Belgium was the sole neutral country to change its position to one of belligerence at the outbreak of the war. As such, its war aims cannot be separated from its mandated commitment to neutrality, a respectable position until World War I. However, while neutrality gave Belgium the symbolic moral high ground, it also rendered the establishment of war aims difficult, as these had to be developed during the war without sufficient opportunity to overcome the country’s deep historic divisions.
Belgium had a powerful symbolic role in the war aims of the Entente, despite not being a member. Belgium’s fate gave the Entente a moral position important to both British and American public opinion. The unconditional restoration of Belgium became an Entente precondition to negotiations. However, Belgium’s war aims would diverge from those of the Entente. Belgium also negotiated separately with Germany, a move which was legal but hardly popular. Belgium had powerful interests that contradicted the desires of other Entente powers, which affected both the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Conflicts would develop among these three nations over reparations.
Furthermore, the Belgians could not develop true war aims before 1914. Even after 1914, prewar desires for a revision of the border or a Dutch alliance could not be translated into action. Belgium remained nominally neutral. This made establishing treaties for the postwar era difficult.
An Ambiguous Creation↑
Belgium’s creation left boundaries that were seen as unsatisfactory. The Peace of Westphalia left the Dutch with large parts of Brabant and Limburg, as well as both banks of the Scheldt river, which linked Antwerp to the sea. In 1784, Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor (1741-1790) attempted to have the river opened. In 1795, the French overran the Low Countries. With the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), the great powers opted to create a united Netherlands as a barrier to future French expansionism. When the Belgians revolted in 1830, the great powers signed a highly favorable treaty, which was rejected by the Dutch, who instead invaded Belgium. A new treaty (1839) forced the Belgians to cede eastern Luxembourg, Limburg and the south bank of the Scheldt to the Dutch. To the Belgians, their geography looked distinctly less secure. In return, Belgium guaranteed neutrality. To the Belgians, territory and neutrality were two sides of the same coin. This is critical to understanding their war aims.
War Aims Prior to 1914↑
Except for unfriendly relations with Holland, Belgium’s position seemed secure as the 19th century wore on. Occasional moves to change the borders by force went nowhere. Still, as Germany grew, a sense of vulnerability developed.
The threat stimulated a desire for military ties with the Netherlands. This idea was not entirely new, as the Belgians had long feared (and German Chief of Staff Alfred von Schlieffen (1833-1913) had planned) a crossing of Dutch Limburg. Few Dutch were interested in establishing military ties with Belgium. In 1905, journalist Eugène Baie (1874-1963) launched a campaign for economic and military ties, but the response was muted. Proposals for military talks were rejected and even the prewar crises did not lead to more favorable Dutch reactions. This would be remembered after 1914.
The Scheldt issue was still unresolved. The question of whether or not Belgium’s guarantors could use the river without Dutch permission remained. In 1910 there was an international outcry regarding the Dutch decision to fortify the river at Vlissingen. Unfettered access became a Belgian war aim, which was almost achieved at Versailles.
Security became an increasingly elusive goal. Military talks with foreign powers were only marginally useful. Belgium could not make firm commitments because of its own neutrality, and talks had to be strictly secret for fear that they might lead to accusations that the Belgians were violating their neutrality. Talks were held with the British in 1906 and 1912, but these went nowhere and the Germans found out anyway. There was little political will to strengthen the Belgian army. Improvements were under way, but on the eve of war, Belgium was even weaker than the Netherlands – although recent Belgian research disputes this.
Belgium was unprepared for war in 1914. Even its military deployment was dictated by its almost myopic commitment to neutrality. The problem was that Belgium could not regain its independence without foreign military aid. This was not a simple matter. The Dutch suggested joint action if both countries were invaded – but once it became clear that the Netherlands was safe, the Dutch disappeared. This would affect Belgium’s war aims. Additionally, neither Britain nor France planned a major effort in Belgium beyond the Ardennes, so the Belgian and Entente armies did not fight together until the Belgian army withdrew to the Yser. At Liege, on the Belgian plain, and at Antwerp, the Belgians were on their own except for a single British division – Winston Churchill (1874-1965) being the sole British leader who had wanted to make a major effort at Antwerp. Had this happened, Belgium would have gained the Scheldt and perhaps much more at Versailles. However, all countries agreed with the continuation of the existing Scheldt regime in wartime which meant that the Belgians could only hope for postwar modification.
