well cared for.


  _Grand Duke of Oldenburg_.

  (_Les Nouvelles_, published under control of the German military
  authority, 22nd September, 1914.)

  _Headquarters, Medical Service_.

  BRUSSELS, _31st August, 1914_.

  _To MM. the President and Members of the Red Cross of Belgium, Rue
  de l'Association, 24._


  The German Government assures you of the expression of its grateful
  sentiments for the devoted care which you have given to all the
  wounded collected in the capital.

  Ambulances have been organized in great numbers, and the necessity
  of a concentration henceforth indispensable compels us immediately
  to take the following measures....

  In bringing these measures to your knowledge and in begging you to
  assist us to realize them promptly, we again express to you the
  thanks which we address to all the members of your association and
  especially to the ladies of the Red Cross, whose complete devotion
  we have appreciated.

  I beg you to accept, Gentlemen, the assurance of my high

  Prof. Dr. STUERTZ,

It is useful to observe that these declarations have been made
spontaneously, since it is obvious that we were powerless to exert any
pressure on the Germans. They have, therefore, nothing in common with
those which the Germans have forced the Belgian wounded or prisoners to

_The Pretended Massacres of German Civilians._

There remain the famous massacres of Germans in Brussels, Antwerp,
Liége, etc. According to witnesses "worthy of credence," inoffensive
Germans, even women and children, were killed and martyred in various
Belgian cities. At Liége alone more than 150 persons, of whom
three-fourths were women and children, were said to have lost their

As to Liége, we have inquired of inhabitants of the city, several of
whom are closely connected with the administration of justice; no
one had any knowledge of any such occurrences. They have therefore
been invented, lock, stock, and barrel, by the "witnesses worthy of
credence," and we defy the Germans to mention the name of a single one
of these 150 "victims."

At Antwerp we can oppose, to the testimony of those who were "present"
on the occasion of murders and serious assaults upon German women,
the official report, which admits that shops were broken into by
the populace, but which at the same time attests that no German was
wounded. Let us add that the German Weber was _not_ assassinated, but
is quietly living in Antwerp.

Let us proceed to the doings in Brussels; and let us quote, from
_Greueltaten_, the most serious occurrences there mentioned. We have a
story, based on hearsay, which tells, of course, of gouged-out eyes,
as well as three reports of ocular witnesses. The first is that of a
witness "worthy of credence" who saw a child thrown from a window and a
woman dragged by the hair until she was insensible; he also witnessed
the murder of a German druggist, one Frankenberg, who was betrayed by
his own wife, a Belgian. The second witness is the correspondent of
the Wolff Agency. He saw only what the people of Brussels themselves
witnessed: that is, that the populace pillaged the German shops and
cafés on the 4th and 5th August. But he had not been able to discover
any acts of violence against the person; those he mentions, in a couple
of words, without insisting on them, had been related to him; but he
does not even add that the witnesses were "worthy of credence."

Finally we have a priest, who complains that he was arrested as a spy
and beaten by the gendarmes. Perhaps he was a spy; in any case, not a
few German spies disguised as priests have been discovered in Belgium.

If we confine ourselves to the really serious occurrences, to the
cases in which Germans have been killed by the populace, we find that
as against some 155 anonymous cases, which cannot be verified, there
are only two in which names are mentioned. These names are Weber and
Frankenberg. Now these two cases are apocryphal. Herr Weber has quietly
reopened his hotel in Antwerp; Herr Frankenberg continues to breathe
the air at Anderlecht, a suburb of Brussels. Compare with these two
cases the three names of places mentioned in _Die Wahrheit_ (p. 101).

       *       *       *       *       *

_Preventive and Repressive Measures taken by the Belgian Authorities._

The truth is that in the various cities of Belgium there was, quite
at the beginning of hostilities, an intense popular effervescence,
by which evildoers profited to pillage the German shops. These
disturbances were so unexpected and assumed, with such rapidity, such
large proportions, that the police were at first powerless to restrain

Moreover, it must be remembered that the police had just been reduced,
a large proportion of the police agents and gendarmes having left for
the front.

But measures were promptly taken, and by the 7th August there was
no longer anywhere the least disorder of this kind. As for the "spy
mania," it raged in Belgium as in all countries affected by the
war.[24] But the newspapers, and the official measures taken, got the
better of this fresh cause of disturbance.

The newspapers of the neutral countries, for example the _Nieuwe
Rotterdamsche Courant_, also reported material damage, but they do not
relate more serious occurrences in any part of Belgium.

We can consequently assert, in the most categorical fashion, basing our
statement on the official data furnished by the courts, that no serious
offence against the person has been proved either in Brussels or
elsewhere. Does this mean that we excuse the fishers in troubled waters
who sacked the German shops? Obviously not; but it must be owned that
there are bad elements in all agglomerations, and that the populace of
Berlin behaved no better than that of Brussels: witness the remarks
of the British Ambassador in Berlin, and the excuses put forward by
the German authorities when his windows were broken as the result of
an article in the _Berliner Tageblatt_. Here we immediately perceive
a contrast of mentalities: the German newspapers incite their readers
against foreigners, while ours, on the contrary, do their utmost to
calm popular manifestations.

A detail which we regard as symptomatic, and particularly revolting,
in the German publications, is the fact that in these cases, as in
the matter of the "francs-tireurs," our enemies seek to involve the
legal administration of our country. Now, not only did our authorities
immediately intervene to repress the disturbances and to provide a
military guard for the _Deutsche Bank_ and the _Deutscher Verein_ in
Brussels, but they did more than their strict duty in protecting German
families, and enabling them to return to their own country. Nothing
is more characteristic in this respect than that which happened in
Brussels on the nights of the 8th, 9th and 10th of August, at the time
of the Germans' departure from the city. The latter assembled at night
in a building belonging to the city; in the trams which took them
thither every one hastened to render them every imaginable service; at
the place of assembly the Civic Guards prepared hot drinks for them;
then, during the short journey to the Gare du Nord, the same Civic
Guards helped them to carry their children and their luggage. Mr. Brand
Whitlock, United States Minister in Brussels, who was looking after the
interests of Germany, was present in that quality at the departure of
the German families, and he expressed his gratitude to the Belgians in
a letter made public at the time.


  The German Minister, before leaving Brussels, requested the United
  States Minister, Mr. Brand Whitlock, kindly to take over the
  interests of Germany in Belgium.

  The United States Minister consented to protect the archives of the
  German Legation.

  It was in this capacity that Mr. Brand Whitlock was the witness,
  two days ago, of the goodness of the people of Brussels, who, with
  Mme. Carton de Wiart, the wife of the Minister of Justice, and our
  brave Chasseurs of the mounted Civic Guard at their head, provided
  hot drinks and refreshments for the four thousand Germans leaving
  Belgium who were assembled at the Royal Circus.

  The spectacle profoundly affected the eminent diplomatist.
  Thanking the Belgian Government, His Excellency, Mr. Brand
  Whitlock, writes to the Minister of Justice:--

  "The Belgians display a heroism in dying on the field of battle
  which is equalled by their humanity to non-combatants."

  (_Le Soir_, 11th August, 1914.)

In Germany the United States Ambassador, Mr. Gerard, had also occasion
to intervene; but there it was to protect the British Ambassador from
the fury of the populace.

These examples will suffice, we think, to show that the Belgians
were as thoughtful in their behaviour towards their non-combatant
adversaries as the Germans were violent and brutal. And what was the
result of our courtesy? Our enemies picked a groundless quarrel with us
in order to inflame the minds of their soldiers against us.

C.--Violations of the Hague Convention.

Nothing would be easier than to show that our enemies have not
respected a single one of the articles of the Hague Convention. But it
is not our intention to draw up this inventory. We prefer to confine
ourselves to a few facts which no one can dream of contesting, so
patent are they and so well known to every one in Belgium. And we
shall refer only to those which will enable us to compare the two
mentalities: that of the German, crafty and tyrannical, and that of the
Belgian population, refusing to bow the head to military despotism. We
exclude from our list those data which have already been recorded in
other publications: Belgian _Grey Books_, _Reports of the Commission
of Inquiry_, _La Belgique et L'Allemagne_, etc. Lastly, we shall deal
only with what has happened in Belgium itself, so that we shall speak
neither of prisoners of war nor of the wounded.

These eliminations lead us to omit the whole of Section I: _The
Belligerents_. The three first articles apply to "francs-tireurs,"
Articles 4 to 21 relate to prisoners, the wounded, etc.


  _Belligerents have not an unlimited choice of means of injuring the


  _Besides the prohibitions established by special conventions, it is
  notably forbidden_:--

  (_a_) _To employ poison or poisoned weapons;_

  (_b_) _To kill or wound by treachery individuals belonging to the
  hostile nation or army;_

  (_c_) _To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or
  no longer having means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;_

  (_d_) _To declare that no quarter will be given;_

  (_e_) _To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause
  unnecessary suffering;_

  (_f_) _To make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national
  flag, or of the military insignia or uniform of the enemy, as well
  as of the distinctive signs of the Geneva Convention;_

  (_g_) _To destroy or seize enemy property, unless such destruction
  or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;_

  (_h_) _To declare abolished, suspended, or inadmissible the
  right of the subjects of the hostile party to institute legal

  _A belligerent is likewise forbidden to compel the subjects of
  the hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed
  against their own country, even if they were in the service of the
  belligerent before the commencement of the war._

The violations of this Article are numerous. The Germans themselves
cannot deny that the employment of toxic gases, such as those which
were used in the attack upon Ypres on the 22nd April, falls under the
condemnation of paragraph (_a_). We shall recur to this matter further
on. Let us remark for the moment that we are not speaking of gas
released by the bursting of shells, but of clouds of gas intentionally

As to paragraph (_e_), the _7th Report_ speaks in a precise manner of
the employment of dum-dum bullets. After the German occupation we shall
be able to mention other irrefutable cases, of which it would now be
too dangerous to speak.

The prescriptions of paragraph (_f_) have often been violated. At the
fort of Boncelles, on the 7th August, and at Landelies, near Charleroi,
on the 22nd, our enemies abused the white flag. At Ougrée and at
Grez-Doiceau they wore Belgian uniforms to deceive their enemies. This
action was repeated during the siege of Antwerp; but this time the
Belgians were warned of the German mimicry, so that the "asses clad in
lions' skins" were nearly all left on the battle-field.

We shall deal later on, when speaking of pillage, with the infractions
of paragraph (_g_).

_Military Employment of Belgians by the Germans._

The last paragraph of Article 23 forbids belligerents to compel their
adversaries to take part in operations of war directed against their
own country. Let us see how the Germans respect this principle where
civilians are concerned. At Liége (_N.R.C._, 23rd August, evening), at
Vilvorde (_N.R.C._, 27th August, morning), at Anderlecht (_N.R.C._,
28th August, evening), at Dilbeek (N.R.C., 31st August, evening), at
Eppeghem (_see_ photograph in _1914 Illustré_, No. 5), at Soignies, and
at Neder-Over-Heembeek, the inhabitants were compelled to dig trenches
for the Germans. A Dutchman (an extreme Germanophile, however), saw
peasants from the outskirts of Spa compelled to perform the same task.

  SPA, _15th August, 1914_.

  ... The man, who had to return home (it was about noon),
  accompanied us, and, while conversing, he pointed to the road to
  Creppe, parallel to that which we were following, and at some
  ten minutes' distance from the latter. They were working hard at
  entrenchments there, about a quarter of an hour from the city.
  There were some 150 Belgian workmen there, excavating the soil
  under the threat of the rifles of German soldiers placed behind

  (_N.R.C._, 22nd August, 1914, evening edition.)

At Bagimont, on the 24th August, 1914, the inhabitants were forced
to prepare the ground for the landing of German aeroplanes. The same
villagers were forced to build huts for their enemies.

We have the names (at the disposal of a commission of inquiry) of
twenty-nine inhabitants of a village of Brabant, who were forced,
with horses and carts, to follow the German troops for several weeks,
transporting munitions and baggage. The Germans had the right to
requisition horses and vehicles, but not to compel our countrymen to
accompany their teams.

Let us remark, while dealing with these violations of Article 23 of the
Hague Convention, that Germany signed this Convention. But on her part
this was merely a comedy, for it is a rule with her rulers that they
cease to follow its prescriptions as soon as they are in opposition to
the _Usages of War_, according to the Great General Staff. Now among
the duties which the occupier may impose on the inhabitants--according
to Germany--is the supply of transport and the digging of trenches.
In other words, Germany, though she readily approved of the Hague
Conference, makes war according to her own principles, which are far
less humane; but she none the less demands that her adversaries should
observe the rules of the Convention.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Measures of Coercion taken by the Germans._

On several occasions our enemies have sought to force the Belgian
population to manufacture explosives and munitions for them. But the
Belgians have always refused, even when their resistance inevitably
condemned them to starvation. The workers of the explosives factory of
Caulille, in the north of Limburg, resumed their tasks only under the
most terrible threats (_K.Z._, 21st December, morning edition).

The case of Caulille, announced to its readers by a German newspaper,
shows the cynicism with which our enemies violate the Hague Convention,
which is in part their own work.

The same effrontery appears in the placard of the 19th November, 1914;
this threatens severe penalties against Belgians who dissuade their
compatriots from working for Germany. One could understand that the
Germans might punish those who used force or threats to prevent any
one from working for them; but to punish those who "attempt" to act by
simple persuasion!

This was a mere timid beginning. On the 19th June, 1915, our enemies
posted about Gand a placard stating that severe measures were about to
be applied to factories which, "relying on the Hague Convention, had
refused to work for the German Army."

The Communal Administration of Gand has supplied us with the following


  By order of His Excellency the Inspector de l'Étape,[25] I call the
  attention of the commune to the following:--

  "The attitude of certain factories which, under pretext of
  patriotism and relying on the Hague Convention, have refused to
  work for the German Army, proves that there are, in the midst of
  the population, tendencies whose object is to place difficulties in
  the way of the administration of the German Army.

  "In this connection I make it known that I shall repress, by all
  the means at my disposal, such behaviour, which can only disturb
  the good understanding hitherto existing between the administration
  of the German Army and the population.

  "In the first place I hold the Communal authorities responsible for
  the spread of such tendencies, and I call attention to the fact
  that the population will itself be responsible if the liberties
  hitherto accorded in the most ample measure are withdrawn and
  replaced by the restrictive measures necessitated by its own fault."

  _Commandant de l'Étape_.

  GAND, _10th June, 1913_.

Here, then, they declare that they are on the point of intentionally
violating the Hague Convention.

Certain articles which appeared in _Het Volk_, a Christian-Democratic
journal of Gand, on the 15th, 17th, 19th, and 22nd June, 1915, tell us
what these measures are.

The workers of the Bekaert factory at Sweveghem having refused to
make barbed wire for the Germans, the latter began by arresting three
notables, of whom two were promptly released. Then, to force the men
to resume work, they decided that the commune should be placed under a
ban; it was forbidden to ride a bicycle or to use a wheeled vehicle,
and the introduction of foodstuffs was prohibited. The men still
persisted in refusing to make the barbed wire on which their sons and
brothers were to be caught in the battles of the Yser. Sixty-one men
were sent to prison. The rest hastened to leave the village. What did
the Germans do then? They seized the wives of the fugitives, shut them
up in two great waggons, and took them to Courtrai; at the same time
they posted up the names of those who had fled, and enjoined them to
return. Before the threat of seeing their wives remain in prison until
their children perished in their empty homes, the workers, with death
in their hearts, had to resume their fratricidal task. Truly _Kultur_
is a fine thing!

In Brabant they went a different way to work. They had requested M.
Cousin to make barbed wire for them in his factory at Ruysbroeck (in
the south of Brussels). He refused. They offered to buy his factory. He
refused. They requisitioned his works. He was forced to submit. They
installed themselves in the factory and tried to begin making barbed
wire. But the machinery was worked by electricity, and the electricity
was provided by a central station situated in Oisquercq. Naturally
the Oisquercq works refused to supply current. The Germans arrested
M. Lucien Beckers, the managing director of the company, and kept him
several weeks in prison.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Living Shields._

It remains to examine a final violation of Article 23; a violation so
revolting that neither those present at the Hague Conference nor the
Germans themselves in their _Kriegsbrauch_ had been willing to consider
it. We are referring to the use of "living shields" (_7th Report_).

       *       *       *       *       *

_A German Admission._

_Belgians placed before the Troops at Charleroi._

Our enemies are aware of the abomination of which they are guilty in
placing, in front of their troops, Belgians intended to serve as a
shield. They are eager to deny such acts. Unfortunately for them one of
their own officers has described a case of the kind (p. 196). His first
care on reaching the suburbs of Charleroi was to capture civilians
in order to force them to walk in front of and among the cavalry. He
waxes indignant over the lamentations uttered by the wives of these
unfortunates. "If nothing happens to us," he told them, "nothing will
happen to the civilians either." Could one more cynically express the
idea that the Germans made use of these hostages in order to prevent
their adversaries from firing on their troops? At the first volley
fired by the French, who were posted behind a barricade, some of the
hostages were killed. The Germans promptly replaced them by others,
notably by priests.

At Nimy and Mons, the same method was employed. The burgomaster of
Mons, M. Lescart, was himself placed before the German troops.

At Tirlemont, on the 18th August, 1914, during their march on Louvain,
they seized upon certain "notables," including the burgomaster, M.
Donny, and pushed them before them in order to obtain shelter from the
Belgian bullets. They did not release them until the following day, at

       *       *       *       *       *

_Belgians placed before the Troops at Lebbeke, Tirlemont, Mons._

More significant still was their conduct at Lebbeke, near Termonde, on
the 4th September, 1914. Scarcely had they entered the village, in the
early morning, when they seized as many civilians as possible--about
300--and forced them to march before them. On passing through St.
Gilles-lez-Termonde they requisitioned more men to serve as "living
shields." When the Belgians attacked the German troops ten civilians
were killed; many were wounded (_9th_ and _10th Reports_).

The same evening the survivors were sent into Germany as

_Belgian Women placed before the Troops at Anseremme._

At Anseremme it was behind women that the Germans took refuge. They
had committed the blunder of sending all the men to Germany, as civil
prisoners, on the 23rd and 24th August, so that only the women were
left. They placed these in a line along the river-wall on the bank of
the Meuse, and prudently hidden behind their skirts they rested their
rifles on the women's shoulders in order to fire at the French on the
opposite bank.

The French ceased fire as soon as they saw that they were firing on
women. At night the Germans herded the unhappy women, with their
children, in a field; but on the following morning they brought them
out again to serve as a protective screen along the river.

Such is German heroism! As we at present understand the real sense of
the words _Den Heldentod Gestorben_ (died a hero's death), which the
Germans inscribe on the tombs of their soldiers, they mean that these
soldiers were unable to avoid the bullets, although they heroically hid
themselves behind Belgian women.

As far as we know one must go back to Cambyses, in the sixth century
B.C., to find another example of the "living shield." At the time of
his expedition into Egypt this prince, who was, the historians tell
us, famed for his cruelty, conceived the idea of placing cats, which
animals were worshipped by the Egyptians, in front of his troops.
Thanks to his stratagem he prevented the Egyptians from attacking his
soldiers. Neither Attila, nor Ghenghis Khan, nor Tamerlane made use of
this method; it was left for the Germans of the twentieth century once
more to put it into practice, with the increased ferocity suggested by

_Belgians forcibly detained at Ostend and Middelkerke._

There are other circumstances also under which the Germans have made a
rampart of the Belgians. From the middle of October 1914 they occupied
that portion of the Belgian coast comprised between Lombartzyde and the
Zeeland frontier. From time to time the British ships and aeroplanes
bombarded the coast; they would undoubtedly have continued to do so
if the Germans had not taken pains forcibly to retain numbers of
Belgians in these localities. According to the _Nieuwe Rotterdamsche
Courant_ of the 1st November they forbade the people of Middelkerke
and Ostend to leave those towns. Obviously the British were as far as
possible sparing Ostend and Middelkerke, and directing their fire by
preference on the road joining these two places, and on that running
from Middelkerke to Westende. The Germans were perfectly aware of
this, and had precisely for this reason forbidden any Belgian to leave
Ostend or Middelkerke. An officer at the _Kommandantur_, from whom our
informant tried to obtain some favour for a couple of Belgians, replied
as follows: "If we allowed the population to leave these places the
English would hasten to bombard the two towns, and we should be the
sufferers" (_N.R.C._, 1st November, 1914).

However, at the end of December they expelled all the men from
Middelkerke, with the exception of four. But the means of transport
placed at the disposal of the expelled inhabitants were insufficient
to enable them to take their families with them, so that they had to
leave many of their wives and children behind. Every time the British
drop shells on the coast the Germans hasten to post up the news in
Brussels, adding that the bombardment has resulted in fatalities among
the Belgians.



  BERLIN, 24th _November_ (official, noon to-day).--British vessels
  arrived yesterday off the French coast and bombarded Lombartzyde
  and Zeebrugge. Among our troops they caused only very slight
  damage. A certain number of Belgian citizens, on the other hand,
  were killed and wounded.


  BERLIN, 28th _December_ (official telegram, noon to-day).--Near
  Nieuport the enemy renewed his attempted attacks without success.
  In these he was supported by firing from the sea, which however did
  us no harm, but killed or wounded some inhabitants.


  BERLIN, 26th _January_ (official telegram, noon to-day).--The
  enemy yesterday fired as usual on Middelkerke and Westende. A
  considerable number of inhabitants were killed or wounded by
  this fire, among them the burgomaster of Middelkerke. Our losses
  yesterday were very insignificant.


  BERLIN, 13th _February_ (official telegram).--Along the coast enemy
  aviators yesterday again dropped bombs, which did very considerable
  damage among the civil population, while we suffered no appreciable
  damage from a military point of view.


  BERLIN, 8th _March_ (official telegram, noon to-day).--Enemy
  aviators dropped bombs on Ostend, which killed three Belgians.


They therefore fully appreciate the advantage to be derived from
retaining on the coast a population which serves as a living buckler.

_Belgians imprisoned in the Lofts of the Ministries._

At Brussels they behaved in a similar fashion in order to prevent the
Allied aviators from bombarding the premises which they occupy in the
Ministries. Inhabitants of Brussels are sent to the _Kommandantur_ on
the most impossible pretexts. They first remain for several days shut
up in the lofts of the Ministries. Then, after trial--and, obviously,
sentence--they are again confined in the lofts until there is room for
them in the ordinary prisons. Every one in Brussels knows this, and of
course the Allied aviators are aware of it.


  _The attack or bombardment, by any means whatever, of undefended
  towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings is forbidden._

_Bombardment of Open Towns._

Many violations of this Article have been discovered by the Commission
of Inquiry (_7th Report_). Here again clearly appears the contradiction
between the fashion in which the Germans make war and that which they
require of their enemies. When their dirigibles drop bombs on open,
undefended districts--as they did on the night of the 26th September,
at Deynze, when they wounded an old man in the hospital of the Sisters
of St. Vincent de Paule--their newspapers related this prowess
exultingly (_Düsseldorfer Tageblatt_, 29th September; _Düsseldorfer
Zeitung_, 29th September, 1914). They may do such things, but no one
else. When the Allied aviators bombarded Freibourg in Brisgau on
the 10th December, 1914, the Germans denounced them amid universal
indignation. One can only agree with the writer in the _Times_ who
said: "If we want to know what conduct we should observe in this war it
is useless to consult the laws; we must simply ask the Germans if our
conduct is agreeable to them or not."


  _The officer in command of an attacking force must do all in his
  power to warn the authorities before commencing a bombardment,
  except in case of assault._

General von Beseler followed the prescription of this Article
during the siege of Antwerp; he announced on the 8th October that
the bombardment of the city would commence at midnight (_K.Z._, 9th
October, first morning edition). Everywhere else the Germans have
thrown their shells without previous warning. This was notably so in
the attack upon Antwerp by a dirigible on the night of 24th August;
the bombs found twenty victims. It is true that Herr Bernstorff has
declared that previous advice is not necessary. In this he is in
agreement with the laws of warfare according to the Germans.


  _In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken
  to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to public
  worship, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments,
  hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected,
  provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes._

Not content with setting fire to our monuments, as they did at Louvain,
Dinant, Termonde, and a host of villages, the Germans never hesitate to
bombard those they cannot otherwise reach.

The most characteristic example is that of the Cathedral of Reims.[26]
On Tuesday, the 22nd September, we learned of the bombardment from
a placard. The telegram, dated Monday, the 21st, asserted that the
monument would as far as possible be spared. That was enough; we knew
then that it was destroyed. And sure enough, the French newspapers
smuggled through to us on the following day--Wednesday--stated that the
cathedral had been burning since Saturday, the 19th.

Little by little the information received grew more precise. The French
certified that they had not placed any military post of observation on
the towers; neither were there batteries near the cathedral. Moreover,
they declared that the cathedral should have been doubly respected,
since an ambulance had found asylum there--which, be it said in
passing, is denounced as an infamy by the German newspapers (_K.Z._,
4th January, morning edition; _Niederrheinische Volkszeitung_, 4th

The Wolff Agency reported the bombardment of Reims Cathedral as quite
a natural thing, a commonplace operation. But before the indignation
of the entire civilized world (_N.R.C._, 22nd September, 1914, evening
edition) the Germans were forced to display a hypocritical regret and
to justify their aggression.

Then official telegrams were posted up the same day; two reflected
German opinion, the third professed to express the opinion of a
Frenchman who had favoured the _Times_ with his confidences (placard
dated 23rd September, 1914).[27] The conclusion, naturally, was that
the Germans had nothing to reproach themselves with: their conscience
was clear as on the first day; they bombarded the Cathedral of Reims
because they were forced to do so, despite their admiration for this
marvel of Gothic architecture ... but the presence of a military
observation-post on the towers had left them no alternative.

Three weeks later, a fresh bombardment (placard dated 15th October).
Then, after two weeks' quiet, they once more began to throw shells
on what still remained standing (placard of 30th October). On the
following day they announced that they had protested to the Roman
Curia. A few days later they applied themselves to the destruction of
the Cathedral of Soissons, but once again because the French forced
them to do so.

What respect for the Hague Convention! How touching the solicitude
displayed toward monuments of art and religion! Only in the very
last extremity do the Germans resolve to smash them to bits; still
protesting, of course, against the violence done to their æsthetic
feelings! Still more touching is their sincerity. On the 10th
November they announce that the Vicar-General of Reims has admitted
that the towers have been used for military operations, and that
the Chancellor has communicated this avowal to the Vatican (_Le
Réveil_, 11th November, 1914); on the 17th they are forced to note the
Vicar-General's denial, but they maintain their accusations.

To estimate at their true value the German declarations concerning
Reims Cathedral, it is enough to compare one of the three placards of
the 23rd September with the "official communiqué" which they forced
upon _L'Ami de l'Ordre_. Here are these two documents:


  BERLIN, _23rd September_ (official telegram, yesterday
  evening).--In spite of these facts we have been able to verify the
  presence on the tower of a post of observation, which explains the
  excellent effect of the fire of the enemy's infantry opposing our



  (_Official Communiqué._)

  ANTWERP, _27th September_ (communicated by the French
  Legation).--The French Minister has received from M. Delcassé the
  following telegrams....

  II. The German Government having officially declared to various
  Governments that the bombardment of the Cathedral of Reims
  was undertaken only because of the establishment of a post
  of observation on the basilica, General Joffre asserts, in a
  telegram communicated by the Ministry of War, that no French
  observation-post was placed on this building.

  P.S.--The German Government did not invoke the presence of an
  observation-post on the cathedral, but the presence of pieces of
  artillery behind this church, so that it was impossible to reach
  these guns without firing in the direction of the cathedral and
  hitting the latter.

  This was necessary to dislodge the French artillery.

  (_L'Ami de l'Ordre_, 29th September, 1914.)

On the 23rd September they pretended that there was an observation-post
on the tower. On the 27th they declared that they had never made any
such statement. German sincerity!

On the 7th July they placarded Brussels with a document in which they
made a display of their artistic feeling. We asked ourselves what fresh
crime they were about to commit. Next day our curiosity was satisfied;
the newspapers informed us that the German army had set fire to the
cathedral at Arras.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Bombardment of the Cathedral at Malines._

Let us now consider how they behaved in Belgium. The commander of
the army besieging Antwerp three times bombarded Malines without any
strategical excuse, for the town was absolutely empty of Belgian
troops. He had informed the Belgian authorities that his troops would
not fire upon monuments so long as these latter were not serving any
military purpose (_N.R.C._ 13th September, 1914, evening edition).
Better still, he published, in the German newspapers, a statement that
he could not bombard Malines for fear of touching the Cathedral of
Saint-Rombaut, but that the Belgians had not the same scruples. What
truth was there in the last assertion? None, of course; if the Belgians
dropped shells on the outskirts of the town it was while the German
troops were there, a fact which our enemies themselves recognized.
For the rest, it is easy to discover whether the damage done to the
cathedral was the work of Germans or Belgians. The Belgians were to
the north and west of the town; the Germans to the south and east. Now
all the damage done to the cathedral is without exception on the south
and east faces. The reader may draw his own conclusion. Here we have
a reappearance of the usual German system, which consists in blaming
others for their own misdeeds. At Dinant, too, they pretended that the
collegiate church was destroyed not by them but by the French.

_The Pretended Observation-post on Notre-Dame of Antwerp._

Of course they accused the Belgians of using their belfries as
observation-posts. The accusation is false. We may cite Malines as an
example (_N.R.C._, 25th November, evening edition), and Courcelles
(_Die Wochenschau_, No. 46, 1914); but the most typical case is that
of Antwerp. They reproduced in their illustrated journals (_Die
Wochenschau_, No. 48, 1914; _Kriegs-Kurier_, No. 7) a photograph--or
properly speaking, a drawing--published by an American newspaper
(New York _Tribune_, 22nd October, 1914) representing a military
observation-post on the tower of Notre-Dame.

Even if we grant the picture a documentary value which it does not
possess, it proves nothing, for according to the American journalist
(_N.R.C._, 15th November, evening edition), the military post existed
on the tower at a period when Antwerp was not besieged, nor even in
danger of being so; the city had then to defend itself only against
dirigibles, which on two occasions paid it nocturnal visits, with the
accompaniment of bombs. It will be understood that the _Wochenschau_
does not inform us of this; it pretends that the soldiers were on the
tower to observe the German troops and their heavy artillery during the

_German Observation-posts admitted by the Germans._

Let us now see whether our enemies have abstained from employing
monuments for military operations. The _Algemeen Handelsblad_
(Amsterdam) of the 3rd January states that machine-guns are placed
on the belfry of Bruges and on other towers of the city. This fact
is confirmed by M. Domela Nieuwenhuys Nyegaard, a pastor of Gand, a
convinced Germanophile, who witnessed an attack by British aviators,
upon whom the machine-guns installed on the tower of the Halles opened
a violent but ineffectual fire (_Uit mijn Oorlogsdagboek_, p. 319, in
_De Tijdspiegel_, 1st April, 1915).

Perhaps the Germans will contest this statement. Here is another. Those
who require of their adversaries so scrupulous a respect for Article 27
of the Hague Convention placed an observation-post on the tower of St.
Rombaut, during the siege of Antwerp, in order to control their fire
upon the Waelhem fort. And this at least is indisputable, for in their
cynicism or lack of conscience (let them choose whichever they please)
they published a photograph of this infraction of the Hague Convention
in the _Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung_ (No. 44, 1914, p. 752).

This is not the only case admitted by them. _Zeit im Bild_ (No. 43,
1914) reproduces on its cover a photograph of a "military post on the
tower of an Hôtel de Ville." In this we see German soldiers armed with
rifles, watching an imaginary enemy. This photograph was taken at
the Palais de Justice in Brussels, as is proved, without possibility
of error, by the church of La Chapelle, whose very characteristic
tower rises in the distance. The Germans were so delighted with this
violation of the Hague Convention that they reproduced the photograph
in the illustrated supplement of the _Hamburger Fremdensblatt_. And
what is most curious in this affair is that they boasted of an offence
which they knew they had not committed. For, firstly, the soldiers were
not posted "on an Hôtel de Ville"; secondly, they were not even posted
_on_ the Palais de Justice, but to one side of it, as may easily be
determined on the spot; thirdly, German soldiers have never been placed
there to overlook an enemy!

Since mid-October of 1914 it is in Western Flanders that the fighting
has taken place. Did the Germans eventually, before the universal
reprobation which greeted their exploits at Louvain, Reims, and so
forth, determine to respect the international agreement to which they
are parties? By no means. They are far too contemptuous of conventions,
as is proved by the photographs of monuments bombarded in the region of
the Yser, which are published in the illustrated newspapers, notably
in _Panorama_, a Dutch illustrated paper which surreptitiously enters

  Ypres: _Panorama_, 23_b_, 25_a_.

  Dixmude: _Panorama_, 23_a_, 23_b_; _Berl. Ill. Zeit._, Nos. 2 and
  3, 1915; _Kriegs-Echo_, Nos. 22, 24; _Zeit. im Bild_, No. 3, 1915.

  Pervyse: _Panorama_, 21_a_, 21_b_, 23_a_.

  Nieuport: _Panorama_, 22_a_.

  Ramscapelle: _Panorama_, 23_b_.

Among the monuments destroyed artists especially deplore the marvellous
Halles of Ypres, and the churches of Nieuport, Ypres, and Dixmude. This
last contained a very remarkable Gothic rood-screen, of which Herr
Stübben, one of the most eminent architects of modern Germany, stated
that its loss would be irreparable. It escaped the shells, but not the
German soldiery, who destroyed it with the butts of their rifles, after
the capture of the town. Always _Kultur_!



  _The giving over to pillage of a town or place, even when taken by
  assault, is forbidden._


  _Family honour and rights, individual life, and private property as
  well as religious convictions and worship, must be respected._


  _Pillage is expressly forbidden._

"Family honour and rights!" The cases of rape prove the respect of the
German army for these prescriptions!

"Individual life!" By the end of September 1914 the Germans had killed
more civilians than soldiers. This simple statement says more than
could a long exposition.

"Private property!" Theft and pillage are phenomena so commonplace
that the inhabitants no longer insist upon them; if they mention the
subject it is to say: "The Germans behaved well here; they only took
all we had." We shall therefore confine ourselves to citing a few cases
particularly typical of the German mentality.

It is indisputable that the conflagrations started under the pretext
of chastising "francs-tireurs" were in reality designed to conceal the
pillage committed by the German army. This was certainly the case at
Aerschot (_4th Report_) and at Louvain. The officers who gave orders
to start these fires were therefore accomplices of the pillaging
soldiery. For that matter, how could they have disavowed the thefts
of their men, seeing that they themselves largely took part in the
scramble? Whole trains left Brussels, Louvain, Malines, and Verviers
for Germany, loaded with "war booty for officers." During their
journey to Belgium, Herren Koester and Noske, on the 23rd September,
at Hubesthal, saw numerous trains passing which were laden with war
booty (_Kriegsfahrten_, p. 8); there were at that time no serious
battles either in France or in Belgium, so that there was no capture
of war booty in the Western sense of the term.[28] The trains observed
by the Socialist authors could only have been carrying the fruits of
pillage; they came probably from Malines, which the Germans at this
time were scrupulously emptying, as well as the numerous châteaux of
the neighbourhood.

Not a district has been visited by the Germans that has not been
totally despoiled. Of course, the silver was taken first. One
officer, after plundering the entire store of silver of a villa at
Francorchamps, confided to a neighbour that he was going to have it
melted down in Germany, with the exception of one spoon, which he would
keep as a "souvenir." Is it not typical and delightful, this German
cult of the "souvenir" as a veneer of sentimentality on a basis of
rapacity? According to the definition given by the Kaiser, this officer
displayed his civilization but not his _Kultur_.

Another "requisition" of plate. In the railway station of Mons, towards
the middle of February 1915, a merchant unloading a truck-load of
merchandise had his attention attracted by a coffin which was being
removed from a neighbouring van; suddenly he heard a metallic clink:
the bottom of the coffin had given way, and an avalanche of spoons,
forks, napkin-rings, and other articles of silver tumbled out!

Nothing is sacred to the Huns. They smash the tabernacles, treasuries,
and poor-boxes of the churches as readily as the coffers of the
People's Banks (_Maisons du Peuple_). At Auvelois they seized upon
43,000 frs. in the Maison du Peuple, this being the entire capital of
the Socialist Young Guard, the Freethinkers, the newspaper _En Avant_,
the Miners' Union (_syndicat_), and other mutual aid societies.

At Beyghem, near Grimberghen, before setting fire to the church, they
broke open the safe in the sacristy. Being unable to perforate it, they
demolished the wall dividing the church from the sacristy, in which it
was imbedded, so that they were able to attack it from behind.

In most of the churches which were burned in the north of Brabant (p.
73) the strong-box and the tabernacle were broken open. It was the same
in the province of Namur.

As soon as the approach of the Germans was signalled, many people
hastened to pack up their furniture and valuables, in order more
readily to transport them in case of evacuation. This foresight almost
always failed in its object, owing to the impossibility of finding a
horse and cart at the moment of departure. These packing-cases and
hampers, all ready corded, presented an insurmountable temptation; the
officers were never able to resist it, and the goods were sent straight
to the railway station.

We are informed that at the beginning of the German occupation officers
were frequently mistaken as to the actual value of the articles which
they removed; so that they sent their families worthless rubbish "made
in Germany." To avoid these unpleasant misconceptions, they made their
inspections in the company of experts who directed their choice.

Need we add that the wine-cellars were always methodically exploited?
The bottles which could not be drunk on the spot were packed for later
consumption, or to be sent to Germany. In a château near Charleroi the
officers had the doors--which were beautiful examples of joinery--taken
off their hinges, and used to make packing-cases for the bottles.

We must not forget that drunkenness has played an important part in the
atrocities committed by the German army.

The Germans were not content with making a clean sweep of the private
houses and châteaux; they also stripped the Governmental offices which
they occupied in Brussels of their furniture. In the Ministry of Public
Works a portion of the maps of bridges, buildings, etc., was burned,
and a portion sent to Germany.

_Thefts of Stamps._

As to those who despoiled the Ministries, we will give them the credit
of supposing that they acted by order and in the interest of their
Government; but we cannot thus excuse the conduct of one officer who,
having possessed himself, goodness knows how, of a number of Belgian
stamps, attempted, in a stationer's shop, to pay for 80 frs.' worth
of goods by means of these stamps. Meeting with a refusal from the
shopkeeper, he had to content himself with paying for only a portion
of his purchases in this manner. In a neighbouring watchmaker's he
did better, for he was able to get rid of 100 frs. in stamps; at a
discount, of course.[29] He informed the watchmaker that he possessed
4,000 frs.' worth of Belgian stamps. The latter was not so indiscreet
as to ask how he obtained them.

Better still: the Germans do not conceal the fact that they are
thieves. The _Matin_ (Paris, 9th June, 1915) reproduced the photograph
of an announcement published by a Swiss newspaper.

"It informs us that a thief of the German army, desiring to realize
the 'war booty' which he collected in Antwerp, offers for sale unused
stamps of values between 10 centimes and 10 frs. In his 'stock' of
booty are 19 different stamps of a total value of 29 frs. 70 (oh,
that 70 centimes of pillage!) which he offers for 3 frs. 50.--All
Germany--philosophical, political, military, and commercial--is
contained in this little advertisement."

At Tamines, having burned about 250 houses, on the 21st and 22nd
August, 1914, and having forced the living to bury the 416 unhappy
people shot on the evening of the 22nd, they sent all the survivors
to Velaines-sur-Sambre. There they were given their liberty, and told
that they might go to Namur or to Düsseldorf, but not to Tamines. Why
not to Tamines? They understood a few days later, when they were bold
enough to return despite the prohibition. The Germans had completely
emptied all the shops and all the private houses in the place. It is
evident that this operation can be effected in a more methodical and
comfortable manner when there are no children running between your
legs, or women begging you to leave them some souvenir for which they
have a particular affection.

At Louvain they acted in the same manner; they proceeded to wholesale
pillage only after the 27th, when they had sent all the inhabitants

Sometimes the love of pillage got the better of discipline. At Jumet,
on the road from Brussels to Charleroi, on the 22nd August, 1914, the
troops were ordered to burn all the houses, because the French of the
110th Infantry had dared to attack them with machine-guns. But some
soldiers who had entered a tobacconist's amused themselves by stealing
cigars and cigarettes, and were so absorbed that they forgot to set
fire to the shop, so that it has remained intact in the midst of a long
row of burned-out buildings.

What disgusts us most in all this pillage is not that the German
troops should have marked our unhappy country for pillage; it is the
indisputable complicity of the leaders of the army. Nothing more
clearly proves the benevolent intervention of the military and civil
authorities in the operations of brigandage than the regular transport
of "war booty" into Germany. The officers make no secret of sending
to their homes such things as pianos, pictures, jewels, furniture,
glass, etc. They do it openly, with the obvious complicity of the
railway officials. The latter are entrusted with the organization of
the rapid transportation to the Fatherland of mountains of cases,
containing the results of the methodical exploration of our houses
and châteaux and shops and warehouses. It is a vast organization of
brigandage, hierarchically regulated, in which every one steals without
hiding the fact from his fellows. Who knows whether the coffin full of
silver-plate which burst in the Mons railway station did not belong
to some officer who had swindled his accomplices? We in Belgium have
witnessed the regular working of a system of "co-operative brigandage
under the august protection of the authorities."

Let us note, finally, that theft and pillage are expressly forbidden by
the German _Usages of War_. Articles 57, 58, 60, 61, and 62 prohibit
all destruction of private property. But we must suppose that their
_Usages of War_ are applicable only in times of peace, since from the
very first days of the war the German army began to pillage the regions
which it occupied. This spoliation has been pursued with the systematic
spirit which characterizes _Kultur_.

_Illegal Taxation._


  _The authority of the power of the State having passed de facto
  into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall do all in his
  power to restore, and shall ensure, as far as possible, public
  order and safety, respecting at the same time, unless absolutely
  prevented, the laws in force in the country._


  _If, in the territory occupied, the occupant collects the taxes,
  dues, and tolls payable to the State, he shall do so, as far as
  is possible, in accordance with the legal basis and assessment in
  force at the time and shall in consequence be bound to defray the
  expenses of the administration of the occupied territory to the
  same extent as the national Government had been so bound._


  _If, in addition to the taxes mentioned in the above Article,
  the occupant levies other money contributions in the occupied
  territory, they shall only be applied to the needs of the army or
  of the administration of the territory in question._

Two placards exhibited in Brussels on the evening of the 12th December
(Saturday) attracted general attention.

They first convoked the Provincial Councils for the 19th December,
and imposed upon them, not simply a general "order of the day," but
an imperative mandate to vote a war-tax. The second gave details of
this tax: 480,000,000 frs. was to be paid in monthly instalments of
40,000,000 (£19,200,000 in twelve payments of £1,600,000) (see _Belg.
Allem._, p. 120).

Baron von Bissing thus advertised, seven days in advance, the decisions
to be taken by the Provincial Councils. Doubtless he was made to
understand that the proceeding was a little extreme, and contrary
both to the law and to common sense; for on the following morning the
second placard was covered with a blank sheet of paper. Better still,
the "Official Bulletin of Laws and Decrees for the occupied Belgian
Territory" gave in its issue of the 19th the text of the two decrees;
but this number was suppressed, and in its place another placard,
numbered 19, was distributed, which included only the first decree.

On the 19th December our nine Provincial Councils assembled. They
could not do otherwise than vote the crushing tax of 480 millions; but
several of them protested eloquently against the illegality of this

  _Speech delivered by M. François André at the meeting of the
  Provincial Council of Hainaut, on the 19th December, 1914, in the
  presence of the German Governor and Dr. Daniest, President._

  ... We have met by order of the German authorities to vote a
  war-tax; to make one word of many, we have met to furnish arms
  to the formidable invader of our country, to be used against our
  heroic little Belgian army....

  We are thus assembled to vote, _by order_, a war-tax.

  I wish to protest--against both the form and the substance of this

  As to the form, I regard this extraordinary session as absolutely
  illegal; the Provincial Councillors are not qualified to vote
  war-taxes affecting the whole country; moreover, the councillors of
  the various provinces, in concerting as to the measures to be taken
  in common, so to speak, which are matters beyond the scope of their
  jurisdiction, are committing an offence in Belgian law, which law
  no German decree has abrogated. As to the substance: Admitting that
  the German authorities have the right to levy taxes on the whole
  country, while our 120,000 soldiers are still in occupation of our
  territory, it is very certain that according to the terms of the
  Hague Convention no tax may be levied except for the needs of the
  army of occupation.

  What is an army of occupation?

  It is that which, finding itself in a conquered territory,
  undertakes the policing and safeguards the security of that

  This is why it may appear legitimate for the army to force the
  occupied territory to support it.

  But our country--as Field-Marshal von der Goltz has declared,
  and as is perfectly obvious--our country has become the basis
  of military operations against the Allies. According to the
  spirit of the Hague Convention, there is no army of occupation,
  properly speaking, in our country, and in any case the 35,000
  men concentrated in Namur and the artillery assembled at Liége
  cannot in any respects be regarded as making part of an army of

  It is, therefore, contrary to law and contrary to reason that these
  480,000,000 frs. are demanded from the country.

  Are we then going to vote this formidable war-tax?

  Assuredly if we listened only to our hearts we should reply: No,
  no; 480,000,000 times no.

  For our hearts would tell us:

  We were a small nation, happy to live by its labour; we were an
  honest little nation, having faith in treaties and believing in
  honour; we were a confident little nation, and unarmed, when
  suddenly, violently, Germany hurled two million men upon our
  frontier, the greatest army that the world has ever seen, and she
  told us: "Betray your given word; let our armies pass that I may
  crush France, and I will give you gold." But Belgium replied: "Keep
  your gold; I would rather die than live without honour."

  History will one day reveal the greatness of the action which
  forever magnifies us in the eyes of the future. For nothing in the
  annals of the past equals the sacrifice of this people, which,
  having nothing to gain and all to lose, preferred to lose all in
  order that honour should be saved, and deliberately cast herself
  into an abyss of distress, but also of glory.

  The German army thus invaded the country in violation of solemn

  "It is an injustice," said the Chancellor of the Empire; "the
  destinies of the Empire forced us to commit it; but we shall repair
  the wrong done to Belgium by the passage of our armies...."

  This, then, is how they mean to repair that wrong:

  Germany will pay----

  But no! Belgium will pay Germany 480,000,000 frs.! Vote this money!

As a matter of penal legislation, the Germans have systematically
ignored Article 48, as is proved by the eloquent protest of the
President of the Bar of Brussels.

Yet another typical instance of the manner in which Germany disregards
our laws. At Aerschot the Germans provisionally invested a German, Herr
Ronnewinkel, who had inhabited the district for several years, with the
functions of Burgomaster. On the 6th November, 1914, they proclaimed
him permanently burgomaster.

Here was a German appointed burgomaster by the will of the district
commander, although by the terms of the law only a Belgian appointed
by the Government could be burgomaster. Moreover, they did the same at
Andenne. The communal autonomy of which Belgium was so proud was thus
trampled underfoot.

We see, then, that in despite of Articles 43 and 48 of the Hague
Convention and Article 67 of their own _Usages of War_ the Germans have
shown no respect whatever for the legislation in force. We cite here
only the most flagrant of these illegalities, those which any person of
common sense can understand and judge.


  _A belligerent is forbidden to compel the inhabitants of territory
  occupied by it to furnish information about the army of the other
  belligerent, or about its means of defence._

This article was not accepted by Germany; she remains faithful to her
_Usages of War_: Article 53, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th paragraphs, and applies
their principles with extreme severity.

