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Remembered Today:

Belgian Franctireurs 1914


fritz
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Dave,

There is no one more equal than others, the Forum rules are there for everyone. The issue seems to have been around the overly-assertive and repeated manner in which you have posted your opinions.

I am surprised that this thread hasn't been nuked a while back. It would be a shame to see the thread closed, but it will be if necessary.

Hi Matt,

Not fair---if the rules are there for everyone how does it come to pass that you can possibly allow Egberts bile laden post to stand here?

Dave.

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"I last read Tuchman say 20 years ago, I was not a student of WW I, but I clearly saw that it was in some part rubbish, and was clearly flawed and "cooked" history. But I can't remember the details, and frankly don't care. I can only remember one slight detail, unimportant, but offensively and stupidly anti-German. (Of course, this must to be Dave's delight) Interestingly, it is a lot similar to another bit from one of Ambassador Morgenthau's books: From memory, speaking of a Turkish government leader: "He appeared quite civilized, and was even able to eat with a knife and a fork, but it just concealed that he was a savage beast." Morgenthau's book(s) is actually interesting, and I have with care used some material from it, but I do understand the various pressures on him and also the biases he carried, and hopefully can seperate the wheat from the chaff.

A diversion: I know that I must appear to be sensitive to anti-German opinions and statements, although I certainly understand the roots of a lot of it. I have given you autobiographic detail, perhaps more than some might want, but I will pile on a bit more. When I started kindergarden and first grade, about 1945-46, my teachers (I don't remember how many, probably only my "home room" teacher) would announce to the class that we were going to have a patriotic exercise, and then drag me to the front of the class and beat me up, as a German. Of course we had been in the US for 20 years, and my father had done very valuable work in the war effort for both the US Army and then the US Navy, the latter in a somewhat dangerous war zone, but of course that was no shield. This went on for two years, and finally my parents took me out of public school, for my own safety, and put me in a private school, where things were quite better, and of course I associated with a "better" set of kids, better education, and ended up with 9 1/2 years at top universities. My parents were working class, so the private school was a burden, but the end result was good. There is more, of course, but I will spare you; I suspect that that and other things have made me a bit cranky. "

Bob

'Flawed and cooked'----but you can't remember how!

'anti-German (to Daves delight)'----and THIS is allowed to stand here!

'savage beast'---and this is what you curse "three generations" for----and use as your original basis for having no time for Tuchman!

"sensitive to anti-German..." The sheer number of times this crops up is most indicative---most telling. It is patently obvious what is going on here. Any opinions (yes, I am allowed them) that castigate, not without cause, the German way of making war in the early/mid 20th. century is instantly jumped on as being 'inflammatory Germanophobic ranting and 'hysteria'---Of course, I see it now. How dare I talk history, on a history forum!

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I didn't.

I refer you back to post #326, in which Keith has explained his reasons for making the edits he has. I have come into the thread late, having not been on the Forum for some time, and as such I can only assume that Keith has made his edits based on his judgement of the thread as it stood.

Suffice to say I respect your right to feel aggrieved, but I also respect Keith's sound judgement.

It strikes me that this thread has extended outside the boundaries of constructive debate, and has descended into tit for tat bickering which is neither helpful, nor what this Forum is meant to be for.

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A 'first and final' warning---for me but not for the disgusting Egbert! --no, sorry, this is most certainly Orwellian in its pronouncment.

This thread, and probably this forum, (i will give deep thought to this) will hear nothing from me again.

I am amazed and disgusted at the obvious application of one rule for the newcomer, a wholly different rule for those of great longevity here!

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Dave,

You make comments like that and wonder why your posts have been censored......?

Nobody would encourage anyone to leave the Forum, but it seems you need to moderate your responses to people who say things you don't like, or don't agree with.

Anyway it's your decision.

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It might be useful to describe the research I am doing, the sort of sources that I have to use, and why secondary sources are of almost no use to me, to defuse the idea that I despise secondary sources, or have ill-will to English-language authors, or whatever.