The immediate war aim was survival and reemergence as a sovereign and united state. This meant resisting dissident Flemish movements and even negotiating with the Germans, albeit at a low level. Albert I, King of the Belgians (1875-1934) sometimes permitted this because he could not be certain that the Entente would win. If Germany won, the country faced annexation or division. However, while these negotiations were legal – Belgium had never joined the Declaration of London (1914), which forbade a separate peace – the Allies were not happy. Nor was Belgium willing to throw its army into bloody offensives, as replacing losses was very difficult.
The negotiations with Germany reflected deep Belgian pessimism – especially from the king. Albert’s main worry was that the war would end in a stalemate, slowly resolved through a series of separate peaces. He therefore allowed his confidant Émile Waxweiler (1867-1916) to enter into conversations with the king’s brother-in-law, Hans Veit zu Toerring-Jettenbach (1862-1929), beginning in November 1915. Waxweiler proposed that Belgium annex the Dutch territory of Flanders. These talks ended in February 1916, but the French remained suspicious. In October 1916, the Belgian banker Franz Philippson (1851-1929) attempted to bring approaches from German contacts to the Belgian government, but the cabinet refused. Albert later contacted a German prelate in Rome to act as intermediary. In 1917, Prime Minister Charles de Broqueville (1860-1940) nearly held secret talks with the political director of the occupation, Oscar Freiherr von der Lancken-Wakenitz (1867-1939), but these fell through.
Belgian pessimism was understandable. Postwar Allied support was uncertain. The declaration of Sainte-Adresse (1916) promised that there would be no peace until Belgium was re-established and “largely indemnified”, but there was no mention of future war aims. The French had struck a reference to Belgium’s “just aims”. France and Belgium had overlapping interests in Luxembourg. Claims that alienated the Netherlands could not be stated publicly, because the Dutch were housing a hundred thousand refugees and representing Belgian interests in many places. The Entente could not risk driving the Netherlands into German arms. Only Russia fully supported Belgium’s demands. Foreign Minister Eugène Beyens (1855-1934) counseled caution.
Beyens’ opposition to annexationism received the king’s sympathy but led to criticisms that he was too passive and, finally, his dismissal in July 1917. Prime Minister de Broqueville supported annexationism – although more overtly in regards to Luxembourg than the Netherlands – and held the foreign ministry until his own dismissal the following January. The rest of the cabinet was divided, however, except regarding Luxembourg.
Hymans, Annexationism, and Versailles↑
Despite the divisions, the new foreign minister enthusiastically pursued annexation. Paul Hymans (1865-1941) was a lawyer and Liberal Party politician with great ambition and no experience in foreign affairs before he assumed the legation in London in 1915. Whether he promoted annexation as a matter of policy or for domestic political reasons has never been settled; for that matter, the extent to which he represented a true unified annexation lobby is problematic, which may explain why he remained cautious about announcing it as official policy. His aims did combine Belgium’s security and economic interests. Control of the Scheldt would facilitate Allied aid and protect Antwerp’s commerce, which was important to both halves of Belgium; Antwerp could become the foundation of significantly expanded trade to the Rhine. Gaining Dutch Limburg would allow defense of the entire Meuse river, and provide a canal to the Rhine. Annexing Luxembourg would benefit both national defense and the economy.
In 1839, Belgium had renounced these claims but Hymans argued that the treaties were imposed and that the boundaries were the price of a now destroyed neutrality. The entire treaty package had to be renegotiated, with the guarantors and the Dutch at the table. The “package” definition was necessary because the territorial renunciation was in a separate Belgo-Dutch treaty; if it were not seen as part of a package, Belgium would have to demand the lands in separate negotiations with the Dutch – with a predictable outcome.
Hymans was therefore seeking to expand at the expense of a neutral Netherlands, which was not impossible given the Netherlands’ unpopularity, but would contradict the Entente’s ideological claims. There are no surviving documents in which Hymans clarifies how he would square this with Woodrow Wilson’s (1856-1924) Fourteen Points. Claiming Luxembourg risked alienating France. Finally, pushing annexation could undermine his other major objective, reparations, which David Lloyd George (1863-1945) opposed. Domestically, Hymans faced more opposition than he had anticipated.