Nothing better illustrates the severity with which the Germans
act than the little manual of conversation which terminates the
_Tornisterwörterbuch_, published by the Mentor publishing house in
Schöneberg, Berlin. It is a small dictionary, costing 60 pfennigs,
and intended, as the title indicates, to be carried in the soldier's
knapsack. The French dictionary and the English are conceived according
to the same method; after information concerning the country in
question they give a summary of the rules of grammar; then comes the
dictionary properly so-called, with phonetic pronunciation; finally,
a few common phrases, which to us are the most interesting part of
the book, since their choice naturally reflects the requirements of
those expected to employ them. Here are a few passages from paragraph
4: _Service of Outposts and Patrols_. In each passage we copy all the
phrases without exception, so as to avoid misrepresenting the spirit of
the work; and this spirit, as will be seen, is ferocious. The volume is
not dated; but the 42nd edition, from which we quote, describes (p. 44)
the French campaigning uniform of 1912. These phrases were therefore
printed at least five years after the second Hague Conference (18th
October, 1907). They show clearly that the acts of cruelty committed
by the patrols against those who refused to betray their country were
not improvised by the cavalry taking part in these reconnaissances, but
were systematically premeditated.

  P. 175--

  Silence! Speak only when I question you!
  You seem to me a suspicious person.
  Where is your pocket-book?
  I must search it.
  Remain here for the moment.
  At the first attempt at flight you will be shot.
  Sir, where does this road lead?

  P. 176--

  Is this village occupied by the French?
  When did the troops arrive there?
  What is roughly their composition?
  Roughly? Two or three companies?
  How many officers, roughly speaking?
  Have they any artillery?
  How many guns?
  Have you seen cavalry too?
  Tell us the truth. The least lie might cost you your life!

  P. 177--

  Has the village been placed in a state of defence?
  Are there no cross-roads leading to the windmill?
  Remain by my horse.
  On the first attempt at flight, or if you try to mislead
     me, I shall send a bullet after you.
  Stop here! I will call the miller myself.
  Hey! Miller!
  Have any French troops passed this way?
  You lie! Here are visible traces, and quite fresh ones.

A little manual of conversation costing 20
pfennigs--_Deutsch-Französischer-Soldaten-Sprachführer_, by Captain S.
Th. Hoasmann, is conceived on the same lines. Here are a few examples.
The soldier, making a reconnaissance, declares: "Speak the truth or you
will be killed!" In the chapter on "Posts and Telegraphs" we find the
phrase: "It is forbidden (on pain of death) to send telegrams." And the
sentinel should be able to say: "If you lie you will be shot," etc.


  _No collective penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted
  upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which
  it cannot be regarded as collectively responsible._

This article proclaims the principle that in no case must the innocent
suffer with the guilty, nor in their place. We have already seen that
our enemies oppose this idea; they maintain that the innocent should
suffer with the guilty, and even that if one cannot lay hands on the
guilty one may punish the innocent in their place (p. 84). It was by
the application of this German principle of collective punishment that
Louvain, Dinant, Termonde, and other towns were burned.

The placard of 1st October, 1914, clearly displays the German
mentality; it states that villages will be punished without mercy,
whether guilty or not.


  On the evening of the 25th September the railway and telegraph
  lines were destroyed between Lovenjoul and Vestryck. In consequence
  of which the two localities mentioned were, on the morning of the
  30th September, called to account and forced to supply hostages.

  In future the localities nearest the spot at which such acts have
  been committed--no matter whether they are guilty of complicity
  or not--will be punished without pity. To this end hostages have
  been taken from all localities adjacent to railway lines threatened
  by such attacks, and at the first attempt to destroy the railway
  lines, or telegraph or telephone wires, they will immediately be

  Moreover, all troops charged with the protection of railways have
  received orders to shoot any person approaching railway lines or
  telephone or telegraph wires in a suspicious manner.

  _General Field-Marshal_.

  BRUSSELS, _1st October, 1914_.

Fully to appreciate the horrible nature of this placard we must recall
the fact that during the siege of Antwerp (which terminated only on
the 9th) Belgium patrols were penetrating into the midst of the German
troops, venturing thirty-five miles and more from Antwerp, their
mission being to harass the enemy's communications and to destroy the
railways and the telegraph and telephone line. It was one of these
bodies of Belgian cyclists which cut the railway and telegraph line
between Louvain and Tirlemont on 25th September, 1914. Von der Goltz
was evidently aware that this destruction was a perfectly legitimate
military operation, so that his placard was intended simply to
embarrass our military authorities by showing them that in defiance
of all justice Germany intended to hold the Belgian civilians
responsible for the activity of our army. In short, instead of saying
"no matter whether these localities are guilty of complicity or not,"
von der Goltz would have given a greater proof of sincerity had he
said, "although I know that these localities are in no way guilty of

Here are two other placards, printed in Germany, which show plainly
that it is according to a system that our oppressors hold the entire
community responsible for the act committed by a single person; or
rather, as we shall see, for the acts of the Belgian army.



  Any person who shall have damaged a military telephone or telegraph
  will be shot.

  Any person removing this notice will also receive the severest
  punishment. If the guilty person is not found, the severest
  measures will be taken against the commune in which the damage has
  been caused or the present notice removed.


  (_Posted at Bieghem, copy made 22nd October, 1914._)


  All damage done to the Telegraph, Telephone, or Railway lines will
  be punished by the Military Court. According to the circumstances,
  the guilty person will be condemned to death.

  If the guilty person is not seized the severest measures will be
  taken against the commune in which the damage has been done,


  Printed by H. A. Heymann, Berlin, S.W.

  (_Posted at Tervueren, copy made 15th April, 1915._)

Very frequently the penalties with which the community is threatened
are not specified in these placards. One may suppose that it would
consist of a fine; this is indeed the punishment most frequently
applied, doubtless because it is the most productive. Here are some
examples, for cutting the telegraph wires, various localities in
Flanders were forced to pay fines in December 1914.

The military chest does not lack for money; for in a garrison command a
fine may be inflicted more readily than elsewhere. Here is an example.
An officer was choosing some music in a shop; and found, amidst a heap
of pieces of music, a copy of the _Marseillaise_. Now it has never
been stated that one must not possess the _Marseillaise_. Result: the
shopkeeper was condemned to pay a fine of 500 marks or to twenty days'
imprisonment. "I prefer the imprisonment," said the unfortunate man.
"But, my good fellow, you can avoid going to prison! Pay the fine!" "I
know, but I have not got 500 marks. I could only scrape together 150
frs. at most." "All right, give them to me!"

       *       *       *       *       *

_Fines for Telegraphic Interruptions._

The military chest is also replenished by the fines paid because the
telegraph and telephone do not work properly. Now it has often happened
during the last six weeks that communication has been obstructed in
Flanders. The smallest communes have been forced to pay fines.

Here is a brief list of such fines:

  Gand                            100,000 marks
  Ledebourg                         5,000   "
  Destelbergen                     30,000   "
  Schellebelle                     50,000   "
  Sweveghem                         4,900   "
  Winckel Sainte-Croix              3,000   "
  Wachtebeke                        3,000   "

  _(N.R.C._, 30th January, 1915, evening edition.)

_Fines for "Attacks by Francs-tireurs."_

We may observe, in passing, that in September 1914 the accusation--the
accusation, we say, not the offence--of having allowed a telegraph
wire to deteriorate was punished, in Brussels, by a stoppage of the
telephone service; but in December the Germans preferred to fill
their treasury. The same observation is true of Mons and Bilsen; the
accusation of "francs-tireurs," which in September 1914 would have
ended in a massacre of the inhabitants and the burning of the town,
was in October the motive for a tax of 100,000 frs. At that time it no
longer seemed essential to terrorize; the Germans no longer required
blood, but money.



  The City of Mons has been forced to pay a tax of 100,000 frs.
  because a private person fired upon a German soldier.

  (_Posted at Louvain._)

And indeed it is money that is demanded everywhere--5,000 frs. from the
commune of Grenbergen, near Termonde, because an inhabitant allowed
his pigeons to fly. 5,000,000 frs. was required of Brussels because
a police agent maltreated a German spy (p. 157). It was with a money
fine that Mons was threatened should an Englishman be discovered on its
soil (placard posted at Mons, 6th November, 1914), and the city of Mons
and the province of Hainaut if any inhabitant retained for his own use
any benzine or a motor-bicycle (placard posted at Mons, 6th October,
1914). At Seraing, in February 1915, it was again money that was
demanded, because a bomb had burst within the limits of the commune.
The more surely to obtain the sum, a few hostages were imprisoned, with
the promise that they would be sent to a fortress in Germany if the
communal treasury did not pay their ransom; but the hostages themselves
advised the commune to refuse. The Germans, fearing to be left in the
lurch, reduced their demands by half; finally, having obtained nothing,
they released the hostages. Singular justice, to regulate its penalties
not by the gravity of the offence, but according to the temper of the
victims! We are waiting for the German newspapers to publish a schedule
of penalties as affected by the docility of the victims and the season.

Here is an amusing instance of a penalty which was inflicted upon
Antwerp. When the Germans posted up a statement that they had captured
52,000 Russians and 400 guns in Eastern Prussia, a playful citizen
replaced the first letter of _Russians_ in the Flemish text by an M
and concealed the two first letters of _canonen_. The new version
announced that the Germans had captured 52,000 sparrows and 400 nuns.
The Germans were annoyed and imposed a fine of 25,000 frs. on the city.
At Tirlemont, where the same pleasantry was perpetrated, the Germans
contented themselves with making vague threats.

The adventure of Eppeghem also deserves to be told in a few words.

In November 1914 a German soldier walking in the country fired at a
hare or a pigeon. An officer turned up and questioned the soldier. As
all sport is reserved for officers, the soldier, to avoid punishment,
threw the blame on to the peasants. The matter was referred to
Brussels, and on the following day officers arrived with forty Uhlans.
A fine of 10,000 frs. was inflicted on the commune.

Some women living in a house which had by chance remained standing,
near the field in which the soldier had fired, asserted that no
inhabitant had fired a shot, but that they had seen the soldier fire.
No one listened to them. "We must have 10,000 frs., and at once." But
in this village, ruined from end to end, where scarcely a house was
habitable, from which all the men had been deported into Germany,
there was no means of collecting such a sum of money. "Since that is
so, hostages will be taken," said the officers. The Uhlans organized a
hunt, and seized the curé and three laymen, the only ones they could
find; and even of these one was an inhabitant of Vilverde, who had
obligingly been acting as a citizen policeman at Eppeghem. They were
taken to Brussels, but on passing through Vilverde the inhabitant of
that place was released, owing to the protests of his fellow-citizens.
After ten days' imprisonment Baron von der Goltz, finding that there
was nothing to be extracted from the communal treasury of Eppeghem,
and that the curé and his two parishioners were being kept and fed at
a loss, set them at liberty.


The taking of hostages is also in flagrant opposition to the provisions
of Article 50, but in conformity with the German _Usages of War_. The
hostage guarantees with his own life that his fellow-citizens, with
whom he has no influence, shall faithfully execute the orders of the
German authorities.

The first care of enemy troops arriving in any locality is always to
demand the provision of hostages; these are usually the curé, the
burgomaster, the notary, the schoolmaster, and a few other notables.
We may recall Liége, where the bishop, Mgr. Rutten, was taken hostage;
Spa, Louvain, Charleroi, Gand, and Mons. In Brussels they demanded the
delivery of 100 hostages, but afterwards withdrew the demand.

As to the fate which awaits the hostages if the German army is
attacked, it is plainly stipulated in the proclamations: they will be
shot, "without previous judicial formalities." Thus, it would have been
enough for a Belgian patrol to renew its usual activities near Forest,
and two hostages would have immediately been shot "without previous
judicial formalities."



  Despite my repeated warnings attacks have again been made during
  the last few days by the civil population of the neighbourhood
  against German troops, and also upon the railway between Brussels
  and Mons.

  By the order of the Military Governor-General of Brussels each
  locality must consequently provide hostages.

  Thus at Forest the following are arrested:

  (1)  M. Vanderkindere, Communal Councillor.
  (2)  M. le curé François.

  I proclaim that these hostages will immediately be shot without
  previous judicial formalities if any attack occurs on the part of
  the population upon our troops or the railway lines occupied by us,
  and that moreover the most severe reprisals will be carried out
  against the commune of Forest.

  I request the population to keep calm and to refrain from all
  violence; in this case it will not suffer the slightest harm.


  FOREST, _26th September, 1914_.

If hostages try to escape they will be hanged and their village burned.


  As fresh attempts at assassination have been made upon persons
  forming part of the German army I have had persons from many
  localities arrested as hostages. These will guarantee with their
  lives that no inhabitant will again dare to commit a malevolent
  action against German soldiers or attempt to damage the railway,
  telegraph or telephone line, or other objects useful to the
  operations of our army.

  Persons not belonging to the army surprised in committing such
  actions will be shot or hanged. The hostages of the surrounding
  localities will suffer the same fate. I shall then have the
  neighbourhood burned to the last house, even if important towns
  are in question. If the hostages attempt to escape the locality to
  which they belong will be burned, and if captured the hostages will
  be hanged.

  All inhabitants who give proof of their goodwill toward our troops
  are assured of the safety of their lives and property.


  (_Posted at Spa, Aywaille, Châtelineau.... 17th August, 1914._)

We do not know if hostages were shot or hanged in Belgium. But in the
north of France, according to a military correspondent of the _K.Z._,
at least one hostage was killed; this assassination was the more
criminal in that it punished not a hostile act of the inhabitants, but
a perfectly normal and regular operation of war: a bombardment.


  ... A château stands beside the highway, at the back of a courtyard
  protected by a French spear-headed railing. It is intact, and
  shelters the staff of an infantry regiment. Facing it is the ruined
  façade of an incredibly pretentious building on whose pediment
  sprawls in letters of gold the one word, "Bank." Beside it is a
  wholesale corn-chandler's and a wholesale wine-merchant's. All
  this belonged to a single man. It was necessary to shoot him as
  hostage, because the French were persisting, despite all warnings,
  in throwing shells into the neighbourhood. In the wine-cellars
  stores of unexpected importance were found; according to the
  estimates there are more than half a million litres of red and
  white wine of very good quality. A great part of the wine was
  pumped out of the tanks and received, like an old acquaintance, by
  the comrades far and near.

  The rich man of this quarter of the town had a companion who was
  more lucky, who in due time sought safety in flight.

  (_K.Z._, 21st February, 1915.)

A very curious case of the punishment of innocent people in the case
of "guilty" ones is the following: On the 7th October, 1914, the
Germans posted statements that the militia-men of the occupied regions
could not rejoin the Belgian army, and that in case of disobedience
the young men would expose themselves to the risk of being sent into
Germany as prisoners of war. So far, nothing illegal. But the placard
then declared that in case of the departure of any militia-man his
family would be held responsible. Now, how are the parents guilty,
if their son intends at all costs to fulfil his obligations to his
native country? On the 30th December, 1914, there was an aggravation of
this measure: the burgomasters also were to be punished. On the 28th
January, 1915, a new notice appeared: all Belgians between the ages
of sixteen and forty years were to be regarded as capable of military
service. So when a man of forty goes to join the Belgian army the
members of his family will be punished! Truly the notice might have
stated whether children would be punished for not preventing their
father's departure!

Have there been cases of repression? The _N.R.C._ states that at
Hasselt the Germans actually arrested the fathers and mothers of the
young men who escaped.

The _Tijd_ learns from Ruremonde:

  At Hasselt and in the neighbourhood the Germans have hunted down
  the fathers of those young men who, liable to be called to the
  colours, have been able, in spite of strict prohibition and active
  supervision, to enter Holland, there to pass through England and
  France with the intention of eventually joining the army.

  But as soon as they heard that the fathers were being arrested,
  these latter also crossed the frontier, and the Germans found that
  a great many birds had flown.

  They did not stop then: the mothers were arrested in their place.

  At the same time the Germans made it known that all these people
  would be transferred to the well-known camp at Münster, and
  warned the women to provide themselves with as much body-linen as
  possible. The whole of the little town was in consternation. Later
  arrived a telegram from General von Bissing, announcing that the
  departure for Münster was postponed for a week, and the prisoners
  were taken to Tongres.

  (_N.R.C._, 3rd February, 1915.)

A last example of punishment inflicted upon the innocent, when the
"guilty" person had already suffered punishment. A Belgian, having made
signals to the enemy (that is, to the Belgian army), was killed while
being arrested. Immediately the curé and the vicar were sent to Germany
as being responsible for the members of their parish.


  Alidor Vandamme, inhabitant of Cortemarck, committed espionage by
  making signals to the enemy. Resisting arrest, he was killed by a

  The German authority has taken the following measures of coercion
  in consequence of the crime committed by Vandamme:

  1. The curé Blancke and the vicar Barra, responsible for the
  members of their parish, will be deported as prisoners of war to

  2. The commune of Cortemarck must pay a fine of five thousand marks
  (5,000 M.).

  (_Posted at Thielt_, _Termonde_, _etc._)

This iniquity was not enough for the German authorities: they
advertised it all through Flanders (we copied it at Thielt and
Termonde), and forced _Le Bien Public_ to give it publicity. Through
lack of conscience or insolence?

_Contributions and Requisitions._


  _No contribution shall be collected except under a written order,
  and on the responsibility of a General in command._

  _The collection of the said contribution shall only be effected
  in accordance, as far as is possible, with the legal basis and
  assessment of taxes in force at the time._

  _For every contribution a receipt shall be given to the


  _Requisitions in kind and services shall not be demanded from local
  authorities or inhabitants except for the needs of the army of
  occupation. They shall be in proportion to the resources of the
  country, and of such a nature as not to involve the inhabitants in
  the obligation of taking part in military operations against their
  own country. Such requisitions and services shall only be demanded
  on the authority of the commander in the locality occupied._

  _Contributions in kind shall as far as possible be paid for in
  ready money: if not, a receipt shall be given and the payment of
  the amount due shall be made as soon as possible._

The last paragraph of Article 23, already cited, in reality presupposes
that passage in Article 52 which forbids the occupant to force the
inhabitants to do work which would assist operations directed against
their country (p. 112).

Among the forms of contribution included in Article 49 we must
give first place to that which fixes the value of the mark. The
_Düsseldorfer Zeitung_ of the 4th September announces that the military
commander of the occupied portion of Belgium and France fixed the value
of 100 marks at 130 frs. And indeed placards posted at Charleroi,
Saint-Trond, Namur, and Liége required the Belgians to accept German
marks at this exaggerated tariff, which has caused certain of our
merchants to lose considerable sums.


  The circulation of German money having given rise to perplexities,
  _the value of the German mark has been fixed at 130 centimes_.

  The attention of the public is called to the fact that all German
  paper money must be accepted in financial transactions at the same
  rate as German coin.

  _The 25th August, 1914._

  (_Posted at Liége._)

The fraudulent intention in this measure was only too evident. A month
later Baron von der Goltz made it known that until further notice the
mark was to be valued at the lowest at 1 fr. 25 (placard of the 3rd
October, 1914). In reality the mark was worth only 1 fr. 08 to 1 fr.
15, so that the Belgians naturally endeavoured to refuse German notes;
whereupon fresh placards were exhibited, compelling their acceptance
(placards of the 4th and 15th November, 1914). We must mention an
unhappy phrase in a placard posted at Mons; it states that the mark
must be accepted _at the actual value of the coin_, and further on
fixes this value at 1 fr. 25, which is obviously incorrect.

_Contributions demanded from the Cities._

Let us now consider the pecuniary contributions demanded from the
cities. The most important were: Liége, 20 million frs.; Namur, 32
millions; Antwerp, 40 millions; Brussels, 45 millions. The discussions
excited by this last contribution are extremely instructive; they
have been reported by the _N.R.C._ We learn how the Germans violated,
successively, all the different agreements which they concluded with
the city; finally they imposed a fine of 5 millions, which enabled
them, in spite of everything, to complete the sum of 50 millions which
they had promised themselves they would extort from the capital.



  ... In the course of this journey I once more heard people speaking
  of the reasons which resulted in the city of Brussels being fined
  the sum of fifty millions of francs, as every one knows. What I
  relate here I had from one of the most eminent members of the

  At the time of their entry here, the Germans demanded fifty
  millions from the city, and--don't cry out at this--450 millions
  from the province of Brabant. The communal council of Brussels
  tried to demonstrate that the city could not pay this tax, and that
  the tax imposed on the province was utterly exorbitant, seeing
  that Brabant, which draws on the budget for an annual sum of five
  to six millions, employed this money before it was paid, and could
  not, therefore, pay a fine, since the province had first to provide
  for its expenditure.... Having discussed the matter at great
  length, the Germans finally released Brabant from this war-tax,
  and at the same time gave the communal council a week to find the
  fifty millions, during which period they would suspend all other

  Burgomaster Max then had posted the well-known placard announcing
  that for the coming week no requisitions whatever would be made by
  the German authorities.

  But on the following day the burgomaster was called upon to justify
  his action, and although he produced the written convention before
  the new Governor of the city, the latter gave him to understand
  that his predecessor might possibly have granted such a delay,
  but that he, being of superior rank, did not recognize the clause
  at issue. Fresh negotiations were commenced, and it was at last
  arranged that twenty millions should be paid in five instalments of
  four millions each. Four of these instalments were punctually paid,
  and the fifth was about to be paid, when Max was summoned by the
  Governor, who asked him what his arrangements were concerning the
  remaining thirty millions.

  Max did not conceal his extreme surprise, stating that he fully
  understood that the remainder of the tax had been remitted, and
  that the twenty millions constituted the whole amount.

  The German Governor was by no means of this opinion, and demanded
  the remaining thirty millions. Thereupon Max immediately sent an
  order to the bank to suspend payment of the last four millions,
  which were ready for payment, until he was certain that the Germans
  would accept them as the final instalment. There was then on either
  side an equal degree of obstinacy. The Governor maintained that Max
  was breaking his engagements; Max, on the other hand, maintained
  that the Germans had failed to keep their word. The result was
  that the burgomaster was arrested, and he is at the present moment
  imprisoned in a fortress at Glatz in Silesia.

  The communal council was then warned that it would be deprived
  of its functions, and that the Germans would take over the
  administration of the city if the war-tax was not paid.

  There were again interminable negotiations, and it was arranged
  that in all forty-five millions should be paid.

  The sum was paid. Still the Germans wanted to get hold of the five
  remaining millions, so a police agent who had shown lack of respect
  for an officer was condemned to five years' imprisonment, while
  Brussels was fined five million francs.

  One might ask whether, if the Germans continue to act in this
  fashion, the city of Brussels will be forced to pay a fine each
  time one of its functionaries is guilty of offence: for it is
  impossible that the city can control all its employés.

  In this case the German officer who was insulted was in civilian
  clothes. Now to a complaint of the communal council the Governor
  had replied, some time previously, that there were no secret agents
  at work in civilian clothing; so that the police agent could not
  have known that he was dealing with an officer, since the latter
  was not in uniform.

  It may be imagined that lively protests were made, but once more
  the Germans threatened to assume the direction of the commune
  if the sum was not paid by the 10th November at latest; so,
  although the council presented a memorandum on the affair, it was
  nevertheless forced to pay in order to pursue its mission in peace.

  (_N.R.C._, 9th November, 1914.)

_Exactions of a Non-commissioned Officer._

Fines without rhyme and reason, and exorbitant war contributions have
become so normal and so customary that the Germans have finally learned
to exploit the situation. The _N.R.C._ for the 21st May, 1915, reported
that the Council of War in Coblenz had condemned to eighteen months'
imprisonment the non-commissioned officer Garternich, who had demanded
from several occupied Belgian communes a war contribution of 3 frs.
per head, and had thus acquired, for his own personal profit, a sum of
27,393 frs. Does not this simple fact reveal the habitual squeezing to
which our poor country is subjected? Eighteen months' imprisonment for
having emptied the communal treasuries already officially despoiled by
the authorities--that truly is not much; especially when we compare
this sentence with those pronounced upon the communes when a telegraph
wire breaks down: the threat of burning a whole neighbourhood or a
formidable fine.

_Requisitions of Raw Materials and Machinery._

_Requisitions may only be demanded_, says Article 52, _for the needs
of the army of occupation_. Now our enemies have removed from Belgium
enormous quantities of raw material, and machinery which evidently
cannot be of use to the army of occupation (see _Belg. Allem._, pp.
113, 116, 117). What can the army do with raw cotton, wools, spun
cotton, nickel, jute, etc.? It can be of use only to the industries of
Germany, paralysed by the suppression of the mercantile marine. Among
these requisitions are included machine-tools for the manufacture of
shells (notably those removed from the national arsenal at Herstal and
the royal cannon foundry at Liége), and metals, such as copper, which
are indispensable to the manufacture of munitions; so that the articles
which have been taken from us, contrary to Article 52 of the Hague
Convention, subscribed to by Germany, are thus directly employed in
fighting against us.

The Germans cannot pretend that these requisitions of machinery
were made by over-zealous officers ignorant of the laws, for Baron
von Bissing himself, in his quality of Governor-General, signed
the proclamation of the 17th February ordering the despatch of our
machine-tools to Germany. Moreover, in Berlin even people are perfectly
aware of these requisitions, and of their destination (_N.R.C._, 22nd
February, 1915, morning edition).

We must insist on the fact that all these raw materials of industry,
all this machinery, etc., is not bought, but requisitioned. There is
here no case of a commercial transaction, nor even an expropriation;
for we have no redress against the decision arrived at in Berlin as to
the prices which will be paid after the war. It is a theft, to express
the matter in a word.

_Requisitions in kind and in services ... shall be in proportion to the
resources of the country_, says Article 52; which evidently means that
requisitions must not exhaust the country to the point of jeopardizing
the lives of the inhabitants. If this stipulation had been respected
we should not have to deplore the famine which is ravaging our country,
and to which we shall return later on.

We shall confine ourselves--in order to give some idea of the excessive
and inhuman manner in which requisitions have been made--to referring
the reader to certain articles written by eye-witnesses, particularly
those who have seen what has happened near the frontier, and at Gand.
It will at once be recognized that the requisitions made exceed that
which the inhabitants can reasonably provide (see _N.R.C._, 10th
January, 1915, morning; 23rd January, 1915, morning; 16th January,
1915, evening; 30th January, 1915, evening; 12th January, 1915,
morning; 22nd December, 1914, evening).

The Germans have always taken good care to demand wine. They demanded
enormous quantities in the little villages of the Campine of Limburg
(_N.R.C._, 15th January, 1915). Elsewhere they took for their own use
all the cellars of the wine-merchants and the inhabitants, without
allowing the latter to make use of them (see _Belg. Allem._, p. 118).

A last point as to requisitions. They shall _as far as possible be paid
for in ready money; if not, a receipt shall be given_.

Very often no receipt has been given to the owners of property taken.
Elsewhere the receipts are fantastical and valueless.

It is the truth that those who do receive vouchers are requested
to satisfy themselves of their accuracy, but this prescription is
obviously a dead letter. Imagine, on the one hand, a peasant, Fleming
or Walloon, terrorized into a condition of helplessness, and incapable
of reading a voucher scrawled in German; and on the other, soldiers
whose customary arguments are shooting and burning.


  _An army of occupation shall only take possession of cash, funds,
  and realizable securities which are strictly the property of the
  State, depôts of arms, means of transport, stores and supplies,
  and, generally, all movable property belonging to the State which
  may be used for military operations...._

From the very first days of the occupation the Germans, in defiance
of law and justice, seized upon the communal treasuries and the funds
deposited in the branch establishments of the National Bank, the
post offices, etc. They were obliged to recognize the justice of the
protests made by the Belgian Government; but their love of pillage is
incorrigible; on entering Gand, on Monday, the 12th October, their
first care was to lay hands on the 1,800,000 (£72,000) contained in the
communal treasury.

According to Article 55 the Germans had no right to remove the
furniture of the Ministries of Brussels (p. 134), since this property
was not of a kind to be useful in military operations.


  _The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and
  usufructuary of public buildings, landed property, forests, and
  agricultural undertakings belonging to the hostile State, and
  situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of
  such properties and administer them in accordance with the rules of

The German respect for legality did not restrain them from violating
this Article. From the very first days of the war they employed the
churches which they consented to leave standing as stables; on reaching
Liége they took possession of the Palais de Justice and made a
barracks of it. Why did they expel Justice? Herren Koester and Noske
tell us (p. 30), it was simply because the position is central and easy
to defend (see a photograph facing p. 32). They did not take account
of the fact that such employment of the building is doubly contrary
to the Hague Convention, since they did not respect the nature of the
monument, and exposed it to bombardment by Allied aviators on the
look-out for the German garrison.

It was the same with the Palais de Justice of Brussels, which also
serves as a German barracks. To adapt it to its novel use, the soldiers
have destroyed a great part of the magnificent furnishings which
adorned the halls; the immediate surroundings have been fortified,
and the cupola serves by night as a station for signalling to
dirigibles. In short, all preparations have been made with a view to
the bombardment of Poelaert's masterpiece by the Allies.

It is obviously with the idea of preventing their adversaries from
attacking them that they take up their quarters in our monuments; these
are to serve them as artistic bucklers, just as our compatriots are
employed as living bucklers.

The violations of Article 55 are past counting. We will confine
ourselves to mentioning a few in Brussels; they will give us some idea
of the diversity of the transformations which our property has suffered
at German hands. The offices of the Ministries are transformed into
bedrooms for officers. The Palais des Académies has become a military
hospital; God knows in what condition we shall find its libraries.
In the Parc Royal of Brussels, in the centre of the city, they have
installed an automobile depôt, a riding-track, and a rifle range; on
the 28th October a shot fired from this range wounded a lady through
the windows of the Schlobach _magasin_ in the Rue Royale.


  _The property of local authorities, as well as that of institutions
  dedicated to public worship, charity, education, and to science
  and art, even when State property, shall be treated as private

  _Any seizure or destruction of, or wilful damage to, institutions
  of this character, historic monuments and works of science and art,
  is forbidden, and should be made the subject of legal proceedings._

The first paragraph of this Article has been scrupulously observed;
the property of the communes, etc., has indeed been treated as private
property has been treated: the latter has everywhere been sacked and
looted, and the Germans have done the same to collective property.

As to the intentional character of these acts of vandalism, it is
indubitable. How otherwise explain the fact that in numerous villages
the church has been the prey of the flames, in many cases even when
the surrounding houses have remained intact? A few examples will
suffice. The village of Haecht was occupied on the 19th and 20th
August. On the 24th the Belgians in Antwerp made a sortie which was
repulsed. The Germans, infuriated, shot 17 civilians and pillaged all
the houses, particularly remembering the wine in the cellars. Then the
inhabitants were expelled. A fresh sortie of the Belgians took place
from the 9th to the 13th September; at noon on the last day our troops
fell back; in the afternoon the Germans set fire to the church and 41
houses. The strong-box of the church was broken open after the fire.
The destruction of the monument did not strike them as sufficient,
and they dynamited the whole on the 16th (or 17th) September. In
the neighbouring village of Werchter, after the battle of the 25th
and 26th August, they shot 6 civilians and burned 267 houses out of
the 513 which formed the village. After the second fight, on the
15th September, they burned the church. In both villages most of the
houses round the churches were spared; it will therefore be difficult
for the Germans to pretend, as at Louvain, that the burning of these
churches was an accident (_Brandunglück_) due to burning fragments
carried by the wind (p. 220). We have already (p. 73) noted another
more significant case, that of the chapel of the Béguinage of Termonde,
which was alone burned, in the centre of the Béguinage, not a dwelling
of which was touched.

_Conclusions--The Famine in Belgium._

Germany had need, in the conflict with France, of all the men who
passed through Belgium; also she could leave in Belgium only weak
garrisons of the Landsturm. To safeguard them against possible attack
on the part of the Belgian population, it was necessary to terrorize
the latter to such a point that it no longer dared to stir. Such was
the object of the carnage and incendiarism which marked the beginning
of the campaign, as was frankly admitted by Herr Walter Blöm, adjutant
to the Governor-General in Belgium (p. 84). No doubt the massacres of
Louvain, Andenne, Tamines, and Dinant, committed to order between the
19th and the 26th August, appeared insufficient, for a new series was
organized between the 4th and 13th September.

At the news of this butchery a resounding cry of horror and indignation
went up from all the nations of the earth. That the Belgian Army,
on the field of battle, should have paid large tribute to the war
unloosed upon us by Germany--that was to be expected, but no one
would have dared to suppose that Germany, after participating in the
second Hague Conference, would display towards our civil population
such an implacable cruelty, such exterminating fury, as history has
never recorded since the Thirty Years' War. But facts are facts; one
must needs submit to the evidence; the German Army has destroyed our
treasures of art and science, has shot down in cold blood, often by
machine-gun fire, hosts of men, women, even old people and children;
it has ordered the burning of thousands of houses; it has turned whole
districts into deserts.

Still, some semblance of motive was necessary; with a mathematical
regularity the pretext of "francs-tireurs" was alleged. "_Man hat
geschossen_"--that was enough; immediately the neighbourhood was given
over to massacre, pillage, and fire. Never was any inquiry made, no
matter how summary. Yet when it was desired to show a foreigner of
note--for example, Dr. Sven Hedin--how they proceeded in the matter of
punishing "francs-tireurs," a regular Council of War was constituted
... which brought in a verdict of _non-lieu_ (p. 78). We defy the
Germans to cite a single case in which a tribunal of this kind has sat
_before_ reprisals. In the few rare cases when witnesses, etc., have
been questioned the examination has taken place _after_ the firing of
houses and the shooting of inhabitants. This is why we declare without
the slightest reservation that _not one single attack by civilians_ has
been established by any kind of proof.

_The Flight of the Belgians._

The inhabitants of our towns and our countryside soon realized to
what they were exposing themselves if they awaited the arrival of
the Germans in their own homes. So, as the Germans advanced, a void
appeared before them. After the taking of Antwerp, the majority of
the peasants of the "Campine" of Antwerp fled in all haste toward
Holland. If to them we add the people of Antwerp, who had been driven
out by the bombardment, and above all the innumerable villages of
Brabant, Limburg, and the provinces of Liége and Antwerp, whose homes
had been pillaged and reduced to ashes, we shall not be astonished to
find that in October there were more than a million Belgian refugees
in Holland.[30] To our northern neighbours we owe our profoundest
gratitude for the fraternal manner in which they welcomed our
unfortunate compatriots.

_The Causes of the Famine._

The horror provoked by the butchery at Dinant, Aerschot, etc.,
relegated to the background the purely material crimes. But these--the
pillage, methodically conducted, of our towns, villages, farms,
and châteaux--the outrageous requisitions of provisions and of the
raw material of industries--the formidable taxes which drain us
of coin--the fines which rain upon the communal administrations
and on private persons--and many other infractions of the Hague
Convention--have exercised on our economical life an extremely
depressing effect, but have produced no echo abroad: doubtless because
only those can understand the whole extent of our misery who daily rub
shoulders with the thousands of starving and unemployed people who drag
themselves from one end of the town to the other in quest of work that
is not to be found, or who mingle with the interminable files of women
who go in search of rations of bread and soup for their families.

Let us briefly consider the principal causes of famine which prevails
in Belgium.

1. Exaggerated requisitions, out of all proportion to the resources of
the country. They are of two kinds:--

Firstly, those which have emptied the country of grain, cattle, forage,
and other foodstuffs.

Then the requisitions of the raw materials intended for the factories,
which have completely paralysed industry, especially in the Flanders.
One example will suffice. All the workshops of Termonde were burned
save one--the Escaut-Dendre establishment, which makes boots and shoes.
But the Germans sent into Germany both the leather and the shoes which
were in the warehouse. The factory is thus condemned to stand idle for
lack of raw material, and also for lack of funds. Those industries of
which the machinery has been removed are also, of course, doomed to
paralysis. The German authorities threaten to despoil our factories of
all the copper forming part of the machinery, which would reduce them
one and all to impotence. It is an ironical fact that this measure was
announced by a propagandist leaflet addressed to the Belgians.

2. Having made a clean sweep of the greater portion of all that was
indispensable to us, the Germans have been careful to take our money
from us. Under every imaginable pretext, and often without any pretext
at all, they have imposed crushing taxes upon us. The regular payment
of these taxes showing that the public coffers were not yet quite
empty, the Germans hastened to impose fines upon us, which vary from 5
frs. to 5 millions. The private banks, too, are threatened every moment
with the removal of a portion of their funds.

3. It is needless to insist on a third cause, which reduces our
working-class families to idleness and poverty: the destruction of an
enormous number of factories--some bombarded, but most of them burned
of set purpose.

4. We have already seen that many factories which remained intact are
condemned to inactivity by the lack of raw material, or because they
have been deprived of their machinery. The others are equally paralysed.

The stoppage of traffic on the railway lines, the impediments of all
kinds placed in the way of inland navigation, the absence of maritime
navigation, are causes more than sufficient to prevent the importation
of raw materials and the exportation of manufactured products. Of all
these obstacles the most important is assuredly the suppression of
goods traffic on the railways. "Why," say the Germans, "do not Belgian
employés return to their work, since our military trains would in any
case be run by our own men?" Hypocrites! The slowness and irregularity
of the trains is highly inconvenient to the German army, and it would
much like to see them resume their normal speed; but for this it
requires the assistance of the Belgian staff. Is it not obvious that
if our railway-men resumed their labours they would at the same time
facilitate the transport of German troops and munitions?

Let us again cite the prohibition of "circulation" between 8 or 9
o'clock and 6 o'clock, which is an obstacle to night work, which is
quite indispensable to the large industries; and the suppression of the
special trains by which the workers travelled.

5. Commerce has suffered no less than industry. There is no telegraph,
no telephone, no posting of closed letters; that is, no means of
sending or receiving orders. No railway, no horses, no motor-cars to
deliver goods or to supply customers. And, to cap all, the slightest
journey necessitates all sorts of exaggerated expenses: there is the
acquisition of a passport, the train journey at the rate of 10 cm.
per kilometre, hotel expenses, etc. The expenditure might be a minor
matter, but what of the waste of time? Before 1st July, 1915, any one
going from Liége to Brussels for business purposes had first of all to
waste one or two days in procuring his passport; the journey occupied
at least half a day; and after interviewing his client he would find
that there was no train back to Liége on the same day. In short, he
would have to allow four days for a journey which in normal times took
half a day.

       *       *       *       *       *

Other causes of famine are:

The scarcity and high cost of provisions.

The financial difficulties in which the public powers are involved.

The paralysis of industry and commerce, resulting in unemployment--that
is, in suppression of wages.

In short, a diminution of resources, accompanied by an increase of
expenditure; so that the public coffers are almost powerless to come to
the aid of private distress.

That is how we stand in Belgium.

It is not our intention to depict the poignant distress which has
overwhelmed our country. We shall merely explain briefly how we try to
cope with it; this will suffice to give some idea of it.

_Creation of Temporary Shelters._

Let us first of all consider the country districts. Even when a few
houses only of a village have escaped incendiarism the inhabitants have
returned thither and have resumed their customary labours. Must they
not plough and sow, under penalty of preparing for themselves another
year of wretchedness? Where houses exist no longer they live in a
cellar, or an outhouse to which some kind of roof has been improvised;
families passed the winter of 1914-15 in a potato-silo,[31] under
the shelter of a few mats of straw. In the ruined villages the first
anxiety of the public powers and the relief committees was therefore to
provide provisional shelter.

In the towns and industrial districts the most urgent necessities are
of another kind. What is lacking most particularly is employment. The
administrations have therefore set themselves to provide the unemployed
with paid occupations which do not demand apprenticeship--the clearing
of ruins, the levelling of soil, the digging of reservoirs, etc.
The communal coffers being empty, communal vouchers are issued.
_L'Événement Illustré_, in its fourth issue, gives reproductions of
some of these vouchers, of which, it states, there are more than
500. In the communes near Louvain, where the poverty is particularly
poignant, it has been necessary to create vouchers for 2 centimes (at
Wilsele) and 5 centimes (at Herent).

From the outset stringent measures were taken to make up for the
insufficiency of provisions and to prevent speculators from obtaining
possession of existing stocks. The most important of these regulations
are the following:--

  (_a_) Fixing of maximum prices.

  (_b_) Prohibition of the exportation of provisions from the commune.

  (_c_) It is forbidden to give animals provisions intended for human

  (_d_) Collective exploitation. Many communes have set up in
  business as bakers, butchers, restaurant-keepers, coal merchants,
  dealers in colonial produce, etc. They prepare bread and soup
  daily, and these are provided gratuitously to the poorest, or
  sold at a low price to those who still have a few savings. In the
  Brussels district there had been distributed by the 31st January,
  1915, to adults, 30,060,608 rations, comprising soup and bread,
  and to the children 932,838 rations, consisting chiefly of milk,
  phosphatine, and powdered milk.

Certain communes also sell meat; others have installed communal stores
for the sale of all kinds of provisions, especially preserved foods,
dried vegetables, salt, potatoes, etc.; almost everywhere coal is sold
retail; petroleum was sold as long as it could be obtained. Moreover,
the collectivities are distributing enormous quantities of clothes; in
the Brussels district alone by the end of January 660,865 frs. worth of
clothing and footwear had been given to the necessitous. Abuses have
as far as possible been guarded against, (1) by the "household card,"
the _Carte de ménage_, which indicates the number of persons composing
each family; and (2) by the limitation of the quantity of each kind of
goods which the household can obtain during the week.

The basis of alimentation is bread. Therefore particularly Draconian
rules have been elaborated for the bakeries.

_The National Relief Committee._

Many problems presented themselves simultaneously, and with an
extreme urgency. In all communes local committees have been set up,
entrusted with the equitable distribution of provisions among all the
inhabitants. We say "all the inhabitants," for the reader must not
form any illusions as to our condition: there is not a single Belgian
family which, if left to itself, could obtain its daily bread; the
general rationing to which the whole population is subjected makes rich
and poor equally dependent on the National Committee of Relief and

To organize the feeding of the public would have been a task above our
strength if Belgium, in her present distress, had been abandoned to
her own resources. But the misfortunes which have come upon us because
we could not consent to comply with the orders of a tyrannical and
perjured neighbour--the poverty which cripples us more completely day
by day, as requisitions, pillage, taxes, and fines deprive us of our
last resources--the massacres and the incendiarism which have turned
into deserts the most fertile and most densely peopled provinces
of Europe--the molestations and annoyances which have reduced to
unemployment a working population whose activity is proverbial--in
short, the unmerited misfortune which _Kultur_ has inflicted upon
us--all this has awakened, in all the civilized nations, a current of
sympathy and solidarity with poor Belgium.

By Germany our country was condemned to perish of starvation. The
miracle which alone could save us has been effected by the charity
of Spain, Scandinavia, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand,
Australia, Canada, the Argentine Republic, Brazil, and, above all,
the United States. Since the month of November 1914 vessels laden
with provisions have been regularly leaving the American ports for
Rotterdam, whence the food is despatched, principally by means of
barges, into Belgium, and distributed, in the smallest villages even,
by the care of the National Committee of Relief and Alimentation. This
Committee is an extension throughout the whole country of a commission
which was formed early in September 1914 to succour the Brussels
district; it is under the patronage of their Excellencies the Marquis
of Villalobar, the Spanish Minister, and Mr. Brand Whitlock, the
United States Minister. In January and February 1915 the Committee was
induced to concern itself also with the country round Maubeuge, and the
Givet--Furnay--Sedan district.

The mission of the National Committee is equitably to distribute relief
and provisions. But it does not itself collect these resources; as
they derive more particularly from the United States it is an American
Committee, the "Commission for Relief in Belgium," which undertakes
to collect and administer funds. It is the American Committee which
despatches to Rotterdam, from American ports, the steamers carrying
food and clothing. In each province the American Commission has a
delegate who supervises the distribution of provisions and relief; he
assures himself that nothing is diverted to the use of the German army.
The Commission for Relief in Belgium sits in London, its chairman being
Mr. Herbert Hoover.

       *       *       *       *       *

A serious difficulty cropped up immediately. Foreign beneficence was
eager to aid the Belgians, but not, obviously, the butchers who occupy
our country. It was therefore necessary at all costs to prevent the
German army from seizing the provisions and subsidies despatched by

On the 16th October, 1914, the German authorities undertook to
exempt from all requisitions the provisions imported by the National
Committee. But this promise was promptly violated. The Germans, it is
true, did not requisition the wheat, but they did requisition the bread
made from that wheat. Moreover, they pretended that their engagement of
the 16th October, 1914, general as it was, did not affect Flanders, a
_territoire d'étape_ not subject to the Governor-General. This is the
effect of their letter of the 21st November, 1914. Up to the present
it has been impossible to get them to keep the engagements to which
they subscribed on the 16th October; for although they have extended to
cattle-foods the promise that nothing should be requisitioned by the
troops placed under the orders of the Governor-General--the _territoire
d'étape_ being thus excluded--they have, on the other hand, forced
the communes of Flanders to open grain markets, in which they make
purchases, thus continuing to impoverish the food-stores of the country.

While they exclude Flanders from the region exempted from requisitions,
they take care not to breathe a word of this exemption in their own
newspapers. The _K.Z._, on the 4th January, and _Der Volksfreund_
on the 5th declared that requisitions of foodstuffs were suspended
throughout Belgium.

Despite the difficulties raised by the Germans, the National Committee
of Relief and Alimentation has rendered our country inestimable
services, which only those who have visited our towns and rural
districts and have seen the work of the local Committees can form any

We borrow from the report of the Executive Committee for the month of
January 1915 (published in Brussels 15th February, 1915) a few figures
(_see_ table, p. 176) as to the distribution of relief during the month
of January.

But the National Committee extends its beneficent action over many
departments which are not mentioned in this table.

Here, according to the same report, is the list of these departments:--

    I. Department of Alimentation (Foodstuffs).
   II. Agricultural Section of the National Committee.
  III. Relief Department:
         1. Subsidies to Provincial Committees.
         2. Construction of Refuges (100,000 frs. for Luxemburg)
         3. Organizations patronized:
              A. Central Refugee Committee.
              B. Assistance and support of families of officers and
                   under-officers deprived of their means of sustenance
                   by the war (first subvention 50,000 frs.).
              C. Assistance and support of Belgian physicians and
                   druggists ruined by the war (first subsidy of
                   10,000 frs.).
              D. Assistance and support of artists (first subsidy
                   10,000 frs.).
              E. Assistance and support of infantile charities.
              F. Assistance and support of destitute persons.
              G. Assistance and support of the homeless (Accommodation
              H. Assistance and support of destitute churches (two
                   subsidies of 5,000 frs. each).
              I. Assistance and protection of the unemployed.
              J. Assistance and protection of lace-makers (subsidy
                   of 129,749 frs.).
              K. Union of Belgian Towns and Communes.
              L. Belgian Intelligence Agency for Prisoners of War
                   and Persons Interned (monthly subvention of
                   3,000 frs.).
         4. Co-operative Society for Loans and Advances.
         5. Advances to Provinces and Communes.
         6. Clothing.



_Quantities in Tons._

Despatched|Wheat | Flour|Rice|Peas | Salt|Po- |Ba-|Maize|Sun-|Cloth- |Subsi-
  or      |      |      |    |and  |     |ta- |con|     |dry | ing   | dies to
Remitted  |      |      |    |Beans|     |toes|   |     |    | (value|Provin
  to--    |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    | in    | cial
          |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |Francs)|Commit-
          |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       | tees (in
          |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       | France)
Province  |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 of       |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 Antwerp  | 3,525| 1,247|  --|  126|   --|   2| --|  713|  --|100,880|  300,000
Brussels  |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 and      |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 District | 3,371| 1,329|  13|  247|    6|  --| --|   90|  82|379,058|  300,000
Brabant   | 2,962| 1,486|  --|   31|  116|   4| 24|  548|  57|101,916|       --
Western   |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 Flanders |   542|   519|  59|   48|   20|  --| --|   --|  23| 41,059|  170,000
Eastern   |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 Flanders | 4,419| 1,982|  37|   46|    4|  --|  3|1,120|  14|     --|  300,000
Hainaut   | 5,602| 3,739| 258|  350|   --|  74| --|  181| 293| 81,493|  550,000
Liége     | 3,356| 1,242|  --|    5|   --|  --| --|  200|  80|  4,860|  280,000
Limburg   | 1,539| 1,466|  11|   --|   --|  22| --|  200|  35| 41,477|  160,000
Luxemburg |   209|   853|   1|   58|   --|  --| --|   --|  --| 16,656|  160,000
Namur     | 1,011|   346|  --|   60|   --|  --| --|  150|  89| 95,307|  203,000
 General  |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 Stock,   |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 Brussels |   446|   119|  --|    8|2,268|  38| --|   --| 239|     --|       --
Various   |      |      |    |     |     |    |   |     |    |       |
 Charities|    --|    --|  --|   --|   --|  --| --|   --|  --|  9,687|       --
Totals    |27,476|14,338| 359|  979|2,414| 140| 27|3,202| 912|822,379|2,423,000

Since the month of January 1915 the National Committee has not ceased
to extend its activities. But it is impossible to give more precise
data. The German authorities no longer permit the Committee to publish
its reports. In their dry, official manner they show us only too
clearly what we are to think of the present "prosperity" of Belgium and
the "normal state of the situation."

