Neutral Belgium

Germany invades Belgium, a country that Great Britain has promised to protect.

Belgium said they would be neutral in the war, meaning they didn't want to take part.

Great Britain had promised to protect Belgium if it was ever attacked.

Germany declared war on France on the 3rd August. Now Germany asked Belgium if they could send soldiers through their country to attack France from the north. Belgium refused.

Germany declared war on Belgium on the 4th August and invaded the country.

The Belgian army was small compared to Germany's and although they fought very hard they were defeated in one month.

Stories of the suffering of the Belgian people were published by British newspapers. Once the war started, these stories became a powerful reason for men to join the army. Many newspapers argued that if Germany had the opportunity to invade Britain, their soldiers would do the same to the civilian population here.

Did you know...

King Albert of Belgium commanded the Belgian army himself and often went to the front line. His wife Elizabeth worked as a nurse.

External Resources

This article from the Aberdare Leader in October 1914 shows how eager the people of Wales were to help Belgian refugees by offering them places to live.

Many propaganda posters were produced encouraging British men to join up in response to stories of brutal German actions in Belgium. There were terrible stories of massacres and the killing of women and children - many of these stories were exaggerated for effect.

German infantry move through a Belgian town that has been damaged by artillery. Belgium suffered terribly during the war. Hundreds of thousands of people became refugees, meaning they had to leave their homeland because they were afraid of the German army. About 250,000 Belgian refugees came to Britain.

German soldiers on a train west as their offensive into Belgium and France begins. The writing to the left of the door says "Trip to Paris" but it will not be that easy...