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Remembered Today:

German Invasion of Belgium


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The 1839 Treaty of London guaranteed Belgium's independence and neutrality, and was signed by all the major European powers, including Britain and Prussia. At the start of the Great War, Germany broke the treaty by invading Belgium, using the lightly defended country as a route into France.


Britain, compelled by the treaty to defend Belgium, protested to the German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg on 4 August 1914. He, infamously, dismissed the treaty as 'a scrap of paper' and later the same day Britain declared war on Germany. CEFRG (Canadian Expeditionary Force Research Group) https://cefrg.ca

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Notoriously the 1867 Treaty of London said much the same about the neutrality of Luxembourg, but said that it was a collective guarantee. This was interpreted by Britain to mean that if Luxembourg was invaded, they would only react if all the other guarantors reacted as well.

As Luxembourg can only be invaded by Belgium, France and Germany - all guarantors, this mean that Britai9n had to do, and did, precisely nothing at all.

Later, to add insult to injury, Britain declined to allow food to be sent to Luxembourg as they had 'sided' with Germany by not fighting when invaded. As the 1867 treaty forbade Luxembourg to have any armed forces, and as the population of the country was about the size of the army corps that invaded, it is a little difficult to see what they could have done.

But that's diplomats for you. Always ready to find a way of blaming everyone else for their own decisions.

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