The Belgian territory during the German occupation of
|Map Grenzen van het "Gouvernement-Generaal"
en van het "Etappegebied".
scanned from: vol. iv, p. 318 of: Henri Pirenne, Geschiedenis van België,
Brussel, La Renaissance du Livre, s.d. (+- 1950?)
The territory of Belgium in the war years 1914-1918
- 1. The German occupant appointed on August 26, 1914 a "General
Gouverneur für die besetzten Teile Belgiens" (general von der Goltz,
till December 1914, later general von Bising, Dec. 1914 - April 1917,
and finally general von Falkenhausen), assisted with an administration
"Zivilverwaltung" (directed by Dr. von Sandt).
In March 1917 von Bissing let the country be split up in 2 administrative
- "Vlaanderen" with the provinces Limburg, Antwerpen, West-Vlaanderen,
Oost-Vlaanderen, and from the province of Brabant, the "arrondissements" Brussel
- "Wallonie" with the provinces Liège, Luxembourg, Namur,
Hainaut, and from the province of Brabant, the "arrondissement" of Nivelles.
- 2. Close to the frontlines though, the "Etappe"s territory,
was controlled directly by the "Oberkommando" of the German army, ansd subjected
to special legislation. This area was adjusted several times and roughly
included both provinces of Flanders, the West of Hainaut and the South of
Belgian Luxemburg. (see map above)
- 3. Not marked on the map above: in the extreme North-West: the
free territory defended by the allies (Westhoek: Veurne-Poperinge).
(The controlling Belgian government was relocated to Sainte-Adresse
(Le Havre, France))
- 4. The Belgian enclaves of Baarle-Hertog in the Netherlands,
and some borderline villages, remained accessible from within the Netherlands
(The Dutch-Belgian border was closed with an electric fence elsewhere)
The occupation timeline
- The German invasion of Belgium began on August 4, 1914
(Brussels fell on August 20, Namur, Dinant, Mons fell on August 22-24, Antwerp
on October 10, ...)
- The Westhoek (West of the line Nieuwpoort-Ieper) remained allied territory
- In October 1918 the province of West-Flanders got freed completely,
on November 11, 1918 ther armistice was signed in the forest of Compiegne
- As foreseen by the "Treaty of Versailles" (June 28, 1919) Belgium
annexed Neutral Moresnet and the area Eupen-Malmedy-SanktVith after the war.
The unoccupied part of Belgium in the West of Flanders (Westhoek)
|Map scanned from: p. 18 in:
Luc Devliegher & Luc Schepens, Front 14/18, 1968, Tielt & Den Haag,
The electrical fence at the Belgian Dutch borderline
For avoiding uncontrolled Belgian-Dutch contacts, the Germans installed
a supervised electrical fence at the Belgian-Dutch border, between the North
See and the German town of Aachen, all along the borderline.. The construction, conceived
by D. Schütte, a German army officer, was finished in August 1915. About
500 Belgians lost their lives in the fence.
Some Belgian borderline villages, including the enclaves of Baarle-Hertog,
were left at the Dutch side of the fence.
|scanned from pp. 62 (picture) and
52 (map) in:
Alex Vanneste, "Het eerste "IJzeren gordijn? De elektrische draadversperring
aan de Belgisch-Nederlandse grens tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog.",
pp. 39-82 in "Tijdschrift van de Dexia Bank", vol. 54, nr. 214, 2000/4
This page is created as illustration for our pages about
the history of the territory of Belgium
Created 2003-08-08, relocated to the Combell server on 2020-10-25
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© Roger Thijs, Euro-Support,