My current project, which I have been focused on for about a year and a half, but have been doing some prep work on for 11 years, is to write a definative book on the big German and Austrian siege guns, mostly 42 cm howitzers (the so-called "Big Berthas") and 30.5 cm mortars, and the duel between them and, in 1914, the Belgian and French forts on the Western Front; in 1915, with several very large Russian forts; and finally, during the rest of the war, their employment in a variety of other roles, most notably, their employment at the Battle of Verdun in 1916. In my opinion there never has been a satisfactory and thorough book in any language on the topic of the big guns. (My grand-father, a Prussian artilleryman of several "flavors" over 35 years - on active duty; a Prussian heavy artillery NCO, then a Feuerwerker {or explosives specialist} and Oberfeuerwerker, then a Feuerwerk=Offizier; -- then {after his wife poisoned him with Deadly Nightshade, which my wife grows in her vegetable garden} a Feuerwerk reserve officer; having had an important role in the employment of these guns at the siege of Antwerp, and also later involved with their employment in Russia, finally retiring as a Feuerwerk=major aus Dienst.)

I have a research/writing partner, a US artillery officer for 20 years, and still involved with the military, who published a book on the Maginot Line last year; and we may have an associate in Germany. I am probably the greater research mole, although my partner works in German and French and has done a lot of research work and has uncovered many data sources; he will probably actually write the first draft.

We are working at an excruciatingly small level of detail. Why did the big guns seem to be more effective against the Belgian forts than the French forts? Was the French concrete better? We have found a German Army Denkschrift or paper perhaps 60 pages long in which an Engineer General led a technical examination of the ruins of many Belgian and French forts, the details of concrete reenforcement, various types of concrete used, the types of aggregate (gravel, etc.) used to mix the concrete, the nature of the penetration of various shells into different structure types, dimensions of craters, etc. (We also have found that when Belgium wanted her forts modernized and overhauled, she found a willing contractor in Fr. Krupp of Essen, of course the manufacturer of most of these siege guns. Did anything flow from that?)

Many writers often apply the term "Big Bertha" to the wrong guns. The term is actually "dicke Berta", which I would probably translate as "fat Bertha", not "big". How did Berta Krupp, the richest woman in Europe, and actually quite slim and willowy, think of her staff calling their most famous product "Fat Bertha"? Well, I have tracked a siege gun battery to the Krupp Works, where they not only picked up their guns, and much more, such as draft horses from the works fire department, wagons from the Krupp Museum and the commissariat, and riding horses and automobiles from the private stables of Bertha's husband. At dinner at Villa Hugel, the Krupp's enormous mansion, we found the recollections of the senior German officer present, who had the privilige of escorting Bertha Krupp (her name is more complicated than that, I will spare you) to table, and being her dining partner, so we have the table talk of the meal and insight into Bertha Krupp's take on this issue.

In 1916 the 42 cm shells started to explode in the barrel when fired. This is a problem with a shell that might weigh 1900 or 2200 or 2550 lbs. The gun crews had to start firing the guns with a long lanyard running to a bomb-proof dugout. What were the metalurgical tests that were developed to determine which shells might be prone to explode prematurely, what were the instruments used, who traveled about Germany administering these tests? We have found the memoirs of a Feuerwerker who took over this job from technical officers, and described the tests in an extraordinarily rare (and expensive) book which is, interestingly (to me) in small part authored by my grandfather.

Finally, we are plotting gaining access to the Krupp Archives.

Secondary sources are utterly useless at this level of detail, and in fact often or usually make serious errors in even the simplest mentions of these weapons. Also, there is virtually nothing useful in English. Even when you take a big step back from the finest level of detail, there is almost nothing useful in English. In studying the sieges of the Fortified Places of Liege and Namur, and the French Fortress of Maubeuge, in my last nine months of work I have only found one useful work, by the aforementioned Flemish professor of Liege, who escaped the siege and reached England, where he wrote a book describing his experiences, the book naturally being published in English. All the other materials used over this period, 75, 100, ?, books and articles, were in French, German, and Flemish, in order of frequency.

I am also constructing timelines of the individual war histories of about 30 or so German and Austrian siege gun batteries. I also have been developing a spreadsheet laying out the careers of (till now) 80 German heavy artillery officers involved with developing and/or then manning these batteries, the spreadsheet, a work in progress, is now perhaps about 300 lines by 40 columns. Since the development of these guns and the formation of these batteries was very secret (every officer working on these projects had to swear a specific oath of secrecy to the work), tracking their careers provides info when no source exists, for example, when a number of key officers suddenly migrated to the Artillery Proofing Commission or its Research Battery in 1907, that signified a new phase in the development of these guns, they were posted there to work on the project.

I am not in contempt of English-speaking secondary source authors. However, in my specific areas of interest, these writers rarely mention the matters that I am interested in (there are others) and working on, and if they do mention these matters they are typically wrong in even the simplest matters.