       *       *       *       *       *

It will be seen that the activities of the National Committee are
fruitful and extensive. But more and more money is required, as savings
are exhausted and as the public coffers are emptied by the Germans.

In January 1915 the Sovereign Pontiff surrendered the Belgian
contribution to Peter's Pence.

As 40 million frs. per month (£1,600,000) is being paid to the Germans,
poverty is rapidly increasing. The number of Belgians deprived of
all resources and obliged to live entirely on charity had risen by
February to 1,500,000. It was estimated that by June it would be
2,500,000, or more than one-third of the total population. In February
the nourishment of this famishing host already demanded 10 million frs.
(£400,000) per month; soon it will demand 12 to 13 millions. In this
conjuncture Mr. Hoover, the President of the American Commission, went
begging to the British Government, which promised £100,000 per month
provided Germany would cease to make requisitions in Flanders and levy
the tax of 40 millions. Germany refused. How will it end?

_Belgium's Gratitude to America._

Belgium knows that she owes her relief to the United States. Without
American charity our country would perish in the distress into which
the German exactions have plunged her. No one in Belgium will ever
forget this, and it is in the name of the whole nation that King Albert
has publicly thanked America.

It was in sign of homage, and also of gratitude, that on the 22nd
February, 1915, on the anniversary of American Independence, the
Belgians wore in their buttonholes a medallion of the Stars and
Stripes, while thousands of the citizens of Brussels left their cards
at the hotel of His Excellency Mr. Brand H. Whitlock. Baron von Bissing
spoke of this as childishness; at Liége German officers even snatched
the American colours from women and young girls. Massacre and arson are
more familiar to _Kultur_ than gratitude.


[14] And also justified by the laws of warfare as affecting invasion.
Moreover: "The rules which affect a _levée en masse_ (a general rising
of the people to repel invaders, without organization) should be
generously interpreted. The first duty of a citizen is to defend his
country, and provided he does so loyally he should not be treated as a
marauder or criminal." The Germans could not at the outset know that
there was no _levée en masse_.--(TRANS.)

[15] The Germans have tried to persuade Rome that these priests were
not assassinated but killed in battle.

[16] To give an idea of these accusations, it was said that in the
cellars of a Louvain convent the corpses of fifty German soldiers were
discovered, murdered by the monks.

[17] If organized and disciplined, the civic guards and francs-tireurs
would have formed part of the Belgian forces, provided they wore a
recognizable sign and bore arms openly.--(TRANS.)

[18] We shall see later (p. 221) that at Louvain Dr. Hedin was
shamefully deceived by the military authorities who were guiding him
through the city. It is this which makes us fear that there may also
have been deceit in the case of the villagers tried as "francs-tireurs."

[19] _Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege._ Professor J. H. Morgan has published
a translation, with an introduction (John Murray). For a comparison
between German, French, and English usages see _Frightfulness in Theory
and Practice_, by Charles Andler, ed. Bernard Miall (T. Fisher Unwin).

[20] They are all, with a truly German lack of originality, with
the genuine intellectual slavishness of the "blonde beast," simply
repeating the words of Clausewitz, as all German military philosophers
have done for the best part of a century.--(TRANS.)

[21] A perusal of Clausewitz, von Hartmann, and the _Kriegsbrauch_
would have dispelled all doubt. None of these theories is new: how
often does a German develop a _new_ theory? This peculiarly bloodless,
mechanically ferocious barbarism is nearly a century old. The French
had seen it in action before.--(TRANS.)

[22] The Germans even accuse the Belgian Government of paying its
"francs-tireurs" "by the piece"; that is, so much per German killed.

[23] If it had _openly_ encouraged the civil population it would
merely have ordered the _levée en masse_, which it had a perfect right
to do: as Germany did in 1813. But it is interesting to note that in
1813 the German francs-tireurs were required _not_ to wear distinctive
uniforms or badges, and were allowed to use any weapons and any means
of injuring the enemy. Germany invented the franc-tireur, and now
expects Belgium to do what she would do in a like case. _The bogy so
feared by the German soldier is, indeed, his own shadow._ Actually, of
course, the Belgian Government called upon civilians to keep quiet and
to surrender arms.--(TRANS.)

[24] Thus _Der Grosse Krieg_, pp. 51 and 52, published a Wolff telegram
on the 3rd August, 1914, saying that many spies had already been shot
in Germany, but that the public should none the less be careful to
report suspects, particularly those who spoke a foreign language.

[25] _Étape_ (_etappen_, Germ.), stores, rations, or a

[26] If we mention Reims it is because the Germans have on eight
occasions posted placards in Belgium bearing declarations relating to
this crime against civilization.

[27] We have not been able to verify the authenticity of the quotation
from the _Times_.

[28] In Germany the phrase has a meaning _sui generis_.

[29] Names will be published later.

[30] See photographs in _Panorama_, 9B (26th August, 1914), 17A (16th
October, 1914), 18A (16th October, 1914).

[31] A pit for storing potatoes in good condition.



In those chapters in which we have dealt with the violations of
international treaties, and of the Hague Convention, we have often
been led to comment on the mode of thought displayed by those who
committed these crimes. But hitherto we have touched upon the subject
of German mentality only in an incidental fashion; it will doubtless be
interesting to consider it more closely.

We shall utilize, by preference, documents of German origin. In cases
where these are lacking, for example, in the case of the cruelties
committed, we shall have recourse to observations which we ourselves
have collected, and whose authenticity is indisputable.

In place of passing in review all the peculiarities of the modern
German mind, which would occupy too much space, we shall confine
ourselves to those from which Belgium has suffered most cruelly; but
we shall not speak--it would be superfluous--of the obscene spirit of
rape, and rapacity, and drunkenness. The three psychological elements
which we shall consider are pride, duplicity, and spitefulness.


_Some Manifestations of Pride and the Spirit of Boasting._

"The German nation is the Chosen People, and God is with us." That is
the prevailing idea of the speeches and proclamations of the Kaiser.
In his Speech from the Throne on the 4th August, 1914, he declared:
"It is not the spirit of conquest which urges us forward; but we are
animated by the inflexible determination to retain the position in
which God has set us, for ourselves and for all the generations to

In her pride Germany is unanimous. No German is permitted to doubt
the indisputable superiority of his nation over all other nations. As
soon as he learns to lisp his first words, his brain is steeped in the
conviction that no people is comparable to his own, even remotely.

This longing to exalt his own country is accompanied by a corresponding
desire to abase all others. Hardly is a discovery of any kind made in a
neighbouring country than a German appropriates it in order to give it
a new trade-mark. One example will suffice.

All the world knows that Louis Pasteur was the founder of the science
of bacteriology, a science whose consequences, in the spheres of
hygiene and medicine, are incalculable. Germany ignores Pasteur and has
heard only of Koch. A Belgian, who attended the Berlin celebrations
in honour of Koch, returned disgusted with the fact that the name
of Pasteur was systematically suppressed throughout the ceremonies.
In an obituary notice devoted to Koch a Belgian bacteriologist, M.
Jules Bordet, remarked with great justice, in speaking of the German
biographies of the scientist who had just died:--

"They made Koch the absolute creator of modern medicine: all other
glory pales before his; he is the founder of bacteriology. Their
obituary articles, emanating, for the most part, from disciples of
the master, and which are, one feels, steeped in pious gratitude,
and also, perhaps, to a certain extent, in a somewhat exclusive
patriotism, attribute to him the honour of having shown the organic
origin of contagious diseases." "It would be," said Herr Pfeiffer,
the distinguished Breslau bacteriologist, "a real act of justice were
posterity to divide the history of medicine into two periods, one
before Koch and the other after him."

Reading such notices it would almost seem as though Pasteur had never

We think M. Bordet shows himself far too indulgent toward the German
biographers when he says, in conclusion: "And one could not take it
amiss of these disciples if, in their filial solicitude, they left on
the tomb of their Master a few leaves from the laurels of Pasteur."

Here is another example of boasting, interesting principally by reason
of the _charlatanesque_ manner in which it was published. Every one
has heard of the Cooper-Hewitt mercury-vapour lamp, with its strange
blue-violet light, so rich in ultra-violet rays. The most summary
treatises on physics explain that quartz will allow the ultra-violet
rays to pass, and that the Cooper-Hewitt quartz lamp is in constant
employment in the laboratories. But if you read the communication which
the Germans imposed upon _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ on the 27th December, 1914,
you will see that the Germans invented the whole affair.

If you want to be initiated into the perfections of the German, Herr
Momme Nissen, in _Der Krieg und die Deutsche Kunst_, will enumerate
them for you. "The qualities of the German," he says, "integrity and
courage, profundity of mind and fidelity, insight and the sense of
inwardness, modesty and piety, are also the ornaments of our art."

_The Germans compare themselves with their Allies._

Here is a last point to be considered. The Germans do not merely
consider themselves to be superior to their adversaries; they are
equally modest on behalf of their allies. To their minds, and in their
writings, the present war is "the German war." The most complete
chronological compilation which has appeared hitherto is entitled
_Chronik des Deutschen Krieges_. The official publications deliberately
ignore the Austrians, Hungarians, Czechs, Croats, Turks, etc. The first
of the pamphlets of propaganda distributed by the Germans (_Journal
de la Guerre_) begins thus: "The name this war will one day bear in
history is already determined; it can only be the _German War_, for it
is a war destined to establish the position of the German nation in the
world." By what name shall we call the German's sense of superiority
over all other nations: is it pride, presumption, or impudence?

Herr Paul Rohrbach, who is generally more moderate in his expressions,
has written a pamphlet entitled _Warum es der Deutsche Krieg ist_ ("Why
this is the German War").

It would be useless to insist on the general aspects of the question.
Let us consider only a few of the immediate consequences of this frame
of mind: militarism, disdain for others, cynicism, and absence of the
critical spirit.


_Might comes before Right._

Bismarck has given us a precise formula of the cult of brute force,
"Might comes before right!" Nietzsche has gone further, "Might creates
right." "You say that a good cause sanctifies even war? I tell you that
a good war sanctifies any cause!" (_Thus Spake Zarathustra_).

Herr Maximilian Harden, the well-known polemical writer, expressed
the same idea in a lecture delivered at Duisbourg and reproduced in
_K.Z._ (8th December, 1914). It is expressed with equal lucidity in an
article published in _Zeit im Bild_ (19th November, 1914), and signed
_Vitus Bug_; the author, after inquiring into the reasons which make
Germany hated, adds: "Let us be victorious, and people will immediately
discover that we were in the right!"

It is, consequently, towards the army that the essential aspirations
of the German nation converge; everything must give way to the
military interest; the moment this is in question there is no longer
any room for morality, says Professor Rein, of the University of Jena
(_N.R.C._, 22nd January, 1915, morning), nor for humanity, says Herr
Erzberger (_N.R.C._, 6th February, 1915, evening), nor even for the
law of nations, declares Professor Beer, of the University of Leipzig
(_Völkerrecht und Krieg_). In other countries people have remained
simple enough to believe that it is precisely in time of war that the
prescriptions of international law should be most strictly respected.
Nothing of the sort, say the Germans; the moment war breaks out
everyday justice can only efface itself. On the slightest accusation,
the least pretext, or even without any, they begin to shoot and to
burn. If by accident those put to death are innocent, or if there was
in truth no complaint to be made against the inhabitants of the houses
burned to ashes, it is obviously regrettable; but such commonplace
considerations will not prevent the German army from inflicting on the
nearest village a punishment any less exemplary. _Es ist Krieg_: in
this phrase is contained the whole psychology of the German soldier in
war-time. "Do you suppose," said a German at Louvain, "that we've got
time to make inquiries?" (_N.R.C._, 9th September, 1914, morning). "You
understand clearly," said an officer at Francorchamps, "that we cannot
stop the German army to inquire if this man has really fired on us; he
was accused of doing so; isn't that sufficient reason for shooting him?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Before leaving the subject of militarism, we will cite one
insignificant fact which, however trifling, clearly reveals the
importance which the military idea has assumed in the conceptions of
the German people. According to the _N.R.C._ of the 6th February, 1915
(evening), _Vorwärts_ has protested against the following measure: The
German wife whose husband is under arms cannot be expelled from her
dwelling for non-payment of rent; but if her husband should be killed
in the war the landlord immediately recovers the right to turn her out.


We have seen that the Germans are seeking by all possible means to
accentuate their superiority over their neighbours. An elementary
procedure for increasing the vertical distance between them and their
rivals consists in depreciating the latter. Germany has so often, in
every tone of voice, proclaimed the irremediable inferiority of all
the other peoples inhabiting our planet, that she has at last come to
believe it herself, and has begun to act in conformity with her belief.

_Some Inept Proclamations, etc._

Thus, to speak only of our own experience, they assuredly
under-estimated our national integrity when they believed us capable
of becoming accomplices in the violation of an international treaty.
They also greatly under-estimated our army's powers of resistance, or
they would have taken good care not to lose a fortnight in Belgium,
a delay which spoiled their sudden attack upon France. Finally, they
show us every day, by their placards, that they do not think much of
our intelligence. Some of those entitled "News published by the German
General Government" are really inimitable.

Imagine our laughter when the authorities to whom we are forced to
submit officially announced that a German squadron had captured fifteen
fishing-boats; or that the Serbians had taken Semlin in order to obtain
food; or that the star of Paschitsch was growing pale; or that the
Austrians had evacuated Lemberg for strategic and humanitarian reasons;
or that the British Army is so ill-equipped that the soldiers are
without writing-paper and shoelaces; or that the river of the "gifts of
love" continues to flow; or that General Joffre (in a French that could
only have come from a German pen) informs his troops that "the moment
is come to profit by the weakness which offers itself to us, after we
have reinforced ourselves in men and material." In the last days of
September 1914, when a citizen of Brussels met a fair-haired comrade,
he hastened to measure him, to make sure that he was not Charles-Alice
Yate, "being about 5 ft. 9 in. in height."

Here are some of these placards:--


  BERLIN, _6th September, 1914_.--The Austria-Hungarian Ambassador
  publishes the following dispatch which has been forwarded to him by
  the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Vienna:--

  "The Russian news on the subject of the battle of Lemberg and
  the triumphant capture of the city is a lie. The open town of
  Lemberg was evacuated by us without a battle for strategical and
  humanitarian reasons."


  LONDON, _8th September, 1914_ (Reuter's Agency).--A German
  squadron, composed of two cruisers and four torpedo-boats, has
  captured fifteen English fishing-boats in the North Sea, and has
  brought numerous prisoners to Wilhelmshaven.


  BERLIN, _22nd September, 1914_.--On the night of the 19th September
  Major Charles-Alice Yate, of the regiment of the Yorkshire Light
  Infantry, escaped from Torgau, where he was prisoner of war. Yate
  is that English officer of superior rank concerning whom it was
  announced the other day that he did not deny, upon inquiry, that
  the English troops have been supplied with dum-dum bullets; in the
  course of this interrogatory he declared that the soldier must
  obviously use the ammunition which is furnished to him by the

  The fugitive is about 5 ft. 9 in. in height; he is slender,
  fair-haired, and speaks German well.


  VIENNA, _29th September, 1914_.--The _Reichspost_ announces from
  Sofia: The correspondent of the _Volja_, the organ of Ghenadjev,
  writes from Nish: The Austrian offensive has serious consequences
  for Serbia; rebellion is muttering in the country and the army, and
  every day may see the outbreak of the revolution. During the last
  few days several regiments of artillery have revolted. A certain
  number of guns have been demolished....

  King Peter has returned; he is completely apathetic, and the Crown
  Prince Alexander does not know what to do. The star of Paschitsch
  is paling, and it is feared there may soon be victims in his


L  ONDON, _6th October, 1914_.--The _Daily Chronicle_ announces that
  at Aldershot, in round figures, 135,000 militia belonging to all
  arms should be prepared to depart for the army as soon as they
  are ready. However, the training, despite the most brilliant
  efforts, could not give satisfactory results, the troops being
  insufficiently equipped. The newspaper appeals for the assistance
  of the public, and remarks that, for example, no officer of Lord
  Kitchener's first army possesses field-glasses. They also lack
  socks, handkerchiefs, shoelaces, writing-paper and materials, and
  drums and fifes for the Scottish regiments.


What is even more strange than their insistence in offering us their
sophisticated views, is their virtuous indignation when they discover
that we are not receptive of this kind of truth. Thus the people of
Liége, who would not believe the German placards and preferred their
secret newspapers, were warned by Lieut.-General von Kolewe that they
were in danger of appearing ridiculous in the eyes of intelligent


  Considering the continual successes of the German troops, it is
  impossible to understand why the people of Liége are still so
  credulous as to believe the absurd and frivolous news spread by
  the manufactories of falsehoods installed in Liége. Those who busy
  themselves in propagating such news are risking severe punishment.
  They are playing a dangerous game in abusing the credulity of their
  fellow-citizens and in inciting them to reckless actions. The
  reasonable population of Liége will resist all temptations of the

  Otherwise it is exposing itself not merely to the gravest
  disappointment, but also to appearing ridiculous in the eyes of
  intelligent people.


  _Lieut.-General and German Governor of the
  Fortress of Liége_.

  _It is forbidden to tear down this placard or to paste another over

_Lies concerning the Situation in Belgium._

Before other placards the shrugging of shoulders gave way to disgust.
Baron von der Goltz, at Sofia, boasted of having rendered "the
situation in Belgium entirely normal." What of it? We were so glad
to be rid of him that we were ready to overlook any ineptitudes. But
when his successor, Baron von Bissing, after levying a contribution of
480 million frs. (£19,200,000), had the audacity to declare that he
hoped "to do much for the economic situation," and would especially
apply himself "to doing everything to assist the weak in Belgium, and
to encourage them," he passed the bounds of cynicism and presumption.
However, two months later, on the 18th February, 1915, after having
despoiled us of 120 million francs, he found occasion to go still
farther, affirming his "solicitude for the welfare and prosperity of
the population."

_Lies concerning "Francs-tireurs."_

What shall we say of the accusations made against Belgian civilians?
From August, at the time of the first sortie of our troops from
Antwerp, the Germans posted up statements in Brussels that the Belgian
population was again taking part in the conflict.


  BRUSSELS, _28th August, 1914_.--On the 26th and 27th August several
  Belgian divisions made a sortie from Antwerp in order to attack
  our lines of communication, but they were repulsed by those of our
  troops left behind to invest the city. Five Belgian guns fell into
  our hands....

  The Belgian population almost everywhere took part in the fighting.
  It became necessary to take the most drastic measures to repress
  the bands of francs-tireurs....

Now certain of these battles took place at a distance of only six miles
from Brussels; peasants were shot at Houtem (a hamlet of Vilvorde) and
at Eppeghem: that is, in villages whence people went into the city
every morning with vegetables, milk, etc., so that the inhabitants
of the capital were perfectly informed as to the behaviour of the
German troops toward the Belgian civilians. They knew, too, that these
pretended attacks of "francs-tireurs" had been delivered by detachments
of the Belgian army (_see_ E. Waxweiler in _La Belgique neutre et
loyale_, p. 219). The keen indignation against the German liars was
still further aggravated when, three weeks later, the Kaiser repeated
these calumnies. The fact of their having placarded the walls of
Brussels with these obviously false accusations shows once more in what
low esteem the Germans hold the mental faculties of their victims.


  BRUSSELS, _7th October_.--From the leader of a troop of cyclists
  near Hennuyères written instructions were taken, intended for the
  leaders of the so-called "destructive detachment," in which they
  are told, among other things: "Spread false news: landing of the
  English at Antwerp, Russians at Calais."

That the Germans should seek to deceive their own compatriots as to the
situation is natural enough--they are quite content with official news.
But in Belgium we still, in spite of all obstacles, continue to receive
foreign newspapers, which keep us informed of the military operations.
Why, then, did the Germans try to impose on us over the battle of the
Marne, when nothing was easier than to learn the truth from the _Times_
and the French Press?

A still more curious case was that of the battle of Ypres. During a
whole fortnight the official placards daily informed the Belgians
of the latest German success ... and at the end of three weeks the
army was still as far from Ypres. The whole of this Yser campaign
is interesting as throwing a light upon the German mentality. From
the outset the Germans tried to establish a confusion between the
"canalized" Yser and the "canalized" Yperlée, that is, the canal
running from Ypres to the Yser. What they call "the canal of the Yser"
in their placard of the 22nd October is the canalized Yser between
Dixmude and Nieuport. In the placard of the 2nd November they spoke
of the "canal from the Yser to Ypres, near Nieuport," an absolutely
fantastic description. Finally, on the 4th April, when they claimed to
have crossed "the Yser canal" to occupy Driegrachten, it was really
the Yperlée that was in question, and not the Yser at all. This is, as
will be seen, on a par with the intentional confusion which they sought
to create between the city of Liége and its forts (pp. 50, 58). Such
confusions may deceive the Germans, but the Belgians, familiar with the
geography of their country, naturally laugh at them.

Another point relating to this astonishing campaign on the Yser: On
the 2nd November the Germans announced that operations were rendered
difficult by the inundation. On the following day, having expressed
their pity for the Belgians "whose fields were devastated for a long
time to come," they added that the water was in parts deeper than a
man's height, but that they had lost neither man, nor horse, nor gun.
How can they impose such idle stuff on people who know the _polders_
of the coast region, with their innumerable canals and ditches, and
who know, moreover, than an inundation there renders all retreat


They must require a good stock of effrontery to put before us such
assertions as that of the Kaiser, whose falsity is obvious at sight.
They cannot be ignorant of the fact that these impostures are instantly
exposed. But this consideration does not give them pause; German
superiority appears to them so indisputable that they have no need
to trouble about the opinion of other people; if they occasionally
indicate the reasons for their actions, it is to reassure their own
conscience, not to justify themselves to their victims. They are, in
short, in the situation of the sportsman who brings down the game
passing within gunshot, but is not required to render an account of
it to the rabbits and partridges. To the sportsman's way of thinking
there is no cynicism in so acting: between the hunter and the game
there is too great a difference to make such a justification necessary.
Similarly, the Germans occupy, in the scale of _Kultur_, so exalted
a position as compared with the Belgians, that they believe in good
faith that all is permitted to them in dealing with this horde, and
that they need not justify their actions. They behave toward us as the
Conquistadores toward the Aztecs.

More, they actually advertise their contempt for the rules of justice.
We have already mentioned the placard posted at Gand, according
to which they openly placed themselves in conflict with the Hague
Convention. They have gone yet farther in this direction. What are we
to say, for example, of the placard posted at Menin, in July 1915, by
order of Commandant Schmidt, in which it is ordained that the families
of those "who do not work regularly on the military works" shall be
allowed to die of starvation?


  From to-day the town can no longer grant relief--of whatever kind,
  even for families, women and children--save only to those workmen
  who are working regularly on the military works and on other works

  All other workmen and their families cannot henceforth be assisted
  in any way whatever.

And this is not the gem of the collection. At Roubaix and the vicinity
(in French Flanders, close against the Belgian frontier) they
advertised their decision to prevent all sales of comestibles if work
were not resumed by the 7th July, and they even threatened completely
to suppress "circulation," which would have resulted in the lingering
death of the whole population.

And this is not the worst. In a neighbouring town, Halluin, Commandant
Schranck caused a declaration to be read to the assembled notables
which stated that he denied their right to invoke the Hague Convention,
since the German military authorities had determined to enforce the
fulfilment of all their demands, "even if a city of 15,000 inhabitants
had to perish."

  (_Read at Halluin, on the 30th June, at 11.30 p.m., to the
  Municipal Council and notables of the Town of Halluin._)


  What is happening is known to all these gentlemen. It is the
  conception and interpretation of Article 52 of the Hague Convention
  which has created difficulties between you and the German military
  authority. On which side is the right? It is not for us to discuss
  that, for we are not competent, and we shall never arrive at
  an understanding on this point. It will be the business of the
  diplomatists and the representatives of the various States after
  the war.

  To-day it is exclusively the interpretation of German military
  authority which is valid, and for that reason we intend that all
  that we shall need for the maintenance of our troops shall be made
  by the workers of the territory occupied. I can assure you that
  the German authority will not under any circumstances desist from
  demanding its rights, even if a town of 15,000 inhabitants should
  have to perish. The measures introduced up to the present are only
  a beginning, and every day severe measures will be taken until our
  object is obtained.

  This is the last word, and it is good advice I give you to-night.
  Return to reason, and arrange for the workers to resume work
  without delay; otherwise you will expose your town, your families,
  and your persons to the greatest misfortunes.

  To-day, and perhaps for a long time yet, there is for Halluin
  neither a prefecture nor a French Government. There is only one
  will, and that is the will of German authority.


Do you not agree that a cynicism so shameless is a sign of perplexity
and an admission of impotence? The Germans realize that they are driven
to the worst expedients!

A host of similar facts might be cited, but it would mean useless
repetition. Let us rather examine some examples of graphic cynicisms.

_Photographs and Picture Postcards._

The Germans have published, in their newspapers, photographs
representing the population of a village, consisting principally of
women, being driven away as prisoners (_Berl. Ill. Zeit._, No. 36, 6th
September, 1914); a military observation-post installed by them on the
tower of Malines Cathedral during the siege of Antwerp (_Berl. Ill.
Zeit_., No. 44, 1st November, 1914); doctors detained as prisoners in
Germany, contrary to the Geneva Convention (_Berl. Ill. Zeit._, No. 15,
11th April, 1915); soldiers taken prisoners, whom they are forcing,
despite Article 6 of the Hague Convention, to do work directed against
their country (_Die Wochenschau_, No. 44, 1914).

We find the same effrontery in respect of the conflagrations started
by their troops: Scharr and Dathe, of Trèves, have edited and placed
on sale, in Belgium itself, a series of fifty picture postcards,
representing localities which the German army has destroyed by fire.
We may mention Dinant, Namur, Louvain, Aerschot, Termonde; and in
Belgium, Luxemburg, Barranzy, Etalles, Èthe, Izel, Jamoigne, Musson,
Eossignol, Tintigny. Let us add that these photographs commonly show
German soldiers and officers striking triumphant attitudes amid the
ruins. The most instructive card of this kind which we have seen is one
representing General Beeger amid the ruins of Dinant. To understand
the full significance of this card, one must remember that it was this
officer who ordered 1,200 of the houses of Dinant to be burned and 700
of the inhabitants to be massacred. It is surprising that he did not
have a few corpses of "francs-tireurs" arranged about him when the
photograph was taken--preferably selected from the old men, women, and
children at the breast.

After the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_ they sold in Belgium a series
of cards entitled _Kriegs-Errinerungs-Karte_, edited by Dr. Trenkler
& Co., of Leipzig, which pictured the operations of submarines. Card
No. 2, of Series XXXIII, represents--very inaccurately, by the way--a
German submarine stopping the _Lusitania_. It is as well to recall the
fact that in this disaster more than 1,500 non-combatants perished,
among them Mme. Antoine Depage, the wife of the well-known Belgian

Nothing ought to surprise us on the part of those who prove that every
means is good provided it is efficacious. Here is what a newspaper,
much respected in Germany, the _Hamburger Fremdenblatt_, has to say in
its weekly illustrated supplement for the 16th May, 1915:--

  "In the situation in which Germany now finds herself, attacked on
  three sides at once with all the means that cruelty and perfidy
  can invent, we must not ask ourselves whether a means of defence
  is permitted or prohibited; but whether it is effectual. All that
  facilitates the defence must be employed; this is especially true
  of the submarine war, and consequently of the destruction of the

_Alfred Heymel on the Battle of Charleroi._

We have already spoken of the articles of Alfred Heymel and Walter
Blöm. Here are some extracts from an article by the former:--


  One regiment of cavalry was detrained near the enemy frontier. For
  a little while it halted on a manoeuvring ground where the division
  to which we were to be attached as scouts was to assemble.

  Already many of us were impatient at having to wait longer before
  marching to the front; we heard the growling thunder of the
  howitzers of the great fortress near the frontier, around which
  there had been violent fighting these last few days; we were told
  of cruelties that made our hair stand on end, committed, in its
  fury, by a people which had for years been excited against us deeds
  of cruelty committed against our compatriots, soldiers, civilians,
  women and children, because of our violation of a neutrality which
  it had itself violated a thousand times over in advance. On our
  side we were boiling inwardly to avenge these infamies.... We
  breathed more freely only when, in our march beyond the frontier,
  we saw the first houses burned in reprisal; a curé, who had
  revolted, was hanging from a tree in a neighbouring thicket,
  swinging at the will of the wind, when at last the noise of battle
  grew plainer....

  (They arrive near Charleroi.)

  The head of one regiment, led by my friend Lieutenant S----,
  trotted forward again, and seized as hostages what civilians it
  could catch; some 12 to 16 persons, old and young, fat and thin,
  had to march before or between the lancers; more, this portion of
  the regiment had received the order from its comrades not to ride
  too far ahead.

  Something that alarmed me quite particularly, giving me a
  presentiment of misfortune, was the fact that the wives of these
  civilians burst into weeping: one red-headed woman, frantic, threw
  herself down in the road and gave vent to wild screams; others,
  behind us, their emaciated arms stretched in the air, threatened
  us, although they were several times assured that so long as
  nothing was done to us nothing would happen to their husbands,
  sons, friends, and lovers. All these significant scenes took place
  in the side streets....

  (A volley is fired from a barricade--or a railway crossing the
  street; it is not clear which.)

  I saw two or three cavalrymen fall back in front, and with them
  the hostages fell to the ground; my friend was standing, near his
  horse. A violent and rapid fire alternated with volleys; we could
  not escape on either side; naturally we immediately faced about and
  returned in the direction whence we had come; there was a furious
  pursuit along the uneven road, with the balls whistling at our
  backs. The horses fell, one after another....

  Thus from the advance-guard we had become the rear-guard. We had
  to consider how we could regain the main body of the troop. In the
  first place hostages were taken, some curés among them; the cavalry
  and artillery were no longer marching alone and unprotected, but
  flanked by the infantry and pioneers; one soon learns when once
  one has been caught. With great difficulty we again penetrated
  the streets in the smoke and heat, in the midst of the flames
  we ourselves had lit; now we continually heard the popping of
  cartridges, bursting harmlessly, piled up in the houses, and
  betraying the friendly intention of the ex-inmates![32]...

  We learned later, when we had found the uniforms, that two
  battalions of crack French infantry were distributed everywhere,
  in order to organize and discipline the fire of the Belgian
  civic guard and the francs-tireurs. The rumour (of marksmen on
  the neighbouring heights) spread.... I thought I perceived--this
  chilled my heart, and I still hope I was mistaken--that my
  cavalrymen, otherwise so brave, did not really feel inclined to
  go forward; their gait became slower and slower; they continually
  observed more minutiæ and took a longer time in seizing civilians;
  in short, I saw the necessity of intervening, at need, against my
  own troops, the most heart-breaking thing that can happen to you in
  war. In any case I prepared myself, with a heart full of pain, to
  face even the abyss of this prospect....

  _Kunst und Künstler_, January 1915 (Amm. xiii, part 4).

We must not overlook an article by Captain Walter Blöm, adjutant to
General von Bissing. Herr Blöm, who is greatly admired in Germany,
and whose novels may be seen at this moment on the shelves of the
travellers' libraries installed in our railway stations, does not
hesitate to declare that the conflagrations at Battice and Dinant
were not intended to punish the population, but to terrorize them (p.
84). The article already mentioned, which incidentally describes the
shooting of a French hostage, is highly typical. One sees that the
death of this man--shot because the French army does not consent to
cease its bombardment--does not in the least affect the writer, who
finds the conduct of his countrymen quite natural.

Referring to the systematic pillage effected by the German army,
we have already mentioned (p. 132) the fact that "war booty" was
despatched openly. In this respect, effrontery and impudence have
surely nowhere been carried to greater lengths than in the valley of
the Meuse. All the villas were as a matter of course emptied by the
officers; when they were situated close to the banks of the river
the furniture, etc., was transported on a little steamer, one of
those tourist boats which in summer run between Namur and Dinant. The
boat would stop before each villa, and--without the least attempt to
conceal the nature of the proceedings--the pianos, beautiful pieces
of furniture, clocks, pictures, etc., were piled on the deck. To cite
one case among hundreds, it was thus that the villa of Mme. Wodon, at
Davos, was emptied.

Cynicism and impudence often lend one another mutual support. Let us
recall, for example, the question of asphyxiating gases. Article 23 of
the Hague Convention forbids the employment of poisons. Even in the
siege of Liége our enemies were making use of shells which discharged
poisonous gases at the moment of explosion; it was one of them that
all but poisoned General Leman. It might, however, be supposed that
these toxic vapours were the inevitable result of the detonation of
the explosives with which the shells were loaded. But in April 1915
the Germans suddenly began to accuse their adversaries of the use of
asphyxiating shells (see the German official communiqués of the 9th,
12th, 14th, and 21st April). At the same time they made it known that
their chemists, far abler than those of France or England, were about
to combine substances whose detonation would liberate products far more
toxic than those of the enemy's shells. And on the 22nd April they
preceded their attack on the trenches to the north of Ypres by a cloud
of smoke of a yellowish-green colour, which asphyxiated the French and
Canadians (see _N.R.C._, 29th April, 1914, morning). Now the falsity
of their bragging allegations is obvious. They will not persuade any
one to believe that between the 8th of April and the 22nd May they had
had time to invent the combination of substances capable of giving
off toxic vapours, to manufacture them in sufficient quantities, and
finally to forward the cylinders to the field of battle.

Let us add, moreover, that we knew before the end of March--that is,
before the accusations made against the French--that the Germans were
making experiments on a large scale in the aviation camp at Kiewit,
near Hasselt. They were asphyxiating dogs. It may be supposed that
they presently realized that they had gone a little too far in their
cynicism, for in its issue of the 3rd May, 1915, _Die Wochenschau_,
commenting on the affair of the 22nd April, stated that the attack had
been "ably seconded by technical means."

Still, the palm for cynicism goes to the high authorities. What are we
to think of Baron von der Goltz, whose proclamations state that the
innocent and guilty will be punished without distinction? (p. 144).
Here we begin to see into the mentality of the Germans; swollen with
pride, they consider that all things are permitted to them as against
a people so uncivilized as the Belgians.

Well, incredible as it may seem, the Germans have surpassed themselves
in this department. The same action, accordingly as it is performed
by them or against them, is denounced as a crime or highly approved.
We have already seen this in connection with the bombardment of towns
by aeroplanes and dirigibles. What shall we say of the action of the
German cavalryman, who, surprised by superior forces, surrendered; but,
as he was giving up his arms thought better of it, broke the head of
one of his adversaries, and fled. If a Belgian or a Frenchman had been
guilty of such treachery the Germans could not have found sufficient
terms of abuse to heap upon his head; but as he was a German his action
became _ein kühnes Reiterstückchen_ (a "Bold exploit of a Cavalryman").
More--this incident is reported in the first number of the pamphlets
of propaganda distributed by order of the German authorities--the
_Journal de la Guerre_. Not only do they find no cause for blame in a
soldier who has committed so vile an action; they are proud of him, and
take pains to celebrate his glory in neutral countries.

Here are two other examples, bearing on matters of much greater
importance. On the 4th August, 1914, the very day on which they were
violating the neutrality of Belgium, and were commencing to punish
us, at Visé, for having dared to resist them, they expressed their
satisfaction in the fact that Switzerland was scrupulously remaining
neutral. M. Waxweiler (p. 52) calls our attention to this contradiction
in their attitude toward the two neutral countries--Belgium and
Switzerland. Moreover, they had the impudence to placard their
satisfaction in the neutrality of Switzerland about the streets of


  BERNE, _7th February_.--The representative of the Bund has been
  received in Berlin by Herr von Jagow, Secretary of State for
  Foreign Affairs, who spoke of Switzerland in the most friendly
  manner. Herr von Jagow says: The strictly neutral attitude of
  Switzerland has produced the most favourable impression in Germany.
  We take a very keen interest in a neutral, independent, and
  powerful Switzerland.


While in Belgium they burn houses and torture civilians, on the pretext
that the latter have fired on them, they congratulate the Hungarian
peasants who took up arms to defend their country against the Russian
invader. The contrast here is so obvious that it even struck one
German--Herr Maximilian Harden. In an article in _Jingoism, a Disease
of the Mind_, he reproaches his compatriots with having two weights
and two measures (published in _Vorwärts_, August 1914).

They push their effrontery to the point of photographing their own
francs-tireurs, so that no doubt may be left in our minds. The _Berl.
Ill. Zeit._ of the 16th March, 1915 (p. 261), gives a photograph "from
the theatre of the war in the Carpathians"--"Ruthenian Peasant employed
in the Austro-Hungarian Army to guard roads and telegraph-lines." The
peasant, without uniform, carries a rifle.

Lastly, let us cite a case in which cynicism is allied to pedantry. On
the calcined walls of the Hôtel de Ville of Dinant (burned on the 23rd
and 24th August, 1914) is a chronogram. The letters are cut in a slab
of marble let into the wall facing the Meuse. The fire had rendered the
inscription illegible, but the commandant of the town, in March 1915,
had the slab re-painted black and the letters re-gilt. This is the


  ("May peace and security be granted to those who preserve


Herr Otto Eduard Schmidt, returning from the French front by way
of Dinant, was struck by this inscription. "I could not learn for
certain," he says, "by questioning passing soldiers of the Landsturm,
whether the inscription had lately been placed there or had merely
been re-gilt. But in any case, I should regard it an insult to German
authority, and I am astonished that this insult should be tolerated"
(O. E. Schmidt, _Eine Fahrt zu den Sachsen an die Front_, p. 131). What
would Herr Schmidt say if he knew that it was his own countrymen who,
in a fit of shameless cynicism, caused this inscription to be renovated?

_Surrender of the Critical Spirit. Refusal to Examine the Accusations
of Cruelty._

Painfully moved by the horrors committed in Belgium, M. Charles Magnet,
the National Grand Master of Belgian Freemasonry, wrote on the 9th
September to nine German lodges, requesting them to institute, by
common consent, an inquiry into the facts. Since the Germans denied the
atrocities of which their troops were accused, and, on the other hand,
were accusing the Belgians of maltreating the wounded, such an inquiry
could only have a happy result. Two lodges only replied. "The request
is superfluous; this inquiry would be an insult to our army," replied
the Darmstadt lodge. "Our troops are not ill-conducted; it would even
be dangerous to recommend them to display sensibility and kindness,"
replied the Bayreuth lodge.

The argument may be summarized thus: "We know, as Germans, that we
possess the truth; it is useless, therefore, to go in search of it with
the help of an impartial commission." In a second letter M. Magnet
commented on these evasions, as contrary to the spirit of brotherhood
as to the scientific spirit.

Let it not be supposed that the refusal to examine, objectively and
impartially, the German and the Belgian accusations, is peculiar to
Freemasonry. On the 24th January, 1915, Cardinal Mercier requested the
German authorities in Belgium to set up a commission comprising both
Germans and Belgians, under the presidency of a representative of a
neutral country. His request was accorded no reply.

Thus the Germans refuse to allow any light to be thrown on their
actions and those of the Belgians. Why this opposition to a faithful
search for the truth? They fear, perhaps, that the truth will be
unfavourable to them. That is undoubtedly one of their reasons; but we
do not think it can be the only reason; and the principal reason for
their refusal is without doubt the voluntary blindness to which they
have one and all subjected themselves since the outbreak of the war.

They have decided, one would imagine, to accept, without any
discussion, whatever is decreed by authority, which they invest with
the absolute truth; every German calmly receives that portion of the
truth which the Government thinks fit to dispense to its faithful, and
no German permits himself to ask for more. _Magister dixit_: the Staff
has spoken!

Since the month of August a strict censorship has been exercised over
the Press. _Vorwärts_ and other Socialist sheets have several times
been suspended. The _Kölnischer Volkszeitung_ was suspended on the 11th
September, 1914, for having published articles disposing of at least a
part of the so-called Belgian atrocities.... And then, apparently, it
proceeded to take them for granted; for afterwards it even aggravated
the accusations brought against the Belgians.

The _Vossische Zeitung_ itself, official as it is, had its issue of the
1st December, 1914, seized on account of an article on a commission of
the Reichstag (_N.R.C._, 3rd December, 1914, evening). At the same time
the Government was careful to stop all foreign books and newspapers.
This prohibition is so strict that Dutch working-men going to work
in Germany are not allowed to wrap their sandwiches in newspaper
(_N.R.C._, 10th December, 1914, evening).

In Germany even people are beginning to find the censorship a little
too strict. Before the Budget Commission of the Reichstag Herr
Scheidemann, the Socialist deputy, complained that in the district
of Rüstringen certain of the German official communiqués even were
prohibited. The newspapers may not leave blank the spaces caused by the
censorship, as the latter must not appear. At Strasburg the censorship
prohibited the publication of articles dealing with the increased price
of milk. At Dortmund the Socialist newspapers were subjected to a
preventive censorship for having inserted an article by the sociologist
Lujo Brentano, one of the "Ninety-three," professor at the University
of Münich (_N.R.C._, 16th May, 1913, morning).

Does the German public, knowing that the newspapers publish none but
articles inspired by authority, or at least controlled thereby, accept
this sophisticated mental pabulum in good part? Or does it make an
effort to procure foreign publications? One must believe that it does
not, for in that case the "intellectuals," better informed, would cease
to blindly accept the official declarations.

"But," it will perhaps be said, "since the Government forbids the
introduction of foreign newspapers, it is radically impossible to
obtain them." We do not know just how the Germans could obtain
pamphlets and newspapers, but we do know that in Belgium we read
prohibited literature every day--French, Dutch, and English. Any one
who does not intend to resign himself to living in an oubliette will
succeed, in spite of everything, in opening some chink that the light
may shine through; and this light, when we have received it, we hasten
to share. It is forbidden, under the severest penalties, including the
capital, to introduce newspapers into Belgium; it is forbidden, under
the same penalties, to publish and distribute "false news," as our
masters call it. It makes little difference to us; not an article or
book of importance appears abroad but it reaches us, and two days later
it is secretly distributed in thousands of copies. There will be a
curious book for some one to write when the war is over, on the subject
of the strange and ingenious means employed by the Belgians, prisoners
in their own country since August 1914, to obtain and distribute
prohibited letterpress.

There is accordingly no doubt that if the Germans really wished it
they could without great difficulty obtain reliable "documentation."
But they do not wish it. They, of late so proud of their critical
spirit, who made it their rule, so they professed--and their glory,
as was thought--to accept only that which their reason commanded them
to believe! They have abdicated their critical faculty; they have
sacrificed it to the militarist Moloch. And to-day, with eyes closed,
they swallow all that the Government and its reptile Press presents to

_The Abolition of Free Discussion in Germany._

What am I saying? Not only are they ready to swallow all the lies
offered to them; they have even abolished liberty of speech among
themselves. A striking example of this fact was given by the _N.R.C._
(of the 16th November, 1914, morning edition). Dr. Wekberg, one of the
three editors of a German periodical, the _Revue des Volksrechts_,
retired from his editorship because his colleagues refused to insert an
article in which he declared that Germany's attitude towards Belgium
was perhaps disputable. It would be difficult to push intolerance of
criticism much farther.

In the same connection we may recall the sessions of the Reichstag
of the 4th August, 1914, the 2nd December, 1914, and the 20th March,
1915. At the first session not a voice protested against the war. At
the second, the Socialist deputy, Dr. Karl Liebknecht, asked leave
to present some objections, which indeed were timid enough; he was
at once disowned by his party. On the 20th March the deputy Ledebour
permitted himself to criticize the proclamation of Marshal von
Hindenburg, prescribing the burning of three Russian villages for any
German village burned by the Russians. Both these deputies expressed
the opinion that it is iniquitous to punish the innocent in the place
of the guilty. Immediately the whole assembly, Socialists included,
copiously abused and insulted the two speakers. We may remark that Herr
Ledebour was discussing not a strategical measure, but a prescription
that was merely inhuman (see _K.Z._, 20th March, 1915, evening).

These few examples are enough to show that the Socialists lend
themselves to militarist domestication with the same docility as the
"bourgeois" parties. As for the Catholic remnant in the Reichstag, its
docility surpasses even that of the Socialists.

In short, all the political parties, without exception, have abdicated
their liberty of thought, to accept, obsequiously and without the
slightest attempt at discussion, the ready-made opinions provided by
authority. Such, in Germany, is the power of discipline, that all
have submitted without protest--one might almost say wantonly--to
the voluntary extirpation of the critical spirit. But the inevitable
results of this servility were not long in showing themselves; having
renounced the employment of reason, the Germans now accept the most
extravagant lies.

_German Credulity._

We have remarked that one day a curious book may be written as to the
expedients invented by the Belgians to obtain news from abroad and to
distribute it throughout the country. Equally interesting--but how
discouraging, from the standpoint of the progressive evolution of
the human mind--will be the book containing the amazing examples of
credulity afforded by the Germans during this war. When speaking of
the German accusations against the Belgians we cited the case of the
rifles collected in the Hôtel de Ville, which were exhibited to the
German soldiers as the irrefutable proof of the official premeditation
of the "franc-tireur" campaign (p. 90). Not only were the soldiers
thus deluded. A well-known novelist, Herr Fedor von Zobeltitz,
visiting in Antwerp a museum of arms, which contained war weapons of
the Middle Ages, cried: "See how Belgium made ready for the war!" Was
he sincere? It is difficult to say, for artists often allow their
sensibility to run away with them. One may say the same of the Kaiser,
who also declared that Belgium had long been preparing for the "war
of francs-tireurs"; and even, perhaps, of Herr Bethmann-Hollweg, who
spoke, in his manifesto to the American newspapers, of gouged-out
eyes and other atrocities whose falsity he could very easily have


  BERLIN, _10th September_.--The _Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_
  publishes the following telegram addressed by the Emperor to
  President Wilson of the United States:--

  "I consider it my duty, Mr. President, to inform you, in your
  quality of a most distinguished representative of humanitarian
  principles, of the fact that my troops discovered, after the
  capture of the French fortress of Longwy, in that fortress,
  thousands of dum-dum bullets made in special workshops by the
  Government. Bullets of the same kind have been found on dead
  soldiers, or wounded or prisoners, of English nationality. You know
  what horrible wounds and sufferings are caused by these balls, and
  that their employment is forbidden by the recognized principles of
  international law. I therefore raise a solemn protest against such
  a mode of making war, which has become, thanks to the methods of
  our adversaries, one of the most barbarous of history.

  "Not only have they themselves employed this cruel weapon, but
  the Belgian Government has openly encouraged the civil population
  to take part in this war, which it had carefully for a long time
  prepared. The cruelties inflicted, in the course of this guerilla
  war, by women and even by priests, upon wounded soldiers, doctors,
  and hospital nurses (doctors have been killed and hospitals fired
  on) have been such that my generals have finally found themselves
  obliged to resort to the most rigorous means to chastise the guilty
  and to prevent the bloodthirsty population from continuing these
  abominable, criminal, and hateful acts. Many villages, and even
  the city of Louvain, have had to be demolished (except the very
  beautiful Hôtel de Ville) in the interest of our defence and the
  protection of our troops. My heart bleeds when I see that such
  measures have been rendered inevitable, and when I think of the
  innumerable innocent persons who have lost their homes and their
  belongings as a result of the deeds of the criminals in question.



