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THE GERMAN TERROR
IN BELGIUM



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LAUD



1p



THE GERMAN TERROR
IN BELGIUM ^y

'vycAn Historical Record




BY

ARNOLD J. TOYNBEE

LATE FELL0W[|OF BALUOL C0LLB6K,
OXfOBD



NEW YORK

GEORGE H. DQRAN COMPANY

MGMXVn



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COPYSIGHT, 191 7,
BY GEORGE H DORAN CX>1IPANT



NOV 2 4 1925



PRINTED IN TBB UNITED STATES OP AMERICA



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PREFACE

THE subject of this book is the treatment of the
civil population in the countries overrun by
the German Amiies during the first three
months of the European War. The form of it is a
connected narrative, based on the published documents*
and reproducing them by direct quotation or (for the
sake of brevity) by reference.

With the documents now published on both sides it
is at last possible to present a clear narrative of what
actually happened. The co-ordination of this mass
of evidence, which has gradually accumulated since
the first days of invasion, is the principal purpose
for which the book has been written. The evidence
consists of first-hand statements — some delivered on
oath before a court, others taken down from the wit-
nesses without oath by competent legal examiners,
others written and published on the witnesses* own in-
itiative as books or pamphlets. Most of them origin-
ally appeared in print in a controversial setting, as
proofs or disproofs of disputed fact, or as justifications
or condemnations of fact that was admitted. In the
present work, however, this argumentative aspect of
them has been avoided as far as possible. For it has
either been treated exhaustively in official publications

* A schedule of the more important documents will be found in the
"List of Abbreriations" pp. xi-xiii.

V



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PREFACE

— ^the case of Louvain, for instance, in the German
White Book and the Belgian Reply to it — or will not
be capable of such treatment till after the conclusion
of the War. The ultimate inquiry and verdict, if it is
to have finality, must proceed either from a mixed
commission of representatives of all the States con-
cerned, or from a neutral commission like that
appointed by the Carnegie Foundation to inquire into
the atrocities committed during the Balkan War. But
the German Government has repeatedly refused pro-
posals, made both unofficially and officially, that it
should allow such an investigation to be conducted in
the territory at present under German military occu-
pation,* and the final critical assessment will therefore
necessarily be postponed till the German Armies have
retired again within their own frontiers.

Meanwhile, an ordered and documented narrative
of the attested facts seems the best preparation for
that judicial appraisement for which the time is not
yet ripe. The facts have been drawn from statements
made by witnesses on opposite sides with different
intentions and beliefs, but as far as possible they have
been disengaged from this subjective setting and have
been set out, without comment, to speak for themselves.
It has been impossible, however, to confine the exposi-
tion to pure narration at every point, for in the original
evidence the facts observed and the inferred explana-
tion of them are seldom distinguished, and when the
same observed fact is made a ground for diametrically
opposite inferences by different witnesses, the difficulty
becomes acute. A German soldier, say, in Louvain on

* Belgian Reply pp. vii. and 97-8.

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PREFACE

the night of August 25th, 1914, hears the sound of
machine-gun firing apparently coming from a certain
spot in the town, and infers that at this spot Belgian
civilians are using a machine gun against Grerman
troops; a Belgian inhabitant hears the same sound, and
infers that Grerman troops are firing on civilians. In
such cases the narrative must be interpreted by a judg-
ment as to which of the inferences is the truth, and
this judgment involves discussion. What is remark-
able, however, is the rarity of these contradictions.
Usually the different testimonies fit together into a
presentation of fact which is not open to argument.

The narrative has been arranged so as to follow
separately the tracks of the different German Armies
or groups of Armies which traversed different sectors
of French and Belgian territory. Within each sector
the chronological order has been followed, which is
generally identical with the geographical order in
which the places affected lie along the route of march.
The present volume describes the invasion of Belgium
up to the sack of Louvain.

Arnold J. Toynbee.
Marck^ 1917.