The Belgian annexation movement ran the gamut of functionaries (most notably Pierre Nothomb (1887-1966) and Pierre Orts (1872-1958)), journalists (such as Ferdinand Neuray), and politically-minded businessmen (like Gaston Barbanson (1876-1946)), and was encouraged more in private than in public by de Broqueville and other cabinet ministers. Their task was difficult; one author has labeled the movement’s leaders as “dreamers.” Tactically, they were divided over whether to act publicly or to remain behind the scenes. Originally seeking part of the Netherlands and all of Luxembourg, they had to be content with an official rapprochement with the latter in 1921. Even the transfer of Luxembourgish soldiers to the Belgian colors was blocked by the French – although here, the annexationists blamed weak Belgian diplomacy (as they often did). A personal union via the king seemed feasible, but the government feared that to get French support would require accession to a military alliance, which the Belgians wanted to avoid. Ultimately, the opposition of the industrialists and the church in Luxembourg may have doomed the project – assuming that the French would have allowed it all.
That brings up the controversial question of whether the Belgian war aims were achievable. The obstacles were enormous, but Hymans alienated all three dominant powers and the Dutch effectively fought the Belgians. In addition, the Belgian war aims were not stated explicitly, nor were they pursued in a united fashion. The three Belgian delegates – Jules van den Heuvel (1854-1926), Emile Vandervelde (1866-1938), and Hymans – pursued different issues, and in the case of the latter two, sometimes worked at cross-purposes. Hymans appears to have prevailed in March 1919, when the Commission on Belgian Affairs agreed with almost all of his points, but a few weeks later the great powers effectively reversed this. Belgium would be forced to negotiate directly with the Netherlands, and although it was granted some priority in reparations, this victory proved symbolic. Hymans had to threaten departure to gain even that, but it was no small achievement given the increasing hostility shown by Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929). Hymans nearly obtained free access to the Scheldt, but due to a tactical error, even this opportunity was missed.
Belgium also sought territories on its eastern edge and in the colonial sphere. In the local arena, the Belgians were more successful, albeit at some cost. Moresnet and Malmédy were uncontroversial, the former canton having been neutral, and the latter clearly Wallonian in character. Eupen was another matter. Germany contested its transfer for an entire decade. In addition, the Belgians were forced to assume the two cantons’ share of the German state debt – about 641,000 gold marks. Ironically, the Belgian government had not been much interested in Eupen, but its generals and some industrialists wanted it. Ultimately, Belgium gained less territory than neutral Denmark, and less territory than any continental victor except Portugal. In Africa, the Belgian position was slightly stronger in that the Belgian forces occupied a third of German East Africa and were not predisposed to leave without a favorable settlement, to which, however, the British and Americans were opposed. Eventually Belgium settled for Rwanda-Burundi, about 5 percent of the German territory. An earlier plan to make Belgium guarantor of the holy places in Palestine had come to naught in 1917.
None of Belgium’s major war aims – security, territory, and money – were fully met at Versailles. Belgium secured neither border adjustments nor solid guarantees. American Secretary of State Robert Lansing (1864-1928) was one of the few who recommended military alliances. Belgium did negotiate an alliance with France in 1920, but abandoned it in 1936 to return to neutrality. The individual territorial claims all failed. Luxembourg, at least, remained outside the French sphere, and, in 1921, the two countries did negotiate an economic union – although, ironically, despite the objections of Belgian industrialists. The legal status of the Scheldt was unchanged. The Limburg border stayed put, although the accidental retention of Article 361 of the Versailles Treaty demonstrates that the Belgians came very close to achieving their desires on this issue. Direct negotiations with the Dutch about the Scheldt collapsed. A treaty was negotiated in 1925, but the Dutch upper house rejected it, leaving the river’s situation unchanged to the present day.
Belgium had sought both substantial reparations and a priority status, i.e. that some of its payments would be made before the Entente powers were compensated. Belgium’s postwar needs were enormous and it faced crushing debts to the British and Americans. Liquidity and speed of payment was far more important than a hypothetical issue, but the project nearly collapsed, because of German refusal to pay and the difficulty of assessing the enormous number of damage claims, many of which were exaggerated. The 16 June 1919 agreement did give Belgium substantial results, but this was whittled down as the years passed, and the Belgians were faced with constant British attempts to remove the priority altogether. The attempts finally ended because of Churchill’s intervention. Material deliveries from Germany proved disappointing. Amidst disarray on how to punish the Germans, the Belgians finally opted to support the French occupation of the Ruhr. Ultimately, Belgium received 2.95 billion gold marks, a respectable achievement considering that France and Britain received 8.23 and 4.06 billion, respectively. Still, to quote Sally Marks (1931-2018), “Belgian priority… proved to be somewhat less of a victory than it had originally seemed.”