  ... In this way England will tell your compatriots that the German
  troops have burned and sacked Belgian towns and villages, but
  she will carefully conceal the fact that young Belgian girls have
  gouged out the eyes of wounded men stretched defenceless on the
  field of battle, that the functionaries of Belgian towns have
  invited German officers to dinner and have treacherously shot
  them dead at table. Contrary to international law, the whole
  civil population of Belgium has been called to arms[33] and has
  treacherously risen against our troops with concealed arms and a
  perfidy incredible after having first of all feigned a friendly
  welcome. Belgian women have cut the throats of German soldiers
  quartered on them while they slept....

  _Journal de la Guerre_ (an organ of German propaganda).

We will suppose, for the time being--to be extremely generous to the
Kaiser and his Chancellor--that they accepted, in good faith, the
accusations of cruelty brought against the Belgians, and that they
carefully refrained from investigating them, so that they should not be
forced to recognize their imbecility.

_Voluntary Blindness of the "Intellectual._"

Perhaps it will be objected that the examples hitherto cited emanate
chiefly from politicians and literary men, who are not accustomed to
exercise their judgment. But there are also the manifestoes of the
professorial body, that is, those whose essential mission consists in
passing facts and ideas through the sieve of criticism, to isolate the
true from the false, and to extract from error the fragment of truth
which may have fallen into it. For what is the effect of teaching, of
whatever degree, if it is not the constant alertness of the critical
spirit, which seeks, in all things and at every moment, to separate
that which is true and which should therefore be communicated to the
disciple from the medley of false and useless things which may with
impunity be abandoned to oblivion? And when the teacher is also a
seeker, has he not once more unceasingly to exercise his critical
spirit, that he may recognize in the host of ideas which present
themselves to him those which may lead him to the desired end--and,
once this is attained, those which he may use as a touchstone to test
experimentally the validity of these deductions? In short, for the
professor and the scientific worker there is no intellectual faculty
more indispensable than the critical spirit.

Now among those who have dashed into the lists to champion, with their
pens, the rights of Germany, and to crush her adversaries, we must
make a quite special mention of the professors and schoolmasters. Let
us begin with the latter. Their principal argument in denial of the
barbarous conduct of which the German troops have been accused, is
that it would be incompatible with the flourishing condition of the
educational institutions of Germany. As though elementary education
was capable of eliminating from humanity the profound imprints of its
intimate mentality! Instruction may hide them, as under a veneer, but
it can never cause their disappearance.

The Germans, after Sadowa and the war of 1870-1, declared that the
whole honour of their victories was due to their primary education.
"The French campaign is the triumph of the German schoolmaster." Those
who in Belgium have seen the villages devastated by fire and the graves
of the civilians shot, and above all the pillaged homes, with furniture
and crockery broken into small fragments, and the filthy beds, will
carry away the impression that "the Belgian campaign is the bankruptcy
of the German schoolmaster."

_The Manifesto of the "Ninety-three."_

The famous manifesto of the "ninety-three Intellectuals" to the
civilized world is only too well known, and has already been so
universally execrated, that there is no need to discuss it at length.
The reading of this document, which ought to be carefully preserved
for the edification of future generations, might almost make us doubt
the sanity of the signatories. How could they have imagined that "the
civilized world" would accept their affirmations and their denials?
Both are equally devoid of proof. To cite only one proposition--what
are we to think of the amazing declaration that not a single Belgian
citizen has lost his life or his property--except in the case of
the bitterest necessity? Have they never seen the train-loads of
"war-booty" entering Germany? It would certainly be interesting to
hear them explain what is the "bitter necessity," under whose empire
pianos and pictures have to be carried off from Belgium, or that which
compels the Germans to force the collecting-boxes in the churches, or
that which made them shoot Father Dupierreux for writing in his diary
impressions unfavourable to the Germans!

It would be cruel to insist. The "Ninety-three" have already earned,
as the first penalty of their evil action, the disgust of the whole
world. Further dissection of their libel inevitably leads us to the
conclusion that the signatories display therein either their lack
of intelligence or their servility; and that their only plausible
excuse is that they allowed themselves to be carried away by their
German pride, the most incommensurable, intolerant, and insupportable
which the world has ever known. We will confine ourselves to
referring the reader to the principal replies which were made to the
manifesto of the "Ninety-three." They are those of M. Seippel, Mr.
Church, the Portuguese Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of
Inscriptions and Belles Lettres, the French Academy of Medicine, the
French Universities, the Zoological Society of France, the English
"intellectuals," M. Ruyssen, M. Vandervelde, and _Simplicissimus_.

There is yet one point to be mentioned. The declaration of the German
"intellectuals" was first made known to us by an article in the _Kriegs
Echo_ of the 16th October, 1914, entitled _Es ist Nicht Wahr_, and
giving the whole manifesto, excepting the signatures and the paragraph
referring to Louvain. Well! when we had read this tissue of flagrant
lies we attributed it to some journalist who dared not even sign his
name to his lucubrations. And when, later, we were told that the
authors--or more exactly the signatories--comprised some of the most
celebrated writers in Germany, we believed the whole thing must be a
hoax. But we had to admit the evidence. It was for many of us a very
painful moment when our illusions as to the stability of science in
Germany were thus dispelled.

_The Manifesto of the 3,125 Professors._

Did the Government consider that the representatives of science and
art were not yet sufficiently compromised, and that they had not yet
sufficiently involved the fate of the Universities with that of
Militarism? In any case, only a few days after the publication of the
manifesto of the "Ninety-three" a fresh declaration appeared, devoted
entirely to the promotion of the solidarity of superior education
with the army, and signed by 3,125 names, or those of almost all the
professors of Germany.

The mentality of the masters pales before that of the disciples.
The Brussels correspondent of the _N.R.C._ relates (_N.R.C._, 11th
November, 1914, morning), that of the innumerable soldiers whom he
has seen passing, the only ones whose attitude was insolent were
young university students of Berlin. Moreover, the German Socialists
who visited our _Maison du Peuple_ avowed that the troops who burned
Louvain were principally composed of "intellectuals"!

Besides the intellectuals of the teaching profession and the arts,
those "barbarian scholars," as M. Emile Boutroux calls them, there
is another category, which has likewise been mobilized to defend the
militarist spirit and the Hohenzollern dynasty. This is the clergy:
Protestant pastors, Catholic priests, Israelitish rabbis; all without
distinction have been touched by the militarist grace and have entered
the campaign for the good cause.

_The Protestant Pastors._

Honour where honour is due! Herr O. Dryander, first preacher to the
Court of Berlin, published a collective letter, drafted by himself,
Herr Lahusen, and Herr Axenfeld, in reply to M. Babut's appeal for a
declaration from the Christians of the belligerent countries, demanding
that the war should be conducted conformably with Christian principles
and the laws of humanity.[34] Herr Dryander and his acolytes refuse
to entertain the idea that "a step of this nature could be necessary
in Germany in order that the war shall be conducted conformably with
Christian ideas and the claims of the most elementary humanity."
Without cross-examination, without any sort of discussion, they adopt
the accusations made against the armies of the Allies, and they deny
the actions of which the Germans are accused. This is, as will be seen,
the same method as that of the German Freemasons in an analogous case.
Then they naturally sing the old refrain: "The war has been forced upon
Germany" (they do not say "by Belgium"). In short, there is no need to
throw any light on the subject, as there is already light within their
minds, and the German mind is of course the only mind one must take
into account.

The same theologian has published several pamphlets of sermons;
_Evangelische Reden in Schwerer Zeit_. The general theme remains
the same. "We have been compelled to accept war" (1, p. 5); "We are
fighting for our _Kultur_ against the absence of _Kultur_--for German
morality against barbarism--for the free German personality, attached
to God, against the instincts of the disorderly masses" (1, p. 7). "If
God be for us, who can be against us?"[35] "Now if ever there was a
just cause assuredly it is ours" (1, p. 9). "War is a duty only when
it is undertaken for legitimate defence.... Let us thank God that in
the present war our state of legitimate defence is so secure and so
evident, and that it is almost every day stayed up by fresh proofs;
also we have unshakable confidence in our right and in the purity of
our conscience" (2, pp. 38-9).

Here is a sermon of a somewhat peculiar kind. Herr Busch, having
explained that Germany is like a peaceful stroller who suddenly finds
himself attacked by two assassins, and then by a third (p. 5), declares
that "in spite of all the German soldiers love their enemies." "God
be thanked," he says, "we have already read of most touching examples
in the newspapers. A German sergeant-major, who had been obliged to
have a man and woman shot, in Belgium, after a council of war, adopted
their only child, a little girl of two or three years; for he was
himself without children; as his regiment soon afterwards left for
Eastern Prussia, and was passing through his own town, he took the
child to give it to his wife" (p. 9). Pray God--we might add, whose
civilization is only Belgian--that there are not too many married men
without children among the soldiers of the Kaiser, for they have a way
of making orphans in order to adopt them which would cost our country

Herr Correvon, pastor of the Reformed Church (French-speaking) in
Frankfort-on-Main, preached a sermon on the 9th August, 1914, on the
text: "If God be for us, who can be against us?" His arguments amount
to this: Germany, having the right on her side, will have God on her
side also. He naturally speaks of "the firm and admirable speech of the
Chancellor, a man whom I can only compare with a Duplessis-Mornay, the
minister of Henri IV" (p. 11). Then, having summarized the Emperor's
speech, he cried: "To solve the alarming problem of these social
questions ... it needed only the potent gesture with which the God who
is always the strong city, the '_feste Burg_' of Germany, the God of
Luther, the God of Paul Gerhard and Sebastian Bach, has pronounced the
terrible and perhaps the liberating word: 'You wish for war, you shall
have it'!"

We see that from the very first days of the war, before any one could
have verified the statements of the Chancellor, the Protestant pastors
of Germany, even those of foreign origin, unhesitatingly accepted the
official assertions. Is it as pastors that they stand forth as the
stern defenders of the rights of truth? Are they not rather spiritless
courtiers, we might almost say like the sheep of Panurge?

_The Catholic Priests and Rabbis._

The Catholic priests have given proofs of equal docility. Mgr. the
Cardinal Felix von Hartmann, Archbishop of Cologne, says in _The Divine
Providence_, a pastoral letter read on the 25th of January, 1915:--

  "Our warriors have gone forth to the bloody conflict, with God, for
  King and Country! With God, in the conflict which has been forced
  upon us, the fight for the salvation and the liberty of our dear
  German land; with God, in the war for the sacred possessions of
  Christianity and its beneficent civilization. And what exploits
  have not our warriors accomplished, under the protection of God,
  under the leadership of their wonderful chiefs, the Emperor and
  the German Princes, exploits whose glory shall shine in times to
  come! And more, what precious treasures of devotion, of love for
  one's neighbour, and of nobility, has not this war revealed, in our
  country as on the field of battle!"

The curate August Ritzl, however, falls into the sin of pride.

  "Kultur has received an unheard-of impulse in Germany; the human
  spirit has subjected the most diverse forces of nature.... A
  glance at the map shows us the German Empire as the centre of
  Europe. On all sides, near and far, enemies are intent on the ruin
  of our country. To the east the giant empire of Russia threatens
  us--to the west, violent France, still strong despite her moral
  decay--allied with English perfidy and Belgian cruelty; Japan,
  Serbia, and Egypt have also declared war upon us" (pp. 26-27).

Well, reverend sir, before proclaiming the cruelty of the Belgians,
before asserting, from the vantage of the pulpit of Truth, that Serbia
and Egypt have declared war on Germany, a little circumspection and
critical sense would not have been out of place!

Let us also cite the sermon preached on the 9th August, in the
synagogue of Schwerin, by Dr. S. Silberstein, rabbi of the Grand Duchy
of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. "They have forced us to put our hand to the
sword; we execrate the perfidy with which our enemies are fighting us;
we wish to ward off the danger that threatens us in honourable combat."
So the Jewish rabbis knew as early as the 9th August that it was
Germany that had been attacked, and that the other nations were forgers!

Useless to prolong the series.... We should be only repeating
ourselves; for all the preachers, of whatever confession, repeat the
same lesson, almost in the same words: "The war which has been forced
upon us ... our treacherous enemies ... our loyal allies ... the cruel
Belgians ... our excellent soldiers, allying goodness to bravery ...
our heroic leaders...."


To describe frankly and completely the attitude of the Germans in
Belgium during the present war, without speaking of their duplicity,
would be an impossible task; so that the reader must not be surprised
that on every page of our record we have pinned down at least one
lie. We must not forget that modern Germany follows the examples of
Bismarck, and that Bismarck himself proclaimed that he had caused the
outbreak of the war of 1870 by a skilful falsification of a Government
despatch. At the time of the centenary of the Iron Chancellor's
birth--the 1st April, 1915--the German newspapers gave their lyric
enthusiasm a loose rein; but none of the endless dithyrambics
consecrated to the glorification of the Great Man contained a single
word of blame for the forgery itself--abominable as it was--nor for the
ostentatious impudence with which its author confessed it.

What honesty can we expect in a people which praises to the skies a
forger because he was a forger, and a forger proud of his skill!


Number 50 of _Die Wochenschau_ (1914, p. 1588) contains a photograph
in which we see sailors loading a gun installed among sand-hills. The
inscription underneath (translated from the German) reads: "Belgian
gun, captured and served by German sailors on the coast of the
Channel." The Channel! The Germans have never been there: they did set
out, full of enthusiasm, for Calais, and then the shore of the Channel,
and then London. But in that direction they never got farther than
Lombartzyde, on the right bank of the Yser. But they prefer to let it
be believed that they command the Channel, so they have chosen the
Channel coast for the site of their gun--on paper. Then this "Belgian
gun" is of a curious type for a piece of Belgian artillery; our guns
have a rectangular shield, while the shield of the German guns is
round--just like that in the photograph! Finally, one may ask what the
gunners are aiming at on this seashore, with their small gun? Certainly
not one of the English vessels bombarding the Belgian coast, for these
lie much too far out to sea; perhaps the Germans are amusing themselves
by firing shells at the shrimpers, to repeat their memorable exploit of
the 8th September, 1914? Well, that makes three flagrant lies to one
single photograph!

Number 15 of _Die Wochenschau_ (1915) gives on page 463 a view of
the interior of the Palais de Justice in Brussels. Here is the
description--a French translation is given: "German soldiers in the
hall of the Assize Court in the Palais de Justice of Brussels. Brussels
having become the seat of the German General Government for Belgium,
has naturally a strong garrison and a very animated military life. The
famous Palais de Justice on the Place Poelaert also houses a great
number of soldiers. Nothing is more singular than the picture presented
by this imposing and luxurious building with the new inmates in
'campaigning grey' who are installed there. A thousand precautions are
taken so that nothing shall be spoiled; and while wherever the enemy
has trodden on German soil it will be necessary to work for a long time
rebuilding the buildings he has destroyed, no one will perceive, who
sees the superb halls of the Palais de Justice in Brussels, that the
German soldiers are billeted there."

To understand the full beauty of this pleasantry one has only to look
at the picture. One sees there the linen which these soldiers are
drying on clotheslines stretched across the "luxurious hall"; this,
apparently, is one of the "thousand precautions" taken in order that
nothing may be spoiled.

It was desired to prove that England had already been forced to send
marines into France. No. 27 of the _Illustrierte Kriegs-Kurier_,
a semi-official, subsidized organ, represents "President Poincaré
visiting the British forces in France. One sees him reviewing the
artillery of the Royal Marines." And we do see President Poincaré
passing in front of two ranks of British soldiers armed with rifles.
But was it in France that this review took place, during the present
war? Consult the July number of the French illustrated periodical,
_Lectures pour tous_, for 1913. On page 1245 you will find a
photograph entitled "The Consecration of the Entente Cordiale. M.
Poincaré, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, reviewing his guard of
honour on his arrival at Portsmouth (24th June, 1913)." Now the same
personages and the same soldiers figure in the two photographs; and the
surroundings are the same. The only difference is that one photograph
was taken a moment later than the other.

It seems that trickery of this kind is believed not to be a German
speciality. Our neighbours accuse the Russians and the English of the
same fault. But a kind of lie of which Germany may boldly claim the
paternity and the exclusive monopoly is that which consists in denying,
or at least in considerably diminishing, the extent of their acts of
vandalism. On the other hand, they try to deceive their readers as to
the causes of the destruction of Belgian towns.

Thus they are now trying to make people believe that Louvain was not
intentionally burned, but that the town suffered a bombardment. This
is the legend which they related to Dr. Sven Hedin, while calling his
attention to the accuracy of their fire:--

  "Eleven miles to Louvain. Once in the town one goes a good way
  before coming to the first ruins. By no means all Louvain has
  been destroyed by the bombardment, as is imagined. Hardly a fifth
  of the town is destroyed. It is true that this fifth included
  many precious buildings, which cannot be replaced; particularly
  regrettable is the loss of the library. In the midst of this
  destruction, however, like a rock in the midst of the sea, rises
  the Hôtel de Ville, the proud jewel of the period of 1450, with its
  six slender open towers. I went right round the Hôtel de Ville, and
  I could not with the best will in the world discover a scratch on
  these walls, with their prodigal richness of ornamentation. Perhaps
  there may somewhere be a scratch from a shell-splinter which
  escaped my eyes. Thanks to the excellence of the German fire not a
  single moulding of the six towers has been damaged. The reason for
  the bombardment of Louvain is known. The civil population fired
  from the windows on the German troops at the time of their entering
  the town, and as this crime could not be punished otherwise, the
  houses were burned by bombardment. When the German soldiers sought
  to extinguish the flames in the houses adjacent to the Hôtel de
  Ville the francs-tireurs again fired on them with their carbines.
  _Any other army in the world would have done the same_, and the
  Germans have themselves profoundly regretted that they were forced
  against their will to resort to such means."

  (SVEN HEDIN, _Ein Volk in Waffen_, p. 149.)

They told the same story at Termonde to Herren Koester and Noske: "It
is certain," say these gentlemen, "that Termonde was not intentionally

On the other hand, the Germans try to dissemble the extent of the
damage inflicted. In the October issue of the official and propagandist
_Journal de la Guerre_ they give a plan of Louvain on which the parts
destroyed are shown by shading. Now this plan is falsified in two
ways. In the first place, no distinction is made between the portion
built on and that occupied by market gardeners, which is considerable;
so that the ratio of the part destroyed to the part left intact is
distorted. Secondly, this portion is absolutely diminished; many
quarters burned are shown as intact; to mention only one example, the
Old Market, where only the College of the Josephites and a few adjacent
houses have been left standing, is marked as untouched by fire.

There is yet another kind of graphic lie which is peculiar to the
Germans. They are experts at displaying sentimentality to order; a
sentimentality, by the way, which goes ill with their incontestable
cruelty. Thus they have several times published photographs
representing German soldiers sharing their bread or soup with French
and Belgian women or children. One is particularly inclined to let
oneself be touched by the kindliness of these German warriors,
who, after having been so treacherously attacked by the terrible
"francs-tireurs," now take the bread from their own mouths to feed
the starving population.... What these public demonstrations of
German generosity and magnanimity are worth one may judge from the
photograph published in No. 16 of the _Illustrierte Kriegs-Kurier_. (It
is interesting to note that it is always the _Kurier_, semi-official
and subsidized, which bears the palm for sincerity.) The illustration
shows that "the soldiers of the German Landsturm share their bread with
French children." Now, this little scene, otherwise very convincing,
is not laid in France but in Belgium, in the railway station at
Buysinghen, near Hal. It is wholly "faked."

This is not the only instance in which the Germans have built up
scenes to be photographed or cinematographed. Here is another. On the
20th October, 1914, a military band had been playing on the terrace
of the Botanical Gardens of Brussels, and some German officers were
strolling round the musicians. At the same time a cinematographic
camera was set up in the Rue Royale. It was naturally hoped that large
numbers of the public would gather near the band, so that a nice
film could be obtained, showing a crowd of Belgian citizens present
at a military concert, and fraternizing with the German officers.
Alas, the Germans had counted without the hatred which the people
of Brussels entertain for anything which concerns our oppressors!
At the first thumps of the big drum the promenaders rapidly melted
away, and the disappointed officers were left alone. The scheme
had failed! A fresh attempt was made on the 26th, on the Boulevard
Anspach, near the Bourse; that is, at the busiest spot in Brussels.
The number of passers-by there is always so great that it is easy to
give the impression of a crowd. Yet those who had occasion to preside
over the unwinding of the film discovered that not a few people were
ostentatiously turning their backs upon the musicians. This, by the
way, is the favourite attitude of the people of Brussels when, at
about eleven o'clock each morning, the military band--a true barbarian
orchestra--passes down the Rue Royale and along the Park.

No. 31 of this semi-official journal shows "the band of the German
Marines which plays every Sunday at Zeebrugge." Now a street like that
represented, with tall contiguous houses and large shops, does not
exist in Zeebrugge.

No. 3 of the same paper (it must certainly justify the Government
subsidy) shows us, in these photographs, the entry of the German
Marines into Antwerp. Only the photographs were taken in Brussels, at
the corner of the Rue de la Loi and the Rue Ducale.

The same number contains two photographs of the Hôtel de Ville,
Louvain: "Before and after the Bombardment"(!)

Naturally our Washingtonian enemies do not miss their opportunities
of falsifying picture postcards. In January 1915 they were selling in
Belgium a card entitled _Kriegsoperationskarte als Feld-Postbrief_
(published by Forkel, Stuttgart), according to which they were
occupying, in Flanders, a region considerably to the west of the Yser;
their front reaching to Oost-Dunkerke and Poperinghe. Another card,
showing the country round Verdun, is even more flagrantly untruthful.

_Written Lies._

Let us pass on to the written lies.

The reader will remember the innumerable lies told by the German Press
respecting the attitude of the Belgian population toward the German
residents in our towns (p. 106), the German wounded (p. 99), and the
German troops passing through or billeted in them. We shall not return
to these again, save to refer to other inventions which the Germans
employed to excite their troops against ours.

Not content with accusing us of the most unspeakable crimes against
their army, the Germans have even accused us of odious crimes against
our own countrymen. In this way they seek to prove the bestially
ferocious character of the Belgians.

In the booklet entitled _Sturmnacht in Loewen_ (A Night of Alarm in
Louvain) Herr Robert Heymann, after reminding his readers of the
cruelties of which the Belgians were guilty in Antwerp, Brussels, etc.,
adds that these savage deeds were by no means surprising on the part of
a people which does not even respect its own fellow-citizens. Then (p.
8) he relates the "Brutalities committed against a Convent." This is
too interesting an effort to suffer a word of suppression.


  Let us hear one of those concerned relate his tribulations. The
  story constitutes an important document, testifying to the high
  level of Germany as regards morality and _Kultur_: Germany, who has
  something better to do in this war than to commit any bloodthirsty

  A great mission has fallen to Germany, and the day is no longer
  distant when all the neutral nations will realize this.

  This is the "story of the Brothers of Silence."

  The convent of the Jesuits is situated quite close to Liége, on a
  hill about 600 yards from the southern fort (_a_). I had been a
  brother of the convent for two years. We brothers do not read the
  newspapers, and by reason of our vow of silence (_b_) we do not
  speak either, so that we knew nothing about the war.

  On Tuesday, the 6th August, I, simultaneously with seven other
  brothers, took the watch from noon to midnight. In the night, at
  11.15, I suddenly heard a sound completely unknown to me. I went
  out into the courtyard, whence, to one side, I could see Liége and
  its forts. I saw, at some distance, in the sky, a little light;
  this told me that the thing was in the air. I intended to pursue my
  rounds, but the snoring sound which was approaching, although the
  life of the world has no interest for me, made me halt. The light
  came nearer and nearer; the noise had ceased. The idea occurred
  to me that this might be a dirigible; but no, all of a sudden a
  blinding light illumined the earth. It is the star of the Magi,
  announcing something, I thought; I will follow it with my eyes.
  In the radiance down below I saw everything plainly--portions of
  the fortress and other things. Then, lit up by reflection from the
  illuminated earth, I saw that there really was a powerful dirigible
  there (_c_). I felt inclined to shout for joy; I had never yet
  seen a dirigible. The light lasted only a few seconds, but to me
  it seemed a long time. My eyes were not yet accustomed to the
  darkness of the night, when I heard a crash. I looked up to the
  sky; I saw nothing; the little light was quietly moving away; but
  down below there was plenty to see--fire, and smoke! In the light I
  could easily see everything. I also heard the echo. I had not had
  time to recover from my great alarm when a second light appeared
  on the earth, rather close to me. This time I could see still more
  clearly that it was a dirigible. It seemed to me that at the end of
  a long cable was suspended, very low down, a metal car, in which
  stood a man. I saw him distinctly with his two hands throwing an
  object into the illumined part. Immediately afterwards the light
  on the ground disappeared. I continued, however, to gaze at the
  same spot. A mighty sheaf of fire gushed up, while great blocks
  were thrown into the air on every side. What a terrible crash! My
  ear-drums seemed broken; I was as though deaf. The earth trembled
  so violently underfoot that I staggered. Greatly alarmed, I still
  watched the same place. The blinding sheaf of fire had turned
  into a dense mass of smoke, which was rising slowly into the air.
  Little by little it grew lighter, like a white vapour. Finally the
  vicinity lit up as though on fire.

  I tried to note whether the fire was spreading, when I was
  shaken by a fresh crash. This terrible spectacle repeated itself
  continually, but was gradually moving away. From 11.15 to
  midnight 12 bombs were thrown on the forts. In the interval of
  the explosions one heard the snoring of the motors. After the
  last explosion the dirigible rose, moved off, and disappeared. I
  remained with my eyes fixed in the same direction; the clock of the
  convent struck midnight.

  The seven brothers who had been keeping the watch and I myself
  remained in the courtyard with those who came to relieve us. No
  one could think of sleep. The other brothers and the fathers (we
  were 500) remained indoors, watching the burning fortress from the

  As I was no longer on guard I went to seek a ladder, and in order
  to see better I climbed a wall situated a little farther down, and
  some 10 feet high. I remained there until four o'clock. About two
  o'clock there began, down below in the city, a sound of isolated
  rifle-shots, and shouts which soon grew louder and louder.

  At last an infernal uproar reached my ears, and numerous fires
  broke out in that part of the city neighbouring on the convent.

  At four o'clock the bell called us to the church. It was an
  extraordinary thing: despite our alarm we all remained obedient
  to our vow of silence. We must not speak! But it became a real
  torment, for our devotions lasted for two long hours.

  By the shock of the explosions the beautiful stained-glass windows
  were bent inwards like sails swollen by the wind. The walls of
  stone, nearly 3 feet in thickness, which surrounded the courtyard,
  showed long, deep fissures. When at 6 a.m. we left the church the
  shots and the shouting were still more terrible, and the fires more
  numerous and farther towards the interior of the town.

  As usual, the porter opened the gate at six. How alarming! Hundreds
  of Belgians from the neighbourhood rushed into the courtyard. As
  we feared the convent might be sacked (_f_), the porter attempted
  at first to drive them back. A brother said: "Go! you shall have
  all you want!" The misguided populace immediately seized knives and
  killed 20 of our brothers and one father. I myself rushed to the
  bell in the courtyard and rang the alarm. Armed with pitchforks
  and manure-forks and spades (_g_), the brothers rushed into the
  courtyard and drove out the mob. Two brothers, who during the fight
  were carried away in the crowd, were discovered hacked to pieces,
  mangled as though by wild beasts. Their bodies were a dreadful
  sight. A Belgian brother, hearing the alarm, seized a fork, and
  so armed he rushed towards the gate, thinking to fight German
  soldiers. When he saw that his assailants were his compatriots he
  turned his arms against us, his brothers, shouting like a madman:
  "You are mad, you are mad!" After a brief struggle the fork was
  torn away from him. He was seized and thrown over the wall. He had
  turned his arms against his brothers; but above all he had broken
  his vow of silence.

  The fight had lasted barely a quarter of an hour. After the gate
  was closed--at 6.15, our usual breakfast hour--we assembled in the
  refectory for our meal.

  Despite these extraordinary events I was extremely hungry. We
  now felt safe. But when, after the twenty minutes which our meal
  lasted, we returned to the courtyard, we saw that the Belgian
  brutes had in two places set fire to the convent. They had dragged
  our corn and hay under the wood-shed which stood not far from the
  convent; they had also pushed carts loaded with corn in the shock
  against the buildings and outhouses (_g_), and had set fire to the
  whole. The flames were already reaching the gable. It was no use
  dreaming of saving anything, for all the buildings were connected
  with one another. This was a sore trial. But it could not break our
  vow of silence, and, doubly mute, we watched the flames. Our sorrow
  found vent in tears when we saw our Superior burst into sobs. He
  came into our midst; as all the fathers may speak, he said aloud:
  "Go and save what you can!" and we carried out his orders.

  Rapidly we telephoned to the Belgian authorities at Liége to obtain
  help and protection. But to our great alarm _German soldiers_
  appeared at this moment. As Germany does not allow us Jesuits
  within her frontiers, we were extremely anxious. On account of the
  presence of the German troops we wanted to carry back into the
  convent the precious treasures already brought into the court; but
  the leader of the German troops explained to our Superior that
  this portion of Liége was already in the hands of the Germans. We
  therefore placed ourselves under their protection. We had no reason
  to regret it. The German escort came with eight automobiles, which
  bore our inestimable treasures into Germany; paintings, which in
  our haste we cut from their frames and rolled like paper; our
  sacred golden vessels, and our fathers (_h_). In great haste we had
  dug a huge ditch, in which, without religious ceremony and without
  words, we buried our 20 assassinated brothers and the father who
  was killed. While the fire continued to burn the hundreds of
  brothers remaining ran hither and thither in unspeakable disorder,
  seeking their clothes and shoes. I had wooden shoes on and could
  not find shoes to fit me; but I saw, to my great amazement, four
  pairs of shoes in my box. Everything was stuffed into the boxes and
  forced down with the feet, in all haste.

  So, on Saturday (_i_), at dawn, 350 brothers left the still
  smoking convent to cross the German frontier. For three hours each
  painfully dragged along what modest belongings he had saved. One
  old brother of eighty years remained behind; he declared, when
  abandoned: "I wish to die here." Although the German soldiers
  protected us as we proceeded, the Belgian people still attacked us
  frequently. I received violent kicks, blows on the legs, and all
  over my body. For two nights none of us slept, and in addition we
  were greatly perturbed and in terrible trouble.

  When, after unheard-of exertions, we dragged ourselves across the
  frontier, we let ourselves fall exhausted in a meadow, where we
  slept, a leaden slumber, protected and watched by the Germans, from
  morning to sunset.

  (ROBERT HEYMANN, _Sturmnacht in Loewen_, pp. 8-13.)

As will be seen, this is a story to make the flesh creep. Still, it
seems to us to present certain difficulties.

(_a_) There is no convent of Jesuits near Liége about 600 yards from
one of the southern forts (Boncelles, Embourg, and Chaudfontaine).

(_b_) The Jesuit brothers are _not_ compelled to keep silence. No
doubt the author chose the Jesuits because the order is excluded from
Germany, so that he would expect his compatriots to know nothing of the
rule of the Jesuit communities.

(_c_) How did these brothers, who read no newspapers and never spoke,
know of the existence of dirigibles?

But apart from all this, the facts are incorrect. At no time did a
dirigible fly over Liége during the siege.

The people of Liége saw a German dirigible for the first time on the
1st September, 1914, at 10 p.m. On the following day, at 6 p.m., they
saw another.

(_d_) Therefore fires could not have been lit by the bombs from these

(_e_) Where have stained-glass windows ever been seen to bulge like
sails under the shock of an explosion capable of cracking walls over 30
inches in thickness?

(_f_) Nothing had happened so far to give any one the idea that the
convent was about to be pillaged.

(_g_) Since when have the Jesuit convents owned farms, etc., or been
equipped with hay-forks, manure-forks, spades, hay-carts, etc.?

(_h_) It is delightful to note that in enumerating the precious
possessions of the convent the Jesuit fathers occupy the very last
place, after the pictures and the gold plate! But this impertinence is
more apparent than real; for the narrator has just stated that the 150
Jesuit fathers were packed, together with the pictures and the sacred
vessels, in _eight_ motor-cars! Evidently they were very tiny Jesuits.
It must have been their minuteness that saved them; for the author
has reminded us that Jesuits (of ordinary size) are not admitted into
Germany; but these, happily, passed unperceived.

(_i_) It was not Saturday, but Friday.

It is by such inventions--presented as the narratives of eye-witnesses,
and not as romances--that the Germans excite against us both their
troops and their home population. The method has given excellent
results; nothing gives better proof of its efficiency than the first
paragraph of the story of _The Battle of Charleroi_, in which we read
that at the beginning of August many trucks passed through Belgium
which bore the inscription:--

  _Gegen Frankreich mit Mut,
  Gegen Belgiën mit Wut._

  (Against France with courage; against Belgium with rage.)

Which shows to what a pitch the minds of the German troops had been
excited against us.

_A "French Dirigible" Captured by the Germans._

Other inscriptions on the railway carriages and vans are not
uninteresting to the student of _Kultur_.

On the 5th March, 1915, we learned from ocular witnesses that a German
dirigible was lost, on the 4th, at Overhespen, near Tirlemont. _La
Belgique_ of the 6th March contained a few details.

  BRUSSELS, _5th March_ (Official).--The Zeppelin dirigible L8,
  returning yesterday from a fruitful voyage of exploration, came
  to earth in the darkness near Tirlemont, and, during the process
  of landing, struck against some trees. It was rather seriously
  damaged, so that it seemed preferable to dismantle it. The
  operation was completed very rapidly by the soldiers of the
  aviation department of Brussels, who were despatched to the spot.
  The dismantled parts will be transported to Germany, there to be

In reality the "rather serious damage" meant that the balloon was
completely destroyed, and that twenty of the twenty-eight occupants
of the cars were killed. So far we would not describe the report as
a lie, as it does not exceed the habitual limits of our enemies'
official telegrams. But this goes a little too far: At Tirlemont the
report was spread that the dirigible in question was French, and that
it was skilfully captured by German troops; and on the trucks which
bore the metallic remains of the Zeppelin to Germany was written, in
large letters: _Erobertes Französisches Luftschiff_ (Captured French
Airship). This is no longer a manipulated truth, but a downright lie.

_The Transportation of the German Dead._

Here is another fraud of the same kind. When the number of the German
dead is too great for burial on the field of battle they evacuate the
surplus into other districts. The bodies are usually transported in
closed vans. But sometimes these are lacking, and the bodies have to
be packed into goods wagons. Nothing outside indicates the contents of
these wagons; it may be supposed that the authorities have no desire
to publish the extent of their losses. For this reason the corpses are
always hidden under something else; one sees passing, for example, what
appears to be a trainload of sugar-beet, but in reality the bodies
of soldiers are being transported. A biologist might call this an
interesting case of protective mimicry.

_Some Lying Placards._

The German authorities have no scruples about posting up false news.
For several weeks one might read, on the walls of the Hôtel de Ville at
Vilvorde, the following placard:--


  Antwerp surrendered to-day with its army.

  (Signature illegible.)

  VILVORDE, _9th October, 1914_.

With its army! When the Germans were all crestfallen at having laid
hands on an empty nest!

This is merely grotesque; but here are three placards which belong to
the system of intimidation _à outrance_.

We have already stated (p. 147) that placards exhibited in Louvain
stated that the town of Mons was forced to pay a fine because a
civilian had fired on the German army. Now the fact was wholly
imaginary; never did any civilian of Mons fire on the Germans; never
did they accuse one of having done so; so that they never had occasion
to fine the town on that account. All is false here, from the first
word to the last.

While at Louvain they were posting up the placard relating to Mons,
they were exhibiting at Mons a notice according to which certain
inhabitants of Soignies had fired on the German troops. This also was
a sheer falsehood. No such action was imputed to any inhabitant of
Soignies. At Charleroi they advertised the statement that they had
inflicted a penalty on Anderlues for a similar offence. Here, once
more, both accusation and penalty were pure inventions.

Here is an equally untruthful placard. It was posted up at Cugnon
(Luxemburg) early in October, 1914, between the fall of the first forts
at Antwerp and the taking of the city. It announces the destruction of
the line of forts between Verdun and Toul, and the march on Paris (a
month after the battle of the Marne!). Its principal interest lies in
the signature: the burgomaster did not know of the placard until it
was posted; the military authorities had simply forged his name. This
did not prevent them from forcing the commune of Cugnon to pay for the
printing of these lies.

_M. Max's Denial._

The most interesting example of lying by placard is undoubtedly that
which was revealed by the burgomaster of Brussels. On the 30th August
one might read, on the walls of the capital, a notice in which M. Max
gave the lie to a placard posted at Liége. This is it:--


  The German governor of the city of Liége, Lieutenant-General von
  Kolewe, yesterday had the following notice exposed:--

  _To the Inhabitants of the City of Liége._

  "The burgomaster of Brussels has informed the German commandant
  that the French Government has declared to the Belgian Government
  the impossibility of assisting it offensively in any way, as it is
  itself forced to assume the defensive."

  _To this assertion I oppose the most positive denial._


  BRUSSELS, _30th August, 1914_.

Since their burgomaster declared the assertion to be false, no doubt
could remain in the minds of the people of Brussels. But, curiously
enough, beside M. Max's placard there remained a German placard, which
had been posted two days earlier, and in which it was stated:--

  On the 25th inst. the official French newspapers published a
  communication from the French Government stating that the French
  armies being forced to assume the defensive would no longer be in a
  position to assist Belgium in the matter of a military offensive.

  BRUSSELS, _23rd August, 1914_.

The only serious difference between the two texts was that at Liége
the burgomaster of Brussels guaranteed the truth of the _communiqué_.
So the impression was given that it was Herr von Kolewe who had the
idea of bringing M. Max's name into this ridiculous statement, in
the hope of giving it some weight. But no! Von Kolewe was innocent
of the forgery; it was the work of the German General Staff, and
was distributed by the Wolff Agency, as we learned a little later.
The Liége _communiqué_ is precisely the official German telegram as
published everywhere--for example, in _Les Nouvelles_, "published by
the authorization of the German Military Authority," at Spa, on the
30th August, 1914; by the _N.R.C._, on the 28th August; by the _K.Z._
(see _Kriegs-Depeschen_, p. 41); and by the _Frankfurter Zeitung_ (see
_Der Grosse Krieg_, p. 172).

What, then, is the meaning of the first telegram posted in
Brussels--that of the 25th August, in which no mention of the
burgomaster occurs? Simply this: the German Government was announcing
to the whole world an item of "news" whose improbability required to
be supported by the word of an honest man, such as the burgomaster of
Brussels. A lie so gross and flagrant might be published at Liége, but
not in Brussels itself. Unfortunately the Germans had not succeeded in
cutting off communication between Liége and Brussels; on the day after
its appearance the Liége placard had reached M. Max, and he was able to
issue his famous denial. The effect was tremendous. From that moment
the people of Brussels no longer believed any "official news."[36] Did
the Germans make any attempt to reply to the denial? None: why attempt
the impossible? But they prohibited, with their usual heaviness, the
publication of any placards, even by the municipality.


  The publication of placards, unless they have received my special
  permission, is strictly prohibited, those of the municipality of
  the city being included.

  (_Signed_) VON LÜTTWITZ, _General_.

Translated into the vulgar tongue this means: "When we Germans lie we
do not wish attention called to the fact."

_How the Officers Lie to their Men._

Hitherto we have considered only those German lies which were addressed
to the Belgians. But there are better lies than these: they lie
to their own troops. At the outset of the invasion of Belgium the
German soldiers were led to believe that they were already in France,
quite close to Paris, even in October and November 1914. Germans in
cantonments near Roulers, in Flanders, believed that they were only
eight miles from Paris, and they used to ask the correspondent of the
_Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant_ to show them "a place they could see the
Eiffel Tower from." This, it may be said, proves that in all armies
there are soldiers of small intelligence, even in the German Army. No:
it proves that in this latter army the officers lie with method. You
may judge. The soldiers tended in the hospital of the Palais de Justice
in Brussels used to date their letters "Paris"; and it was by order of
their superior officers that they deceived their families. The official
journal, _Deutsche Soldatenpost_, in its issue for the 16th October,
1914, contains a little poem entitled "Hindenburg," whose third stanza

  _Vor Paris aber steht das deutsche Heer..._
  (But the German host stands before Paris.)

This, be it noted, on the 16th October, more than a month after the
battle of the Marne. About the same time a soldier in Antwerp learned
from his officers that if the German army had not yet entered Paris it
was merely to avoid the plague, which was raging there (_N.R.C._, 20th
October, 1914, morning).

After that, who can doubt that systematic lying forms part of the
duties of an officer towards his men?


Nothing is left to chance in the campaign of lies any more than in the
military campaign proper. The Great General Staff organizes everything
with the same care--the attacks of "francs-tireurs," the benzine
syringes, the pastilles of fulminating cotton employed in the rapid
starting of conflagrations--just as it organizes the manoeuvres of the
Press intended to direct the mentality of the troops towards a policy
of pitiless repression.

They even try to educate (which means, to pervert the minds of) the
prisoners of war in their concentration camps. Thus in No. 5 of _La
Guerre_, a journal especially intended for prisoners of war (published
the 10th March, 1915), a passage is reproduced from the "Records of the
War," by Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Here is an extract: "Finally,
one should read the notices on the detestable attitude of the civil
population of Belgium, of both sexes, in the present war: notices
officially confirmed and attested in writing by several priests:
according to which the populace, behaving a hundred times worse than
ferocious beasts, have horribly mutilated and gouged out the eyes
of poor wounded German soldiers, afterwards slowly stifling them by
pouring sawdust into their nose and mouth."

It will perhaps be objected that those who write of such things are
blinded by the militarist spirit; that they have, like everybody in
Germany, abolished in themselves the critical faculty; and that they do
not even dream of disputing the statements of the official journals;
in short, that they do not, properly speaking, lie, because they are
sincere. But can they really be sincere? Could they, on the 10th March,
pretend that they still believed that the Belgians gouge out the eyes
of wounded men and choke them to death with sawdust when _Vorwärts_
had succeeded in getting at the truth, and had been protesting against
these lies since the month of January? Besides, the Germans know their
own "reptile" Press, and they ought to realize that their newspapers do
not merit credence, least of all in time of war.

But even if we absolve these writers of the crime of lying, to accuse
them of nothing worse than inconceivable credulity, we cannot on any
pretext extend the same indulgence to those who are incontestably in
a position to know the truth. To cite only one example--is it not
shameful that Baron von Bissing the younger should publish _in April
1915_, in the _Süddeutsche Monatshefte_, an article on Belgium in which
he repeats the accusations against the "francs-tireurs," and the tales
of Belgians mutilating the German wounded? And what are we to say of
the reply made by the German Minister of War to Mlle. Leman according
to which the German troops have never ill-treated priests (p. 72), nor
touched the property of the Church? A visit to Bueken (near Louvain)
gives the reply to this twofold assertion. In May 1915 one could still
see, in the sacristy, the muniment chest which had contained the sacred
vessels; it had been broken open by the Germans with the aid of a
bell-clapper. As for the curé, M. De Clerck, we know what he suffered;
he was shot after his ears and nose were cut off. With the curé his
assistant was killed: Father Vincentius Sombroek, a conventual, born at
Zaandam, in Holland.[37]

The picture-postcard has, of course, not been forgotten. The Germans
had on sale in Brussels, for their soldiers, a coloured card of
_The Uhlans_ _before Paris_. It shows groups of German cavalrymen
contemplating Paris and the Eiffel Tower. This card is published by R.
and K., and bears the number 500.

This same firm fabricated some remarkable cards relating to the
military operations in Belgium. No. 507 represents the bombardment of
Antwerp. It shows the city in flames, seen from the Tête de Flandre,
and it also shows guns installed in the same locality. Now the Germans
never had guns on the left bank of the Scheldt. No. 502 shows the
bombardment of Namur by means of guns firing from Jambes, which again
is incorrect. These cards, it should be noted, were still being sold
in June 1915; that is, when every one knew that these pictures were

_The Germans' Treatment of Mgr. Mercier._

There are other examples of continuity of falsehood than those relating
to violations of the Hague Convention and the Treaty of London (1839).
For example, a long series of lies was directed against one single
individual--Mgr. Mercier, Cardinal-Archbishop of Malines, Primate of

The facts are so well known that there is no need of lengthy comment.

1. Mgr. Mercier went to Rome for the Conclave. We learned in Belgium,
by a placard dated the 8th September, that the Cardinal was returning
to his country "with a safe-conduct, passing through the German lines."

_A lie._--The Cardinal never had any German safe-conduct. He returned
to Belgium by way of Lyons, Paris, Havre (where he delivered a speech),
London, and Holland.

2. During his stay in Rome the Cardinal made declarations very
unfavourable to the Germans. A placard of the 12th September, 1914,
assured us that he protested against the interview in the _Corriere
della Sera_.

_A lie._--The _Corriere della Sera_ is a neutral journal (in the sense
that the Belgian _Le Soir_ is neutral), and the Germans wished to
produce the impression that the Cardinal had been interviewed by a
correspondent of this newspaper. Now he was interviewed by the editor
of the Catholic journal, the _Corriere d'Italia_. This is merely one of
the "errors" of Cardinal von Hartmann's rectification. The whole is in
keeping with this; but it is too long to consider in detail.

3. Baron von der Goltz, at the moment of leaving Belgium, of which he
had been Governor-General, thought fit to assert that he had come to an
agreement with Mgr. Mercier as to the reopening of the courses in the
University of Louvain (_Le Réveil_, 1st December, 1914).

_A lie._--There was never any question of resuming these courses.

4. The Cardinal published his famous Pastoral Letter, which was sent
to all the churches of his diocese, to be read from the pulpit. It
recalled the present sufferings of the country, and adjured Belgians to
"remain faithful to their king and their laws."

Directly the Germans, informed by their spies, knew of the existence
of this pastoral letter they withdrew Cardinal Mercier's authorization
to visit the other bishops in his motor-car. At the same time they
forbade the curés to make the letter known to their parishioners; they
even proceeded to seize the pamphlet in the presbyteries. Naturally
the priests refused to obey the German injunctions, and the beginning
of the _mandamus_ was read from the pulpit on Sunday, the 3rd January,
1915. The Germans were furious, and forbade the curés to continue
the reading of the letter; and, the more readily to obtain their
submission, showed them a German declaration, signed by von Bissing, of
which this is the translation:--

  BRUSSELS, _7th January, 1915_.


  As a result of my remarks, Cardinal Mercier of Malines has declared
  to me verbally and in writing that he had no intention of exciting
  or alarming the population by his pastoral letter, and he had not
  expected any such effect. That he had particularly insisted on the
  necessity of obedience on the part of the population towards the
  occupier, even if a patriot should inwardly feel in a state of

  In case I should nevertheless fear an exciting effect, the Cardinal
  did not insist on requiring of his clergy the repeated reading of
  the pastoral letter on the succeeding Sundays, provided for in the
  conclusion of the letter, nor the distribution of the letter.

  My hypothesis has proved correct.

  I therefore repeat my prohibition of the 2nd January of this year,
  concerning the reading and the diffusion of the pastoral letter.
  I draw the attention of the clergy to this point--that they will
  be acting in contradiction to the written declaration of their
  Cardinal in disobeying his prohibition.

  _Governor-General in Belgium._

_A lie._--This declaration is false. Mgr. Evrard, Dean of St. Gudule
in Brussels, went to see Mgr. Mercier at Malines, and obtained proof
of the falsehood. He at once warned all the curés of Brussels and the
district of the manoeuvre, and on Sunday, the 10th January, the reading
of the letter was resumed.