I also must comment that in the two specific "facts" advanced from the writings of two historians, in one case Robert has shown, by going to the cited sources, that the author has twisted the source material and dates to (in my estimation) deliberately put quite a different spin on the issue, in the other matter the historian seems geographically challenged.

I am not a historian. I am a data mole.

Bob

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Dave,

I did not start following this thread until last night, when a complaint came in. I must say I have some sympathy with you, but it seems that more heat than light has been generated in this thread. However, I do think you are owed an apology for certain remarks that appear on this page.

Egbert,

You mentioned 'the spirit of the Forum'. Is that spirit of friendliness and co-operation assisted by such comments as:

A newcomer , pretend-to-be-" scout of Bristol" ...And now comes this hobby I-want-to-be-taken-serious historian

An apology is in order.

:::::::::::::::::

I also think apolgies should be forthcoming from other participants too.

So, here's the deal:

Shake hands to maintain the spirit of the Forum, and the debate can continue, though frankly it might be better to call quits. Anyway gentlemen, the decision is in your hands and words.

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Dave;

I for one am happy to extend the digital hand to you. I have a fancy for the well-turned barb, encouraged by several English mentors of the poisoned quip, such as Churchill and Disraeli, and sometimes my self-delusional "wit" gets ahead of itself.

{Digital handshake x 2}

Bob

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Dave;

I for one am happy to extend the digital hand to you. I have a fancy for the well-turned barb, encouraged by several English mentors of the poisoned quip, such as Churchill and Disraeli, and sometimes my self-delusional "wit" gets ahead of itself.

{Digital handshake x 2}

Bob

Thank you Kate---most appreciated thoughts and sentiments, though in full truth, I only thought things went rapidly downhill with Egbert. Can I assume that the "first and final" warning has been rescinded?

Thank you Bob--- I gladly accept your warm offer, and, of course, fully reciprocate. (digi handshake x 2 returned)

Dave.

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Egbert,

You mentioned 'the spirit of the Forum'. Is that spirit of friendliness and co-operation assisted by such comments as:

A newcomer , pretend-to-be-" scout of Bristol" ...And now comes this hobby I-want-to-be-taken-serious historian

Kate I think my post serves its matter without the above quoted statements. I take them back for the sake of a more peaceful and respectful debate and would like to apologize hereby having used these terms. I am always good for a handshake after a vicious fight, so here it is Dave!

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Thankyou gentlemen. Much appreciated.

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Kate I think my post serves its matter without the above quoted statements. I take them back for the sake of a more peaceful and respectful debate and would like to apologize hereby having used these terms. I am always good for a handshake after a vicious fight, so here it is Dave!

Egbert,

Now that the offensive post has been removed, I accept your handshake gladly. I am not the person you think I am.

Dave.

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Carl and Steven;

I want to do three things to transmit some information to Belgian students of WW I that they may not or certainly do not have.

A) I have, as I previously mentioned, a manuscript diary of a sergeant in Reserve=Infanterie=Regiment Nr. 20, who fought thru Belgium, finally having a hand smashed by a rifle bullet and probably never fighting again, which I bought on e-Bay (bidding against a Belgian). It has a lot of interesting material in it, and I will make sure that it is not lost to historians when I close shop. Many interesting things about complex relations between Belgians and German soldiers. The diarist seems fair and certainly did not like everything he saw, and of course might not have entered everything that he saw; of course his family would read it eventually.

I mentioned this incident before (this is from memory, but probably accurate); how the diarist saw two men in a car trying to drive thru a checkpoint maintained by his company, the exact time and date is given, and the village. The description does not mention if they were in uniform or not, but the idea that two Belgian officers in uniform could expect to drive thru a German checkpoint in a car with explosives hidden in it is absurd, so they must have been in mufti. Supposedly they were Belgian officers, and blasting materials were found hidden in the car. One complained that a German soldier had taken a wrist-watch, the embarrassed German officers found and returned the watch, but (but not written) then they probably were shot, but not stated.

If true, these men might have belonged to one of the "Koekoeken", or Compagnies speciale de destruction, and since the information is so specific, it might be linked to some Belgian information on the men, their names, etc. I will send you a translation (do you read Suetterlin?) and if you want a scan of the page.

B) Von Beseler's HQ received a wire from the Ministry of War, and my grand-father (the Id of the Generalkommando) was sent out with a car and escort to search for materiel, but specifically explosives, which were running short. I think he went out twice. He listed some things he found, but by far the most important was that he found what seems to have been the Belgian secret stockpile of nitrates, I have the quantity, I think several thousand rail car loads. (The family oral history was that they were buried, and g-f, as an explosives expert, discovered it with his trained nose, he could smell the hidden nitrates decompose.) Besides family oral history, g-f wrote this exploit up and the article was published in a very rare history, which I was able to buy. I can scan it and send this to you.