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CONTENTS

FRONTISPIECE ....... The Invaded Country {Map)

PAGB

PREFACE V

TABLE OF CONTENTS iz

LIST OP MAPS ix

LIST OP ILLUSTRATIONS x

LIST OP ABBREVIATIONS »

CHAPTER I.: THE TRACK OP THE ARMIES .... 15

CHAPTER II.: PROM THE FRONTIER TO LifiGE . . 23

(i) On thb Visft Road 33

(ii) On the Barchon Road 27

(iii) On thb Fl6ron Road 31

(iv) On the Verviers Road 37

(v) On the Malm^dy Road 38

(vi) Between the Vesdre and the Ourthe .... 42

(vii) Across the Meuse 44

(viii) The City of^Li£ge 46

CHAPTER HI.: FROM LifiGE TO M ALINES .... 52

(i) Through Limburg to Aerschot 52

(ii) Aerschot ' 57

(iii) The Aerschot District 74

(iv) The Retreat from Malines 77

(v) LOUVAIN 89

MAPS

THE INVADED COUNTRY Frontispiece

THE TRACK OF THE ARMIES: FROM THE

FRONTIER TO MALINES* End of Volume

LOUVAIN. FROM THE GERMAN WHITE BOOK End of Volume

^ This map shows practicaUy aU the roads and places referred to in the t^xt,

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ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

1. MouLAND To face page i6

2. Battice 17

3. Li6gb Ports: A Destroyed Cupola 32

4. Ans: An Interior 33

5. Ans: The Church 48

6. Li£ge: A Farm House ....;..• 49

7. Liege Under German Occupation 52

8. Li^GE Under the Germans: Ruins and Placards . . 53

9. Liege in Ruins 60

10. "We Live Like God IN Belgium" 61

11. Haelen 64

12. Aerschot 65

13. Brussels: A Booking-Office 80

14. Malines After Bombardment 81

15. Malines: Ruins 84

16. Malines: Ruins 85

17. Malines: Cardinal Mercier's State-Room as a Red

Cross Hospital 92

18. Malines: The Cardinal's Throne-Room 93

19. Capelle-au-Bois 96

20. Capelle-au-Bois 97

21. Capelle-au-Bois: The Church • . 112

22. Louvain: Near the Church OF St. Pierre 113

23. Louvain: The Church OF St. Pierre 116

24. Louvain: The Church of St. Pierre Across the Ruins 117

25. Louvain: The Church of St. Pierre — Interior . . . 124

26. Louvain: Station Square 125

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ABBREVIATIONS

Alphabet, Letters of the: —

Capitals . . Appendices to the German White Book en-
titled: " The Violation of International Law in
the Conduct of Ike Belgian PeoMs-War** (dated
Berlin, loth May, 1915): Arabic numerals after
the capital letter refer to the depositions con-
tained m each Appendix.

Lower Case . Sections of the ^'Appendix to the Report of the
Committee on Alleged German Outrages^ Appoint-
ed by His Britannic Majesty s Government and
Presided Over by the Right Hon, Viscount Bryce,
O.M" (Cd. 7895); Arabic numerals after the
lower case letter refer to the depositions con-
tained in each Section.



Ann(ex)
Bblg. . .



Annexes (numbered i to 9) to the Reports of
the Belgian Commission (vide infra).

Reports (numbered i to xxii) of the Official Com-
mission of the Belgian Government on the Vioia-
tion of the Rights of Nations and of the Laws and
Customs of War. (English translation, pub-
lished, on behalf of the Belgian Legation, by
H.M. Stationery Office, two volvunesi)



Bland



** Germany* s Violations of the Laws of War^
1914-5"; compiled imder the Auspices of the
Prencn Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and trans-
lated into English with an Introduction by
J. O. P. Bland. (London: Heinemann. 1915.)



Brycb



Appendix to the Report of the Committee on Al-
leged German Outrages appointed by His Britannic
Majesty* s Government.



Chambrt



" The Truth about Louvain" by R^6 Chambry.
(Hodder and Stoughton. 1915.)



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ABBREVIATIONS



Davignon . .

"Eyb- Witness"
"Germans"

Grondijs . .

H(5CKER . . .

"Horrors" . .

Massart . .