  BRUSSELS, _9th January, 1915_.


  I have returned from Malines.

  Despite the written prohibition received yesterday, His Eminence
  the Cardinal wishes his letter to be read. This written prohibition
  is cunning and spurious.

  "Neither verbally, nor in writing, have I withdrawn anything,
  nor do I now withdraw anything of my previous instructions, and
  I protest against the violence done against the liberty of my
  pastoral ministry."

  That is what the Cardinal dictated to me.

  He added: "They have done everything to make me sign mitigations
  of my letter; I have not signed them. Now they seek to separate my
  clergy from me, by forbidding them to read it.

  "I have done my duty; my clergy know if they will do theirs."

  Accept, M. le Curé, the homage of all my respect.

  (_Signed_) E. EVRARD, _Dean_.

5. Baron von Bissing published in the newspapers a _communiqué_ stating
"that no hindrance of any kind had been put in the way of the exercise
of the pastoral duties of the Cardinal-Archbishop."

_A lie._--The Cardinal contradicted this assertion in a Latin letter
addressed to his clergy.

  _Dominica infra Octavam Epiphaniae_.


  Habuistis, ut puto, prae oculis nuntium a Gubernio Generali
  Bruxellensi publicis ephemeridibus propalatum, quo declarabatur
  "Cardinalem Archiepiscopum Mechliniensem a munere suo ecclesiastico
  libere adimplendo nullatenus fuisse impeditum." Quod quam a
  veritate alienum sit, e factis elucet.

  Milites enim, vespere diei primae Januarii
  necnon per totam noctem insequentem, domus presbyterales
  invaserunt, Litteras Pastorales e manibus parochorum vel
  arripuerunt vel arripere conati sunt frustra, easque ne populo
  fideli praelegeratis, etiam sub poenis gravissimis, vobis metipsis
  aut parochiae vestrae infligendis, auctoritate episcopali despecta,

  Nec dignitati nostrae pepercere, Die namque secunda Januarii
  orto nondum sole, hora scilicet sexta, jusserunt me, die eadem
  matutina, coram Gubernatore Generali, epistolae meae ad clerum et
  populum rationem reddere; die autem postero, Laudibus Vespertinis
  in Ecclesia cathedrali Antverpiensi praeesse me vetuerunt; tandem,
  ne alios Belgii episcopos libere adeam, prohibent.

  Jura vestra, Cooperatores dilectissimi, et mea, violata fuisse,
  civis, animarum pastor et Sacri Cardinalium Collegii sodalis,

  Quidquid praedixerint alii, experientia nunc compertum est nullum
  ex epistola illa pastorali enatum esse seditionis periculum, sed
  eam potius animarum paci et publicae tranquillitati haud parum
  adjumento fuisse.

  Vobis de officio fortiter et suaviter impleto gratulor, cui animo
  virili et pacifico, fideles estote memores verborum illorum quibus
  mentem meam plane et integre jam expressi: "Soyes à la fois et
  les meilleurs gardiens du patriotisme, et les soutiens de l'ordre

  Caeterum, "Spiritu sitis ferventes, Domino servientes, spe
  gaudentes, in tribulatione patientes, orationi instantes,
  necessitatibus sanctorum communicantes."[38]

  Ne mei, quaeso, obliviscamini in observationibus vestris, nec
  vestrum obliviscar; arcto fraternitatis vinculo conjuncti,
  unanimes Antistitem, clerum et populum fidelem commendemus Domino,
  "ut et quae agenda sunt, videant, et ad implenda quae viderint,

  Vobis in Christo addictissimus,
  _Archiepisc. Mechl._

  Expostulatur à R^{do} admodum D^o Decano relatio de iis quae in
  parochiis decanatus evenerunt.

  N.B.--Non desunt in dioecesi clerici qui vestibus laïcis ad tempus
  usi sunt. Jam nunc habitum clericalem resumant omnes.

  (_S._) D. J.


  _The Sunday of the Octave of the Epiphany_.


  You have, I think, had sight of the message from the General
  Government of Brussels, published in the newspapers, in which it
  is declared that "the Cardinal Archbishop of Malines has in no
  manner been prevented in the free performance of his ecclesiastical

  The facts will show that this assertion is contrary to the truth.
  As a matter of fact, on the evening of the 1st January, and during
  the whole of the night, soldiers entered the presbyteries and took
  from the priests, or vainly endeavoured to take, the pastoral
  letter, and, in contempt of episcopal authority, forbade you to
  read it to the assembled faithful, under the threat of extremely
  severe punishment which would be inflicted on yourselves or on your

  Even our dignity was not respected. For on the 2nd of January,
  before sunrise even, that is, at six o'clock, I was ordered
  to present myself on the morning of that same day before the
  Governor-General, to justify my letter to the clergy and the
  people; on the following day I was forbidden to preside at
  Benediction in the Cathedral of Antwerp; lastly, I was forbidden to
  visit the other Belgian bishops.

  As a citizen, a pastor of souls, and a member of the Sacred College
  of Cardinals I protest that your rights, well-beloved brothers, and
  my own, have been infringed.

  Whatever has been pretended, experience has proved that no danger
  of sedition has resulted from this pastoral letter, but rather that
  it contributed greatly to the peace and tranquillity of the public.

  I congratulate you with having accomplished your duty firmly and
  harmoniously. Remain devoted to it with a manly and peaceable
  heart, recalling those words in which I have already fully and
  entirely expressed my thought: "Be at once the best guardians of
  patriotism and the supporters of public order."

  Moreover: "Be fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing
  in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
  distributing to the necessities of the saints."[40]

  Do not forget me, I beg you, in your supplications; neither
  will I forget you. All together, closely united by the bond of
  brotherhood, let us recommend the bishop, the clergy, and the
  faithful "that they may behold their duty and be strong to fulfil

  Yours very faithfully in Christ,
  _Archbishop of Malines_.

  The Very Rev. the Deans are begged to report what has happened in
  the parishes of their Deanery.

  N.B.--Members of the clergy have for a time worn civil clothing.
  Let all now resume their ecclesiastical clothing.

6. On Sunday, the 3rd January, 1915, the Cardinal did not go
to Antwerp, as he had intended. The Germans announced in the
newspapers--in _L'Avenir_ (Antwerp), for example--that the Cardinal's
absence was voluntary.

_A lie._--They had forbidden Mgr. Mercier to leave Malines.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have mentioned that while these things were happening the clergy
continued to make the pastoral letter known in all the churches,
except in those cases where the Germans had succeeded in subtracting
the copies of the letter. But even there the reading of the letter was
resumed after a brief interval, when fresh impressions of the letter
had been printed and distributed all over the country. This propaganda
was, of course, secret; an official _communiqué_ published at Namur, on
the 12th January, 1915, leaves no doubt as to that. It threatens the
infliction of severe punishment on those who should distribute this
document. To give some idea of the activity with which the pastoral
letter was distributed throughout Belgium, we may mention that we know
of twelve different editions in French and two in Flemish; there are,
moreover, at least two typewritten editions. Each impression numbered
thousands of copies; of one single edition the Germans seized 35,000
copies! We may add that a German translation also has appeared, but
this is _ad usum Germanorum_. The interesting passages are suppressed.

The pastoral letter was not without results in Rome. The Belgian colony
there organized a mass for the priests put to death in Belgium, a list
of whom was given by the Cardinal. The organ of the Vatican, the
_Osservatore Romano_, translated "put to death" by _caduti_, "fallen."
This vague term might allow it to be supposed that the priests had
fallen on the field of battle, not that they were assassinated by the
German troops. The German newspapers were jubilant. The _Kölnische
Volkszeitung_, one of the leading Catholic organs in Germany, edited
by Herr Julius Bachem, published an article to show that the Holy See
had not been duped by the tricks of the Belgians, and refused to credit
the tale of priests put to death by the Germans (see _Het Vaderland_,
31st March, 1915, 2nd sheet, evening). The _Düsseldorfer Anzeiger_
also contained a long and far-fetched article in its issue of the 29th


With the methodical spirit which they boast of possessing, the Germans
have from the outset of the war created bureaux for the propagation of
the "German idea" throughout the world. Some of these organizations of
propaganda have for their province the neutral countries, among which,
in the first rank, are the United States, the Scandinavian countries,
Italy, Holland, and Switzerland. Others deal with the occupied
countries, or enemy countries, through the intermediary of prisoners
of war and civil prisoners. Finally, there are those that deal with
Germany and her allies. If we add to the bureaux of propaganda situated
in Germany, and operating thence, those established and operating
in foreign countries, we shall begin to understand the power of
expansion and penetration possessed by such instruments in the hands of
unscrupulous people.

Again, we must reckon not only with the official or semi-official
propaganda, devoid of the mercenary spirit, whose only object is the
triumph of Germany. There are a number of publishing concerns which
pursue the same objects.

Besides her printed propaganda, Germany makes use of other means,
apparently accessory and occasional, but whose effects may become
very appreciable; visits of German scholars and German politicians,
especially socialist politicians; letters written by Germans to friends
or relations abroad; inquiries addressed to the scholars of neutral
countries; promises made to notable persons, in the hope of obtaining
their co-operation.

One word before examining the working of these organizations. Should we
really classify them under the heading of "falsehoods"? After what we
have said of the methods of the German Press, and the mentality of the
German rulers, no one will hesitate, we fancy, as to the place which
falsehood must be accorded in this propaganda. But so that no doubt
shall remain in the reader's mind, we will give a few quotations from
the propagandist literature relating to Belgium.

(_a_) _Propagandist Bureaux operating in Germany._

The most important of the propagandist pamphlets appearing in Germany
is a monthly publication. It is known, in French, as the _Journal de
la Guerre_. We know it also in German and in Dutch; probably it is
translated into yet other languages. Each number consists of 40 to
72 pages, and contains general information, a chronicle of the war,
photographs and drawings, tales of the battles, etc. ... in short,
everything that can influence the public opinion of neutral countries.
In almost every number is an article tending to prove that Germany was
forced, for reasons of self-defence, to invade Belgium; that Belgium,
moreover, had violated her own neutrality in advance; that the Belgians
amply deserve their fate, on account of their wicked treatment of
wounded men (gouging out their eyes, etc.). We have already mentioned
the _Journal de la Guerre_ with reference to a "faked" map of Louvain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Journal de la Guerre_ published an article by Herr Helfferich on
a journey through Belgium, undertaken in September 1914. It is teeming
with inaccuracies, but it would be waste of time to refute them all.
We will confine ourselves to the first sentence, which states that
the burgomaster of Battice has been shot. Now, this is untrue: the
burgomaster of Battice, M. Rosette, who has filled his office for many
years, is in excellent health, and is still living in Battice.

Another publication--_La Guerre--Journal périodique paraissant durant
la guerre de 1914-15_--is intended for prisoners of war.

The best method of impressing the prisoners is assuredly to show them
that in their own country people are already beginning to realize
the indisputable superiority of Germany. So _La Guerre_ frequently
publishes articles reprinted from _La Gazette des Ardennes_; only
it forgets to mention that _La Gazette des Ardennes_ is a newspaper
established, edited, and printed exclusively by Germans, since
the occupation. Shall we take another example of duplicity? For
the Belgians, naturally, what their priests tell them has great
weight with them. No. 14 of _La Guerre_ reproduces a passage from an
article (which is mentioned on p. 129) originally published by "the
priest Domela Nieuwenhuis, of Gand." Here is a falsehood: M. Domela
Nieuwenhuis is not a priest; he is a Protestant pastor in Gand. In
the quotation M. Nieuwenhuis says: "If we Flemings had been properly
informed...." (_La Guerre_, No. 14, p. 217).

"We Flemings," M. Nieuwenhuis is supposed to have said ... and he is a
Dutchman. This is curious. Let us compare this with the original text
in _De Tijdspiegel_, p. 316, 1st April, 1915. There we find: "_Indien
wij hier in Vlaanderen ... zouden zign voorgelicht...._" ("If we, here
in Flanders, had been informed....") The German forgers have been at
work, and by a little tinkering at the text, they have made a Dutch
pastor pass for a Flemish priest! To what are they not reduced!

       *       *       *       *       *

The pamphlet _Die Wahrheit über den Krieg_ speaks on p. 93 of an
international propagandist organisation established in Berlin: the
_Commission for the publication of impartial news abroad_ (we translate
from the Dutch version). This Commission publishes _Correspondence for
Neutrals_, which aims solely at "distributing positive news concerning
the working of social, juridicial, economic, and moral institutions
and general culture in Germany." Its articles are especially intended
for use by the Press. It appears two or three times a week, in ten
different languages, and will continue to do so during the war. It
asserts that its expenses are covered entirely by private subscriptions.

At the Superior Technical College of Stuttgart is established the
_Süddeutsche Nachrichtenstelle für die Neutralen_ (South German News
Bureau for the Neutrals). It publishes propagandist leaflets at
irregular intervals and of various dimensions, which are intended to
furnish "the verifiable truth as to the origin, course, and results of
the war."

The professors of the University of Leipzig sent abroad a special
number of the _Leipziger Neueste Nachrichte_ of the 25th August, 1914,
which gave, in chronological order, "the truth about the causes of the
war and the German successes." The truth! Its capital falsehoods are
too numerous for examination here.

At Düsseldorf is the _Büro zur Verbreitung deutscher Nachrichten im
Auslande_ (the German Bureau for distributing German news abroad). The
French version of this title is _Bureau allemand pour la publication
de nouvelles authentiques à l'Etranger_. Observe, in passing, that
_Deutsche Nachrichten_ is translated as "authentic news," which will
not fail to surprise the reader. This Bureau used to publish _Le
Réveil_, a remarkable journal sold in Belgium and the occupied parts of

The _Deutscher Überseedienst_ (German Overseas Service) busies itself
particularly with the falsification of public opinion abroad. Its
publications are usually distributed gratis.

For Americans living in Europe, Germany provides _The Continental
Times, Special War Edition and Journal for Americans in Europe_, edited
at the Hôtel Adon in Berlin. To judge of the veracity of this journal,
it is enough to read, in the issue for the 8th February, the article by
Herr J. E. Noegerath, devoted to his journey through Belgium. In this
we learn that "Malines was bombarded simultaneously by the Belgians and
the Germans; the cathedral, somewhat seriously damaged, is about to be
repaired by the Germans." St. Rombaut repaired by the Germans! This
exceeds even the German limits! Well, the Americans in Europe have a
chance of obtaining positive information.

_The League of German Scientists and Artists for the Defence of
Civilization_ (in French they make it _La Ligue pour la défense de la
civilisation_--for the _prevention_--which is just what it is!) is
installed in the Palace of the Academy of Science in Berlin, Unter den
Linden, 38. It publishes pamphlets; for example, that of Herr Riesser,
on _The Success of the German War Loan_. As far as we know it has
published nothing about Belgium.

       *       *       *       *       *

A very interesting method of propaganda is that which consists in
attaching to business letters leaflets printed on very thin paper,
giving "authentic" news in the language of the recipient. _The
Hamburger Fremdenblatt_ has published many of these, at 10 pfennigs for
10 copies. They include, notably, _Appeals to Christians_; _An Appeal
to the Catholic Missions_, in German, English, Spanish, Portuguese,
French, and Italian; _An Appeal to the Protestant Missions_, in German,
English, and Portuguese.

Another series of leaflets to be inserted in letters is published by
the _Bureau des Deutschen Handelstages, Berlin_ (Bureau of the German
Commercial Conference of Berlin). Nine different leaflets appeared. No.
10 and the succeeding leaflets are of different origin; these leaflets
are now published by the _Kriegs-Auschuss der Deutschen Industrie,
Berlin_ (Military Commission of German Industry). No. 10 reproduces a
proclamation by Dr. Schroedter, threatening to strip the Belgians of
all their copper, "down to the last door-handle."

In Germany also are published leaflets bearing no indication of their
origin. One of these, entitled _What is the Cause of the Severity of
the War?_ is curious for more reasons than one.

(_b_) _Propagandist Matter issued by the Publishing Houses._

There are, to begin with, the numerous low-priced pamphlets which carry
the gospel to the soldiers in the trenches, and enlighten the home
population. The most voluminous and the most perfidious of these books
is that of Major Viktor von Strantz: _Die Eroberung Belgiëns_.

Several publishing houses issue series of booklets, under some general
title. We may mention:--

  _Krieg und Sieg, 1914, nach Berichten der Zeitgenossen_ (War and
  Victory, 1914, according to the Accounts of Eye-witnesses).

  _Der Deutschen Volkes Kriegstagebuch_ (The German People's Diary of
  the War).

  _Der Weltkrieg, 1914_ (The World-war of 1914), at 20 pfennigs.

Besides these works, which are intended rather for the masses, we must
mention others, intended for a more intellectual public.

Such are:--

  _Reden aus der Kriegzeit_; _Deutsche Vortrage Hamburgischer
  Professoren_; _Zwischen Krieg und Frieden_; _Der Deutsche Krieg_;
  _Kriegsberichte aus den Grossen Hauptquartier._

To these we may add works appearing in small isolated volumes at a low
price, containing more especially diplomatic documents:--

  _Deutschland in der Notwehr_ (Carl Schüsemann, Bremen); _Das
  Volkerringen, 1914_, F. M. Kireheisen (Universal Bibliothek,

  _Urkunden, Depeschen und Berichte der Frankfurter Zeitung. Der
  Grosse Krieg. Eine Chronich von Tag zu Tag_ (Frankfurt, 1914-15).

We must not overlook the numerous illustrated publications, among
which we may mention the _Album de la Grande Guerre_, published by
the _Deutscher Überseedienst_, with explanations in German, English,
Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. This collection contains a
number of illustrations relating to Belgium: for example, in No. 2 we
have "A Zeppelin bombarding Liége," which never happened (p. 229): and
No. 3 gives us a view of the Place des Bailles at Malines, "a quarter
where the houses were destroyed by Belgian artillery" (whereas the
Belgian artillery destroyed nothing in Malines, and the Place des
Bailles was not bombarded but burned).

(_c_) _Propangandist Bureaux operating Abroad._

Not content with flooding neutrals with literature fabricated in
Germany itself, to such an extent that the former complained of the
German importunity, the Germans have also set up bureaux of propaganda
in foreign countries. The most important of these, without doubt, is
that which has been operating in the United States, under the direction
of Herr Bernhard Dernburg, ex-Minister of the Empire. Herr Dernburg
has neglected no means of action, and has not feared to mount into the
breach himself in his efforts to ensure the triumph of his cause.

In Belgium the propaganda was of a multiple nature. In the first
place, the Germans were careful to inform us, daily, by means of
placards, as to the "actual" results of the military operations, and
they distributed tens of thousands of copies of circulars relating to
the "Anglo-Belgian Conventions" (p. 43), the Griendl report (p. 41),
the retirement of Italy from the Triple Alliance, etc. As these might
not have enlightened us sufficiently, the German authorities took the
Press in hand, the result being such journals as _Le Réveil_ and the
_Deutsche Soldatenpost_. They then censored the Belgian papers in
various manners.

(1) The Germans wished to compel various papers to appear under their
control. All those in the capital refused; but in the provinces certain
newspapers, such as _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ (at Namur) and _Le Bien Public_
(at Gand), accepted the German conditions. _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ was
really and truly forced to appear; as it admitted, in a covert fashion,
in its issues of the 20th and 27th August, and explicitly in those of
the 7th October and the 6th November.

(2) The German authorities forced these journals, and others which have
since been established, to publish propagandist articles, imposing
penalties in case of failure. Thus _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ (it was suggested
that it might be called _L'Ami de par Ordre!_) was obliged to publish
stories of "francs-tireurs" which it knew were inventions; and after
the burning of the Grand' Place at Namur (concerning which it knew very
well what to think) it published, in large letters, on the 28th August,
1914, a protest against francs-tireurs. On the 1st September followed
an article describing the punishment of Louvain after an attack by
civilians. On the following day was further mention of the "leaders"
who brought such terrible reprisals on their fellow-citizens. In
order to make these flagrant lies "go down," the journal is compelled
from time to time to repeat that it prints nothing but the truth (for
example, on the 7th September).

Incontestably imposed, also, are the articles which basely flatter
the Germans; notably its excuses after its suspension (7th and 8th
December) and its thanks to the Military Government of Namur when
the latter ceased to take hostages (on the 29th September). In this
last issue is an equally characteristic article on the subject of the
Cathedral of Reims; in this the German Government pretends that it did
not allege the presence of an observation-post on the Cathedral. But
one has only to read the official communiqués of the 23rd September in
order to prove that _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ has been forced to lie to its

Of course the Germans deny that they demand the insertion of these
articles (see _Le Bien Public_, 1st November, 1914); otherwise their
readers would cease to give any credence to these "Belgian" papers.

(3) The principal mission of the censorship consists in suppressing
all that displeases it and all that it regards as compromising. Thus,
for two months _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ did not publish a single communiqué
from the armies of the Allies, although it pretended the contrary in
its issue of the 7th October. It was only on the 26th that it began
to publish them; but it then borrowed them from the German papers,
which was not perhaps a guarantee of exactitude. At the same time _Le
Bruxellois_ stated that there were scarcely any French communiqués.
As for _Le Bien Public_, it was suspended during the whole of May
1915, because the censorship would no longer allow it to publish the
communiqués of the Allies.

The censorship had promised the journals whose publication it permitted
(or demanded) that it would not mutilate articles, but would suppress
them entirely (_Le Bien Public_, 1st November, 1914). Of course, it
did not keep its engagements; for what engagement did our enemies ever
keep? To realize how the censorship mutilates, curtails, and falsifies
one has only to compare the official telegrams contained in the French
newspapers with those which are vouchsafed us by the expurgated
journals. Here are a few examples; it will be seen that the censorship
suppresses not only sentences and parts of sentences, but single words,
and even parts of words. We will confess that this last procedure was
totally unexpected, even on the part of Germany, although her scholars
have certainly acquired a habit of splitting hairs.

The words in italics are those suppressed by the censorship:--

  _La Belgique_, Tuesday, 26th January, 1913,--PETROGRAD, _23rd
  January_. (Official telegram from the Great General Staff)....
  German attempts to pass to the offensive in various places have
  been _easily_ defeated _by our artillery_.... On the 21st January
  enemy troops, in strength about a division of infantry, and
  supported by artillery, attacked our front in the Kirlibaba region,
  _but they were repulsed_. Up to the morning of the 21st January our
  troops had maintained themselves in their positions. _We have made
  200 prisoners._

  _La Belgique_, Monday, 1st February, 1913.--PARIS, _29th January_.
  (Official, 3 p.m.)--In Belgium, in the Nieuport sector, our
  infantry has gained a footing on the great dune which was mentioned
  on the 27th. _A German aeroplane was brought down by our guns._ In
  the sectors of Ypres and Lens, as in the sector of Arras, there
  have been, intermittently, artillery duels of some violence, and
  some attacks of infantry were attempted but immediately _thrown
  back by our fire_. Nothing fresh to report in the Soissons,
  Craonne, or Reims districts. _It is confirmed that the attack
  repulsed by us at Fontaine-Madame on the night of the 27th cost
  the Germans dearly...._ PARIS, _the 29th January_ (_official, 11
  p.m._).... _This morning, the 29th, a German aeroplane was forced
  to the ground east of Gerbeviller. Its passengers, an officer and
  an under-officer, are prisoners._

  _La Belgique_, Thursday, 4th February, 1915.--PARIS, _1st
  February_. (Official telegram, 3 p.m.).... To the south-east of
  Ypres the Germans have attempted an attack upon our trenches to the
  north of the canal, an attack which was _immediately_ checked by
  our artillery fire.... In the Argonne, _where the Germans appear
  to have suffered greatly in the recent fighting_, the day has been
  comparatively quiet....

  PARIS, _1st February_. (Official telegram, 11 p.m.).... On the
  morning of the 1st February the enemy violently attacked our
  trenches to the north, Béthune--La Bassée. He was thrown back
  _and left numerous dead on the ground_. At Beaumont-Hamel, to the
  north of Arras, the German infantry attempted to carry one of our
  trenches by surprise, but was forced to retreat, _abandoning on the
  spot the explosives with which it was provided_....

  _La Belgique_, Friday, 12th February, 1915.--PARIS, _9th February_.
  (Official telegram, 3 p.m.).... Along the road from Béthune to
  La Bassée we have reoccupied a windmill in which the enemy had
  succeeded in establishing himself. Soissons was bombarded _with
  incendiary shells_.

  _La Belgique_, Saturday, 13th February, 1915.--PARIS, _10th
  February_. (Official, 11 p.m.).... In Lorraine our outposts
  _easily_ repulsed a German attack on the eastern edge and to the
  north of the Forest of Purvy.

  _La Patrie_ (Brussels).--COPENHAGEN, _2nd March_.--According to a
  communication from London in the _Berlingske Tidende_ the Swedish
  painter, Johnson, who was arrested as a spy, because he was making
  pretended luminous signals to German ships of war, is _said to have
  been_ acquitted for lack of evidence.

To appreciate at its full value the mutilation of the official
communiqués by the German censorship, it must be recalled (1) that
it had undertaken to leave the official communiqués untouched, and
(2) that the subservient portion of the press continued to call them
"official telegrams."

_Sincerity of the Censored Newspapers._

At the outset the censorship used to allow newspapers to leave a blank
space in the place of an article, phrase, or words deleted. But this
procedure was too frank for the Germans, and the readers were aware
of it; so the German authorities forced the newspapers to fill up the
blanks; and in order to facilitate their task they published a special
typewritten journal, appearing in French and in Flemish, _Le Courrier
Belge_, in which "all the articles had passed the censorship." Editors,
therefore, had only to select an article of the desired length in order
to fill the gaps left by the official scissors.

We may add that by the terms of a decision given in the Court of
First Instance in Brussels, the journals at present appearing in
Germany under the German censorship may not claim the title of Belgian

It may readily be imagined what the censored journals have become under
this delightful system. But a story which is told in Belgium will
perhaps give the reader a better idea of their vicissitudes. The soul
of a soldier presents itself at the gate of Paradise. "Who are you?"
says St. Peter. After a long hesitating pause (for no one cares to
make such a painful confession) the soul replies: "I am the soul of a
German soldier." "You are an impudent liar!" cries St. Peter. "I read
the Belgian newspapers with the greatest care, and they have not yet
announced the death of a single German soldier!"

On the 7th June, 1915, the Germans had a unique opportunity of proving
that the German journals in Belgian clothes, such as _L'Ami de
l'Ordre_, _La Belgique_, _Le Bien Public_, etc., were still capable on
occasion of speaking the truth. But they allowed the opportunity to
slip. However, here are the facts:--

On the night of Sunday, the 6th June, 1915, towards 2.30 a.m., we were
awakened by a furious cannonade and the explosion of bombs: Allied
aviators were bombarding the shed of the dirigible at Evere, to which
they set fire, destroying both shed and balloon. On the same day we
learned that a second German dirigible had just been destroyed at
Mont St.-Amand, near Gand, by a British aviator. We awaited the next
day's papers with curiosity. Would they report the two incidents,
making as little of them as possible, or would they keep silence?
They merely stated that the German air-fleet had raided the English
coast on the night of the 7th. Of what happened on its return, not a
word. In the _Kölnische Zeitung_, again, there was nothing said as to
the disasters at Evere and Mont St.-Amand. So the muzzled Press of
Belgium and Germany may speak of German successes (we are supposing,
of course, that the bombardment of open towns _is_ a success), but as
to the failures they are dumb. These are two facts which are known
to hundreds of thousands of persons, and are therefore impossible of
concealment. To keep silence, therefore, could have only one result,
namely, to prove that the German communiqués are "faked," and that
the Belgian journals are muzzled: in short, that all news which comes
from Germany is adulterated. If our oppressors had published a short
paragraph dealing with these two "accidents," then a few Belgians, more
credulous than their fellows, might have continued to believe that the
word "German" can still on occasion be spoken in the same breath as
the word "sincerity." But in their incomparable stupidity the censors
(who are doubtless diplomatists out of a job) failed to realize that by
preserving silence as to the raids of the British aviators they were
for ever destroying the value of their newspapers. They rendered us a
similar service, on this occasion, to that which they rendered when
they forbade M. Max to publish the statement that they were liars (p.
233). We were well aware that the German was a shocking psychologist,
but we hardly realized how shocking!... The incident is, as will be
seen, the pendant of the story of the Liége Zeppelin. This dirigible
raided Liége on the night of the 6th August, and the raid was described
in the German newspapers and even illustrated. Unfortunately the raid
never took place!

A few days later the Germans plunged even deeper into the mire. On the
night of the 16th June the people of Brussels once again heard the
sound of guns, this time from Berchem; but no one saw an aeroplane.
Next day the papers contained a paragraph stating that an attack by
enemy aviators had been repulsed. Did the raid really take place? It is
doubtful; and in any case it does not matter. The essential point is
that on this occasion the newspapers were allowed to speak.

The Governor-General, who has a keen sense of the fitting opportunity,
chose this moment to inform us that a mischievous Press was circulating
in Belgium (see _La Belgique_, 14th January, 1915). Nothing could be
truer, as the reader has just seen.

_Persecution of Uncensored Newspapers._

Naturally, the desire to obtain foreign newspapers became keener than
ever in Belgium as the untruthfulness of the censored journals became
more apparent. To the notices published by the Germans forbidding the
distribution of "false news" (p. 187) we may add an official communiqué
which was reproduced in _L'ami de l'Ordre_ on the 17th October:--

  "Any person who shall spread similar false reports, or cause them
  to be distributed, will be shot without mercy."

(_d_) _Various Propaganda._

Lastly, let us mention--without insistence, as they are already
sufficiently familiar--various methods of propaganda which are
individual, and apparently spontaneous, but from which the Germans
expect very happy results.

All those Belgians who have friends or relations in Germany, and all
those who are themselves of German origin, have incessantly been
receiving, since correspondence between the two countries has been
permitted, letters in which they are told that Germany is sure of
victory, that the Belgians have been deceived by England and by their
king, that the Germans do no harm to any one, etc. These assertions
are repeated with such regularity and monotony that they produce
the impression of a lesson that has been learned; so, to avoid this
unfortunate impression, the correspondents are careful to declare that
they are only expressing their personal opinion.

Next, we may mention the foreign visits of German scholars; for
example, that of Herr Ostwald (one of the Ninety-three) to Sweden, and
that of Herr Lamprecht (another of the Ninety-three) to Belgium. Herr
Ostwald's lectures have evoked a great sensation, but it was perhaps
hardly the sensation Germany had hoped for; moreover, the University
of Leipzig declared that it did not subscribe to the ideas of its
sometime professor. The effort of Herr Lamprecht was more discreet; it
was preceded by a written effort, but letter and visit had the same
negative result.

More insidious are the visits made to Belgium by prominent German
socialists: Wendel, Liebknecht, Noske, Koester, etc. They, too, hoped
easily to convince us of the rights and, above all, of the superiority
of Germany. They went back with an empty bag; one may even venture to
assert that they were rather shaken, since Herr Liebknecht complains,
in a conversation with an editor of the _Social-Demokraten_, a
Norwegian organ, of the part which the Socialist missionaries were made
to play (_N.R.C._, 28th December, 1914, evening).

The _Vossische Zeitung_ has discovered another means of propaganda.
This journal sent a paper of questions to Dutch and Scandinavian
scholars, asking them what their science owes to Germany. A shallow
trick, this; every nation has naturally produced men of mark, to whom
science has cause for gratitude.


The war began by the violation of a solemn treaty, to which Germany
subscribed in 1839. The entire conduct of the war has been, as
far as Germany is concerned, a long series of violations of the
Hague Convention of 1907. Germany alleges, in her own defence, that
circumstances have altered since the period when these pacts were
signed; that she was obliged to forestall France; that in case of
absolute necessity, such as that in which she stood, she has the right
to use all means of injuring the enemy, permitted or not (p. 83);
and moreover, that the torpedoing of the _Lusitania_ (p. 194), the
employment of living shields (p. 117), the use of toxic gases (p. 198),
and terrorization by fire and assassination (p. 164), having proved
efficacious, it is in her interests not to neglect them out of mere
humanity, or a simple and childish respect for her own signature.

It is hopeless to discuss the matter; it would be wasted pains, Germany
having decided to let her conduct be shaped by the impulse of the
moment, without hampering herself with any anterior promises. She
is fighting for her life, her publicists and statesmen never cease
repeating, and she is free to throw all her engagements to the wind.
"_Not kennt kein Gebot_," declared the Chancellor, on the 9th August,
and this convenient maxim has lost nothing of its popularity.

But there are other engagements, engagements which Germany has entered
into with Belgium since the beginning of the war, and which she has
broken with the same ease: a promise to restore Belgium's independence;
a promise to respect our patriotism, a promise to pay cash for all
requisitions once the tribute of 480 millions frs. was paid, etc. Our
enemies can invoke no extenuating circumstances to mitigate these
breaches of faith, for no change had occurred between the dates of
making these engagements and their violation.

_The Independence of Belgium._

On the 4th August, 1914, the very day on which our country was invaded,
the Imperial Government made one last effort to extort from England a
promise of neutrality. It gave an assurance that even in the case of an
armed conflict with Belgium, Germany would not on any pretext annex her
territory (_Livre Bleu_, No. 74). On that very day the Kaiser and the
Chancellor made similar declarations: "We shall repair the injustice
which we are committing towards Belgium," said the Chancellor. Directly
they had a newspaper at their disposal in Belgium our invaders
published an article assuring the Belgians of their respect for
whatever engagements they had entered into (see _L'Ami de l'Ordre_,
29th and 30th August, 1914).

Words, idle words!

Hardly were the Germans, in boasting mood, able to style themselves
conquerors, than they hastened to trample their promises underfoot. Are
the engagements of the Berlin Government anything more than so many
scraps of paper, which may with impunity be declared null and void?
Such men as Erzberger, Losch, Dernburg, Maximilian Harden, etc., all
partaking in the public life of their country, found nothing was more
urgent than to disregard whatever the Emperor and the Chancellor might
have said, no matter how solemn the circumstances, and to make plans
for the future in which Belgium would remain wholly or in part annexed.

_The Promise to respect the Patriotism of the Belgians._

"I ask no one to renounce his patriotic sentiments," said Baron von der
Goltz in the first of the somewhat extraordinary declarations with
which he gratified us during his stay in our midst in his quality of
Governor-General (placard of 2nd September, 1914).

_The Forced Striking of the Flag._

Every one was anxiously asking himself what was really the thought
at the back of the Baron's head; for we already knew the Germans
sufficiently to realize that so honeyed a phrase concealed some peril.
But what? Two weeks later the riddle was solved; it meant that the
Belgian national flag was "regarded as a provocation by the German
troops" (placard of 16th September, 1914). A provocation of what or
whom? Of their national sentiment? Well, and what of ours, which the
Governor-General was not asking us to renounce? It is true that after
the appearance of this placard the Military Governor announced that
he had "by no means the intention of wounding the dignity or the
feelings of the inhabitants by this measure; its sole purpose is to
preserve the citizens from any annoyance." In short, it was for our
good that we were forced to haul down our flag. What was to be done?
To resist would be to give the scoundrels who were oppressing us an
occasion for exercising their murderous and incendiary talents on
Brussels. By a very dignified and very moderate notice, M. Max, the
burgomaster, counselled his fellow-citizens to yield. This placard,
which was not subjected to the censorship, despite the order given by
the Germans, displeased them to the point of having it immediately
covered with blank sheets of paper. But these were torn away by the
people of Brussels, or else they were rendered transparent by means of
petroleum: in a word, every one could read the burgomaster's protest.
But as it was expected, with a good show of reason, that the Germans
would soon cause it to disappear completely, many persons copied the
placard, or even photographed it; and for a long time numbers of the
inhabitants of Brussels carried upon their persons, like a precious
relic, a copy or a photograph of M. Max's famous placard.

_The Belgian Colours forbidden in the Provinces._

While the withdrawal of the Belgian flag was demanded, in the provinces
a hunt was conducted for the Belgian colours used in the decoration of
shop-windows. The German police would enter the shops and demand the
immediate removal of all tricolour ribbons decorating the windows.


  Henry Dargette, of Namur, Place Arthur Borlée, 32, was punished
  with a fine of 10 marks, or 2 days' subsidiary detention, in
  accordance with § 13 of the Imperial decree of the 28th December,
  1893, for having disregarded the communiqué of the Imperial
  Government of Namur of the 22nd April, 1915. He had exposed in his
  shop-window boxes of tin-plate with the French, British, Russian,
  and Belgian colours.

  (_L'Ami de l'Ordre_, 3-6 July, 1915.)

In Brussels it was a long time before they decided to take measures
against the wearing of the tricolour rosettes which so many people
carried in their buttonholes; in the streets, at least two persons
in three displayed our colours. This persistence on the part of
the Belgians in publicly displaying their patriotic sentiments is
extremely annoying to the Germans. For proof we need only turn to the
letter from Brussels published in the weekly illustrated supplement
of the _Hamburger Fremdenblatt_ for the 18th April, 1915: "One does
not see a schoolboy, not a schoolgirl, not a lady, not a gentleman,
who does not wear, in an obvious fashion, the Belgian cockade." In
certain towns--for example Lessines, Gand, and Dinant--this kind of
manifestation is prohibited. At Namur the fine may amount to 500 frs.;
the placard which threatens this penalty is conceived in the involved
and nauseating style which we encounter every time the Germans inflict
on us a particularly disgusting piece of hypocrisy. In particular it
is stated that it is forbidden "_publicly_ to display the Belgian
colours." No doubt it is permissible to have them floating about in
one's pocket, or to decorate the interior of one's chest of drawers
with them. This is how the Teuton Tartuffe "asks no one to renounce his
patriotic sentiments":--


  One may observe, of late, in a great proportion of the inhabitants
  of the town, as well as in the young school-children, a tendency to
  manifest their patriotic feelings by wearing, in an open manner,
  the Belgian colours, under different forms.

  I am far from wishing to offend their feelings; on the contrary, I
  esteem and respect them.

  But, on the other hand, I cannot but perceive, in this form
  [of display], that it is desired thereby PUBLICLY to express a
  demonstration against the present state of affairs and against the
  German authority, which I expressly forbid.

  I consequently direct:

  It is strictly forbidden to place in view, publicly, the Belgian
  colours, either on oneself, or on any objects whatever, in no
  matter what circumstances.

  Contraventions will be punished by a fine which may amount to
  500 frs., unless, according to the gravity of the case, the
  contravention is punished by imprisonment.

  This regulation does not at any time prevent the wearing of
  official decorations by those who have the right to do so.

  _Military Governor of the Fortified Position of Namur_.
  (_L'Ami de l'Ordre_, 15th November, 1914.)

_Prohibition of the Belgian Colours in Brussels._

Suddenly, without any pretext, the sight of the little tricolour
decorations worn by the people of Brussels began to offend the Germans,
and the national emblem was prohibited from the 1st July, 1915. The
prohibition was posted only on the 30th of June. It made a distinction
between the Belgian colours, the wearing of which was tolerated if it
was not provocative, and the colours of our Allies, the display of
which, even if not provocative, was absolutely prohibited. How were
our German bumpkins going to make this much too subtle distinction
between provocative and non-provocative display? This evidently left
the door open to all sorts of arbitrary actions. So the people of
Brussels judged it prudent to renounce their badges entirely. A few,
however, replaced the rosette by an ivy-leaf, the emblem of fidelity
in the language of flowers. What were the Germans to do now? Prohibit
the wearing of the ivy-leaf, perhaps, for by the 5th July they had
forbidden the manufacture and sale of artificial ivy-leaves, whether of
cloth or paper. But they did not persist in this course. For the first
time since we had been subject to them they conceived a witty idea.
They themselves began to display the ivy-leaf; from that moment this
emblem could not decently be worn by any of us. It would be interesting
to know who inspired them with this ingenious idea.

_The "Te Deum" on the Patron Saint's Day of the King._

Let us note the date of _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ which contained Baron von
Hirschberg's announcement: the 15th November, the patron saint's
day of the King. The same copy of the paper reproduced an article
from _Düsseldorfer General Anzeiger_, which doubtless had escaped
the censor, doing homage to the valour of the King and Queen. On
the following day _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ had to announce that the usual
_Te Deum_ would not be performed. Why was the ceremony suppressed?
The paper did not say; but we can easily guess; the superior German
authorities had decided otherwise.

In Brussels also the _Te Deum_ of the 15th November was prohibited. It
was decided to replace it by a mass which would be sung at 11 o'clock
in the church of St. Gudule. By 10.30 the church was overflowing with
people; but towards 11.0 a priest passed quietly through the ranks
of the faithful, announcing that the singing of the Mass had been
prohibited by the Germans, and that it would be replaced by a Low Mass.
After this some hundreds of persons repaired to the Palais Royal, to
the gate in the Rue Bréderode; they expected that a book would be
there, as usual, to receive their signatures. The register had been
there, but the German authorities had removed it. The callers then
decided merely to leave their cards; but a Palace servant came to
inform them that the Germans, after removing the register, had also
forbidden the formation of assemblies near the Palace, and had even
made some arrests; he therefore begged the public to disperse. More
respect for patriotic sentiments!

_The Portraits of the Royal Family._

Since then it has been forbidden to sell portraits of the Royal
Family published since the outbreak of the war. In particular those
picture-postcards are prohibited which represent the King as a
soldier, the King with his Staff, the King in the trenches, the King
on the dunes, the King with General Joffre, the King at Furnes, the
Queen as a nurse, Prince Leopold as a trooper, etc. The prohibition is
applied with an incoherence which accords ill with the wonderful spirit
of organization with which our persecutors are credited. In certain
parts of Brussels the vendors have never been disturbed; in others,
they may sell the cards in the shops, but may not expose them in the
windows; elsewhere it is a crime even to have the cards in stock. In
short, all is left to the caprice of the police. These make the round
of the stationers' shops, seizing all prohibited cards, and very often,
too, seizing other cards on their own initiative and for their own use.
To a stationer who was privily selling us some prohibited cards, we put
the question, whether the police did not often enter his shop, in order
to seize whatever displeased them. "What displeases them?" he replied.
"No, no; they seize more particularly whatever pleases them!" Another
merchant, who was summoned to attend at the German police bureau in
the Rue de l'Hôtel des Monnaies, was assured by the commissioner that
the police had the right to take "everything that might excite the
patriotism of the Belgians." This official put his own interpretation
on Baron von der Goltz's regulations with regard to patriotism.

Not far away, at St. Gilles, on Sunday the 14th February, an
under-officer brutally snatched away the national flag which covered
the coffin of a Belgian soldier. Here is another example of individual
ideas as to the respect to be paid to patriotism and piety.

While in Brussels the Germans prohibited only the more recent
Royal portraits, at Gand, in February 1915, the commandant of the
Magazine,[42] in order to show his zeal, forbade the sale of any
portraits of the Royal Family, of whatever date or nature.

  The Burgomaster of Gand has received the following letter, the
  communal administration sending us a translation of the same:--

  2. mob. Etappen  Kommandantur.
  Reference No. 1095.

  GAND, _4th February, 1915_.

  To the Burgomaster of the City,--

  I beg you again to draw the attention of all the booksellers,
  stationers' shops, etc., by hand-bill or by means of the
  newspapers, that they are forbidden under any circumstances to
  display the portraits of the Royal Family of Belgium, either in the
  windows or in the interior of the shops.

  Those who act otherwise will be severely punished.


  (_Signed_) HENZ.

  (_Le Bien Public_, 13th February, 1915.)

The German persecutions were resumed with renewed vigour on the
approach of the 8th April, the King's birthday. At Antwerp the Germans
took care to forbid, in advance, anything that might have passed for
a royalist manifestation; but the inhabitants succeeded, none the
less, under their enemies' noses, in celebrating their Sovereign's

Elsewhere the Germans, in their incorrigible meanness, had a different
inspiration. They suddenly had an intuition that the communal
administrations of Brabant were going to dismiss the schools in honour
of the King. Immediately circulars were distributed, forbidding the
closing of the schools on that day. But these ineffable blunderers
had forgotten one thing: namely, that the 8th of April fell in the
middle of the Easter holidays! Certain communes permitted themselves
the malicious delight of inquiring of the Germans whether they must
recall the pupils for the 8th of April? The Germans, of course, missed
the irony of the situation, and replied that it would not be necessary
to resume the classes. Their second letter contains a particularly
delightful sentence: "My will is merely that instruction shall not be
specially interrupted in honour of the anniversary of H.M. the King
of the Belgians." Another example of the unshakable determination to
respect the Belgians' patriotism!

_Obligation to Employ the German Language._

These letters are written in German. For that matter, it has become
a rule with our enemies to write only in their own tongue, and often
even in German characters. Better still: at Liége and Namur (_L'Ami de
l'Ordre_, 31st August, 1914) they required the Belgians also to write
in German. Yet another way of respecting our patriotism!

_The Belgian Army is our Enemy!_

Far from making an effort to respect our feelings, one would even
imagine that they must make it a point of honour (German honour) to
wound our loyalty. Thus, when they punish any one for rendering service
to the Belgians, instead of expressing the matter simply, as we have
done, they announce that the Belgian is convicted of relations with the
enemy. They are speaking of their enemies. But "the enemy" implies that
the Belgian Government or the Belgian army is the enemy of the Belgian

Better still: they inform us, by means of placards, that to aid the
Belgian army is "treason." The Belgian becomes a traitor by rendering
a service to his country! What a singular conception of honour!


  The military tribunals have lately been compelled to condemn to
  hard labour for attempted treason a large number of Belgians, who
  had assisted their compatriots subject to military service in their
  attempt to join the enemy army.

  I again warn [the public] against committing such crimes against
  the German troops, in view of the severe penalties which they will


  BRUSSELS, _3rd March, 1915_.

_The "Brabançonne" Prohibited._

At Namur the _Brabançonne_ was declared seditious on the 23rd March,
1915. But a month later the execution of the _first four verses_ was
declared to be permissible. What did the Germans mean by that? Let us
remember that none of the known versions of our national song (the two
versions of Jenneval and that of Rogier) consists of more than four
verses. Which, then, are those that our persecutors forbid? In their
rage for prohibition they have prohibited something that does not
exist!--unless they were speaking of the verse invented by _La Libre
Belgique_, and published in its tenth issue. It would be amusing if
the German authorities had fallen into a snare set by a prohibited

In Brussels the Germans had not dared openly to interdict the
_Brabançonne_, as they did another national anthem which had,
so to speak, the freedom of the city of Brussels: we mean the
_Marseillaise_ (placard of the 27th March, 1915). Never did one
hear the _Marseillaise_ so often as after the Germans forbade us to
sing or play it; only it was now whistled. So, as might have been
expected, whistling the _Marseillaise_ was made a crime. As for the
_Brabançonne_, it was prohibited in an underhand sort of way. It used
to be sung every day in a school in Brussels; but two German soldiers
of the Landsturm, who were guarding a neighbouring railway, heard
it, and felt offended. Hence a letter to the communal authorities,
demanding that the national anthem should be sung or played with more
discretion. It is now seldom played save in the churches: at High Mass
on Sunday and the funeral services for soldiers.

_The National Anniversary of July 21st._

In July 1915 the people of Brussels hit on a new method of celebrating
the national anniversary of the 21st July. Since our tyrants would
obviously forbid us to fly our flag at half-mast, in token of our being
for the time in mourning for our country, a number of shopkeepers
announced, by means of a small printed notice, that "the shop would
be closed on Wednesday, the 21st July." The Germans were displeased;
moreover, they issued a decree forbidding all demonstrations.

  21ST JULY.

  _Order of the Governor of Brussels dated 18th July, 1915._

  I warn the public that on the 21st July, 1915, demonstrations of
  all kinds are expressly and severely prohibited.

  Meetings, processions, and the decoration of public and private
  buildings also come under the application of the above prohibition.

  Offenders will be punished by a term of imprisonment not exceeding
  three months and a fine which may amount to as much as 10,000
  marks, or by one of these penalties to the exclusion of the other.

