The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I

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Overview

In August 1914, the German Army invaded the neutral nation of Belgium, violating a treaty that the German chancellor dismissed as a "scrap of paper." The invaders terrorized the Belgians, shooting thousands of civilians and looting and burning scores of towns, including Louvain, which housed the country's preeminent university.

The Rape of Belgium recalls the bloodshed and destruction of the 1914 invasion, and the outrage it inspired abroad. Yet Larry Zuckerman does not stop ...

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The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I

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Overview

In August 1914, the German Army invaded the neutral nation of Belgium, violating a treaty that the German chancellor dismissed as a "scrap of paper." The invaders terrorized the Belgians, shooting thousands of civilians and looting and burning scores of towns, including Louvain, which housed the country's preeminent university.

The Rape of Belgium recalls the bloodshed and destruction of the 1914 invasion, and the outrage it inspired abroad. Yet Larry Zuckerman does not stop there, and takes us on a harrowing journey over the next fifty months, vividly documenting Germany's occupation of Belgium. The occupiers plundered the country, looting its rich supply of natural resources; deporting Belgians en masse to Germany and northern France as forced laborers; and jailing thousands on contrived charges, including the failure to inform on family or neighbors. Despite the duration of the siege and the destruction left in its wake, in considering Belgium, neither the Allies nor the history books focused on the occupation, and instead cast their attention almost wholly on the invasion.

Now, The Rape of Belgium draws on a little-known story to remind us of the horrors of war. Further, Zuckerman shows why the Allies refrained from punishing the Germans for the occupation and controversially suggests that had the victors followed through, Europe's reaction to the rise of Nazi Germany might have taken a very different course.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Zuckerman has mined Belgium's archives to depict a German occupation that presaged the Nazi era. He illustrates how the falsity of the most lurid atrocity accounts rendered public opinion dubious or indifferent to the real "rape of Belgium," and thus allowed Germany to escape accountability for its crimes."

-CHOICE

"A lively and lucid synthesis. Larry Zuckerman's intelligent, well-documented, and eminently readable account of Belgium s maltreatment during World War I highlights war crimes too often dismissed as figments of propaganda. This book deserves to be read very widely indeed.”

-Sophie De Schaepdrijver,Pennsylvania State University

"Zuckerman has given a clear and informative account of the ways in which the occupation of Belgium had a significance transcending the borders of one small European country. That is a major achievement."

-H-Net Book Review

Library Journal
Zuckerman argues that the atrocity stories about Germany's "rape of Belgium," which were so widely reported and discredited, have in fact distracted from telling the history of Belgian life under German occupation during World War I. Zuckerman, an independent scholar, begins his account with a discussion of the German decision to violate Belgian neutrality, a choice that violated international law and ensured Britain's entering the conflagration. Zuckerman goes on to juxtapose the genesis and propagation of the image of the "rape of Belgium" with the reality of events on the ground. His analysis of German attacks on Belgian civilians follows the story told in John N. Horne and Alan Kramer's German Atrocities 1914: History of a Denial. Zuckerman's strengths are his detailed analysis of the tribulations of Belgian civilians forced to endure mass expropriations, arbitrary and administratively chaotic occupation, and chronic hunger. That thousands of Belgian civilians were sent to Germany as forced labor might be regarded as a premonition of the next war. Zuckerman is weaker in placing German policy toward Belgium into comparative perspective, a perspective that could only strengthen an already solid book. A welcome addition to the literature, this is recommended for all history collections.-Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814797044
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2004
  • Pages: 339
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Zuckerman is the author of The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World, which has been translated into four languages. The British edition was the recipient of the André Simon Special Commendation Award, given annually to a book on culinary arts.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Note on Geography xi
Introduction 1
1 Your Neighbor's Roof 5
2 Marching through Hell 22
3 The Ghost of 1870 38
4 Belgium Does Not Ask for Pity 62
5 A Vague and Misty Unreality 78
6 This Poisoned Atmosphere 103
7 At Least They Only Drown Your Women 120
8 Hell's Premises 142
9 Taking Note of These Things 165
10 Mort pour la Patrie 183
11 Like a Thief in the Night 200
12 It Is Impossible That We Will Be Abandoned 218
13 A Trifle 242
14 A Popular Delusion 259
Notes 277
Bibliography 321
Index 329
About the Author 339
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2013

    To slut

    Ur so good r those stories real?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    To below

    Glad you stopped!! ?.. J

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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