C) My grand-father did something bad in Belgium, and I am thinking that Carl has credentials and contacts that might allow us to identify the victim. I will approach him off-line to see if he is interested in this project. When something solid is found I will put it in a book and otherwise release the info.

Regards,

Bob Lembke

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Hello,

re Dave

do stay around, this place can be very informative !

re Fritz

thanks for the reference to the book by Peter Schöller on Leuven/Löwen

re Aarschot

this has been referenced to Aarschot earlier in this thread. the mayor of Aarschot was Jozef Thieleman (a local wealthy brewer). He was among the people executed at Aarschot after the death of Oberst Stenger together with his brother and his son. According to the statement by his widow he was an only child (so no daughter)

re Huy

there were two bridges at Huy. Explosives were used on both of them during the night of 14/08 to 15/08. One of them had three arches and only the middle was destroyed. I think that would cause no major problems for an engineers or bridging unit. Incidentally the citadel at Huy was not defended but used by the German army as a military prison during the war.

Re Bob

ask away, If I can help I'll try (my Suetterlin is doable)

Carl

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I am currently entering something quite interesting and important into my materials. I am finishing reading, taking note cards, and entering relevant material into my time-lines a Terance Zuber book, German War Planning, 1891-1914, a narrowly technical book going over the documentary evidence of the German war planning effort over this period. (I have another Zuber book of this sort to look at, I gather that some people don't like a book of his about Mons, I have no ideas about it, I really don't care, I don't plan to read it.) But this book is well done, if not flawless, for minor technical reasons.

At this point Zuber is presenting three interesting documents. They are the manuscripts of the last versions of the "Schlieffen Plan". I am sure that everyone thinks that they know what the "Schlieffen Plan" was; I have to say after working on this book for a month (I generally work on several books at the same time), I don't think that I know what the "Schlieffen Plan" is, it is a very complex question.

The three manuscript documents that Zuber has largely translated and put in this book are the following. A manuscript of much of the Schlieffen Plan in the form of a handwritten manuscript in several hands, dated December 1905 but probably written in January 1906. An handwritten addenum about possible British intervention, dated February 1906. (I believe that Schlieffen had just resigned.) Both of these seem to have been signed by "Count Schlieffen". The third is a 25 page type-script of the "Plan" dated 1911, but frankly, Zuber does not seem to work from Schlieffen's 1911 text, or possibly the 1905 and 1911 versions are identical, Zuber is not clear here.

The interesting thing here is a feature of the typescript from 1911. The first five pages of the 25 page typescript have extensive marginal notes that add up to a short essay, signed "B. 1911" and "v. M.", or "Berlin, 1911" and "von Moltke". These three manuscripts were in the possession of the Schlieffen sisters from 1913 (his death?) to 1931, and seemingly after WW II they were taken to the US Army along with tons of other materials and were discovered in American archives by the German historian G. Ritter, who used them as the basis of a book in Germ,an published in 1956 and an English edition in 1958.

I am proposing to post here, perhaps in a day, over a page of Zuber's book which is the bulk of von Moltke's notes, which forms a brief description of his thinking on a two-front war; arguably this might be called the "Moltke Plan", although Zuber was not as dumb as to coin that phrase. Of course von Moltke was the German chief of staff in 1914 and led the attack on Belgium and France. (I can bore you all and place von Moltke and the Generalkommando von III. Reservekorps on a castle tower rooftop {including my grand-father} observing the shelling and storming of an important Belgian fort, Fort Wavre - St. Catharine (pardon the Anglicized spelling, I am too lazy to hunt up the proper Flemish), so what he thought in 1911 has a lot of bearing on what he did in 1914, so it should be of interest to any student of Belgium 1914.

If anyone has an objection to my posting it here (it will be a bit long as a post), or think that it should go somewhere else, like a different thread, (I think that a lot of students of Belgium are following this thread, for better or worse), please chime up; otherwise I will post it in about 24 hours.

Bob Lembke

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:-))))

I would suggest posting it on a seperate thread because noone will find it under the title of this thread.