They also announced, by means of the newspapers in their pay, _Le
Bruxellois_ and _La Belgique_, that the closing of the shops might be
regarded as a demonstration. Their pains were wasted. On the morning
of the 21st the shops and cafés remained closed; in private houses
the shutters were not opened. In all Brussels only a few taverns were
open--taverns frequented by the Germans, which a Belgian would never
compromise himself by entering. All that day it was a comforting and
impressive spectacle to see the crowd, in its Sunday clothes, grave
and deeply affected, with never one uplifted voice, passing along the
streets of closed houses. Never had the like been seen in Brussels.
No one would have dared to hope for such unanimity of feeling after
eleven months of occupation. The Germans were raging. They brought out
troops, who, with bayonet and cannon, occupied the principal public
squares; they ran an armoured motor-car up and down the most frequented
streets; they dragged artillery along the avenues surrounding the city.
But they did not succeed in fomenting the slightest disturbance; the
Brussels public was too firmly determined to preserve its dignity and
its tranquillity.

In all the churches the _Te Deum_ was replaced by a High Mass, followed
by the playing of the _Brabançonne_; the latter was sung in chorus by
the congregation, who were moved to tears.

The comic note was struck by the Germans. Suddenly, in the afternoon,
motor-cars began to hustle the crowds that had gathered; they bore
red placards, which were immediately pasted up, announcing that the
cafés, cinema-halls, etc., were to be closed at 8 p.m. Now all these
establishments had been closed since the morning. The Germans must have
lost their heads to make so grotesque an exhibition of themselves.

As a sort of reprisal, the authorities suspended the two newspapers
which had not appeared on the 21st July: _Le Quotidien_ and _L'Écho de
la Presse_. Immediately _La Belgique_, which had appeared, suspended
itself, in order to produce a belief that it was not German! As for the
_Bruxellois_, it said not a word of the striking demonstration of the

In other Belgian towns the shops were closed. In Antwerp more than the
shops were closed; the bureau of German passports, in the Place Verte,
announced, by means of two written notices, in German and Flemish, that
it was closed for the 21st July. The Germans were trying to repeat the
trick of the ivy-leaf. In vain, however, since the 21st was to occur
only once!

At Gand the Germans forbade the closing of the shops. And the latter
were all open. But in many windows one saw, instead of the usual
display of goods, a group of articles which comprised a bucket of
water, a scrubbing-brush, and a chamois leather, with an inscription:
"Cleaning To-day."

_The Anniversary of the 4th August._

We must suppose that the unanimity with which the houses of Brussels
were kept shut up touched the Germans in a sore place, for they
prohibited the repetition of their manifestation on the 4th August,
the anniversary of their entrance into Belgium.


  I warn the population of the Brussels district that on the 4th
  August any demonstration, including the decoration of houses by
  means of flags and the wearing of emblems as a demonstration is
  strictly prohibited.

  All gatherings will be dispersed regardless by the armed forces.

  Also I order that on the 4th August all the shops, as well
  as cafés, restaurants, taverns, theatres, cinemas, and other
  establishments of the same kind shall be closed after 8 o'clock in
  the evening (German time). After 9 o'clock in the evening (German
  time) only persons having a special written authorization emanating
  from a German authority may remain in or enter the streets.

  Persons contravening these orders will be punished by a maximum
  imprisonment of five years and a fine which may amount to 10,000
  marks, or one of these penalties to the exclusion of the other.

  The shops and establishments beforementioned which, as a
  demonstration, shall close during the day of the 4th August will
  remain closed for a considerable period of time.


  _1st August, 1915._

The placard announcing these prohibitions forbade us to deck our houses
with flags! Flags, good God! Who then would have dreamed of flying
flags in commemoration of the rupture of an international pact! At the
most the people of Brussels had intended to wear in the buttonhole a
little "scrap of paper." But the wearing of emblems was forbidden.

What the Germans did not think of forbidding was the little
demonstration of sympathy which they received on the evening of the
4th. In conformity with the order, all doors were closed at 20 hours
(9 o'clock German time). But in several of the popular quarters of
Brussels the inhabitants were no sooner indoors than the upper windows
were thrown open, and a deafening concert issued forth, in which
phonographs, alarm clocks, and saucepan-lids were predominant. The
patrols demanded the closing of the windows; but the people climbed on
the roofs to continue their _charivari_ there. The military commandant
was not pleased. It took him only five days to think of an appropriate


  M. Maurice Lemonnier, acting burgomaster of the City of Brussels,
  has just had posted the following communication:--

  "_To the Inhabitants of the Rue de l'Escalier and the Rue du Dam_:

  "I place before you the translation of an extract from a letter
  which I have just received from the German authorities.

  "I call your attention to the penalties announced against those
  who shall contravene the measures ordained by the German Military

  BRUSSELS, _9th August, 1915_.

  _At the Sheriff's College, Brussels._

  ... Even if I am willing to recognize that the Administration
  of the City endeavoured, by means of its organs, to obtain the
  application of the prescribed measures on the 4th of this month,
  there yet remains the fact that in two streets isolated individuals
  were guilty, in a demonstrative manner, of gross misconduct toward
  the German patrols.

  It is to be regretted that it has not been possible to discover the
  persons individually guilty; consequently nothing is left me to do
  but to take measures against the streets in which the offences were

  Consequently I order the following as regards the two streets, Rue
  de l'Escalier and Rue du Dam:

  From Monday, the 9th of this month, and for the space of fourteen
  days, that is to say, until the 23rd of this month inclusively:

  A. All business houses and cafés will be closed after 7 o'clock in
  the evening (German time).

  B. After 9 o'clock in the evening (German time) no one must be
  found out of doors, in the street. After that time all windows
  giving on the street must be closed.

  It is incumbent on the city to communicate the foregoing to the
  inhabitants of these streets, to apply the aforementioned measures,
  and to exercise a strict supervision in order that they may be

  Also I beg you to see that these streets are sufficiently lighted,
  until 11 o'clock at night (German time).

  Moreover, I shall have these streets inspected by German patrols.
  If on this occasion fresh offences are committed against the German
  patrols, these latter will make use of their weapons.

  With my utmost consideration (Avec haute considération distingué),

  (_Signed_) VON KRAEWEL,
  _Governor of Brussels_.

Our tyrants appeared greatly to fear popular demonstrations. The people
of Liége had planned to honour, on the 6th August, in the cemetery,
the soldiers who died for their country during the defence of the city
in August 1914. Immediately the Germans made public their restrictive


  _To the Population._

  Colonel von Soden, Commandant of the Fortress of Liége, has just
  addressed to me the following letter (in translation):--

  "In the course of the morning of Friday, the 6th August,
  commemorative ceremonies will take place at the tombs of the
  soldiers killed in combat.

  "I beg you to bring the foregoing to the notice of the population.

  "I particularly insist that, during the visit to the tombs, or in
  case of participation in the military ceremonies, no demonstrative
  manifestation of any kind must occur."

  LIÉGE, _the 2nd August, 1915_.


  (_Posted at Liége._)

The people of Liége retorted by putting their shops in mourning, and on
the 6th August it was an impressive spectacle to see the shop-windows
throughout the centre of Liége hung with deep violet.

_School Inspection by the Germans._

In the schools the children were for a long time able to sing _La
Brabançonne_ on the sly; but this was not to last. The German
authorities passed a decree against Germanophobe demonstrations in the


  _Article First._

  The members of the teaching staff, school managers and inspectors,
  who, during the occupation, tolerate, favour, provoke, or organize
  Germanophobe manifestations or secret practices will be punished by
  imprisonment for a maximum term of one year.

  _Article Second._

  The German authorities have the right to enter all classes and
  rooms of all schools existing in Belgium, and to supervise the
  teaching and all the manifestations of school life with a view to
  preventing secret practices and intrigues directed against Germany.

  _Article Third._

  Whosoever shall seek to oppose or prevent verifications and
  inquiries relating to infractions mentioned in Article 1, or the
  measures of supervision ordained by Article 2, is liable to a fine
  of 10 to 1,500 marks or to a maximum imprisonment of six months.

  _Article Fourth._

  The infractions provided against in Articles 1 and 3 shall be tried
  by the military courts.

  BRUSSELS, _26th June, 1915_.


Our children will have to unlearn the national anthem, which, in the
present circumstances, is evidently Germanophobe; and the teachers of
history, too, must keep a watch upon their words. During the French
lesson there must be no more recitations of Andrieux' _Le Meunier
de Sans-Souci_. It may even be necessary to make deletions in the
Latin classics; for one can see the military tribunals inflicting
severe penalties on Tacitus, for even in his days _Gallos certare pro
libertate, Batavos, pro gloria, Germanos ad prædam_ (The Gauls fight
for liberty, the Batavians for glory, the Germans for pillage). Another
Latin author who would certainly be proscribed is Velleius Paterculus;
he states in his Roman History: _At illi_ (_Germani_), _quod nisi
expertus vix credat, in summa feritate versutissimi natumque mendacio
genus_ (The Germans ally an extreme ferocity to the greatest knavery;
they are a race born to lie; and one must have mingled with them to
believe this). Velleius Paterculus was a good observer.

       *       *       *       *       *

The morality--or immorality--of this long series of broken engagements,
which might be indefinitely prolonged, has had the result that no one
can any longer put his trust in Germany. None the less does Germany
continue to make promises, and is even annoyed and irritated when one
doubts her word. Thus the Chancellor said, in a speech delivered to the
Reichstag on the 23rd May, 1915, at the time of the negotiations with

"Germany had given her word that the concessions offered [by Germany]
should be actually accorded [by Austria][43]; consequently there could
no longer be any reason for distrust." Italy, strong in the experience
acquired by Belgium, decided, on the other hand, that there was reason
for distrust from the moment Germany pledged her word; and accordingly
she broke off negotiations in order to declare war.

C.--Incitements to Disunion.

_Divide et impera_ ("Divide in order to rule") is a maxim which has
largely inspired the Germans in their relations with the Belgians. They
therefore do their utmost to divide the nation from its King, to excite
the Belgians one against another, and finally to kindle discord between
our Allies and ourselves.

We have just seen by what unjustifiable methods, after promising to
respect our patriotism, they proceeded systematically (as they do
all things) to thwart our sentiments of fidelity to our King and our
nationality. Not content with opposing--sometimes openly, sometimes
with hypocrisy--all our loyalist manifestations, they endeavour to
embroil us with our Sovereigns.

_Incitements to Disloyalty._

While they accuse the Belgian nation of having sold itself to the
Triple Entente, they hold the King personally responsible for this
"conspiracy." Having become the "valet" or the "slave" of England, the
Sovereign could not accept the friendly hand which the Kaiser tendered
him on two occasions--the 2nd and the 9th of August, 1914.

At Antwerp the Germans alone appear to have heard the absurd
declaration, that he vowed to "die in the city with his last
soldiers." Then he betrays his army and "takes to flight, amid the
maledictions of his subjects," deserting them for those that seduced

Then we have him on the Yser, the melancholy king "abandoned by God."
He would ask nothing better than to conclude peace. But England holds
him still in her toils, and prevents him from accomplishing this
wise project. It is _Le Réveil_, that peculiarly truthful newspaper
of Düsseldorf, which reveals this sinister exploit of Albion. The
_Hamburger Nachrichten_ receives the same report from Brussels.


  HAMBURG, _14th November, 1914_.

  From Brussels the _Hamburger Nachrichten_ hears from a very
  reliable source that the report is confirmed which states that
  serious differences exist between Belgium and England--that is,
  that all personal relations are interrupted between King Albert and
  the British Staff.

  The King desires an understanding with Germany, which Great Britain
  is endeavouring by all means to prevent.

  (_Vossische Zeitung_, 15th November, 1914.)

The propagandist pamphlet _Lüttich_ is less severe to our Sovereign,
since it invokes, as an extenuating circumstance, his "blindness,
which verges on stupidity." Incommensurable pride or imbecility--such
are the characteristics of King Albert! Do these paladins of tact and
delicacy show any greater respect for our Queen? Be sure they do not!
An article on King Albert and the Triple Entente, in the _Deutsche
Soldatenpost_ of the 10th October, 1914, a newspaper intended both for
the troops and the Belgian public, states: "From the outset the Queen
was initiated into the King's plans. She has not uttered a single word
of reproach for the horrible brutalities of which the principal victims
were innocent young German girls in Brussels and Antwerp."

Well, we know that none of these "proofs" have shaken our fidelity.
Despite all prohibitions, despite all the fines imposed, thousands of
copies of the portraits of the King in the midst of his troops, and of
the Queen, our dear little Queen, tending the wounded, are sold every
day of the year. The patriotism of the Belgians is certainly incurable!

_The Walloons incited against the Flemings._

So the Germans sought a new device. As they could not cause disunion
between the people and the Sovereign, they tried to sow dissension
between the citizens themselves, by envenoming the problem of language
and reviving political rancour.

At first they exploited, in the most virulent manner, the
Flemish-Walloon conflict. As in all countries in which several tongues
are spoken, there is naturally in Belgium a struggle between the
Flemings, who speak a Germanic language, and occupy the northern
portion of the country, and the Walloons, who speak a Latin tongue,
and occupy the southern provinces. But this conflict, however lively
it may have been, has never touched the foundations of our national
conscience, and we have always felt ourselves Belgians before

At the outset, confesses Herr Kurd von Strantz, the Germans did not
realize what profit they might derive from the antagonism of races in
Belgium: an antagonism which they believed to be profound, but which
was only skin-deep. Since the month of August, however, they have been
trying to make up for lost time; they no longer lose a single occasion
to excite the Flemings against the Walloons, and in particular they
seek to make the latter believe that the Flemings already entertain
feelings of sympathy towards their executioners.

Only two months after the occupation of the capital the Germans,
organizing their conquest, attempted to win over the Flemings
by feigning to espouse their grievances and by exploiting their
racial relationship, in order to divide them from their Walloon
fellow-citizens. Suddenly, in the official communiqués, Flemish took
the place until then occupied by French, and the German newspapers
began to display a touching sympathy for their "Flemish brothers,"
and for their country and their art. We did not even need to read the
article published by the _Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant_ on the 11th
December (which was seen by M. Paul Hymans), in order to divine, at the
root of these sudden and simultaneous manifestations, the orders issued
by the German official circles.

For it was not thus during the first weeks of the occupation. Then
correspondence was permissible only in French and German: Flemish was
not tolerated. The official notices were printed in French and German
only. Then, on the 25th August, the Government placards appeared in
German, French, and Flemish. Finally, on the 1st October, Flemish had
the advantage of French. Although from the standpoint of Belgian law
the latter measure was legal in the Brussels district, the by-law
ordering the cinema-houses to publish their programmes in Flemish
as well as French was not so; very often the manager is innocent of
Flemish, and the Flemish programme is spelt in the most fantastic
manner. Absolutely illegal, too, is the by-law compelling shopkeepers
in Bruges and Ostend to replace their French shop-signs by signs
written in Flemish. Still more galling was the outcome of a certain
trial at Tongres. Some young men, Flemings and Walloons, were accused
of the same offence. They were inscribed on separate lists, according
to their origin. The Walloons were condemned to severer penalties than
those inflicted on the Flemings. One sees the double object here: to
mollify the Flemings and to make the Walloons suspicious of them. We
may compare this with the fact that the majority of the Flemish civil
prisoners have been repatriated, while the Walloons are still in

However, the daily task of insinuation and persuasion is undertaken
by the German press. In the first place it lays stress on the great
affinity of character, historical past, origin, and language between
the Germans and the Flemings (_Düss. Gen. Anz._, 4th December, 1914).
The Germans must humour the Flemings and make friends with them. One
reason why it would not do to treat Belgium more harshly (as had been
demanded) is that there is a racial relationship between a portion
of the population and that of Germany. There is no Belgian people
(_Voss. Zeit._, 1st March, 1915). Much is made of the distant echoes
of the linguistic quarrel (_Voss. Zeit._, 1st March, 1915; _K.Z._,
18th March, 1915; _Frankf. Zeit._, 24th March, 1915; Osswald, _Zur
Belgischen Frage_).--The ill-feeling of the Flemings toward the "purely
Walloon" Belgian Government must be fomented (_Frankf. Zeit._, 24th
March, 1915), and also their dislike of the Belgian press printed in
the French tongue, both Government and press having been long ago
won over to France and the hatred of Germany (_K.Z._, 15th November,
1915). _La Croix Rouge_ is published in three languages, Flemish
preceding even German, and the French occupying only the extreme right
of the sheet; each number contains only one _feuilleton_, and that is
a novel in Flemish. A little Flemish conversation manual--_Vlamischer
Sprachführer_--is published in Düsseldorf for the use of Germans,
and of soldiers in particular. In order to compromise the Flemish,
the Germans pretend that well-known Flemings are already working
hand-in-hand with the German administration. It is even stated that a
pro-German group of young Flemings exists (_K.Z._, 18th March, 1915).
In verse translations, the _Dietsch_ or _duitsch_ of the Flemish poets
is rendered by "German," whereas these words signify simply the Flemish
or Dutch language (_Lüttich_, p. 127; _Köln. Volksz._, 25th January,
1915). Herr Karl Lamprecht, the well-known historian, who knew that his
translation was dishonest, was one of those who translated _dietsch_
by "German" (_Die Woche_, No. 12, 1915). Better still, in the same
article Herr Lamprecht feigns to believe that by the expression _Noord
en Zuid_ Emmanuel Hiel intended to denote the Germans and the Flemings;
whereas he is speaking--and no confusion is possible--of the Dutch
(Noord-Nederlanders), and the Flemings (Zuid-Nederlanders).

A short story by M. Maurice Sabbe was published in the _Berliner
Tageblatt_ on the 25th December, 1914, with an introduction which was
peculiarly compromising to the author's patriotic sentiments. His
extremely plain reply was as follows:--


  (_Reproduction prohibited._)


  Professor of Germanic Languages at the Malines Athenæum.

  (The sketch was preceded by a brief introduction, which we quote.)

  The sketch we publish here deserves particular attention. Maurice
  Sabbe is a scholar and a Flemish writer of repute, who, during the
  bombardment of Malines, fled into Holland. Sabbe knows Germany,
  thanks to a long residence at Weimar, and the military situation
  has not succeeded in destroying his feeling, which is exempt from
  prejudice, for Germany and Germanism. He expresses his opinion with
  sympathy in the lectures which he is delivering in Holland, and,
  in the same spirit, he has addressed, through his translator, to
  a German journal, the _Berliner Tageblatt_, this short story of
  life in Malines, which describes an episode of the war: the first
  contribution which, coming from Belgium and written by a Belgian
  during the war, has been destined to find publication in Germany.

  (_Berliner Tageblatt_, 25th December, 1914.)

  BUSSUM, _28th December, 1914_.


  I beg your hospitality for the following lines:--

  In the November number (1914) of the review _Onze Eeuw_ I published
  a literary version of an episode of the bombardment of Malines.
  A Dutch writer, M. E. Meier, requested my permission for the
  publication of a translation of this sketch in a German newspaper.
  I granted it him without hesitation and even with a certain
  pleasure. My narrative emphasized the kindness and magnanimity of
  my countrymen towards their enemies, and, at a moment when the
  German press was accusing every Belgian of being a franc-tireur,
  I thought myself fortunate to be able to place a contrary example
  beneath the eyes of the German public.

  I left the choice of newspaper to my translator, and the
  translation appeared in the Christmas number of the _Berliner

  But here the plot thickens. Unknown to me, the editors of the
  _Berliner Tageblatt_ prefaced my story with a notice highly
  compromising to me. It asserts, in short, that I have German
  sympathies which the war has not succeeded in shaking, that I am
  giving lectures in Holland in order to express these feelings, and
  that I wrote my short story especially to be published in Germany!

  The last assertion is already contradicted by the fact that the
  sketch in question is a translation of the text which appeared in
  a French review two months ago. As for my sentiments, they are
  what they have always been, those of a Belgian unshakably attached
  to his unhappy country and his noble King. These, and no others,
  are the feelings I have expressed in my lectures in Holland. My
  numerous auditors can testify to this.

  You will give me a sensible pleasure, sir, by inserting this
  letter, thus assisting me to avoid any misunderstanding.

  Accept, etc.,

This is only a detail in the conflict we are sustaining against
invading Germany, but it is a very instructive detail, because it shows
that before accepting any assertion on the part of our oppressors we
must always ask ourselves how much of it is a lie. The same question
arises _à propos_ of a letter written by a Fleming living at Liége
and speaking "in the name of the Flemish population of Liége," which
aspires to live under the German domination. By the singularities of
his syntax and his orthography this Fleming from Liége can only be of
German origin (_Düss. Gen. Anz._, 11th February, 1915).

Once there was even a kind word spoken for the Walloons, vindicating
the dignity of their dialects, which are by no means dependent on
the French. (It is true this bold assertion comes from Herr Kurd von

_Inciting the People against the Belgian Government._

On the other hand, they hope to detach the Belgian people from its
Government. Especially during the siege of Antwerp did they heap
effort on effort of this kind. It was then greatly to their interest
to send as many troops as possible to the Western front (so says
Lieutenant-General Imhoff, in his introduction to Delbrück's _Der
Deutsche Krieg in Feldpostbriefen_, pp. 11 to 13). Now hundreds
of thousands of their men were delayed in Belgium by the siege of
Antwerp. At all costs these had to be liberated in order to lengthen
the battle-front towards the north-west and the sea. Towards the
middle of September they did not hesitate for the third time to make
peace proposals to the Government--proposals which were rejected with
disdain, as were the previous ones (pp. 50-1). After this repeated
diplomatic failure they attempted trickery, a speciality in which
they shine to more advantage. As they could not succeed in directly
influencing the leaders of Belgian politics, they endeavoured to act
on them indirectly through the people. A newspaper was established,
_L'Écho de Bruxelles_, "for the general welfare," to which a certain
"Aristide" contributed. He professed to be an occasional correspondent,
although his articles were really the pretext for issuing the paper.

In the first number he published a detestable letter in which he
called upon the Belgian Government at all costs to make peace with
Germany. This proceeding was so improper that the _N.R.C._ even, while
reprinting the letter, could not refrain from criticizing it harshly.
In No. 4, which appeared on the 4th October, 1914, and which was
entirely devoted to an attempt to cause mental anxiety in the people
of Brussels, he condemned as unpatriotic "the man who does not rise
up to cry to the people of Antwerp that they must cease from this
sanguinary, disastrous, and useless struggle for a cause which is not
ours." The same accusation was made against "those divisional Generals
whom the laurels of General Leman will not allow to sleep." "The
laurels of General Leman, great God!" he adds, and thereupon he moves
heaven and earth to prove the notorious insufficiency of the valiant
defender of Liége. No, he says, "the true and only heroes of this
melancholy war in Belgium are those who ... have proposed to treat with
Germany. These, Ministers and generals, have given proof of courage
and wisdom, exposing themselves to the vengeance of a mob over-excited
by a system of lies and delusions.... And the public will kick out
these French journalists and these hawkers of French journals who for
years have whispered hatred of neighbour against neighbour, the latter
being the best customer Belgium possessed." We have cited only the
more scandalous portions of this article, ignoring the merely ignoble

While "Aristide" was endeavouring to influence the civil population,
aeroplanes were distributing to the Belgian troops in Antwerp
circulars, printed in French, and in another language which had a
certain resemblance to Flemish; and these strange handbills informed
the Belgian soldiers that they had been deceived by their officers and
by the authorities; that the Belgian army was fighting for the British
and the Russians, etc.


  BRUSSELS, _1st October, 1914_.


  Your blood and your whole salvation, you are not giving them at
  all to your beloved country; you are only serving the interest
  of Russia, a country which desires only to increase its already
  enormous power, and, above all, the interest of England, whose
  perfidious avarice has given birth to this cruel and unheard-of
  war. From the commencement your newspapers, paid from French and
  English sources, have never ceased to deceive you, telling you
  nothing but lies as to the causes of the war and the battles which
  have followed, and this is still done every day. Consider one of
  your army orders which affords fresh proof of this. This is what it

  "You have been told that your comrades who are prisoners in Germany
  have been forced to march against Russia beside our soldiers." Yet
  your common sense must tell you that this would be a measure quite
  impossible to execute. When the day comes when your comrades who
  are prisoners return from our country and tell you with how much
  benevolence they have been treated, their words will make you blush
  for what your newspapers, and your officers, have dared to tell
  you, in order to deceive you in so incredible a manner. Every day
  of resistance makes you sustain irreparable losses, while with the
  capitulation of Antwerp you will be free from all anxiety. Belgian
  soldiers, you have fought enough for the interests of the princes
  of Russia, for those of the capitalists of perfidious Albion. Your
  situation is one to despair of. Germany, who is fighting only for
  her life, has destroyed two Russian armies. To-day no Russian is to
  be found in our country. In France our troops are about to overcome
  the last resistance. If you wish to rejoin your wives and children,
  if you wish to return to your work, in a word, if you wish for
  peace, put an end to this useless struggle, which is ending only
  in your ruin. Then you will quickly enjoy all the benefits of a
  favourable and perfect peace.

  _Commander-in-Chief of the Besieging Army_.

When examples of this circular were brought to us in Brabant, we at
first thought it was a hoax. But we had to submit to the evidence; the
idea of this proclamation had really been conceived and executed by the

After the fall of Antwerp the campaign continued. Was it not necessary
to prevent the Belgians from going to join the Allies in the direction
of Flanders? With this end in view, the Germans attempted to throw
suspicion on the conduct of the Belgian military authorities at the
time of the taking of Antwerp. It was again the _Écho de Bruxelles_
which was entrusted with the publication of the first false news.
Shortly after the accomplishment of this pleasant task, the _Écho de
Bruxelles_ disappeared for ever: doubtless it was no longer required.

As for the defamatory libels which were uttered in November and
December, in order to incriminate the conduct of the civil authorities
of Antwerp, it is not yet known by whom they were instigated, worded,
and distributed; but we have a reasonable conviction that the Germans
were not unaware of them. In any case they did what they could to
profit by this disagreement, and they also did their best--in vain--to
revive the question when the Belgians, by common accord, had settled
their differences.

But the Germans had not yet given up the idea of fomenting conflicts
among us. In an article entitled _Belgische Umstimmigkeiten_ (Change
of Temper in Belgium) the _Kölnische Zeitung_ of the 22nd November,
1914 (2nd morning edition) referred to a telegram from Berlin which
stated that news received from Breda (according to the _Berliner
Lokal-Anzeiger_) asserted that seven Belgian officers had deserted
and had there been interned. To verify this was very difficult, the
more so as in November 1914 no postal or telegraphic communication was
permitted between Belgium and Holland. The rest of the article informed
us that on the 5th November--a fortnight before their desertion--these
officers had received from King Albert the Cross of the Order of
Leopold: they had thus waited to desert until they had been made the
object of special distinction, which is at least peculiar. And then,
setting out from the Yser, they crossed the German lines to be interned
at Breda, in Northern Brabant. Strange! strange! And all this in order
to inform us that these officers, disheartened by the servile and
treacherous attitude of the King, refused again to send their men into
battle, for the sake of the English.

_Inciting the Belgians against the English._

It will be remarked that the English always receive a good share of the
venomous slime which the Germans, as M. Spitteler says, spit upon the
King, the Government, and the Belgian authorities. "England--there is
the enemy!" says the _Hassgesang Gegen England_--i.e. _Song of Hatred
of England_, the work of Herr Ernst Lissauer.

  _We love but with a single love,
  We hate but with a single hate;
  We have one foe, and one alone--

It would be tedious to mention all the innumerable articles intended
to arouse in us a hatred of England. We may mention the opinion of
Dr. Hedin, reproduced on the placard of the 9th November, 1914;
the proclamation of Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, inserted, for
our edification, in _Le Réveil_ (29th October), as well as the
declaration imputed to the Flemish "poet" Cyrid Buysse (placard of
12th December, 1914). But these lovers of truth forgot to announce,
a few days later, that M. Buysse denied the truth of the German
declaration. A mere instance of forgetfulness, no doubt, unless the
Amsterdam-Copenhagen-Berlin-Brussels route, which was covered by the
so-called declaration, had suddenly grown too long for truth to travel

D.--A Few Details of the Administration of Belgium.

The preceding chapter has informed us how the Germans bore themselves
towards the inhabitants of the territory occupied in conformity
with--or rather in contravention of--Articles 42-56 of the Hague
Convention. Treachery and untruthfulness are the chief weapons
employed by our enemies. We need not return to the subject. We desire
now merely to refer to some details relating to the administration.
Details, we said; and in truth we shall consider neither the financial
administration of the country, nor its judicial administration, nor
its political administration, nor any of the other great cog-wheels
essential to the life of a nation. We shall confine ourselves to very
simple facts which any one can remark and understand.

(_a_) _Present Prosperity in Belgium._

There is nothing of which the Germans are more proud than their
talent--real or illusory--for organization. Accordingly they professed
their intention of re-establishing the normal state of affairs in
Belgium, in spite of the war, and they are always informing the whole
world that everything has resumed its regular course in our country.

_Assertions of the German Authorities._

Even in his inaugural proclamation (2nd September, 1914), von der
Goltz took the trouble of informing us that work was to be resumed.
But the Germans had placed such impediments in the way of inter-urban
relations that all activities were necessarily suspended. In October
he accorded "facilities of communication," as we were informed by
the announcement of the 15th, which meant that "circulation" was no
longer absolutely prohibited, and that he who had the means to obtain
a passport, and could spend a day or two in procuring it, would
thereafter be authorized to travel from Louvain to Malines, or from
Namur to Liége. As these measures, though so full of solicitude for the
general welfare, did not produce all the results that were expected of
them, the communal authorities were advised to refuse relief to the
unemployed (6th November, 1914). Nothing came of that advice!

To the numerous obstacles already mentioned we must add one other: the
railway-workers and the artisans employed in many of the foundries
and workshops of Belgium were perfectly well aware that their labours
would principally benefit the Germans, so that by returning to their
workshops they would be committing an unpatriotic action. To overcome
this passive resistance the Germans multiplied their proclamations in
the industrial centres. It was wasted effort.

In the meantime the Governor-General, in the vain hope of galvanizing
the labour organizations, sent to Germany for well-known Socialists,
who, under the pretext of having a chat with the leaders of the trades
unions, were really to inculcate the idea that it was their duty to
urge a resumption of work. The visits of the German Socialists have
been described by M. Dewinne, of Brussels, a militant worker, in the
Parisian journal _L'Humanité_.

Infatuated as the Germans might be, they could hardly delude themselves
as to the failure of their attempts at subornation. This did not
prevent Baron von Bissing from issuing declarations dealing with the
situation which were truly touching in their sincerity.



  VIENNA, _19th December_.--The Sofia correspondent of the _Neue
  Freie Presse_ has had an interview with Field-Marshal von der
  Goltz, who declared: "The situation in Belgium is entirely normal.
  The Belgian population is acquiring the conviction that the Germans
  are anything but cruel."


  BERLIN, _15th December_.--To the correspondent of the _Hamburger
  Korrespondent_, the new Governor-General in Belgium, General
  Baron von Bissing, has made the following declarations: I wish to
  maintain order and tranquillity in this country, which has become
  the base of operations for our troops. Our army must know that
  order prevails behind it, so that it may always give its attention
  freely only to what lies before it. I hope also that I shall
  succeed, hand in hand with the civil administration, in doing a
  great deal for the economic situation. When the Emperor appointed
  me Governor-General he charged me, with particular insistence, to
  do everything to assist the weak in Belgium, and to encourage them.


_The Parasitical Exploitation of Belgium admitted by Germany._

But, you may ask, had not Germany other than military reasons for
wishing to revive the economic life of Belgium? A semi-official
article in the _Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_, which was brought
to our cognizance by the _Düsseldorfer General-Anzeiger_ of the 30th
December, 1914, informs us upon this point. The article emanates
from Governmental circles in Brussels, probably from the immediate
_entourage_ of the Governor-General. Its object is to reply to the
complaints formulated in Germany, according to which the authorities
deal too gently with the Belgians. Instead of trying to revive Belgian
industry, it would be better, say the critics, to crush it completely,
in order to suppress future competition: on the other hand, it is
claimed that the contribution of 480 million frs. is insufficient to
reduce us to impotence, and that we ought to have been more severely
"squeezed." The German Government in Belgium defends itself briskly
against the reproach of sentimentality; it asserts that it has never
allowed itself to be guided by an exaggerated mildness (and we are
ready to declare that on this point at least its assertions maybe
credited!). It would surely not be very intelligent, it protests, to
strangle outright a country so ill-directed. Would it not be preferable
to exploit Belgium scientifically, so as to make her yield as much as
possible? The argument amounts to this: do not let us kill the goose
that lays the golden eggs; but of course it is understood, although one
need not express it explicitly, that when it is no longer in condition
to lay, we shall not hesitate to cut its throat.

_The Tenfold Tax on Absentees._

Many Belgians have left the country. That is easily understood. Those
who were present at the massacres of Visé, Louvain, Dinant, Termonde
... hastened, in their terror, to abandon those haunts of horror.
Those who lived in the towns left intact, such as Brussels and Gand,
but who heard people talk of the massacres and the burnings, had also
only one idea: to fly before the arrival of the Germans. Even those
Belgians who did not leave at the outset eventually grew weary of the
insupportable vexations inflicted on us by the authorities. Others took
flight because they knew themselves to be threatened with imprisonment.
Moreover, many of those who had means had prudently retired to foreign
countries, to the great fury of the Germans; there was no way of
getting at these "bad patriots," as it seems a German-Swiss journal
called them (_K.Z._, 11th February, 1915); no way of forcing them
to pay war-taxes. Moreover, it was these _émigrés_ who should have
kept alive the industries _de luxe_; finally, they were conspiring
together abroad, and rendering services to the Belgian Government at
Havre. If only they could be forced to return! Our enemies accepted
with enthusiasm an unlucky proposal--made by certain communal
administrations and immediately withdrawn by them--that the absent
persons should be subjected to a special tax, equal to ten times the
personal tax. The communal councils which conceived the idea of this
tax immediately realized its illegality, but Baron von Bissing seized
the occasion which this afforded him of persecuting the _émigrés_. He
published, on the 16th January, a special decree on the subject of
the "additional extraordinary tax upon absentees" (_Belg. All._). It
may be remarked that the tax touches only those who possess a certain

Here are two facts which show how far life was normal in Belgium in the
spring of 1915, and how far the Belgian workers were delighted to place
themselves at the service of Germany.

_Railway Traffic in Belgium._

(_a_) An article in the _Düsseldorfer General-Anzeiger_ of the 19th
April, 1915 (morning), asserts that the traffic on the Belgian railways
is beginning to revive; indeed, says the writer, there are thirty-eight
trains daily leaving the Gare du Nord in Brussels. He exaggerates
slightly. Six weeks later, when traffic had become more active, a
table, dated the 30th May, 1915, which appeared in the "Belgian"
newspaper _L'Information_, gave the movements of trains in the Gare du
Nord and Gare du Midi of Brussels for the month of June. We find that
only thirty-four departures are given for the two stations. Thirty-four
trains in June 1915--and in June 1914 there were 292. Compare the

_Trouble with the Artisans of Luttre._

(_b_) The insufficiency of the number of trains is in reality one of
the things that most embarrasses the German authorities (see _Frank.
Zeit._, 16th January, 1915, first morning edition). In and about the
railway workshops, for example, on the sidings at Luttre, there are
hundreds of locomotives out of repair and waiting for attention. But
the workers employed in these shops do not intend to work for the
Germans. In vain do the latter protest that engines repaired by the
Belgians shall be employed only for Belgian traffic. What guarantee
have they that the locomotives will not serve to transport German
troops, or munitions intended to kill our brothers? Is it not a matter
of public notoriety that a contract is merely a scrap of paper?

To enable the workers to resist the solicitations of the Germans the
necessary relief has been distributed for the maintenance of their
families. The Germans know very well that it is this money which
prevents them from subduing the workers to their will. They therefore
proceed with the utmost severity against the persons whose duty it is
to distribute the relief. Early in April 1915 they imprisoned thirty
of the notables of Luttre, Nivelles, and the neighbourhood, whom
they accused of assisting the working staff of the Luttre workshops.
A German official declared that the prisoners had been arrested
neither by the civil authority nor the military, and that they would
not proceed to trial. At the same time the administrations of the
communes neighbouring upon Luttre were forced to display a proclamation
requiring the men to resume work. Among the promises made to those who
should resume work was one that the prisoners should be liberated.
So thirty notables were thrown into prison, and kept there, in order
to force Belgian artisans to work for the Germans! When it was found
that in spite of everything the men would not return to the shops, the
prisoners were sentenced to undergo various punishments, the maximum
term of imprisonment being three months. As for the recalcitrant
workers, many were sent to Germany, where they were treated in the most
inhuman fashion.

_Traffic Suppressed at Malines._

At the construction shops of Malines the Germans went a different way
to work. There again workers were needed to repair railway material.
Three hundred were called for. As they did not present themselves their
addresses were obtained, and one fine morning soldiers called at their
houses and _manu militari_ led them to the shops. But there the men
folded their arms and persisted in doing nothing. The Germans had to
let them go.

How to obtain their submission? The Germans threatened to suppress
all traffic in Malines. A singular fashion of punishing workless men
who refuse to betray their country, especially after declaring that
the only "guilty" persons were those who had organized the collective
refusal to work! (_La Belgique_, 9th June, 1915). But, in accordance
with the juridical principle that "the innocent must suffer with the
guilty," our enemies punished the market-gardeners of the Malines
district and prevented them from sending their cabbages and rhubarb and
peas and asparagus to market.

After the lapse of some days the Governor-General removed the
prohibition. But he did not wish it to seem that he had repented of his
decision, however unreasonable the latter might be, so to keep himself
in countenance he posted up a statement that a sufficient number of
workers had resumed work (placard of 10th June, 1915). However, the
Baron von Bissing cannot have been ignorant of the fact that none of
the strikers of the Malines workshops had returned; the only workers
whom the Germans had been able to recruit were some unemployed persons
from Lierre, Boom, and Duffel, who had never set foot in the shops
before. As they could not be employed in the manufacture of railway
material, they were made to dig trenches in the direction of Wavre-Ste
Catherine and Duffel.

The workers whom the soldiers led to the shops by force related that
their escort begged them not to resume work, because they would then
be obliged to leave Malines and to go to the Yser, a prospect which
inspired them with the keenest terror.

(_b_) _The Germans' Talent for Organization._

"The industrial and commercial prosperity" which Belgium is at present
enjoying is, of course, due to the Germans' incontestable spirit of
organization. "This sense of discipline and order, which the foreigner
calls militarism" (_Voss. Zeit._, 12th February, 1915, morning), has
enabled the officers of the reserve to accomplish such wonderful things
that Herr Oswald F. Schütte, correspondent of the _Chicago Daily News_
(see _K.Z._, 6th May, 1915, first morning edition) can scarcely find
the words to describe them. "We understand," adds the same journalist,
"that the Government at Havre does not look with a favourable eye upon
the success with which the German administration has once more made
life worth living in Belgium."

They are certainly something to be wondered at, the officers who are
administering our country. Would you have proof? The Belgian officials
of the Bridges and Highways Department refused to obey the Germans,
so that the latter appointed their engineer officers to direct the
work of repairing roads. But the work was naturally carried out by
Belgian contractors. On macadamized roads the breaking of stones, which
formerly cost from 18 to 22 centimes per square metre (about 2d. per
square yard), now costs 60 to 65 centimes. Good business, you will say,
for the contractors and their men. But no!--the difference goes into
the pockets of the officers.

_Conflict between Authorities._

This method of procedure naturally results in conflicts between the
various administrations. We have already related (p. 157) that the
city of Brussels was condemned to pay a fine of half a million francs
because the civilians and the soldiers were in disagreement. Muddles
of this kind testify to something quite different from a brilliant
talent for organization, which the Germans would have us believe is the
distinguishing mark of their administration.

_Suppression of the Bureau of Free Assessment._

In order to give the impression that they alone are capable of
re-starting the economic machine in Belgium, the Germans begin by
dislocating the existing machinery. Thus, a group of advocates and
surveyors created a bureau for the gratuitous assessment of the damage
caused by the war to real estate. This body was working to the general
satisfaction, when suddenly, in March 1915, the Germans decided to
take its place. Now observe their methods. The applicant who wishes
the damage suffered by his property to be estimated has to begin by
paying a provisional deposit, after which he finds that the costs of
the assessment have to be paid out of his own pocket. What this really
comes to is this: the Germans, having burned a house and reduced its
owner to poverty, demand that the latter shall pay in advance for the
evaluation of the damage done.

_The Belgian Red Cross Committee Suppressed._

Another example of the suppression of a body working in a normal
manner. As soon as they occupied Brussels the Germans began to meddle
in the doings of the Directing Committee of the Red Cross Society,
and appointed a delegate to the Society. They then tried to force
the Red Cross to exceed its duties, which were clearly specified
by the international convention known as the _Convention for the
Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the
Field_. Neither in the text of the Convention of 1869, nor in that
of the Convention of 1906, is there any question of other patients
than soldiers wounded during hostilities. Doubtless it is a matter
for praise if the Red Cross of each country should extend its action
to needs existing in time of peace; in Belgium, for example, the Red
Cross has organized ambulances in the International Exhibitions. But
it is none the less true that its essential mission, and the only
mission foreseen by the International Convention, is to ameliorate the
condition of soldiers who are victims of warfare. It was therefore an
abuse of the Red Cross to impose other aims upon it; to compel it,
for example, to organize "the relief and support of women by means
of labour." The Red Cross of Belgium decided, with abundant reason,
that it could not in time of war assume novel functions, nor, above
all, could it set apart for the same sums of money which were largely
derived from private subscriptions entrusted to it for the succour of
the wounded; it therefore refused to involve itself. After lengthy
negotiations the Governor-General suspended the Belgian managing
committee from its functions, and seized the funds.

We should mention that the Central Administration of the Red Cross,
sitting in Geneva, decided that the Brussels Committee was in the right.

Attempting to justify their illegal attitude, the German authorities
established a special journal, _La Croix Rouge, Bulletin officiel de la
Croix Rouge de Belgique_, printed in Flemish, French, and German. This
journal continues to pretend that the Belgian Committee was legally
dissolved, as it would not "assist the people in the present melancholy

In vain did the Germans endeavour to put the world off the scent
as to their intentions. They knew perfectly well that the National
Committee of Relief and Alimentation patronized and subsidized
without distinction all the benevolent undertakings which applied to
it (p. 176). The real aim of our enemies is to supplant the National
Committee. This committee is a private institution in which they have
no voice, which greatly annoys them; at most they can endeavour to
make it believed that the revictualling of Belgium is effected with
their assistance. But this, as may be supposed, is not enough for them;
their real aim, their unavowed object, is to obtain entire control of
the National Committee, in order to exercise there also their talent
for organization--or, more precisely, their talent for peculation.
The 40,000,000 frs. per month does not sate their appetite. What an
indefinite perspective of fleshpots could they only lay hands on the
revictualling of Belgium!

The whole affair of the Red Cross was conducted with annoying
duplicity--annoying even to us, who nevertheless were beginning to
grow accustomed to their campaign of lies. For months there were
negotiations between the Belgium Managing Committee and the German
authorities, represented by the Graf von Hatzfeld-Trachenberg. At each
interview the latter brought forth fresh demands on the part of the
Governor-General, but he always added that he was acting reluctantly,
and that in his opinion the demands were unjustified; only, of course,
he had to obey. (This is, by the way, the classic procedure. Whenever a
German commits a dirty action he entrenches himself behind discipline.)
These lame discussions lasted until the 16th April, 1915; upon a final
refusal on the part of the Belgian Committee to exceed its proper
functions, Graf von Hatzfeld-Trachenberg gave orders for the decree of
dissolution to be read.

(_c_) _The Belgian Attitude toward the Germans._

Our enemies spread the report that the relations between occupants and
inhabitants were greatly improving, and that the Belgians had abandoned
their provocative attitude, which was so unpleasant at the outset of
the war. They also asserted that by the end of October the people
at Antwerp had ceased to display any antipathy towards them (_Köln.
Volksz._, 30th October, 1914, morning edition).[44] But, in truth, they
flattered themselves when they stated that the Belgium people regarded
them with glances full of hatred. Hatred? No; merely glances full of
disdain, when by chance one could not do otherwise than gaze at them;
but, as a rule, the Belgians turn their eyes away, as they turn their
backs upon German music.

At Liége, in Brussels and Antwerp, and at Malines, when an officer
addresses a Belgian the latter pretends not to hear (_N.R.C._, 20th
October, 1914, morning edition), or simply states that he has not
time to speak to the other; or he replies in Flemish; or else, having
affected to listen to him with all the marks of the most exquisite
politeness, he leaves the German standing still without replying a
word. The ladies more often reply, but it is only to beg the Germans
not to speak to them. The officer who asks his way is almost certain to
be sent in a contrary direction; while he who climbs on the platform of
a tram finds that all the passengers immediately turn their backs upon
him; and this rotation is executed with the regularity and precision
of a reflex movement. The officer who begs a a passer-by to lend him
his cigar that he may obtain a light, sees the other disgustedly
throw away the cigar which an enemy has touched. The child whom an
officer condescends to caress pushes away his hand with an indignant
expression, and makes the ugliest grimace he knows of. In short, they
are the objects of universal detestation.

Perhaps it will be said that this attitude is peculiar to the towns
which have been little or not at all affected by the war. But no! In
localities which were largely burned down, such as Aerschot, Eppeghem,
Dinant, and Louvain, the population behaves in a manner even more
characteristic. At Dinant the children sing at the tops of their voices
a _Marseillaise_ with new words, expressly anti-German, in which a good
deal is said about pigs. At Louvain some officers who used to amuse
themselves with a phonograph which reproduced the record of the song
_Gloria, Vittoria_, had to give up using it in June 1915, because the
passers-by accompanied the refrains with other words: _Gloria, Italia_.
At Eppeghem and Aerschot the children play at soldiers, with Belgian
police bonnets on their heads, yelling _La Brabançonne_. One would say
the sight of those calcined ruins, far from intimidating the Belgians,
as the butchers had hoped, only whets their rebellious spirits, and
that the certainty of final success has completely effaced, in the soul
of the people, the memory of the terrors experienced at the time of the
burnings and killings.

Not only is the Belgian population far from fraternizing with them,
as they try to make the world believe, but it neglects no opportunity
of proving that it is animated by very different feelings. It must be
confessed that when we openly wear the Belgian or American colours it
is with a double object: to advertise our attachment to our country,
or our gratitude to America, and also to make the Germans furious. The
little celluloid portraits of the King and Queen which one wears in the
buttonhole serve the same purposes. After the Germans had imprisoned
M. Max in a German prison many people displayed his portrait. This was
extremely disagreeable to our enemies (_Köln. Volksz._, 30th September,
1914, morning edition); but precisely for that reason people persisted
in wearing the little medallion until the German police demanded its
forcible removal.

When the Governor-General, in the interviews which he granted the
correspondents of the _N.A.Z._ and the _Berliner Tageblatt_, pretended
to regard the wearing of the Belgian or American colours as a piece of
childish mischief, he was simply trying to put them off the scent, for
he of all people had no illusions as to the significance of the ribbons
which the Belgians are wearing in their buttonholes. This significance
was as follows: The Germans pretend (1) that their armies are
victorious and will remain so; (2) that they will be able to dictate
their terms, and will annex Belgium; (3) that this will be easy, as
the Belgians are already abandoning their provocative attitude, and
are beginning to fraternize with their persecutors. For the moment we
cannot reply publicly to lies 1 and 2; as to 3, any Belgian who wears
a little rosette tacitly proclaims that he does not wish to be taken
for a craven, and that his anti-German feelings have lost none of their

Other Germans try to deceive their compatriots as to the feeling of the
Belgians for their oppressors. Here is what Herr Walter Nissen says,
the Bruxelles correspondent of the _Düss. Gen.-Anz._ (23rd July, 1915):

  "Opinion in Belgium is daily becoming more conciliatory. Belgium
  may, for the moment, be compared with a woman who is beginning to
  love despite herself, and who, through pride and vexation, says
  'No!' as loudly as possible, for fear anyone should see what is
  happening to her. But one does see it, despite the ribbons of the
  national colours--indeed precisely on that account."