Mbrcibr . .

Morgan . . .



Numerals, Roman
lower case . .



R(eply)



"Belgium and Germany,'* Texts and Docu-
ments, preceded by a Foreword by Henri
Davignon. < (Thomas Nelson and Sons.)

"An Eye-Witness at Louvain.'* (London: Eyre
and Spottiswoode. 1914.)

"TTie Germans at Louvain" by a volunteer
worker in the Hdpital St.-Tkomas. (Hodder
and Stoughton, 1916.)

"The Germans in Belgium: Experiences of a
Neutral,*' by L. H. Grondijs, Ph.D., formerly
Professor of Physics at the Technical Institute
of Dordrecht. (London: Heinemann. 1915.)

"An der Spitse Meiner Kompagnie, Three
Months of , Campaigning," by Paul Oskar
Hdcker. (tJllstein and Co., Berlin and Vi-
enna. 1914.)

'* The Horrors of Louvain," by an Eye-witness,
with an Introduction by Lord Hali&x. (Pub-
lished by the London Sunday Times,)

"Belgians under the German Eagle" by Jean
Massart, Vice-Director of the Class of Sciences
in the Royal Academy of Belgium. (English
translation by Bernard Miall. London: Fisher
Unwin. 1916.)

Pastoral Letter, dated Xmas, 1^14, of His Emi-
nence Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines.

"German Atrocities: An Official Investigation,"
by J. H. Morgan, M.A., Professor of Constitu-
tional Law in the University of London. (Lon-
don: Fisher Unwin. 1916.)

Reports (numbered i to xxii) of the Belgian Com-
mission (vide supra).

"Reply to the German White Book of May 10,
I9I5«" (Published, for the Belgian Ministey of
Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by
Berger-Levrault, Pans, 1916.)

iuabic numerals after the R refer to the depo-
sitions contained in the particular section of the
Reply that is being cited at the moment: e.g.,
Ri$ denotes the fifteenth deposition in the sec-

zii



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ABBREVIATIONS



S(ohvillb) . .



Struykbn



tion on Louvain in the Reply when died in the
section on Louvain in the present work; but it
denotes the fifteenth d^>osition in the section
on Aerschot when cited in the corresponding
section here.

The Reply is also referred to by pages, and
in these cases the Arabic numeral aenotes the
page and is preceded by "p."

'*The Road to LiSge,** by Gustave Somville.
(English translation by Bernard Miall. Hodder
and Stoughton. 191 6.)

"The German White Book on the War in Bel-
gium: A Commentary,** by Professor A. A. H.
Struyken. (English Translation of Artides in
the Journal Van Onzen Tijd, of Amsterdam,
"uly 31st, August 7th, 14th, 2 1st, 1915. Thomas
'elson and Sons.)






N.B. — Statistics, where no reference is given, are taken from the
first and second Annexes to the Reports of the Bdgian Commission.
They are based on offidal investigations.



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THE GERMAN TERROR
IN BELGIUM

I. THE TRACK OF THE ARMIES.

WHEN Germany declared war upon Russia,
Belgium, and France in the first days of
August, 1914, German armies immediately
invaded Russian, Belgian, and French territory, and as
soon as the frontiers were crossed, these armies began
to wage war, not merely against the troops and fortifi-
cations of the invaded states, but against the lives and
property of the civil population.

Outrages of this kind were committed during the
whole advance and retreat of the Germans through
Belgium and France, and only abated when open
manoeuvring gave place to trench warfare along all the
line from Switzerland to the sea. Similar outrages ac-
companied the simultaneous advance into the western
salient of Russian Poland, and the autumn incursion
of the Austro-Hungarians into Serbia, which was turned
back at Valievo. There was a remarkable uniformity
in the crimes committed in these widely separated
theatres of war, and an equally remarkable limit to

