The morning of 20 August 1914. German officers are waiting seated in the middle of the Chaussée de Louvain in Schaerbeek. Under the bright sun, the horsemen read the newspaper or chatted quietly under the gaze of the idlers. A few meters from there, on Dailly Square, their superiors were negotiating the seizing of Brussels with the town’s authorities. Flying the white flag, mayor Max and his assistants set off to meet the army of the Reich. A two-hour interview with Captain Kriegsheim, chief of the German delegation, established the conditions of the surrender. Brussels would not resist, in exchange for which the occupier would seize neither persons nor property.
Notwithstanding his clear refusal to shake hands with his German interlocutors, Adolphe Max intended to avoid a bloodbath. All over the city, posters were hanged to induce the population to obey the new authorities.