Is this incurable blindness? Is it an ineradicable spirit of falsehood?
Does Herr Nissen really doubt the sincerity of our anti-German
manifestations? During the months he has lived in our midst he must
have discovered that we do, systematically, everything we can to
displease the Germans, until they issue decrees of prohibition.

Here is a last trait which can leave no one in doubt as to the feelings
of the Belgians. In March 1915 the German authorities organized a
concert in the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. There were only three
known Belgians present, among them a professor of the University of
Brussels. The University showed its disapproval by sending him to

(_d_) _Behaviour of the German Administration._

The preceding pages have already informed the reader that the Germans
have not accustomed us to look for either gentleness or sincerity. But
hitherto we have not insisted on their administrative procedure, which
nevertheless deserves examination.

But first let us picture to ourselves the mental condition of the
Belgians since August 1914. Cut off from all intellectual relations
with foreign countries, we receive independent newspapers only in
secret, at the peril of our liberty, or even of our lives. Every
day, on the other hand, the newspapers, mutilated by the censorship,
printing only the news--often false--which is favourable to the
Germans, are instilling their slow poison into our brains. No
matter: the people still repulse all attempts to foment disunion and
demoralization; they pull their belts a little tighter rather than
go to work for the enemy; they continue, to the last, to display our
colours; in short, they have retained, unshaken and unshakable, their
faith in our just cause and the final victory.

The German newspapers are full of admiring articles describing the
firmness of mind evinced by the German people, for they, too, consent
to certain privations to ensure the success of their arms. Wonderful!
The German people are unfailingly encouraged by their newspapers,
their pastors and priests, their schoolmasters and professors, and by
lectures and innumerable pamphlets. Everything that might cause their
resolution to falter is carefully concealed from them. They are,
moreover, accustomed to hold no other opinions than those which are
officially presented to them. To falter, under these circumstances,
would be almost incomprehensible. But in our country, on the other
hand, everything is done to exhaust us, to dishearten us. The least
success of the German arms becomes the "final crushing" of the enemy;
the executions of Belgians who have aided their country are immediately
advertised on every hand; and, finally, we are prevented, by every
imaginable means, from spreading good news or preaching confidence.
That in spite of all the Belgian should retain his tranquillity of mind
and even his good humour is almost unbelievable, but it is true.

Here, then, is a population which is systematically refused the
least item of comforting information, but which, on the other hand,
is treated prodigally to everything of a nature to demoralize it;
a population which, in order not to sink into despair, has to
make an effort every moment of the day; a country in which it is
strictly forbidden to do anything to encourage those who may suffer
from a temporary depression, or to sustain and reassure those who
feel themselves threatened. Is it not obvious that such pitiful
psychologists as the Germans will resort to intimidation to reduce this
population to their mercy? Everything is magnified into an offence,
and all offences are punished by the heaviest penalties; the Germans
even going so far as to threaten with death him who spreads "false
news"--that is to say, who communicates news to his fellow-citizens
which is displeasing to the Germans.

_The Appeal to Informers._

The placards already cited show amply the diversity of the offences
which may be committed, and the punishments which may be inflicted. But
we must not forget those notices which order the inhabitants, often on
pain of death, to inform against those persons who possess arms; to
denounce those who are _believed_ to be strangers to the commune; and
those _suspected_ of acting in a manner contrary to the orders of the
German authorities.

Here are some of these notices:


  The communal administration forwards the following document:--

  _Important Warning._

  It has come to my knowledge that the inhabitants of the country are
  still hiding arms and munitions in their houses.

  Those who still have arms in their possession (whether firearms,
  bows, cross-bows, arquebuses, or knives and swords of any
  description) will not be punished in any way if the arms and
  munitions are deposited by the 15th December (noon precisely German
  time) at the house of the burgomaster of the commune, to be handed
  over to the military commandant.

  After the date indicated all persons found in possession of arms
  or munitions will be shot. An account also will be demanded of the
  burgomasters concerned, and also of all the inhabitants of the
  houses or farms in which arms or munitions are found, as well as
  the neighbours of the guilty persons.

  The death penalty will be imposed on all who learn of the existence
  of arms or munitions without warning the burgomaster of their
  commune, who must warn the military commandant.

  The present decree forms the last appeal to the population to
  surrender their arms, and once the 15th December is past the
  severest action will be taken.

  The burgomasters are personally responsible for ensuring that this
  warning receives the widest publication.

  They are required to deposit with the nearest military authority
  not later than the 15th December (at six o'clock in the evening,
  German time) the arms and munitions that shall be delivered to them.


  THIELT, 5/xii/14.

  (_Le Bien Public, 11th December, 1914._)


  The inhabitants of Dieghem are strictly forbidden to assemble in

  Moreover, the inhabitants are required to bring to the Secretariat,
  Chaussée d'Haecht 48, those persons whom they believe to be
  strangers to the commune, in order to verify their identity.


  (_Posted at Dieghem, October 1914._)


  The Commissary of the Arrondissement of Verviers calls the
  attention of the communal administrations and the inhabitants of
  his jurisdiction to the following regulations:--

  The severest penalties will be inflicted upon offenders: whosoever
  shall damage the roads, telephones, or telegraphs will be HANGED.
  The same penalty will be inflicted on every person in whose house
  arms, ammunitions, and explosives shall be found. The house in
  which these objects are discovered will be destroyed by fire, and
  all the men encountered on the premises will be HANGED.

  Rigorous penalties will be inflicted on localities in which roads,
  telephones, and telegraphs shall be damaged.

For their own safety the inhabitants of communes are invited to make
known to the commandants of _étapes_ those persons suspected of
disobeying the present order or of opposing the measures taken.

On the other hand, those communes which remain tranquil, and in which
this order is strictly obeyed, will enjoy the full protection of the
German Government.

  _Colonel commanding the 29th Brigade_.

  VERVIERS, _22nd August, 1914_.

Those who are _believed_ to be strangers; those who are _suspected_ of
acting contrary to orders ... it is a régime of organized suspicion,
a reign of terror, informing erected into a governmental process.

The most abominable thing which the Germans have conceived in this
respect is that they encourage the denunciation of militia-men by
their fathers, mothers, wives, or sisters. It is a principle admitted
by all civilized nations--and also, no doubt, by Germany--that the
Courts definitely abstain from evoking a conflict between the paternal
and maternal instinct and the duty owed to justice. It is considered
that it would be revoltingly inhuman to force a father or mother
to bear witness against a son. Sophocles, in the _Antigone_, ranks
this prejudice among "the immutable laws, unwritten, which are from
all eternity." Now, in Belgium, when a young man leaves his family
to rejoin the Belgian army, the German authorities enjoin upon his
parents, his brother, or his sister, the duty of denouncing the absent
man; in other words, his father or his mother--yes, we said his
mother--must deliver up the son because he is doing his duty toward
his country (notice of the 9th April, 1915). And the Germans are not
content with threats. If the Germans forget their promises, at least
they scrupulously carry their threats into execution. At Hasselt they
imprisoned a woman whose son had rejoined the Belgian army (p. 152). At
Namur they have on many occasions punished the parents of soldiers who
had not committed the crime of denouncing them. And not content with
inflicting these disgraceful penalties--disgraceful to those who impose
them--they have forced _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ to give publicity to these
sentences, to the number of ten or more. Here are the details of one

  According to § 3, No. 2, of the Imperial decree of the 28th
  December, 1893, concerning the extraordinary proceedings of the
  Council of War for foreigners, the Governor of the fortified
  position and the province of Namur has pronounced a deprivation of
  liberty against the following Belgian subjects: the farmer, Félix
  Duquet, of Jemeppe, two months; his wife, Victoire Duquet, _née_
  Swain, one month. They had harboured their son, Clement Duquet,
  Belgian soldier, who had lost his regiment, for several months,
  instead of notifying him to the German authority; by so doing they
  acted in contravention of the proclamation of the Government of
  Namur, dated 19th September, 1914.

  (_L'Ami de l'Ordre_, 8-9th July, 1915.)

Assuredly for the Germans the word "humanity" is void of meaning; they
have replaced it by "Germanity." No doubt they regard maternal love
among the Belgians as being of an essence so inferior that they need
not take it into account. Yet in order not to wound the sensibilities
of their own soldiers, nor those of their "brothers by race," the
Flemings, they omitted any mention of mothers in the German and Flemish
texts of their notice of the 4th April. As we have already stated,
they feel that they need not observe towards the feelings of the
Belgians--and above all of the Walloons--the same consideration as is
shown towards those of the Germans.

_German Espionage._

Informing cannot exist without espionage. Now we know that the
Germans are past masters in this art. Every one of our towns has
been favoured by a swarm of spies, male and female. In the streets,
on the promenades, in the cafés, in the trams[45]--everywhere one is
conscious of the invisible inspection of secret agents. Woe to him who
utters aloud an opinion unfavourable to Germany, or complains of a too
outrageous placard or announcement, or criticizes a passing officer or
any one connected with Germany, or abuses the German army: immediately
a lady or gentleman hails a German soldier, and the offender is taken
to the _Kommandantur_. And when a Belgian enters the _Kommandantur_
he does not know when he will come out again; there he awaits,
sometimes for several days, his turn to be interrogated; and after that
imprisonment is certain. Not, of course, that he is always condemned;
it sometimes happens that the offence has not been proved; but even
so, "his hash is settled," for while he has been waiting his turn his
house has been searched, and where is the house that does not contain
some letter from a son or a brother who is a soldier? Prohibited
correspondence! Sentenced!

_Agents-provocateurs or "Traps."_

A close espionage surrounds those who undertake the carrying of
letters or the introduction of newspapers. In this case the spies
work principally by means of "traps"--_agents-provocateurs_. A
spy introduces himself to the person suspected of dealing with
correspondence; he pretends he has a letter to send or receive. If the
suspect listens to him, a picket of soldiers and policemen arrives
on the following day to make a search. Other spies will speak in the
street to a seller of newspapers; they will ask for a French or English
journal, and scarcely has the vendor taken the forbidden journal from
his pocket than a hand falls upon his collar.

It is also by means of "traps" that the Germans catch those who enable
our militia to escape from the country. A young man, of the proper age,
goes in search of the suspected person, and by means of false papers
passes himself off for a patriot who wants to take his place at the
front. Arrangements being made, the spy departs; but a skilfully set
trap enables him to catch a whole group of young fellows. It matters
little to our cause, however, since for every one arrested hundreds
cross into Holland every week. Many Belgians devote themselves to this
patriotic task, though they well know that in case of failure they
will be sent into Germany or shot. It should be said that their most
active helpers are the soldiers of the Landsturm, the guardians of
the frontiers, who, according to an established tariff, for the sake
of alcohol or money, close their eyes as our militia-men cross the

One step further along the path of the informer, the spy, and the
"trap," and we come to means whose ignominy is such that even the
Germans themselves are forced to admit their dishonesty.

Thus, at Liége most of the letter-boxes on the house-doors are closed
by means of nails. Why? At the end of 1914 many citizens of Liége used
to receive _Le Courrier de la Meuse_, a newspaper edited and printed at
Maestricht by Belgian refugees. There was no great mystery about its
distribution; the paper was simply slipped into the letter-box. But
the German agents spied on the vendors, and having done so, searched
the houses at which the newspaper was delivered. The subscriber, of
course, was condemned to pay a fine. Did part of this go to the spy?
It is probable; in any case it was not long before the spies were
importing _Le Courrier de la Meuse_ in order themselves to place it in
the letter-boxes of well-to-do houses. A search conducted immediately
revealed the prohibited article, and, in spite of the indignant
denials of the victim, the fine was inflicted.

At Ferrières, near Jemelle, worse than this was done. A German priest
pretended that the curé of Ferrières had repeated, before a witness,
a private conversation held some hours earlier. Moreover, he wanted
to garble the conversation. The abbé's action was repugnant in such a
degree that even Baron von Bissing himself was a little uneasy about
the matter, and revoked the punishment awarded to the Belgian.

While the mission of the spies and _agents-provocateurs_--including
the _abbés-provocateurs_ or ecclesiastical "traps"--was to procure the
condemnation to various penalties of as many Belgians as possible,
other "agents" in the pay of Germany commenced a vast inquiry, in
order to prove, in the face of the evidence itself, the crimes of the
"francs-tireurs." Well!--in spite of all the manoeuvres of spies and
_provocateurs_ and the inquirers themselves, in spite of the personal
rancour which impelled a few rare Belgians to become the accomplices
of the Germans, and to denounce, in a spirit of vengeance, certain of
their fellow-citizens, never did the Germans succeed in mentioning a
single name, not one single name, of a Belgian civilian accused of
having fired upon the German troops. We say expressly "accused," and
not "convicted," to show that nowhere, in village or provincial town,
although petty rivalry is so acute, and although informers, even though
anonymous, would have been welcomed with joy by the Germans, nowhere
was any one found to assert that a Belgian civilian had fired on the
German troops. No, it was so improbable, so manifestly false, that not
even the most miserable of wretches would have dreamed of formulating
such a calumny.

The Germans wanted to make us believe that anonymous letters were
pouring in upon them, but that they, as upright administrators, refused
to follow up these accusations (Declaration, 4th May, 1915). Obviously
a lie. We know them capable of themselves fabricating these anonymous
accusations, simply to cause the Belgians mental uneasiness, and to
give rise to mutual suspicion. This is yet another attempt to cause

For the rest, they have since then admitted that they have invited
denunciation. Worse than this: denunciation is enough to procure
condemnation; it is not necessary for the offence to be proved.


  Cases are increasingly frequent in which letters are sent to
  Belgian soldiers at the front by means of intermediaries.

  I remind the public that this is strictly prohibited. Any person
  denounced to the German authorities for such action will be
  subjected to a severe penalty.


  (_L'Ami de l'Ordre_, 13th June, 1915.)

We should never come to an end were we to mention all the tricks and
shifts that enter into their methods of administration. We will confine
ourselves to relating one or two more.

According to the Hague Convention, the functionaries of an occupied
territory who remain at their posts must declare that they will
undertake nothing, and will refrain from everything, that may be
contrary to the interests of the occupier. Note two essential points:
it is only the _officials_ who are required to sign this agreement, and
they undertake to _refrain_ from anything that may be hurtful to the

Now in January 1915 the German administration of Namur wished to force
the entire male population of the canton of Éghezée between the ages of
eighteen and forty to sign the following declaration:--

  "I the undersigned promise, conformably with the Hague Convention
  of the 18th October, 1907, to continue scrupulously and loyally
  the fulfilment of my functions, to undertake nothing against the
  interests of the German Empire, and I promise to prevent all that
  might be injurious thereto."

In certain communes the inhabitants, meaning well and imperfectly
informed as to their rights and duties, signed this declaration, which
is an improper one, as it was required of all the inhabitants, and not
only of the officials; moreover, it made the signatories promise to
_prevent_ what was injurious to the Germans, not merely to _refrain_
from it. Up to a certain point, therefore, all the inhabitants were
obliged to place themselves at the service of the German authorities.
Some burgomasters refused to allow the document to be signed as it
stood. They added, on their own authority, the following sentence:--

  "With the reservation of being able to respond freely to the appeal
  of the Belgian Government if the latter comes to resume possession
  of the country at present occupied by the German armies."

The Germans did not accept this addition; they proposed a new form of

  "I the undersigned promise, conformably with the provisions of the
  Hague Convention of 18th October, 1907, to continue scrupulously
  and faithfully in the performance of my functions, to undertake
  nothing against the interests of the German Empire, to refrain from
  all that might injure it."

In many villages the people again refused to sign. Men between 18 and
40 years of age cannot promise to continue in the performance of
functions which they have never fulfilled. What did the Germans do?
They forced all the male inhabitants of the recalcitrant communes to
present themselves daily at Éghezée, the chief town of the canton.
But eventually they realized that it was iniquitous to make these men
lose half their day every day simply because they, the Germans, were
demanding an absolutely illegal thing. So the daily muster at Éghezée
was abandoned.

The German administration falsely invoked the Hague Convention of
1907 in addressing the peasants, who doubtless did not even know the
Convention by name, and it tried twice over to take advantage of
their good faith. It is not surprising that the inhabitants of the
province of Namur should have become suspicious, so that they would not
willingly put their names to any paper presented by the Germans. In May
it was only after long negotiations and threats that the young men of
Rhisnes and Emines signed their identification cards, which, according
to the Germans, "imposed no engagement on the signatory." We have not
ourselves seen the wording of this card, so we cannot speak as to its
tenor; but it is curious that the Germans should be so insistent upon
the signing of a card having so little significance.

They also wished to impose, on the civic guard of Rhisnes and Emines,
the engagement that they would no longer bear arms against Germany.
More than half the men refused, and were sent as prisoners of war to

  Monday, 3rd May, in the morning, sixty-nine Belgian militia-men
  of the communes of Rhisnes and Emines were arrested because they
  refused to sign their identification cards, which contained
  nothing else than the information as to their persons necessary
  to complete such a document. They were taken to the prison of the
  fortress. On 6th May they were questioned a second time, and,
  having all without exception signed, they were immediately released.

  Tuesday, 4th May, 107 members of the civic guard at Rhisnes were
  arrested because they refused to sign the declaration that they
  would not bear arms against Germany and her Allies during this war.
  In the course of the same day forty-nine signed the declaration and
  were released. The other fifty-eight maintained their refusal, and
  were transported to Germany as prisoners of war on Tuesday evening.

  Wednesday, the 5th May, eighty members of the civic guard of Emines
  and Warisoulx were arrested for the same reason; forty signed the
  declaration and were released. The rest were transported to Germany
  on the evening of the 6th May as prisoners of war.

  Similarly on the 5th May, in the afternoon, 170 men, part being
  members of the civic guard and part militia-men of the communes
  of Taviers, Dhuy, St.-Germain, Hemptinne, Villers-lez-Heest,
  and Bovesse, were arrested because they refused to sign their
  identification cards. The Government hopes that these men will
  reflect and hear reason, and that they will submit spontaneously to
  this measure, which serves only for purposes of registration, so
  that they may be released.

  It is expressly added that the signature of the identification
  cards imposes no engagement on the signatory; these cards contain
  only information as to identity, and all the Belgian militia-men,
  as well as the members of the civic guard, have been several times
  informed upon this point.


  (_L'Ami de l'Ordre_, 7th and 8th May, 1915.)

Let us look into this case.

In the first place, there never was a civic guard at Rhisnes nor at
Emines, so that it is absolutely fraudulent to give this title to all
the male adult inhabitants; and since they have not been civic guards
they have never borne arms against Germany, and cannot therefore engage
to cease doing so. Here again appears the German duplicity in all its
beauty. The men of Rhisnes and Emines assure us that the paper said
"no longer bear arms against Germany." The Germans have imposed a
communiqué upon _L'Ami de l'Ordre_ which gives another version--"not to
bear arms."

But in the communiqué provided by the German authorities and published
in _La Belgique_ on the 5th June, our enemies recognize that the
document said "no longer bear arms." However, a German communiqué is
never entirely truthful; and this one forms no exception to the rule.
Conforming to the truth in this respect, it departs from it in another.
It says, in effect, that the men of Rhisnes "regarded themselves as
still belonging to the Belgian Army." What absurdity! They refused to
sign precisely because the Germans wished to make them say that they
did belong to the Army!

In August and September 1914 the Germans were sending Belgians into
Germany as civil prisoners; in May 1915 they were sending them as
prisoners of war. The difference is important, since the Hague
Convention states that the cost of maintenance of war prisoners falls
upon their country of origin, but that it is not speaking of civil
prisoners. This is why the civilians of Rhisnes and Emines went
to Germany as prisoners of war, as did the curé and the vicar of
Cortemarck (p. 72).

We have already cited (p. 233) one case of premeditated abuse of a
signature. Here is another: In October 1914 the German authorities of
Mont St.-Guibert (between Ottignies and Trembloux) had the following
placard posted:--


  1. All the male inhabitants of the commune aged from 18 to 45
  years, rich or poor, must present themselves to-morrow, Tuesday,
  morning, the 6th October, at 7 o'clock in the morning (Belgium
  time) at the railway booking-office.

  2. These inhabitants can no longer change their place of residence;
  their names have been given to the military authorities.

  Those who do not carry out this order, who seek to escape, will be
  made prisoners and will render themselves liable to be shot. The
  families of offenders will be taken as prisoners and their property

  3. English, French, or Russians who are in the locality must be
  delivered to the military authorities. The same with Belgians
  having belonged to the Army who are deserters or have been
  prisoners. Offenders will be punished by death.

  4. Fire-arms of all kinds which are still in possession of the
  inhabitants must be deposited immediately with the commandant
  of the railway-station. Those who are discovered to be still in
  possession of these arms, after the publication of this notice,
  will be shot.

  5. Assemblies for roll-call will be held from time to time. The day
  and hour will be given in advance.

  6. Umbrellas and sticks are forbidden at the station. Men must not
  present themselves in a state of drunkenness.

  Mont St.-Guibert, 5th October, 1914.
  The Burgomaster,

  The Commandant of the Railway-station,
  HAMICH, _Sergeant_.

This placard threatens penalties, even shooting, for the failure to
attend at the railway-station; moreover, the offender's family is of
course held responsible. So far it is commonplace enough. We will say
nothing as to the grade of officer who thus disposes of the lives
of citizens--he is a sergeant; but we know that the humblest German
soldier possesses every right. What does rather surpass the usual level
German administrative procedure is the fact that the burgomaster, whose
name figures at the bottom of the placard, knew nothing of the latter
until it was posted. The sergeant had used his name without deigning
to consult him.

To give a complete idea of the administrative methods employed by the
Germans against our country, it will be as well rapidly to describe how
they behaved in a certain locality immediately after proceeding against
the "francs-tireurs." Hitherto we have dealt only with places where
they did not have to carry out "reprisals." We will now select Andenne,
on account of the particularly savage character of the "repression"
which drenched this unhappy town with blood and fire. Here are the
facts in their tragic sequence:--

The German patrol which penetrated into the town on the 19th August,
1914, went straight to the house of the communal receiver and seized
the funds: 2,232 frs.

On the following day the bulk of the troops arrived. That evening,
between 6 and 9 p.m., a very sharp fusillade broke out. Immediately the
civilians were accused of having fired, and the troops began to shoot
down the inhabitants and burn the houses.

On the following morning--the 21st August--all the inhabitants not yet
shot were driven into the Place des Tilleuls. The men were herded on
one side, the women on the other. From time to time Major Scheunemann,
who commanded the operations, had a few men shot, sometimes before the
whole population, sometimes a little apart. During the morning the
soldiers dragged the corpse of the burgomaster, Dr. Camus, into the
Place. As soon as Major Scheunemann learned of the death of the first
magistrate, he appointed as burgomaster M. de Jaer, who was one of
the group of persons waiting their turn to be shot. From that moment
the order was given to kill no more; they contented themselves with
sack and pillage. There were then 300 houses burned at Andenne and at
Seilles, and 300 inhabitants were shot (_11th Report_).

We will confine ourselves, as regards the events which followed the
burning and the massacre, to reprinting the placard posted at Andenne
during the first ten days of the occupation:--


  By order of the German military authority occupying the town of

  All the men are held as hostages.

  Per shot fired on the German troops, there will be _at least_ two
  hostages shot.

  The hostages will be fed by the women, who will carry them the
  necessaries close to the bridge at 6 in the evening and 8 in the

  Women are strictly forbidden to converse with the hostages.

  All the streets and public places will immediately be cleaned by
  all the women of the town, on pain of immediate arrest.

  It is strictly forbidden to move about the town after 7 in the
  evening and before 7 in the morning, on pain of severe repression.

  The dead will immediately be buried without any formality.

  Young people over 14 and the women must give their assistance in
  every case of requisition.

  It is strictly forbidden to show oneself at the windows.

  By order of the German military authority,
  The Burgomaster Designate,

  The Secretary,
  _Andenne, the 31st August, 1914._


  On the 20th August of this year there was firing from numerous
  houses of the town of Andenne on the German troops who were passing
  through the town; bombs also were thrown. It is certain that the
  first outbreak of firing occurred, according to a certain plan, at
  precisely the same time in several streets: in the Rue Brun, the
  Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville, the Place des Tilleuls, and several other
  streets. A number of soldiers have been killed or wounded and war
  material damaged.

  After denying the first attacks, there was again firing from many
  houses for several hours, and again on the 21st August, at two
  o'clock in the afternoon, an under-officer was killed by a shot
  from one of the houses in the Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville.

  Those guilty inhabitants who have hitherto been found have been
  shot by the Council of War, but it was not possible to find the
  persons who arranged the plot.

  We appeal, however, to the honour of the City of Andenne, which
  appears in the eyes of the civilized world as a nest of murderers
  and bandits.

  Perhaps it is possible to restore the honour of this town; this
  is why the inhabitants are invited, in their own interest, to
  communicate to the military authority all that may make it possible
  to make progress in revealing the plot and its authors.

  He who delivers proofs capable [of revealing, etc.] receives
  according to their value a reward of 500-1000 frs.

  The measures which have been taken will or might be sooner
  mitigated as soon as inquiry shall have made progress to make known
  the guilty.


  _Andenne, the 22nd August, 1914._

  _Andenne, Sunday, 23rd August, 1914._


  Between Saarburg and Metz there has been a great battle. The German
  troops have made 21,000 French prisoners.

  Long live His Majesty the Emperor of Germany, King of Prussia and
  Margrave of Brandenburg!


  Major and Chief of Department.


  The revictualling of the population will be effected by the
  efforts of the Military Administration, assisted by the Civil
  Administration of Andenne constituted by the German Government, as
  far as possible.

  1. In this connection, the sale of provisions and commodities is
  strictly forbidden.

  2. Householders are advised to report at once the quantity of
  their provisions. Commodities will be taken for cash or redeemable

  3. It would be in the interest of the population to announce
  exactly the quantity of their provisions.

  4. Provisions not exceeding two days for the family need not be

  5. All the available forces of the commune are in the care of the
  Administration for the harvest.

  Properties abandoned will be harvested as the rest.


  _27th August, 1914._


  I have confidence in the Administration and in the population,
  that now each will be careful to obey as strictly as possible the
  orders of the Kommandantur in order to soften as far as possible
  the misfortune caused by the criminal deeds of a few inhabitants.

  This is why I object to all that prevents the free circulation of
  the inhabitants. I trust that none of the inhabitants of Andenne
  and Seilles will make use of their liberty save for the prosperity
  of the commune.

  The Administrations of Andenne and Seilles are working with me day
  and night to bring about a settled state of affairs.

  All questions of revictualling and welfare must be addressed
  directly to the Administrations of Andenne and Seilles, which have
  also the power to require the inhabitants to work.

  The German Army displays the greatest severity and energy if it is
  perfidiously attacked by the inhabitants, but it sincerely desires
  to use justice and humanity towards the people, if the conduct of
  the inhabitants permit.

  Der Kommandant,

  _Andenne, 25th August, 1914._


  We call the attention of the population to the proclamation which
  the Military Commandant has just handed to us on leaving.

  I am leaving this town in the expectation that it will perform,
  as during the last few days, and also in the future, all that may
  ensure orderly conduct towards the German Army.

  I hand over the new bridge to the town for its use, and require
  it to be responsible for its safety and to maintain it in good

  For the present a small garrison will remain here, which will be
  fed and lodged by the town.

  If all energies are permanently directed upon the prosperity of the
  town of Andenne and Seilles these localities will soon be cured of
  the grave wounds which the war has inflicted upon these communes,
  by their own fault.


  _Andenne, 28th August, 1914._

  We are profiting by this occasion to congratulate and to thank the
  inhabitants of Andenne for the admirable manner in which they have
  behaved, during these latter days, and we urge them strongly to
  assist the Communal Administration to repair as far possible the
  great misfortunes which we have experienced.

  The Burgomaster delegated by
  the Military Authority,

  The Secretary,

  _Andenne, 28th August, 1914._


  1. From _Saturday, 29th August, 1914_, midday, all the clocks must
  be set to the German time (one hour earlier).

  2. Assemblies of more than three persons are strictly forbidden
  _under penalty of fines_.

  3. To move about after 8 p.m. the authorization of M. le Commandant
  is required.

  4. Arms must be deposited with the guard _at the Casino, by noon on
  the 29th inst_.

  Where arms are still found in the houses after this date, the
  householder will be hanged.

5. The German troops requiring absolute tranquillity, workmen can
return to work at once. Tho least revolt on the part of the inhabitants
will result in the complete burning of the town, and the men will be

  Lieut.-Col. and Commander-in-Chief.

  _Captain and Commander-in-Chief._


We are happy to announce to you that the military authority will show
the greatest goodwill towards us if, as we doubt not, the worthy
population of Andenne continues to remain perfectly quiet, to labour
with courage, and to obey authority with docility, _as it has done_ up
to the present, for which we thank it.

At a military fête, at which the military authority expressly invited
us to be present, all the troops, including the officers--in our
presence, and before many of the notables of Andenne, and Dean Cartiaux
in particular--repeatedly shouted "Hurrah for Andenne!"

In the name of all of you, much affected, we expressed our thanks.

Dear friends, have confidence in us; we are working with all our souls
for the safety of Andenne.

We have assured the military authority that the soldiers might be
perfectly at ease in our midst, that none of us would wish to commit
the least aggression--that, on the contrary, we shall all treat the
Germany Army with _complete loyalty_. We have been responsible for
you. In return, we ask you only one thing: it is, to continue to do
what you have done until to-day, and, if, by some impossible chance,
there should be among us an ill-conditioned person who might be capable
of compromising honest people, point him out to us; for our worthy
fellow-citizens must not be responsible for the crimes of a scoundrel.

Let the German Army be sure that the communal administration will with
the utmost promptness hand over to it any one guilty of an act of
ill-will, whoever he may be.

Dear fellow-citizens, patience and courage to support privation. Be
easy in your minds; we are with you.

  The Burgomaster delegated by
  the Military Authority,


  Councillor Lahaye.

  The Secretary,


  _Andenne, 30th August, 1914_.


I am under the impression that the greater portion of the inhabitants
desire tranquillity, therefore I invite them not to leave the town.

Before employing violent means, I shall make a strict inquiry to
discover the guilty persons in case a revolt should break out.

I therefore expect of the population of Andenne that it will do
everything to ensure that no German soldier shall be molested otherwise
I shall be forced to act in accordance with the measures of my first

  Captain, L.I.R. 29, and Commandant-in-Chief.

One word as to these placards.

_Placard of the 21st August._--The men are all regarded as hostages;
the women have to feed them; they also have to clean up the town.

_Placard of the 22nd August._--The military authorities declare, on the
22nd of August, that Andenne, where the "attacks of francs-tireurs"
were repressed during the night of the 20th and the morning of the
21st, is already regarded by the whole civilized world as "a nest of
murderers and bandits." It offers a reward of 500 to 1000 frs. to any
one who will denounce the author of the plot. It also promises, to
excite the zeal of the informers, that the severe measures in force
will be mitigated as soon as the leaders are discovered. (No one was

_1st Placard of the 23rd August._--This announces the great victory
between Sarrebourg and Metz: 21,000 French prisoners were taken. (An
attempt to demoralize the population.) Note that the Wolff Agency
reported only 10,000 prisoners; where did Major Scheunemann find the
other 11,000?

_2nd Placard of the 23rd August._--The Germans are attending to the
revictualling of Andenne. (In reality the people of Andenne were

_Placard of the 25th August._--The German administration is strict, but
just. (The people of Andenne had noticed the severity.)

_1st Placard of the 28th August._--Once again the inhabitants are urged
to remain calm, and are congratulated on their good conduct. (The
burgomaster was forced to countersign this proclamation. Had he seen it

_2nd Placard of the 28th August._--The German time is made compulsory.
Assemblies of more than three persons are prohibited. If arms are found
in a house their owner will be hanged. At the least disturbance, the
complete burning of the town and the hanging of the men.

_1st Placard of the 30th August._--The German troops, having pillaged
Andenne and shot down its inhabitants, now shout "Hurrah for Andenne!"
Then a fresh appeal to informers.

_2nd Placard of the 30th August._--The German authorities now promise
to make an inquiry if there is another revolt. (This inquiry would have
been a novelty.)


We may be brief, for the cruel character of _Kultur_ is so obvious, and
appears so plainly from the documents cited, that it would be idle to
insist upon it.

If it were necessary to justify our aversion, we need only remark that
the cruelties recorded were systematically premeditated. Do not the
_Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege_ (_Usages of War on Land according to the
Great General Staff_) state that the observation of these usages is not
"guaranteed by any sanction other than the fear of reprisals," and that
the officer, the child of his age, carried away by the moral tendencies
which affect his country, must protect himself "against exaggerated
humanitarian ideas," and must realize that "the only true humanity
often resides in the unmitigated employment of these severities?" If
such principles are professed by the highest authorities, the German
soldier will not shrink from any degree of violence; for he knows that
wickedness will not merely provide him with amusement; it will also
help to achieve the final aim of warfare.

So that the officer shall be in no danger of forgetting the spirit in
which he should conceive his relations with the enemy population, he
carries some such aid to memory as the _Tornister-Wörterbuch_. If he
has letters or proclamations to draft, he has recourse to _L'Interprète
Militaire_ of Captain von Scharfenort, professor and librarian at the
Academy of War in Berlin. M. Waxweiler (in _La Belgique Neutre et
Loyale_, p. 265) has already drawn attention to the cruel and odious
character of this _vade-mecum_, so we will not enlarge upon it. It was
after consulting _L'Interprète Militaire_ that a certain placard posted
in Belgium in the August of 1914 was drafted. It gives no details as
to the "lugubrious cruelties"; it applies both to towns and villages;
it speaks of the "mayor" instead of the "burgomaster"; it is neither
dated nor signed; in short, it presents all the characteristics of an
"emergency placard," drafted beforehand.


  We are not making war upon citizens, but only on the enemy army.

  In spite of this, the German troops have been attacked in great
  number by persons who do not belong to the army. They have
  committed _acts of the most lugubrious cruelty_ not only against
  combatants, but also against our wounded and our doctors who are
  under the protection of the Red Cross. To prevent these brutalities
  I order that which follows:

  1. Any person who does not belong to the army and who is found arms
  in hand, will be shot instantly. He will be regarded as outside the
  laws of nations.

  2. All arms, rifles, pistols, Brownings, sabres, daggers, etc.,
  and all explosive material, must be delivered immediately by the
  mayors of every village or town to the commander of the German
  troops; if a single weapon is found, no matter in what house, or if
  any act has been committed against our troops, our transports, our
  telegraph lines, our railways, etc., or if any one gives asylum to
  _francs-tireurs_; the guilty persons and the hostages who will be
  taken in each village will be shot without pity. Besides this, the
  inhabitants of the villages, etc., in question will be driven out.
  The villages and towns even will be demolished and burned. If this
  happens on the road of communication between two villages or two
  towns, the inhabitants of the two villages will be treated in the
  same manner.

  I expect the mayors and populations will be able, by their prudent
  supervision and conduct, to ensure the safety of our troops as well
  as their own.

  In the contrary case, the measures indicated above will come into


  (No name.)

The appeal to brutality comes from above. In 1900 the whole world
shuddered at the advice which Wilhelm II gave the expeditionary corps
setting out for China. "Follow the example of the Huns," cried the
Kaiser. Why, then, do the Germans profess to be annoyed when compared
to-day with the soldiers of Attila--or when their motto is spelt _Gott
mit Huns_?

A German lieutenant, whose military note-book we have had before us,
does full justice to his companions. After the massacre and burning
of Ottignies on the 20th August, 1914, he wrote as follows (we

  The inhabitants were in the square, under a guard of soldiers.
  Several men were condemned by the Council of War and at once put
  to death. The women, dressed in black, as in a solemn procession,
  then departed. Among those who had just fallen, how many innocent
  were shot! The village has been literally sacked: the "blond brute"
  has shown himself for what he is. The Huns and the freebooters of
  the Middle Ages could not have done better. The houses are burning
  now, and when the action of the fire is not enough we raze what
  remains standing.

Very suggestive too is the placard of the 26th April, 1915, in which
Baron von Bissing informs us that according to Mr. Fox, an American
journalist, the Germans have committed no useless "cruelties." Then
there are useful cruelties? Really the Governor-General, who seems to
know his subject, ought to publish a table differentiating the various
qualities of cruelty.

But a thing that does surprise us is that the virus of cruelty should
already have contaminated civilians--I mean the Catholic members of the
Reichstag. Herr Erzberger, the same who asserted, and who perhaps is
asserting still, that the Belgians invaded Germany on the 2nd August,
wrote what are perhaps the most coldly ferocious words imaginable:
"_Above all, no sentimentality!_" (_N.R.C._, 6th February, 1916,
evening edition).

Such advice bore fruit, as we shall discover when we come to
examine, in succession, the physical and moral tortures in which
our executioners delight. But first let us cite a few examples of
_aggravations_. By that we mean acts of malice which do not endanger
the life or reason of the victims, but which reveal, perhaps the more
clearly for that, the desire to torment.


A general remark occurs to us at once: it is that the Germans have
failed in their object. For instead of exasperating us to the point
of forcing us to commit some imprudence, which they would have been
obliged to repress, they simply made sure of our profound contempt. To
tell the truth, each fresh persecution makes us furious for a day; but
the sense of irony soon regains the upper hand, and then we have only
one anxiety: to make their latest form of vexation ridiculous by all
the means in our power.

Nothing better shows the contrast between the German mentality and the
Belgian than the manner in which we have obeyed the decree concerning
the German time.

After only a week's occupation the inhabitants of Andenne were obliged
to set their clocks to the German time. At Namur, too, this was
required from the 31st August. Elsewhere the German time was enforced
only at a much later date, and only in respect of the clocks in cafés.
Many cabaret-keepers merely stopped their clocks; others had fitted a
second small hand, an hour in retard of the first; others wrote beneath
the clock "German Time," or even "This clock is an hour fast." In the
window of a Brussels watchmaker, in the midst of many clocks which
indicated more or less precisely the German time, was one which was
specially labelled "Correct Time"--and that one told, of course, the
Belgian time. In short, every one did what he could to avoid letting
his customers regard the German time as the true time. And really, if
one has adopted, as is the case in Germany and in Belgium, the system
of hourly segments, it is obvious that Belgium ought to form part of
the segment of Western Europe, not part of that of Eastern Europe. It
is, therefore, solely in a spirit of aggravation that Germany forces
her time upon us; and she is fully aware of this, as her public
notices are always careful to speak of "German time," not of "Central
European time."

_Treatment inflicted upon Belgian Ladies._

What do you think of the additional suffering inflicted on ladies
condemned to several weeks' imprisonment for having conveyed letters
from Belgian soldiers to the parents of those soldiers, or for speaking
a little too boldly before an officer, or for some other crime of a
like nature? It is a delicate idea to shut them up in common with half
a score of other prisoners, in a room containing no convenience but a
pail furnished with a cover. They are lucky if the company does not
include some very dubious characters.

       *       *       *       *       *

We need not insist: these are aggravations, not serious at bottom, but
their irritating nature can only be fully appreciated when one suffers
them daily, or hears them described by friends or relatives who have
been their victims.

After the examples of collective and impersonal malfeasance dictated by
some high officer desirous of justifying the fair fame of _Kultur_, we
will take those cases in which the personality of the author clearly
reveals itself, and, let us say at once, in which this personality
instantly excites the disgust and indignation of all merely civilized

The Germans reached Capelle-au-Bois on the 30th August. But on the
31st they were repulsed by Belgian troops. On the 4th September they
returned in force and forced back the Belgians; not without difficulty,
however, for they had many killed, of whom nineteen were buried at
Capelle-au-Bois. With the Belgian troops as they withdrew went all the
inhabitants of the village, leaving behind them only a few helpless
old people. In this all but empty village, where no one was left to
offer them the least resistance, the Germans hastened to kill several
inhabitants--four, it is believed. Then, under the orders of Captain
von Puttkammer, the strong-boxes were broken open, the objects of value
packed and sent to Germany, and the wines carried to the bank of the
canal and into the houses occupied by the officers. On the evening
of the 4th September the troops set fire to the village. Thanks to
incendiary pastilles and benzine pumps, the fire spread rapidly; 235
houses were burned of the three hundred which formed the heart of the
village. So far all was as usual; but here is the characteristic fact.
The better to enjoy the spectacle the troops spent the evening on the
bank of the canal; there they organized a little orgie, over eight
hundred empty bottles being afterwards discovered.

At the same period the Germans established a few miles further to the
west, at Londerzeel, pillaged and then burned the house of the notary,
M. Van Hover. They had tried in vain to open the safe, so, furious
at their failure, they poured benzine into it and set fire to it,
procuring at least the satisfaction of knowing that all the papers
would be reduced to ashes.

What are we to think of the officer who, lodging in the house of a curé
in the province of Antwerp, found it amusing to tear pages from the
books which formed his host's library, or to gum them together, so that
in seeking to separate them the owner himself would tear them? Note
that it was no clown who devised this kindly pastime, for he took care
to choose, in the Latin books, the pages bearing the most important

_Filthy Amusements._

Others preferred to defile things. When in August and September 1914 we
were told that the Germans were amusing themselves by depositing ordure
in their beds we refused to believe in such perversion. But a walk
through Eppeghem, Sempst, and Weerde was enough to enlighten us. Not
only had they emptied all the houses, rich or poor; not only had they
taken the trouble to smash into quite small pieces all the glass and
crockery they could not carry away; not only, in the grocers' shops,
had they delighted themselves by mixing snuff with the butter, and
tacks with the cloves, and pepper with the flour, but all the bedding
bore the malodorous traces of their visit.

Let it not be imagined that this mania of beastliness is peculiar to
the common soldiers. The officers who spent the night of the 19th
August, 1915, at Cortenburg, between Louvain and Brussels, were
infected by the same _Kultur_. In a certain house they carefully laid
the table in the dining-room, without forgetting the serviettes,
and then deposited a souvenir on every plate. In another house
in Cortenburg they chose, as a receptacle, the tall hat of the
householder. In the château of Malderen (Brabant), having taken all
that pleased them and broken the rest into small pieces, they opened a
card-table, deposited their excrement there, and carefully closed it

Another manifestation of the scatological mania: Many hundreds of
German Army surgeons met in congress during the Easter holidays of
1915, in Brussels. On the last day of the congress, Wednesday, the 7th
April, a banquet was held, on the premises of the Palais de Justice.
On the Thursday morning it was discovered that the surgeons had left
souvenirs behind them; they had evacuated the surplus of food and
liquor consumed by the three natural orifices, and had chosen for their
purpose the most beautiful halls of the Palais. Frankly, we should not
have expected this from the doctors; it is true, however, that they
were German military doctors.

A man amuses himself as he can--or, to put it more plainly, according
to his mentality. After all, these beastly habits, disgusting as they
are, are not those whose results are most disagreeable.

There are others who seek violent contrasts. Thus, at Houtem, while
the church was burning, on the 13th September, 1914, a military band
was playing its liveliest selections at a few yards' distance. At
Monceau-sur-Sambre, on the 22nd August, officers were playing the piano
in the château of the demoiselles Bourriez, on the Trazegnies road,
when the soldiers had already lit the upper floors. At Louvain, on the
25th August, 1914, in a café near the railway-station, soldiers set
fire to the upper floor without warning the proprietor, and remained
below, where they kept a mechanical piano going. They were thus able to
enjoy the despairing expressions of the inmates when they discovered
that they could no longer hope to save anything.


We shall not here refer to the innumerable cases of torture cited
in the Reports of the Commission of Inquiry, nor those reported in
Nothomb's _La Belgique Martyre_. We will confine ourselves to facts of
which we have personal knowledge. The Germans will, of course, seek to
deny them. So it is as well to begin by a declaration of their own.
_Vorwärts_, on the 23rd August, 1914 (the very day on which the chief
atrocities were committed in the Dinant district), protested against
the proposal made by a German officer, not to kill francs-tireurs
outright, but to wound them mortally and leave them to die slowly in
agony, while forbidding any one to go to their assistance. What to our
mind is even graver than the proposition itself is the fact that the
_Deutsches Offizierblatt_ accepted it as quite a natural thing.

  It is clear that where they are proved, the cruelties committed by
  our enemies must be denounced, and that everything must be done to
  prevent their repetition. However, we must not allow the recital
  of these cruelties to force us to resort to a sort of policy of
  retaliation, or lead us to wash out what others have done with
  innocent blood.

  What are we to say when we find an organ like the _Deutsches
  Offizierblatt_ expressing its sympathy for the following
  proposition: The "brutes" captured as francs-tireurs should not be
  shot outright, but should be fired upon and left to their fate, all
  succour being prevented? What again are we to say when it is added
  that the destruction, in reprisal, of whole localities even does
  not represent "a sufficient vengeance for the bones of a single
  Pomeranian grenadier assassinated"? These are the imaginings of
  bloodthirsty fanatics, and we are ashamed to perceive that men
  capable of speaking thus exist in our nation. Such expressions,
  even if they are not carried into action, are truly of a nature to
  place our struggle in an unfavourable light all the world over.

  (_Vorwärts_, 23rd August, 1914.)

_The Fate of the Valkenaers Family._

One of the most horrible tragedies of this war was the massacre of
the Valkenaers family, at Thildonck, on the 26th August, 1914, while
Louvain was burning. Because they had not prevented the Belgian
soldiers from utilizing their farms as points of support, the members
of the two Valkenaers households were shot down in cold blood. Of these
fourteen unfortunate people three were grievously wounded and seven
killed. The better to amuse themselves, the Germans forced the elder of
the young girls to wave a sort of flag.

During the preceding night (that of the 25th August), in Louvain, they
had savagely mangled the corpse of a young woman.

On the afternoon of the 25th, being still in the immediate
neighbourhood, at Bueken, they had seized the curé and cut off his nose
and ears before giving him the _coup de grâce_ (p. 238). At the same
time began the torture of the curé of Pont-Brûlé, to end only on the

At Elewijt, on the 27th, they amused themselves by amputating the hands
of four men--the three brothers Van der Aa and François Salu.

A little further to the east the first German troops who had passed
through Schaffen, near Diest, on the 13th or 14th August, had there
tortured the blacksmith Broeden. All day long he had laboured, shoeing
the horses of the enemy's cavalry. Early in the evening he repaired to
the church, with the sacristan, with the object of saving some precious
articles which had not been placed in security. He was surprised by the
soldiery and seized. Successively the Germans broke his wrists, his
arms, and his legs; perhaps he suffered yet other tortures. When he was
practically lifeless the soldiers asked him whether he thought that he
would in future be capable of undertaking any kind of labour. On his
replying, in an almost inaudible voice, that he did not, they declared
that in that case he ought not to continue to live. Immediately they
threw him, head first, into a ditch dug for the purpose; then the ditch
was filled, leaving his feet protruding.

       *       *       *       *       *

In other parts of the country also the most varied tortures. At
Spontin, near Dinant, on the 23rd August, 1914, they pierced the curé
and the burgomaster with bayonet-wounds until death ensued; but first
they had bound each man with a strong cord, drawn violently tight round
the waist by the combined efforts of two soldiers. It must be supposed
that the officer who presided over the "severities" at Spontin had
quite a special affection for cords, for having taken alive some 120
inhabitants of the place (the rest were killed, shot down while they
were trying to escape), he had them all tied together by the wrists and
conveyed them towards Dorinn; but many were shot before reaching that

On the same day, in Dinant prison, a soldier strangled a baby in the
arms of its mother because it was crying too loud.

At Sorinnes, still in the Dinant district, and on the same day, Jules
and Albert Houzieaux were burned alive.

At Aiseau, on the 21st August, the Germans shut two men into a house,
to which they set fire. But the unexpected arrival of a shell
prevented them from enjoying the sufferings of their victims.