But I think the above post is a perfect way of rounding out the thread... 25 lines of text that address none of the questions and have nothing to do with the subject... :lol::lol:

Don't want to diss you Bob, although sometimes your answers frustrate me to the point of keyboard smashing, I do recognise you as being one of the good guys on the forum ;-)

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If I wasn't 4000 miles away, I would give you a big wet kiss!

bob

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  • 1 month later...

Just found an interesting GERMAN war time published book, "Die eroberung Belgians, 1914" eye witness accounts, edited by Major Viktor v. Strantz.

It seems the germans had less problems admitting to facts than some of the people on the thread.

There are numerous opinions expressed/furies vented about how the neutral Belgians dared to oppose the Germans...

The opinions seem to be, that the Germans were on a holy mission to fulfil their destiny, and these belgian "nothings" were getting in the way.

Just flipping through the book I find 3 mentions of officers opinions that any Belgians opposing the germans should be "Ausgerottet" or "exterminated"... an expression that we usually associate with the next generation of Germans.

One casual account (written by a doctor) speaks of shots fired from a village. as a result the village was burned and 150 people including 30 women, and numerous boys between 15 and 17 were shot. Nuerous people, bodies burning, tried to escape from the burning houses. "In the next village the same happened, two villages raised to the ground, the inhabitants (Belgians) extermimated" The doctor in question thought the actions more than justified.

The thread of the book is "how dare they oppose the German soldiers!"

Another passage...

"15 Belgians were executed, a terrible sight I will never forget. The burning houses in the background, the bodies with their heads blown off.... it may have been a terrible sight but it is the only way to get control of the population and to keep them under control"

I would suggest this book is the smoking gun, unless anyone doubts the words of German officers and thinks it was written by British spies, translated into German and printed in Switzerland ;-)

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Well what do you know about Viktor v. Strantz, the authors of the accounts in the book, and the publisher? Anyone can who knows anything about wartime publishing in Germany can tell you that hack writers throughout Germany were penning riveting first-person accounts of a war they knew only experienced via a newspaper- and gossip-inspired imagination. To come along 90 years later and declare a book by authors you know nothing about to be conclusive evidence of anything is a bit of a sham. That said there's no doubt that the Germans, like virtually every other invading army throughout history, took it upon themselves to mete out retribution for resistance to their advance. Many German regimental histories don't try to hide this fact at all. The thing that makes me wonder is why is it that some people--including the odd "historian"--are still so determined portray what the Germans has being wholly distinct from similar acts committed by other nations in times of war.

I would suggest this book is the smoking gun, unless anyone doubts the words of German officers and thinks it was written by British spies, translated into German and printed in Switzerland ;-)

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Thing to rember of course the Germans had previous for this not long befor 1914 ,just outside Sedan in 1870 ,huge world wide story at the time belive crime was carried out by Bavarians ,lots of documentry evidence including soldiers diaries and accounts ,it included the killing of some women but mainly men ,the Bavarians had taken some casualties whilst moveing through the villiage ,and when the houses were entered a few hunting shotguns were found ,no suprise in rural France ,so people were removed from the village and formaly shot .

This is coverd in a excellent documentry series which was made i belive by a German TV company as the other episodes were Magderburgh in 30 years war and seige of Veinna,repeated on History channel .

Though some what dated the debate is also coverd in the old 60s History of The Great War by Purnnel and befor we all laugh about a part work read the list of contributers ,but also gave a great list of books used and a number of articles coverd both French and Belgian areas , also why the suprise they were heavy handed, Prussians had awful reputation in the previous century ,and then 20 years after 14/18 never needed much encourgement to get out of hand again ,in fact the village where i live 14 locals were shot for hideing horses from the retreating Germans in september 44 ,not resistance activity but simpley guarding their own property.

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Dear Chris;

I was traveling, 50th college reunion, I could see this exchange developing on my phone but was not able to contribute.

I would suggest this book is the smoking gun, unless anyone doubts the words of German officers and thinks it was written by British spies, translated into German and printed in Switzerland ;-)

One thing that I wanted to add was that, in the tidal wave of contrived propaganda books floated by the Allies during WW I, were a number of invented books supposedly written by German soldiers, detailing both atrocities against Belgian and French civilians, and against German soldiers by their officers, that on close inspection turn out to be nothing of the sort, but rather invented books, and with supposed authors who did not ever seem to actually exist. Put forward as translations of books originally in the German or Danish, it seems that the original books never existed, and no evidence that the supposed authors ever existed either. I will happily write one or two enormous posts on this theme if anyone wishes.

