The caption reads "You defend Belgium... by fighting on the Eastern Front". [Deciding factors] [81] He was arrested at his home in Belgium in 1943 and deported to Buchenwald concentration camp where he died in 1944. [28], Most Belgians continued their pre-war professions into the occupation. [Intelligence] [Countries] A Belgian source rells us that the King's actions were praised by the over 2 million refugees trapped in the pocket encircled by the Germans.

[7] The government fled to France (and later the United Kingdom) and established an official government in exile.

Pacifist sentiment was strong in Belgium and it was widely felt that copperation with the Allies would attract German aggression. [2], Belgium had pursued a policy of neutrality since its independence, successfully avoiding becoming a belligerent in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1). In December 1944, the territory was incorporated only de jure into the Greater German Reich as the new Reichsgaue of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels and with its leaders already in exile in Germany, territory was liberated soon afterwards in February 1945. King Leopold aroused further criticism by his marriage in 1941 to a commoner, who was some looked on as pro-NAZI. He thus decided to spare his soldirs and people further bloodshed in a lost cause. Some publications, like La Libre Belgique, achieved considerable success and reached a circulation of 70,000. [100] The Formations de Combat were responsible for numerous attacks against Jews[99] and, from 1944, also participated in arbitrary reprisals against civilians for attacks by the resistance. "Jewish Immigration and Communism in Belgium, 1925–1939". ",, "Léopold III, l'impossible réhabilitation",, "Obituary for the Belgian Franc: Belgium's Post-War Political Landscape Reflected Through its Coinage",,, "The Press under German Censorship during the Second World War",, "April 5, 1943: Belgium tragedy in USAAF daylight bombing raid",, ""Stop Bombing Us": Primate's appeal to Allies reported on Belgian Radio",,,, "Freiwillige Zwangsarbeit? It was the second time in less than thirty years that Germany had occupied Belgium. In the early years of the occupation, Allied bombing took the form of small-scale attacks on specific targets, like the ports of Knokke and Zeebrugge, and on Luftwaffe airfields. Food and fuel were tightly rationed, and all official news was closely censored. [46] Galopin was the director of the giant Société Générale de Belgique (SGB), a company which dominated the Belgian economy and controlled almost 40% of the country's industrial production. In 1944, Rexist massacred 20 civilians in the village of Courcelles in retaliation for an assassination of a Rexist politician by members of the resistance. Leopold ordered his army to surrender and refused to flee with officials to form a government-in-exile in England. [Contributions] This only delayed the total liberation of the country and on 4 February 1945, with the capture of the village of Krewinkel, the entire country was in Allied hands. [103] The danger of infiltration posed by German informants[106] meant that some groups were extremely small and localized, and although nation-wide groups did exist, they were split along political and ideological lines. 39-45 Despite being neutral at the start of World War II, Belgium found themselves at war after the country was invaded by German forces on 10 May 1940. Leaving the British Army with little artillery and few tanks to face an anticipated German invasion. Rempel, Gerhard. on May 10, 1940. "Antwerp's Attitudes towards the Jews from 1918–1940 and its Implications for the Period of Occupation". And there was no military cooperation with Britain and France as Hitler steadily moved toward war. [99][102] As part of the Flamenpolitik, the Germans refused Degrelle's demands for a "Belgian Legion", preferring to support the creation of separate linguistic units. The resistance also produced large numbers of illegal newspapers, in both French and Dutch languages, distributed to the public to provide news about the war not available in officially approved, censored newspapers. [97] With the German invasion, however, Rex rapidly accepted the occupation and became a major force in collaboration in Wallonia. During the fighting at the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket, the unit was nearly annihilated and its popular commander, Lucien Lippert, was killed.

[24], Despite his position, Leopold remained a figurehead for right-wing resistance movements and Allied propaganda portrayed him as a martyr, sharing his country's fate. Despite the example of Poland, Gort and his command were unprepared for Blitzkrieg when the Germans struck in the West. Not all Belgians were critical at the time. The man is saying: "Amélie, I'm burning tonight...with passion" to which the woman replies "Great, because there isn't any more coal".