1914 : Going to war

Waiting for the Enemy

Stretched on straw, three Belgian soldiers are bivouacking in a Brussels church. Every day of August 1914 seemed to bring the war nearer to the capital. Since 4 August, the German troops were trying to clear a passage to Paris across the Belgian territory, in conformity with the Schlieffen plan drawn up a decade earlier. At first the battle raged around the forts of Liège. The defence of the city made worldwide impression and gave rise to the myth of ‘Gallant little Belgium’. The international indignation around the violation of Belgian neutrality was reinforced by an admiration for the armed resistance of a little country struggling for its survival. The city of Liège would nevertheless fall into German hands on 7 August, and the last surrounding strongholds on 16 August.