However, back home and in contact with my computer, I can look a bit into this. The book is, 99.9%, an actual book, published in 1914, in Germany. However, I might add, if you put any faith in any book published by any combatent in 1914, or during the war in general, you are crawling out on an awfully thin limb.

Major Viktor von Strantz probably was an officer at one time (My collection of Ranglisten don't go back that far), but he was born in 1832, so he was 82 when the book was written (and there is evidence that he was dead shortly thereafter), so he hardly was in Belgium in 1914, and probably was not in physical contact with serving officers in the west, but must have gotten his stories from second or third-hand sources, probably while sitting on the sun-deck at his old folks' home. Just the fact that he was writing a book in 1914 supposedly detailing German war crimes suggests that he had an addled brain, whether or not the stories were actually true or not.

I have books, for example, from the US and the UK, from 1918, loudly urging American and British troops and civilians to commit war crimes and lynchings, but I know that these were crackpot ultra-nationalists, and that one and probably two were paid propagandists as well, so I don't try to fashion the history of WW I about these books, or assert that they prove that Americans or Brits are a race of blood-thirsty brutes. I also have a book by a Belgian professor from Liege (Flemish), who escaped and at the end of 1914 published a book in the UK detailing his experiences in Liege during its siege, he detailed the franc titeur activity there, where the civilians got their weapons, and how they were incited by the French-language press, which he says was parroting pro-war propaganda from the French press. This book was published in the UK. I think it is a very interesting creditable book, but I have not even mentioned it in these discussions. But then I have another book from a Walloon professor from the same Liege university, who said lots of different things (and some proven lies and fabrications), also published about the same time. I also read an Italian-language book in the national library in Vienna, by an Italian naval captain, later in the war, proving in a very scholarly exposition that the 42 cm guns that my grand-father worked closely with in 1914 did not and could never exist.

There is a copy of the von Strantz book about 40 miles away in the library at Princeton University, and I can have it here at home in a few days. I will look it over, and give you an opinion, but I hardly think it will prove anything conclusively, just as I would not go to a book written by a 96 year old retired US Army officer who retired in 1946 to prove conclusively what happened in our Iraq fiasco.

Many seem to think that I am some sort of "denier" about what happened in Belgium in 1914, I am not, but I am not about to swallow unconditionally every one of the many thousands of invented Belgium atrocity stories found in hundreds of books purposefully commissioned by the UK, Belgian, and US governments without a murmur. We all agree to the general dimensions of the human rights disaster in Belgium in 1914, but I refuse to swallow without critical review all sorts of obviously contrived stories. (If they all were true there would have been 600,000 dead civilians in Belgium, not 6000.) Writing all that contrived rubbish was a valuable part of the Allied war effort, and might even have won the war for them, but the current result is to badly poison the history of the period, to this day.

Bob Lembke

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Just found an interesting GERMAN war time published book, "Die eroberung Belgians, 1914" eye witness accounts, edited by Major Viktor v. Strantz.

It seems the germans had less problems admitting to facts than some of the people on the thread.

There are numerous opinions expressed/furies vented about how the neutral Belgians dared to oppose the Germans...

The opinions seem to be, that the Germans were on a holy mission to fulfil their destiny, and these belgian "nothings" were getting in the way.

Just flipping through the book I find 3 mentions of officers opinions that any Belgians opposing the germans should be "Ausgerottet" or "exterminated"... an expression that we usually associate with the next generation of Germans.

One casual account (written by a doctor) speaks of shots fired from a village. as a result the village was burned and 150 people including 30 women, and numerous boys between 15 and 17 were shot. Nuerous people, bodies burning, tried to escape from the burning houses. "In the next village the same happened, two villages raised to the ground, the inhabitants (Belgians) extermimated" The doctor in question thought the actions more than justified.

The thread of the book is "how dare they oppose the German soldiers!"

Another passage...

"15 Belgians were executed, a terrible sight I will never forget. The burning houses in the background, the bodies with their heads blown off.... it may have been a terrible sight but it is the only way to get control of the population and to keep them under control"

I would suggest this book is the smoking gun, unless anyone doubts the words of German officers and thinks it was written by British spies, translated into German and printed in Switzerland ;-)

Hi Chris,

I have the mentioned book before me but to be honest I am to much pressed for time to read the whole thing. Can you give page numbers for the passages mentioned? That would be very much appreciated. The one page I opened at random contained - curiously - a description of German dead being buried together with some Belgian soldiers and the narrator reflecting on their mourning mothers regardless of nationality.

regards

Matt

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