At Hofstade chance favoured them better; they threw Victor de Coster,
whom they had just stripped, into the furnace provided by his own
house; his servant shared his fate.

We must suppose that the Germans take great pleasure in the contortions
of the hanged. Herr Heymel had to content himself with admiring the
corpse of a priest swinging in a tree; and his friend, Herr Klemm,
was careful to devote, to the memory of this comforting spectacle, a
drawing, published in _Kunst und Künstler_ (January 1915). Herr Heymel
expresses his great satisfaction before this spectacle; but what
pleasure he would have experienced could he have witnessed the hanging
of the men whom the Germans boast of having hanged to the trees of
the Herve district; or could he have assisted to hang that inhabitant
of Èvelette, whom the soldiers put to death at Andenne, on the 20th;
or the cabaret-keeper who was strung up to a lantern before the
Louvain railway-station, on the night of the 26th; but our fastidious
_littérateur_ would have tasted the keenest delight at Arlon, when an
old man was put to death; he remained hanging for hours, with his feet
just grazing the soil (p. 351).

The Germans, perhaps, will say--supposing they think they ought to
excuse themselves--that these executions were carried out as a result
of the attacks of francs-tireurs, or after the mutilation of the German
wounded by Belgian civilians. But it will be impossible for them to
allege these lies as circumstances extenuating the inhuman treatment
which they inflicted upon Belgian soldiers at the time of their first
attacks on the forts of Liége, on the night of the 4th August; that
is, a few hours after the commencement of hostilities. Not only did
they maltreat in every imaginable manner their Belgian prisoners, but
certain German soldiers pushed _Kultur_ so far as to refuse water to
poor wounded fellows dying of thirst; more, they even gave themselves
the atrocious pleasure of spilling on the ground the water contained in
the wounded men's own flasks, and this before their eyes.


The physical tortures which the Germans have inflicted upon us cannot
rival their methods of moral torture. In these they have achieved
refinements worthy of the inventive genius of an Edgar Allan Poë.

_Moral Torture before Execution._

To force those about to be shot to dig their own graves, as they did at
Tavigny,[49] is quite a commonplace method. In the Fonds de Leffe, on
the 23rd August, 1914 (p. 360), they perfected their mode of operation.
They had called up eight men of Dinant to bury the victims as they
were shot (there was so much work to do that it had to be entrusted to
experienced hands). In the evening each of the gravediggers dug his own
grave; four were shot, and buried by their colleagues; just as these
were about to suffer the same fate an officer "pardoned" them: not out
of humanity (that would have been too decent), but simply because their
services would be required during the following days.

At Dinant, during the bloody days of the 23rd and 24th August, they
invented many other moral tortures. On the morning of the 23rd they
shot, in a meadow of the Fonds de Leffe, a group of thirteen men. But
instead of leading them all together before the firing platoon, they
cunningly prolonged their pleasure; the thirteen unfortunates were
tied, in succession, to the same tree, and shot down one by one.

The whole of the 23rd was consecrated, in the Fonds de Leffe, to
killing the men in small batches of half a dozen; these were shot
either before their wives and children, or at a short distance, but
within earshot, so that the family should lose none of the groans of
the dying.

When, later on, the women and children were shut up in a windmill,
having first been marched in front of the corpses, the Germans allowed
themselves the distraction of lighting fires before the windows from
time to time, in order to make the women believe that they were about
to be burned alive with their children, and to delight in their anguish.

While men were being shot in the Fonds de Leffe, horrible massacres
were being committed at Leffe and at Dinant, at only a few minutes'
distance. Here, too, men were shot before their families--for example,
Victor Poncelet and Charles Naus--and the survivors were forced to
pass through the midst of the corpses. The officers, too, devised more
complicated diversions; for instance, allowing a group of women and
children to escape into the mountains, in order to shoot them down from
a distance.

A moral torture commonly employed is that which consists in making
people believe that they are going to be killed. All the inhabitants
of Sorinnes were placed before machine-guns, and a German chaplain,
speaking French, ceremoniously shook each man by the hand. At Dinant
two or three hundred persons were lined up against a wall; then a
pastor recited the prayers for the dead (perhaps the chaplain of
Sorinnes had found another opportunity for his pleasantry), and an
empty machine-gun was pointed at them. An officer laughed as though his
sides would split while he threatened, with his revolver, some fifteen
women shut up in the convent of Prémontré, at Leffe.

Pretended executions and threats of execution were everywhere in common
usage. At Wépion, near Namur, on the 23rd August, 1914 (the day of the
Dinant horrors), the Germans packed the women into boats, and told them
to row into the middle of the Meuse. They took aim at them several
times; then, having sufficiently amused themselves, they allowed them
to return to the bank.

On the 28th September, 1914, a group of civil prisoners from the north
of Brabant were going towards the railway-station, whence they left for
Germany. The procession was preceded by a military band, which played
funeral marches, so that they were convinced that they were being led
to execution.

Two citizens of Brussels, taking a walk on Sunday, the 30th August,
ventured as far as Koningsloo, in the suburbs. They were seized by
German sentinels, and imprisoned at the post. From time to time an
under-officer approached them, held his revolver under their noses,
and grimaced at them: "Ah, ah, walk's over, walk's done!" (_Fini,
promenade!_). One of the prisoners asked the guard if they were
really going to be shot; in which case they would wish to make certain
arrangements. But the soldier reassured them: "Don't be afraid," he
said, "it's only a game of our officer's; he does it every day to amuse
himself." And sure enough, towards evening the two prisoners were set
free without further ceremony.

Sectional execution--execution by small groups--under the eyes of those
awaiting their fate, was applied on a large scale at Arlon. On the 26th
August, 123 (or 118, or 127) inhabitants of Rossignol and neighbouring
localities were taken thither, and were killed in groups of ten or
twelve. Madame Hurieaux was reserved for the last; she saw her husband
and all her companions in misfortune perish first; and she died crying
"Vive la Belgique! Vive la France!"

It will be of interest to reproduce here the narrative of a medical
student who was present at the executions which took place at Arlon.
It may be taken as a sample, so to speak, of the German procedure:
massacre and incendiarism, with no previous inquiry; the most varied
moral and physical tortures; capricious condemnation or liberation of
prisoners; pillage of the communal funds, etc.

  At the beginning of August I left Y----, where my parents live, to
  go to the village of X----, lying to the north of my native town.

  Two days later the French arrived, making towards the north of
  Luxemburg. There were movements of troops in different directions,
  and soon one could see that battles would be fought in the

  I thought I could make myself useful by opening a small ambulance,
  which I did.

  I was lodging with one of my aunts, who has a son of my own age.

  One day an engagement took place between the French and the German
  troops, and a wounded German soldier was brought into my little
  ambulance; his name was Kohn.

  I gave him first aid; I apologized for not being able to do more,
  and I told him that towards evening it might be possible to carry
  him to Arlon, where he would receive all necessary care.

  I returned to my aunt's house; I found her in tears; they had just
  taken away her son, my cousin Jules, on the pretext that he had
  fired on them. It was a piece of stupidity, for there was nothing
  in the whole house but one revolver, and I was carrying that on me.
  I had had it on me all the time I was at the ambulance. I hastened
  to hide it under a chest, and I decided to go and demand my cousin
  of the Germans. I speak their language a little, and I was so
  convinced of my cousin's innocence that I imagined a few words of
  explanation would make them give him up.

  I soon found him, tied to a tree, beside other prisoners.

  I began to parley with a German officer.

  He replied that there was nothing to do for the moment, that the
  prisoners would be sent to Arlon, and that he was convinced that if
  I followed them I should be able, at Arlon, to obtain justice for
  my cousin.

  We set out for Arlon; I was beside the prisoners. At a determined
  spot we were handed over to other soldiers. I was greatly
  astonished, at a given moment, to see that I had become a prisoner
  myself; I was no longer accompanying my cousin, to save him; I was
  sharing his fate.

  We arrived at Arlon; we were lined up against a wall. There were
  with us, notably, a woman, with two young children of nine and ten,
  an old villager with his son, and other people whom I did not know.

  An officer on horseback approached us. He was, it seemed a judge.
  He turned to the soldiers and asked, pointing to each of us: "Did
  that one fire?" And the soldiers always replied in the affirmative.

  Now it should be noted that these soldiers had seen nothing, and
  could have seen nothing, for they were not those who seized the
  prisoners in the village in which they were arrested.

  The head-dress of the troops was entirely different; the first had
  helmets, and the second caps.

  When the officer had finished pointing at us, we were informed that
  we were all condemned to death.

  An old man was seized; I myself was seized; and we were pushed to
  one side, to be shot.

  The old man's son rushed towards him and tried to drag him away
  from the soldiers. The result was that the son was seized, to be
  shot with the father.

  This is how things happened:

  The two were put against a wall; a platoon of soldiers commanded by
  an officer took up their position in front of them.

  The officer commanded all their movements with a deliberation
  calculated to increase the torture of the victims.

  "Load!"... Then a pause. "Take aim!"... Then a pause. "Fire!"...

  The two unhappy men fell to the ground, groaning.

  The officer went up to them, recognized that they were not dead,
  and again gave orders to fire, with the same deliberation and the
  same method. This time the father ceased to move; it took a third
  volley to finish the son.

  We were then all led to a guard-house.

  There we remained for three days. We were given nothing to eat. We
  fasted from the morning we were taken; it was only on the following
  day, or the day after that, that we received a little water.

  In that room we were literally tortured.

  We were forced to stand upright; an old man was groaning he was
  so thirsty that his tongue protruded from his lips and the flies
  settled on it. As he could not stand any longer, the Germans passed
  a cord round his neck and attached it to a ring-bolt in the wall,
  so that he was supported only on his toes. The cord stretched and
  the wretched man fell now to this side, now to that. The soldiers
  made him stand upright again by striking his face with the butts of
  their rifles.

  At one time his trousers fell down and we saw he was wounded in the
  thigh, by bayonet-thrusts. Later he became insane. In his delirium
  he cried: "Prepare food for the cows."[50] It was a horrible scene.

  At another time the woman was taken out, with her two little
  children, and all three were shot against the wall of the Palais
  de Justice at Arlon. The soldiers asserted that they had "found a
  German soldier's purse" in this woman's house.

  The time passed in the most atrocious moral anguish and physical
  suffering. We had lost all notion of time. The soldiers insulted
  us, spat upon us, made signs that our throats would be cut, that we
  were going to be shot. They took a pleasure in drinking in front of

  At a certain moment an officer of superior rank entered the room.
  He came up to me and asked: "Why are you here?"

  I replied: "They accuse us of having fired on the troops."
  Immediately he turned his back upon me, but I cried, with energy:
  "Yes, and far from having fired on them, I looked after them. If
  you want the proof of this, ask the soldier called Kohn who must be
  in the hospital here at Arlon."

  I then told him of Kohn. He went to the hospital, and returned some
  time later; he had found the soldier Kohn, who confirmed my story.

  An officer on horseback (the judge) came to the door of the
  guard-room: we were sent out, my cousin and I, and without even
  questioning us he said, "You are acquitted." I protested, saying:
  "There are still five or six people there of my village who are no
  more guilty than we are."

  They were sent out, and the judge told them, as he told me, without
  any further inquiry, "You are acquitted."

  As for the unhappy old man, I will tell you later how he escaped.
  He returned to his village; he is crippled.

       *       *       *       *       *

  I remained at Arlon until the end of August, at the house of one of
  my relatives, whose business brought him daily into contact with
  the Belgian authorities and the German army. I was thus able to
  obtain a good deal of precise information.

       *       *       *       *       *

  The Germans entered Arlon on the 12th August. They came from
  Mersch, in the Grand-Duchy. Several days earlier, all the weapons
  the inhabitants possessed had been deposited at the Hôtel de Ville.
  The people of Arlon knew from the newspapers what atrocities the
  Germans had committed in the neighbourhood of Liége, at Visé,
  Herve, Battice, Warsage, etc., and they were far from meditating
  any disturbance.

  On entering the town the Uhlans began to break in the doors with
  the butts of their rifles.

  On the following day Commandant von der Esch, commandant of the
  town, had a notice posted up, which I have copied _verbatim_.


  Luminous signals have been made to-night between Freylange and the
  lower part of this town; one of our patrols has been attacked; our
  telephone wires have been cut. To punish the population guilty of
  these acts of ill-will, I order for to-day at 3 o'clock the burning
  of the village of Freylange and the sack of 100 houses in the west
  of Arlon. I also condemn the town to pay a war contribution of
  100,000 frs., which must be paid over before 6 p.m., or I shall
  have the hostages shot.


       *       *       *       *       *

  While the communal administration of Arlon was deliberating on
  the subject of the war contribution, the burning of Freylange and
  the sack of 100 houses of Arlon was carried out according to the

  After the 100,000 frs. had been paid to the Germans, they summoned
  to the general headquarters, established in the Hôtel de Ville of
  the northern portion of Arlon, a police agent, named Lempreur, and
  instructed him to proceed to arrest those who had fired on the
  German troops. He came back to say that he had found no one. "Ah!"
  they told him, "you are going about it unwillingly! Very good; you
  shall pay for the others." And without listening to his pleading,
  without allowing him to see his wife or children again, he was
  placed with his back to a door and a firing platoon shot him down.

  I saw the door at the Hôtel de Ville; it was riddled with bullets.

  A few days later another army division replaced the first.
  Immediately the town was condemned to pay a fresh war contribution:
  a million francs.

  The town could get together only 238,000 frs. It was let off the

       *       *       *       *       *

  From the day when I was set at liberty we used almost daily to hear
  of executions in Arlon; they were of prisoners, brought just as we
  were, from the neighbouring villages, notably from Rossignol and
  Tintigny, who were shot in small parties.

  One of these executions took place in the courtyard of the Church
  of St. Donat. The Dean succeeded in obtaining pardon for two of the

  The most important execution was that of 123 (others say 127)
  inhabitants of Rossignol and its immediate surroundings, who were
  shot on 26th August. They were taken near the viaduct which passes
  over the Arlon railway-station (towards the connecting station).
  They were killed in small groups of ten or twelve. Those who were
  not dead were finished with the bayonet. Each group had to climb
  over the surrounding corpses. They kept to the last a lady of
  Rossignol, Mme. Hurieaux, who thus had to see her husband and the
  greater part of the inhabitants of her village killed before her
  eyes. She died crying "Vive la Belgique! Vive la France!"

  Here is one little detail which I was able to verify. When
  the receiver and examiner of Customs of Arlon learned of the
  approaching arrival of the Germans they removed all the money
  from the safe, leaving only copper coin to the value of about a
  franc. The Germans immediately proceeded to break open the safe,
  but succeeded only after two days' work. Infuriated by this
  discomfiture, they used the safe as a commode.

But whatever the moral sufferings inflicted on those who were executed,
the tortures which the Germans applied to those against whom no
accusation was brought were a hundred times more atrocious. Think of
the martyrdom of Mme. Cambier, of Nimy, who was forced to tread on her
son's brains; and the sufferings of the innumerable men and women of
whom the Germans made a living shield, at Anseremme, Mons, Tournai, and
Charleroi (p. 195). As to Charleroi, here is a detail not recorded by
Herr Heymel. The prisoners collected at Jumet and Odelissert were tied
in couples by the wrists, to prevent them from trying to escape when
the French should fire on them. Moreover, they had to walk with their
hands raised. When, by reason of fatigue, they dropped their arms, the
soldiers struck them with the butts of their rifles. We know a man who
was thus placed before the German troops, who saw one of his relatives
killed at his side, and two of the latter's sons. He himself received
three bullets, one in the right wrist, one in the left arm, and the
third under the chin. He escaped, but is lamed for life.

Imagine also the tortures suffered by the civil prisoners who, in
defiance of all justice, were sent to Germany. Hunger, thirst,
threats, and insults; packed into cattle-trucks, they had no room
to lie down, or even to sit. Above all, they had no news of their
families. On the 4th September, 1914, more than 100 inhabitants of
Lebbeke, near Termonde, were placed as a screen in front of the German
troops marching against Termonde. In the evening, those who had not
been shot were added to others just captured, and all together, in all
some 300, were sent into Germany. At the moment when these unhappy
folk were leaving Lebbeke the Germans set fire to some of the houses,
and kindly informed the prisoners that the whole village was about to
be burned. Moreover, they said, the women and children would in part
be killed, and the rest driven off in the direction of Termonde and
Gand. Imagine, if you can, the sufferings endured by these unfortunate
people for the two months during which they remained without news of
their homes, in the conviction that their families were massacred or
wandering wretchedly across the devastated country. While by means of
these cruel lies, whose horrible effect was systematically calculated,
they filled with despair the hearts of those who were departing, the
soldiers amused themselves also by wringing the hearts of the poor
women--mothers, wives, sisters, daughters--who remained in the village.
For they, too, were for long weeks without news from the prisoners, and
the abominable manner in which the German troops, drunk with carnage,
had assassinated, on the day of exodus, twelve of their fellow-citizens
(_9th Report_), permitted them to entertain the most frightful

Make no mistake: the case of Lebbeke is far from being exceptional. All
the civil prisoners were treated with the same barbarity, a barbarity
utterly unjustified, since, in the judgment of Baron von Bissing, no
complaint had been formulated against the civil prisoners who have been
sent back to their homes. But all have not returned. In June 1915, for
example, most of the prisoners from Visé were still in Germany. As for
those taken from Rossignol and so many other localities in Luxemburg,
they will never return, alas! They have been shot without pretext.

Another horrible torture consists in the suppression of communications
between the Belgian soldiers and their parents. Since mid-October 1914
all connections have been severed between the Belgian army which is
fighting on the Yser and the Belgians remaining in Belgium. Those who
seek to establish communication between the Belgian soldiers and their
relatives are spied out and sentenced.

  Against Jules-Arthur de Cuypere, bachelor, domiciled in the last
  instance at Liége, a deprivation of liberty of five months has
  been pronounced, because, contrary to the known regulations, he
  took charge, during a number of journeys to the Dutch frontier and
  into Holland, of a large number of letters from Belgian soldiers
  in France and interned Belgian prisoners in Holland; and delivered
  these letters, addressed to different members of families of Namur
  and the environs, at their addresses, by carrying them thither. At
  the same time he rendered himself guilty by crossing the frontier.

  (_L'Ami de l'Ordre_, 5-6th July, 1915.)

Since the spring of 1915 the posts have been operating between
Belgium and Holland, so that those few privileged persons who have
a correspondent in Holland might thus indirectly obtain news if the
Germans had authorized correspondence through an intermediary. But they
have strictly forbidden it (pp. 22-3). They could easily organize a
service enabling soldiers to write to their relations: "I am going on
all right ... I am wounded ..." and enabling the relations to reply,
so that the soldiers' families would be reassured; while now the only
news arrives by precarious methods, and often goes astray. But what
our enemies desire is to make the poor relatives suffer as much as
possible. We do not believe that such a form of torture has ever in
any previous war been inflicted on a whole population. It is untrue,
it seems, that Bismarck was the first to use the words which have been
attributed to him: "In territories occupied by our victorious troops
the inhabitants must be left nothing but eyes to weep with." But he
quoted them with an approval that made them his own. Now they have come

Here is quite another kind of moral torture. The Germans are fond
of leading small groups of Belgian prisoners through the streets of
Brussels at moments when the latter are as busy as possible: for
instance, on Sunday afternoons. One can imagine the humiliation of the
poor soldiers exposed to the curiosity of the crowd; but it delights
their guardians. It was evidently the desire to enjoy, simultaneously,
the misery of the prisoners and the impotent anger of the spectators
which led the Germans, at the time of their entry into Louvain on the
19th August, and into Brussels on the 20th, to place a few Belgian
countrymen, with their hands tied behind their backs, at the head
of their columns. In ancient Rome captives used to walk before the
triumphal car of the conqueror. Do not the Germans realize how utterly
this practice is contrary to the humane principles enjoined by Article
4 of the Hague Convention? We must suppose that they do not; for not
only do they not abandon the practice, but they make use of it to coin


  AMSTERDAM, _29th May_ (Havre Agency).--The town of Roulers
  is condemned to pay a fresh fine of 1½ millions, because the
  population cheered Belgian prisoners passing through the town.

  (_L'Ami de l'Ordre._)

Impossible, it will be said, to invent tortures yet more diabolic. But
no, when it is a question of doing evil, _Kultur_ can surpass itself.

Imagine the mentality of the person who sent to M. Brostens, of
Antwerp, the identity-disc of his son, who was taken prisoner. And
imagine the inward joy of the sender in picturing the parents' despair
on receiving the medal!


  When they make prisoners they sometimes detach the
  identification-discs from the men and send them, unaccompanied by
  comment, to the parents, to make them believe that their son is

  This is what has just happened to M. Brostens, Lieutenant of
  Customs, of Antwerp. Having received, a few days ago, his son's
  regimental number, he went into mourning. So yesterday morning,
  what was not his amazement to see his son return, who, having
  been made prisoner at the beginning of the war, had succeeded in

  (_Le Matin_, Antwerp, 14th September, 1914.)

Here, perhaps, the culprit was an uncultivated soldier. But what are we
to think of the mentality of Baron von der Goltz, when he informs us by
placard that a record is kept in a register of all aggressions against
the German army, and that the localities in which such attacks have
taken place may expect to receive their punishment?


  It has recently happened, in the regions which are not at present
  occupied by the German troops in more or less force, that convoys
  of wagons or patrols have been attacked, by surprise, by the

  I draw the attention of the public to the fact that a register is
  kept of the towns and communes in whose vicinity such attacks have
  occurred, and that they may expect their punishment as soon as the
  troops are passing through their neighbourhood.

  The Governor-General in Belgium,

When one learns on what ultra-trivial hints the German troops have
based their condemnation of the inhabitants, one may conclude that not
a commune will escape repression. It was evidently this generalized
terror which the Governor wished to inspire. He, too, wished to have
the pleasure of inflicting moral torture.

       *       *       *       *       *

To give point to the contrast between the mentality of our oppressors
and our own, between their _Kultur_ and our civilization, we should
like to reproduce a letter in which a young girl, living in Gand,
invited Belgian women to enter the hospitals for the purpose of
assisting the wounded, Germans as well as our own, to write to their
families. Committees of this kind were immediately constituted, notably
in Brussels.


  M. Paul Fredericq, Professor at the University of Gand, writes to
  the _Soir_:--

  "A young girl of Gand has had a touching inspiration.

  "She wished Belgian women who can write English and German,
  forgetting international hatred, and listening only to the voice
  of compassion, to attend at the ambulances and hospitals, in order
  to place themselves at the disposal of wounded foreigners, without
  distinction, and to write, at their dictation, letters intended to
  reassure their relatives.

  "This truly Christian work of charity would put an end to the
  anguish of so many mothers, who know that their sons are engaged on
  the Belgian battlefields.

  "I am certain that this appeal to the good hearts of our girls and
  women will not have been made in vain."

  While the Germans are butchering our sons and wives, this is what
  Belgian hearts are thinking of.

  (_Le Peuple_, 10th August, 1914.)

Finally, to close with, here is a numerical example which, better than
any reasoning, gives you the _Kultur_ of the German Army to the life:--

On the morning of Sunday, the 23rd August, 1914, the population of
Fonds de Leffe (a suburb of Dinant) comprised 251 men and boys,
including some fifteen inhabitants of neighbouring communes whom the
Germans had dragged away with them. By the evening of the following day
243 had been put to death: none of those taken was spared; the eight
who escaped the massacre had succeeded in fleeing. "Happily"--we were
told by a woman whose father, husband, and four brothers-in-law were
massacred--"happily many of the men had left for the army and were
fighting on the Yser. A strange war, in which the soldiers are less
exposed than the children, the old folks, and the sick who are left at


[32] Apparently our author had never heard timber burn before.--(TRANS.)

[33] As the Chancellor must have known, if the civil population _had_
been called to arms it would have been a perfectly legal measure. But
the Germans, who claim the right to do what is forbidden to others,
would forbid others to do even those things that are lawful.--(TRANS.)

[34] See the _Tägliche Rundschau_ supplement, 24th September, 1914; and
_Hamburger Fremdenblatt_, weekly supplement, 4th October, 1914.

[35] Epistle to Romans viii. 31.

[36] The bill-stickers of Brussels take a malign pleasure in refraining
from pasting other matter over the burgomaster's denial. In July 1915,
eleven months after it was posted, one could still read the famous
denial in several parts of Brussels.

[37] Nothing was known of the torture inflicted on the curé of
Bueken until, at the request of the Dutch Government, the body of
Father Vincentius Sombroek was exhumed, at the end of September 1914
(_N.R.C._, 1st October, evening). The body of M. De Clerck was found at
the same time, and it was then seen that he had been mutilated. This
was known to his parishioners, but they had never dared to speak of it.
What other horrors shall we learn of when tongues are again unloosed?

[38] Rom. xii. 12, 13.

[39] Oratio in Dominica infra Octavam Epiphaniae.

[40] Rom. xii. 12, 13.

[41] Prayer for the Sunday in the Octave of Epiphany.

[42] _Etappen_, a provisioned halting-place for troops.--(TRANS.)

[43] The words in brackets are ours.

[44] Other witnesses, however, more sincere, admitted in May 1915 that
the attitude of the people of Antwerp had remained just as hostile as
at the outset (see the article by Dr. Julius Burghold, in _K.Z._ for
the 29th May, 1915, 1 p.m. edition).

[45] In Brussels the tramways had issued, up to the 15th July, 1915,
1,032 gratuitous permits to German spies.

[46] The French of this proclamation is so bad that literal translation
is impossible, but I have kept as close to the original as is
consistent with intelligibility.--(TRANS.)

[47] The passages italicized were underlined in pencil on the placard
posted at Andenne.

[48] We shall give names at a later date.

[49] At least, they boast of having done so.

[50] I was told later that this old man was a sand merchant of
Chatillon, and was in a state of senile dementia. He was well known to
the people of Arlon.


  Absentees, tenfold tax on, 298-9

  Accusations, German, of Belgian cruelty, why made, 36;
    absurdity of, 36-7;
    progress of, 38-49;
    against the Belgian Government, 89-92

  Administration, German, of Belgium, 295-338

  Aerschot, return of prisoners to, 95;
    German burgomaster of, 140-1;
    massacre at, 166

  Agadir Crisis, 27

  Agents-Provocateurs, 317-20

  Aggravations, 336-41

  Agreements, attempt to enforce illegal, 320-4

  Air Raids, German, 122-4, 259-60, _see_ Dirigibles

  Albert, King, 178;
    his patron saint's day, 268-9;
    portraits of, 269-71;
    his birthday, 272;
    German abuse of, 282-3

  America, Germany desires to influence, 38;
    sends help, 173;
    Belgium's gratitude towards, 178

  Andenne, massacre at, 164, 326-33

  André, M. François, speech by, 139-40

  Anseremme, men sent to Germany, 119;
    Germans hide behind women at, 119-20

  Antwerp, siege of, 51, 144;
    bombardment of, 123-4, 128-9;
    the city fired, 148;
    sorties from, 163;
    flight from, 166

  Arlon, massacre at, 349;
    narrative of an eye-witness, 349-54

  Arms, surrender of, 90, 207

  Army, Belgian, the "enemy," 272-3;
    correspondence with, 356-7

  Army, German, _see_ German soldiers, Prisoners, Wounded, Officers

  Assessment Bureau, suppressed, 304

  Asquith, Mr., speaks in Dublin, 53

  Atrocities, pretended Belgian (98-108);
    refuted by _Vorwärts_, 102-3;
    by German wounded, 104-5, 106-8

  Atrocities, German, 63, (70-88);
    responsibility for, 70;
    formula for excusing, 74-5;
    method of, 91-2;
    repetition of, 164-5

  August 4th, Anniversary of, 276-9

  August 6th, Anniversary of, 279-80

  Baer, on "military necessity," 82

  Bas-Luxembourg, massacres in, 71

  _Belge Neutre et Loyale, La_, by E. Waxweiler, 37, 49, 75, 189, 200

  Belgian Army, _see_ Army

  Belgian Government, proposals made to, 50-1;
    accusations brought against, 89-92;
    preventive measures taken by, 108-11;
    people incited against, 289-94

  Belgium, invaded, 30-2;
    her attitude in defence of her neutrality, 33;
    invasion of, 34;
  character of, 53;
    disinterested behaviour of, 61-2;
    offered a bribe, 61, 140;
    famine in, 164;
    present administration of, 295-333;
    _see_ Invasion

  Bernstoff, Count, 32, 124

  Bethmann-Hollweg, his "scrap of paper" speech, and denial of same, 31;
    the "strategic necessities" speech, 31-2, 34;
    admits injustice of invasion, 63, 140;
    refers to "gouged-out eyes," 207;
    libellous declaration by, 209, 263-4, 281-2

  Bismarck, 9, 31;
    boasts of Ems telegram, 218

  Bissing, Baron von, 23;
    incites to massacre, 70, 83, 139;
    cynicism and audacity of his lies, 188, 238, 336

  Blinded soldiers, legend of, 99-100, 102-3

  Blindness, deliberate, of German "intellectuals," 204, 209

  Blöm, Captain, on theory of terrorization, 89, 164, 197

  Boiling oil, legend of, 99-100

  Bombardment, of coast, 121-2;
    of open towns, 123-4;
    of monuments, 124-8

  _Brabançonne_, the, prohibited, 273-4

  Brabant, return of prisoners to, 96

  Bredt, on Belgian art and character, 69

  Brussels, supposed "francs-tireurs" in, 81;
    return of prisoners to, 94;
    pretended outrages on Germans in, 107-8;
    the truth, 110-11;
    the city fined, 147;
    contributions imposed upon, 156-8;
    Palais de Justice in, 162;
    Belgian colours prohibited in, 268;
    shops closed as demonstration, 275

  Brutality, the Kaiser calls for, 335

  Bueken, the curé of, tortured and murdered, 238

  Buisseret-Steenbecque, Count, 49

  Bülow, General von, responsible for massacres, 71

  Cæsar, sells Belgians into captivity, 93

  Camps, prisoners', 92, 94

  Capelle-au-Bois, atrocities at, 338-9

  _Carte de ménage_, the, 172

  Catholic priests, German, servility of, 216-17

  Censorship, the German, 14-16, 204;
    censored papers, 258-9;
    examples of censorship, 259-60

  Chamberlain, Houston Stewart, shameful libel by, 237

  Chancellor, the German, _see_ Bethmann-Hollweg

  Charleroi, atrocities at, 75;
    German story of, 100, 118;
    Alfred Heymel's account of, 195-7, 230, 354

  Churches, German hatred and destruction of, 73-4

  "Circulation," prohibited, 169;
    allowed, 296

  Civil population, attitude of, 89-90;
    accused of guerilla warfare, 91-2;
    more civilians killed than soldiers by Sept. 14, 131;
    lying accusations made against, 188-90

  Civil Prisoners, _see_ Prisoners

  Clergy, German hatred of, 72;
    murdered and tortured, 72-3, 238, 343

  Cockerill workshops, 55-6

  Coercive measures taken by Germans, 115-17

  Collective penalties, illegal, 143-9

  Colours, Belgian, prohibited, 265-7;
    wearing of the, 309

  Communal trading, exploitation, etc., 170-1

  Communes, property of, requisitioned, 163-4

  Commission for Relief, the American, 173

  Committee of Relief, the National, 173

  Conrad, Pastor, author of libel, 103

  Contributions, illegal, 154-6;
    imposed on cities, 156;
    on Brussels, 156-8

  Cooper-Hewitt lamp, claimed as German, 181

  Correspondence, regulations as to, 22-3;
    with the Army, 356-7

  Credulity, German, 207-9

  Critical spirit, German surrender of the, 202-5

  Cruelty, necessity of, 82-3;
    is it effectual? 195;
    supposed Belgian, _see_ Atrocities

  Cugnon, lying placard at, 233

  Cynicism, German, 191-3

  Dead, German, transport of, 231-2

  Declaration of war, 50;
    ignored by German newspapers, 52

  Demonstrations, prohibition of, 274-80

  Destitution, statistics of, 178

  Destrée, M. Jules, 50

  _Deutsch-Französischer-Soldaten-Sprachführer_, 143

  Dinant, return of prisoners to, 95-6;
    massacres at, 98, 164, 166, 194, 347, 360

  Dirigibles, at Deynze, 123;
    Antwerp, 124;
    imaginary tale of raid on Liége, 225-6, 229-30;
    Germans lose one and pretend it is French, 230-1

  Discussion, liberty of free, abolished, 205

  Disdain of others, German, 184

  Disunion, incitements to, 282-9

  Drunkenness, in German Army, 80-2, 134

  Dryander, Dr. O., servile complacency of, 213-15

  Ducarne Report, the, 43-4

  Dum-dum bullets, 113;
    the Kaiser accuses Belgians of using, 208

  Duplicity, German, 29

  Economic depression in Belgium, 166

  Egoism of German character, 182

  Emblems, wearing of, prohibited, 268

  Ems telegram, the, 131;
    Bismarck boasts of, 218

  Engagements, violation of, 262-4

  England, as the guarantor of Belgian neutrality, 39, 41-3;
    Germany attempts to obtain promise of neutrality from, 264;
    Belgium incited against, 294-5

  Eppeghem, fined, 148-9, 189

  _Eroberung Belgiëns, Die_, propagandist publication, 252-3

  Erzberger, Herr, objects to sentimentality, 336

  Escaille, M. de l', 47-9

  Espionage, German, 54-6, 316-20

  Evere, air-raid at, 260

  Executions, insufficiency of inquiry before, 74-6

  Factories, destruction of, 168

  Falsifications, German, of documents, 41-9

  Famine in Belgium, causes of, 166-7, 169

  Ferocity, instances of German, 333

  Filthy tricks and amusements, 340-1

  Fines, illegal and absurd, 146-9, 232

  Flag, Belgian, prohibited, 265-8, 277

  Flemish tongue, favoured, 285-7

  Fleming-Walloon problem exploited, 284-9

  Flight of Belgians before invasion, 166

  Fonds de Leffe, massacre at, 360

  Forest, hostages taken at, 150

  France, Germany accuses, 31-3;
    were her suspicions genuine? 33;
    pacific mood of, 35;
    accused of entering Belgium in July, 36-7;
    sudden attack on checked, 61

  Francorchamps, atrocities at, 75;
    plundering of, 132

  "Francs-tireurs," the German pretence of (63-80);
    were there any? 64-5;
    an obsession, 66-70;
    Germany's invention of, 89;
    method of "repression," 86-7;
    the Great General Staff prepares the Army for, 98-9;
    fines for attacks by, 147-9;
    pretext for massacre and pillage, 165;
    German lies concerning, 188-90, 196, 207;
    organization of "attacks," 236;
    proposal to torture, 342

  Frankenberg, pretended murder of, 107-8

  Freemasons appealed to, 202

  Gand, coercion at, 116;
   Belgian girl's proposal, 359-60

  Gas, poisonous, use of, 112-13, 198-9

  German Administration in Belgium, 295-333

  German character, classical authors on, 281

  German language, attempt to enforce, 272

  German mentality, 56-8, 67, 179-360

  German Prisoners, letters of, 56-8

  Germans, Belgian antipathy to undiminished, 307-11

  Germany, Belgian distrust of, 27-8;

  Gerard, Mr., 111

  Godet, M. Philippe, 47

  Goltz, Baron von der, 23, 144, 149, 188, 199, 264-5, 296, 358

  Gottberg, Herr, narrative of, 68

  Graphic Lies, 218-24

  Great General Staff, the German, murderous tactics of, 98-9;
    methodical care of, 236-7

  Greindl Report, falsification of, 41-3

  Haecht, massacre at, 163

  Hague Convention, violations of the, 12, 111-78

  Hainaut, incendiarism in, 85;
    Provincial Council convened, 139

  Hate, Hymn of, 294

  Harden, Maximilian, 183, 200

  Hedin, Dr. Sven, deluded by Germans, 77-8, 165, 221

  Herve, massacre at, 63

  Heymann, Robert, lying narrative of attack on Jesuits, 225-8

  Heymel, Alfred, on the Battle of Charleroi, 195-6, 345

  Hindenburg, 83, 206

  Holland, refugees in, 166

  Honour, Belgian, German price of, 61, 140

  Hoover, Mr. Herbert, 174, 178

  Hostages, taking of, 149-51, 195-6, 327

  Hostilities, precede declaration of war, 51

  Houtem, atrocities at, 189

  Humanitarian sentiments, claimed by German Army, 83

  Huns, the Kaiser invokes the, 335

  Huy, atrocities at, 77, 81

  Identification cards, 322-3

  Incendiarism, methods of, 84-5;
    a cover to pillage, 132;
    organization of, 236

  Incendiary material, 84-5

  Information, extraction of, 141-2

  Informers, appeal to, 313-16

  Innocent, to suffer with or in place of guilty, 84, 143-9, 199

  Inscriptions, protection, 87-8

  Insults, German, reason of, 36

  Intellectual life in Belgium, 12

  Intellectuals, German, wilful blindness of, 209-10;
    the "Ninety-three," 211-12

  International law, suppressed by war, 183

  _Interprète Militaire, L'_, 334

  Invasion, of Belgium, reasons for the, 34-5;
    danger of recognized, 40-1;
    the Greindl Report, 41-3, 58;
    reason for, 63

  Ivy leaf, wearing of, 268

  Jagow, Herr von, sends ultimatum, 30, 34

  Jesuit Convent, lying tale of, 225-8

  _Journal de la Guerre_, German propagandist journal, 247-8

  Jungbluth Report, the, 43-4

  King of Belgium, the, _see_ Albert, King

  Kitchener's Army, German account of, 187

  Koch, the apotheosis of, 180-1

  Koester and Noske, authors of _Kriegsfahrten_, 59, 132, 162, 221, 262

  _Kölnische Volkszeitung_, suspended, 203

  _Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege_, 137, 141, 159, 333

  _La Guerre_, German propagandist journal, 248-9

  Ladies, treatment of, 338

  Laeken, orgies at, 81

  _L'Ami de l'Ordre_, propagandist journal, 254-5

  Latin authors, on German race, 281

  Law of Nations, violation of the, 12

  _Le Bien Public_, propagandist journal, 255-6

  Leaflets, propagandist, 251-2

  League of German Scientists and Artists, 251

  Lebbeke, atrocities at, 68, 119, 354-5

  Leffe, massacre at, 347

  Leffe, Fonds de, massacre at, 347-8, 360

  Legation, British, documents found in the, 45-6

  Leman, General, 198, 238

  Liége, German lies concerning forts of, 50;
    occupation of, lies concerning, 38-60;
    warned against Belgian news, 187;
    marvellous tale of Jesuit convent near, 225-8;
    keeps anniversary of August 6th, 279-80

  Lies, concerning the situation in Belgium, 188;
    concerning "francs-tireurs," 188-90, 217-282;
    photographic, 218-20, 222-4;
    written, 224-31

  Lissauer, Ernst, author of the "Hymn of Hate," 294

  Living shields, Belgians used as, 117-22, 263, 334-5

  Lloyd George, speaks at City Temple, 35

  Loot, _see_ Pillage

  Louvain, atrocities in, 87;
    protective inscriptions, 88;
    return of prisoners to, 95-6;
    massacre in, 164;
    lies concerning, 220-1

  _Lügenfeldzug_, 60

  Luttre, strike at, 300-1

  _Lusitania_, sinking of the, 194

  Machinery, requisitioned, 158-9

  Magnet, M. Charles, appeals to Freemasons for inquiry, 202-3

  Malines, bombardment of cathedral, 126-8;
    traffic in suppressed, 301-2

  Manuals, military, 45

  _Marseillaise_, the, shopkeepers fined for selling, 146, 273-4

  Max, M., imprisoned and released, 10;
    and the Governor of Belgium, 156-9;
    his denial of a lying placard, 233-5, 265;
    portrait worn, 309

  Massacre, the two great periods of, 86-7, 131, 164-5;
    _see_ Atrocities, Reprisals, etc.

  Massacres, pretended, of German civilians, 106-8

  Mentality, German, 179-360

  Mentality of a German officer, 78-80

  Mercier, Cardinal, 202, 239-46

  Meuse, pillage on the banks of the, 197-8

  Middelkerke, Belgians detained at, 120-1

  Might before Right, 183-4

  Militarism, 182-4

  Military employment of Belgians, 113-14

  Militia, Belgian, escape of, 152-3

  Mons, pillage at, 133

  Monuments, destruction of, 124-8, 130-1

  Murders, German, 63-80

  Music, censored, 16, 146, 273-4

  National anniversary, the 274-6

  National Committee of Relief, 172-8;
    food, etc., distributed by, 175-7

  Neutral opinion, necessity of influencing, 36, 38, 46-7

  Neutrality, Belgian, violation of, 12, 27-62;
    justification of, 31-2;
    Germany accuses France of violating, 31-2;
    England guarantees, 39-40

  News published by the German Government, 185

  News, secret propagation of, 20-1, 204-5

  Newspapers forced to appear by the German Government, 13;
    censored, 15;
    authorized German newspapers, 16;
    official, 17;
    Dutch, 18-19;
    introduced surreptitiously, 19-20;
    secret, 21

  _Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant_, correspondence in, 103-5

  "Ninety-three Intellectuals," the, 11, 211-12

  Nissen, Herr Momme, on German virtues, 181;
    pretends the Belgian attitude conciliatory, 310

  _Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung_, 38

  Observation-posts, pretended, 128-9, 130

  Officers, German, lie to their men, 235-6

  Organization, peculiarities of German, 303

  Ostend, Belgians detained in, 120-1

  Ottignies, account of atrocities at, by German officer, 335-6

  Pasteur, ignored by Germans, 180-1

  Pastoral Letter, Mgr. Mercier's, 240-6

  Pastors, Protestant, servility of, 213-16

  Photographs and picture-postcards, 193-4;
    "faked" photographs, etc., 218-20;
    showing Germans before Paris, etc., 238-9

  Pillage, 131;
    officers join in, 132-4;
    methodical nature of, 136-7;
    prohibited by _Kriegsbrauch_, 137, 166;
    systematic, 197;
    on the Meuse, 197-8

  Placards, German, 22

  Plague, lying report of, in Paris, 236

  Poison-gas, _see_ Gas

  Poincaré, President, 220

  Pope, the, surrenders Peter's Pence, 177

  Portraits of Royal Family, 269-71, 309

  Postcards, _see_ Photographs

  Preventive measures, _see_ Reprisals, Terrorization

  Pride, German, 179

  Priests, _see_ Clergy

  Prisoners, civil, treatment of, 92-5;
    return of, 95-6;
    admittedly innocent, 96-8, 324;
    torture of, 354-5

  Prisoners, German, letters of, 56-8, 104-6

  Proclamations, some absurd, 185-8

  Professors, manifesto of the, 3, 125, 212-13

  Propaganda, perfection of German, 11;
    organization of, 246-7;
    bureaux in Germany, 247-53;
    abroad, 253-7

  Provincial Councils convened, 138

  Queen of Belgium, the, 11;
    German abuse of, 283-4

  Railway journeys, 24

  Railways, stoppage of, 168-9, 300

  Rape, 131

  Raw material, requisitioned, 158-9, 167-8

  Red Cross, Belgian, suppressed, 105-6, 304-7

  Refugees, Belgian, 166

  Reims, bombardment of Cathedral, 124-6

  Relief, measures of, 171;
    food, etc., distributed, 175-7

  Relief, National and American Committees, 172-8

  Repression, measures of, 152-3;
    at Andenne, 326-33

  "Reprisals," against "francs-tireurs," 63-80;
    excuse for, 74;
    frivolity of, 75;
    _see_ Atrocities

  Requisitions, illegal, 158-61;
    in kind and service, 159-60, 166;
    of forage, 167;
    of provisions intended for relief, 174

  Royal Family, portraits of, 269-71

  Ruysbroeck, coercion at, 117

  Sabbe, M. Maurice, denies German libel, 287-9

  Sacrilege, 133

  School inspection, 280-2

  "Scrap of paper," the, 31

  Shelters, temporary, 170

  Sibret, atrocities at, 76

  Socialists, German, docility of, 206-7;
    visit Belgium, 262, 296

  Sorel, E., 39

  Sorinnes, atrocities at, 347-8

  Spontin, torture and murder of priest and burgomaster at, 344

  Spitteler, Herr Karl, 46

  Stamps, theft of, 135

  State property, treatment of, 161-2

  Submarine campaign, 194-5

  Sweveghem, coercion at, 116-17

  Tamines, atrocities at, 135-6, 164

  Tavigny, atrocities at, 346-7

  Taxation, illegal, 137-41, 166, 168;
    of absentees, 298-9

  Telegraph and telephone wires, fines, etc., for damages to, 145-9

  Termonde, incendiarism at, 73, 85, 164, 167, 221

  Terrorization, 64;
    uses of, 83;
    Blöm on theory of, 84;
    the theory of the German Staff, 98-9;
    in practice, 164

  Tervueren, prisoners from, 93

  Theft, _see_ Pillage

  Time, aggravation in respect of, 337-8

  _Tornisterwörterbuch_, 141-3, 334

  Torture, inflicted on priest, 238;
    recommended, 342;
    another priest tortured, 343;
    other cases, 343-6;
    moral and physical, 346-60

  Trade, stagnation of, 168-9

  Traffic, suppression of, 168-9

  Treaty of London, 39

  Ultimatum, the, 30

  Uncensored newspapers, 261-2

  Unemployment, 168-70;
    patriotic reasons for, 296

  Untruthfulness, German, 217-82

  Useful cruelties, 336

  Villalobar, Marquis of, 173

  Violation of Belgian neutrality, _see_ Neutrality, Belgium, Invasion

  Violence, claimed as legitimate, 84, 263

  Visé, massacre at, 64

  _Vorwärts_, protests against German lies, 102-3, 184;
    suspended, 203, 237;
    protests against incitement to torture, 342

  War, _see_ Ultimatum, Invasion, etc.

  War Booty, 132, 135, 197, 249-50

  War Tax, monstrous, 139-40

  Waxweiler, M. Emile, 37, 49, 75, 189, 200

  Weber, pretended murder of, 107-8

  Wépion, atrocities at, 75

  Werchter, atrocities at, 164

  White flag, abuse of, 118

  Whitlock, Mr. Brand, 10, 110-11, 173, 178

  Wiart, M. Carton de, 61-2

  Wilhelm II, his "well-intentioned proposal," 35;
    his three successive proposals, 50-1;
    his telegram to President Wilson, 54, 89;
    tacitly admits innocence of civilians, 97, 180, 189, 191, 207;
    text of his telegram, 208, 264, 335

  Wilson, President, Kaiser's telegram to, 34, 208

  Wounded, German, letters from, 104-5;
    Houston Chamberlain on Belgian treatment of, 237;
    _see_ Atrocities, pretended Belgian

  Zobeltitz, refers to museum specimens
    as proving Belgium's preparation for war, 207

_Printed in Great Britain by_


      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Obvious errors of punctuation and diacritical markings were corrected.0

Inconsistent hyphenation was made consistent.

P. 5: Contributions and Requsitions -> Contributions and Requisitions.

P. 34: German troops entered Belguim -> German troops entered Belgium.

P. 46: sacrified on the altar of Kultur -> sacrificed on the altar of

P. 60: pepetrates this trickery -> perpetrates this trickery.

P. 64: It would be impossible as this moment -> It would be impossible
at this moment.

P. 157: degree of obstinancy -> degree of obstinacy.

Latin letter on pp. 242-3:
  Militess onim ->  Milites enim.
  dignitate nestrae -> dignitati nostrae.
  di eadem matutina -> die eadem matutina.
  aminarum pastor -> animarum pastor.
  potius aminarum ->  potius animarum.
  decenatus evenerunt -> decanatus evenerunt.

P. 298: German Goverment -> German Government.

P. 354: proceded to break open -> proceeded to break open.

Index entry for Propaganda, bureaux in Germany changed from 274-53 to

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