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THE TRACK OF THE ARMIES

the dates within which they fell. They all occurred
during the first three months of the war, while, since
that period, though outrages have continued, they have
not been of the same character or on the same scale.
This has not been due to the immobility of the fronts,
for although it is certainly true that the Germans have
been unable to overnm fresh territories on the west,
they have carried out greater invasions than ever in
Russia and the Balkans, which have not been marked
by outrages of the same specific kind. This seems to
show that the systematic warfare against the civil popu-
lation in the campaigns of 1914 was the re3ult of pol-
icy, deliberately tried and afterwards deliberately
given up. The hypothesis would accoimt for the pe-
culiar features in the German Army's conduct, but be-
fore we can imderstand these features we must survey
the sum of what the Germans did. The catalogue of
crimes against civilians extends through every phase
and theatre of the military operations in the first three
months of the war, and an outline of these i$ a neces-
sary introduction to it.

In August, 1914, the Central Empires threw their
main strength against Belgium and France, and pene-
trated far further on this front than on the east and
south-east. The line on which they advanced extended
from the northern end of the Vosges to the Dutch
frontier on the Meuse, and here again their strength
was imevenly distributed. The chief striking force was

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THE TRACK OP THE ARMIES

concentrated in the extreme north, and advanced in an
immense arc across the Meuse, the Scheldt, the Scxnme,
and the Oise to the outskirts of Paris. As this right
wing pressed forward, one army after another took up
the movement toward the left or south-eastern flank,
but each made less progress than its right-hand neigh-
bour. While the first three armies from the right all
crossed the Mame before they were compelled to re-
treat, the fourth (the Crown Prince's) never reached
it, and the army of Lorraine was stopped a few miles
within French territory, before ever it crossed the
Meuse. We shall set down very briefly the broad
movements of these armies and the dates on which
they took place.

Grermany sent her ultimatum to Belgium cm the
evening of Aug. 2nd. It announced that Germany
would violate Belgian neutrality within twelve hours,
unless Belgium betrayed it herself, and it was rejected
by Belgium the following morning. That day Ger-
many declared war on Frspice, and the next day, Aug.
4th, the advance guard of the Grerman ri^t wing
crossed the Belgian frontier and attacked the forts of
Liege. On Aug. 7th the town of Liege was entered,
and the crossings of the Meuse, from Li^ge to the Dutdi
frontier, were in Grerman hands.

Beyond Liege the invading forces spread out like a
fan. On the extreme right a force advanced north-
west to outflank the Belgian army covering Brussels

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THE TRACK OF THE ARMIES

and to mask the fortress of Antwerp, and this right
wing, again, was the first to move. Its van was de-
feated by the Belgians at Haelen on Aug. 12th, but
the main column entered Hasselt on the same day, and
took Aerschot and Louvain on Aug. 19th. During the
next few da3rs it pushed on to Malines^ was driven out
again by a Belgian sortie from Antwerp on Aug. 25th,
but retook Malines before the end of the month, and
contained the Antwerp garrison along the line of the
Dyle and the Demer.

This was all that the (Jerman ri^t flank column
was intended to do, for it was only a subsidiary part
of the two armies concentrated at Liege. As soon as
Antwerp was covered, the mass of these armies was
laimched westward from Liege into the gap between
the fortresses of Antwerp and Namur — ^von Kluck's
army on the right and von Billow's on the left. By
Aug. 21st von Bulow was west of Namur, and attack-
ing the French on the Sambre. On Aug. 20th an
army corps of von Kluck's had paraded through BruS'
sels, and on the 23rd his main body, wheeling south-
west, attacked the British at Mons. On the 24th von
Kluck's extreme right reached the Scheldt at Tournai
and, under this threat to their left flank, the British and
French abandoned their positions on the Mons-Char-
leroi line and retreated to the south. Von Kluck and
von Billow hastened in pursuit. They passed Cam"
hrai on Aug. 26th and St. Quentin on the 29th; on the

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THE TRACK OF THE ARMIES

31st von Kluck was crossing the Oise at Compiegne^
and on the 6th Sept. he reached his furthest point at
Courchamp^ south-east of Paris and nearly thirty miles
beyond the Mame. His repulse, like his advance, was
brought about by an outflanking manoeuvre, only this
time the Anglo-French had the initiative, and it was
von Kluck who was outflanked. His retirement com-
pelled von Bulow to fall back on his left, after a bloody
defeat in the marshes of St. Gond^ and the retreat was
taken up, successively, by the other amiies which had
come into line on the left of von Billow.

These amiies had all crossed the Meuse south of the
fortress of Namur, and, to retain connexion with them,
von Bulow had had to detach a force on his left to
seize the line of the Meuse from Liege to Namur and
to capture Namur itself. The best Grerman heavy ar-
tillery was assigned to this force for the purpose, and
Namur fell, after an unexpectedly short bombardment,
on Aug. 23rd, while Von Billow's main army at Char-
leroi was still engaged in its struggle with the French.

The fall of Namur opened the way for German
armies to cross the Meuse along the whole line from
Namur to Verdun. The first crossing was made at
Dinant on Aug. 23rd, the very day on which Namur
fell, by a Saxon army, which marched thither by cross
routes through Luxembourg; the second by the Duke
of Wilrtemberg^s army between Mezieres and Sedan;
and the third by the Crown Pruice of Prussia's army

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THE TRACK OF THE ARMIES

immediately north of Verdun. West of the Meuse the
Saxons and Wiirtembergcrs amalgamated, and got into
touch with von Biilow on their right. Advancing par-
allel with him, they reached Charleville on Aug. 25th,
crossed the Aisne at Retkel on the 30th and the Marae
at Chalons on the 4th, and were stopped on the 7th at
Vitry en Ferthois. The Crown Prince, on their left,
did not penetrate so f^r. Instead of the plains of
Champagne he had to traverse the hill country of the
Argonne. He turned back at Sermaize^ which he had
reached on Sept. 6th, and never saw the Mame.

On the left of the Crown Prince a Bavarian army
crossed the frontier between Metz and the Vosges. Its
task was to join hands with the Crown Prince roimd
the southem flank of Verdun, as the Duke of Wurtem-
berg had joined hands with von Biilow roimd the flank
of Namur. But Verdun never fell, and the Bavarian
advance was the weakest of any. Luneville fell on
Aug. 22nd, and Baccarat was entered on the 24th; but
Nancy was never reached, and on Sept. 12th the gen-
eral German retreat extended to this south-easternmost
sector, and the Bavarians fell back.

Thus the German invading armies were everywhere
checked and driven back between the 6th and the 12th
September, 1914. The operations which came to this
issue bear the general name of the Battle of the Mame.
The Mame was followed immediately by the Aisne^
and the issue of the Aisne was a change from open to

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THE TRACK OF THE ARMIES

trench warfare along a line extending from the Vosges
to the Oise. This change was complete before Septem-
ber closed, and the line formed then has remained prac-
tically unaltered to the present time. But there was
another month of open fighting between the Oise and
the sea.

When the Germans' strategy was defeated at the
Marne, they transferred their efforts to the north-west,
and took the initiative there. On Sept. 9th the Belgian
Army had made a second sortie from Antwerp, to coin-
cide with the counter-offensive of Joffre, and this time
they had even reoccupied Aerschot. The Germans re-
taliated by taking the offensive on the Scheldt. The
retaining army before Antwerp was strongly reinforced.
Its left flank was secured, in the latter half of Septem-
ber, by the occupation of Termonde and Alost. The
attack on Antwerp itself began on Sept. 27th. On the
2nd the outer ring of forts was forced, and on the 9th
the G^ermans entered the city. The towns of Flanders
fell in rapid succession — Ghent on the 12th, Bruges on
the 14th, Ostend on the 15th — ^and the Germans hoped
to break through to the Channel ports on the front be-
tween Ostend and the Oise. Meanwhile, each side had
been feverishly extending its lines from the Oise to-
wards the north and pushing forward cavalry to turn
the exposed flank of the opponent. These two simul-
taneous movements — the extension of the trench lines
from the Oise to the sea, and the German thrust across

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THE TRACK OF THE ARMIES

Flanders to the Channel — ^intersected one another at
Ypres, and the Battle of Ypres and the Yser^ in the
latter part of October, was the crisis of this north-


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