Unsurprisingly, the Belgians were deeply disappointed, with nationalists describing the results as shameful. Modern scholars agree, labelling the results as “faible”, “een grote teleurstelling”, and “het was verder niets geworden”. Fortunately for Hymans, his career did not suffer; Belgian public opinion blamed the Allies entirely.
The Belgian war aims suffered from inherent defects. The border claims were based on diplomatic and military ways of thinking better suited to the 19th century than the 20th. Even so, they were not completely unrealistic, and gained support from top aides to Wilson and Clemenceau. With better preparation and presentation, more might have been achieved. To be fair, no nation emerged from the conference entirely satisfied, and Italy, for example, fared even worse than Belgium.
The consequences would be significant. With its security needs unmet, Belgium would be unprepared for the second German onslaught. In particular, the territorial expansion attempt alienated the Netherlands and ended whatever chance there was that the Low Countries might have cooperated with each other in the face of the growing Nazi threat.
Hubert van Tuyll, Augusta University
Section Editor: Benoît Majerus
- For the definitive overview of neutrality in this era, see Abbenhuis, Maartje: An Age of Neutrals. Great Power Politics, 1815-1914, Cambridge 2014.
- Eyffinger, A.: Moraal uit noodzaak. Het Nederlands buitenlands beleid end internationale rechtsorde [Moral by Necessity. Dutch Foreign Policy at the End of the International Legal Order. In Two Hundred Years of the Foreign Ministry], in: Ditzhuyzen, R. E. van et al. (eds.): Tweehonderd jaar Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, Den Haag 1998, p. 150; Black, Jeremy: British Foreign Policy in an Age of Revolutions, Cambridge 1994, pp. 63-64.
- Masterman, J. H. B.: A Century of British Foreign Policy, Port Washington et al. 1971, pp. 7-8.
- Forbes Wels, P.: De Nederlandse Cavalerie [The Dutch Cavalry]., Bussum 1963, p. 117; Marsiljé, G. J.: Annexatie-plannen [Annexation Plans] 1918-1919 Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen, Terneuzen 1984, pp. 6-8; Miller, Jane Kathryn: Belgian Foreign Policy Between Two World Wars 1919-1940, New York 1951, pp. 15-17; Kalken, Frans van / Bartier, John (eds.) / Hymans, Paul: Mémoires, Brussels 1958, p. 287.
- Looveren, W. van: Benelux Antwerpen Rotterdam Moerdijk. Een reeks bijdragen tot opheldering van het 106-jarig Belgisch-Nederlands “Schelde-Rijn”-gesprek [A Series of Contributions for Clarification of the 106 Year Old Belgo-Dutch “Schelde-Rhine” conversation], The Hague 1952, p. 31; Guillaume to Faverau, 7 November 1905, in: Smit, C. (ed.): Bescheiden betreffende de buitenlandse politiek van Nederland [Documents Concerning the Foreign Policy of the Netherlands], 1848-1919. Derde periode [Third Period], 1899-1919, volume 5, The Hague 1964; Smit, C. (ed): Bescheiden betreffende de buitenlandse politiek van Nederland, 1848-1919. Derde periode, 1899-1919. Buitenlandse bronnen [Foreign Sources] 1899-1914, volume 7, The Hague 1971, pp. 553-555; British Legation Brussels: Belgium: Annual Report 1919, in: Bourne, Kenneth / Watt, D. Cameron / Dockril, M. (eds.): British Documents on Foreign Affairs. Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print. From the First to the Second World War. The Paris Peace Conference of 1919, part 2, series 1, volume 6, Washington 1989, pp. 192-240.
- Smit, C.: Nederland in de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Het Voorspel (1899-1914) [The. Netherlands in the First World War. The Prelude (1899-1914)], volume 1, Groningen 1971, p. 28, 121, 122; Barnardiston to Grierson, 30 March 1906, in: Gooch, G. P. / Temperley, Harold (eds.): British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1899-1914, London 1926, pp. 197-198; Wels, Cornelis Boudewijn: Aloofness and Neutrality. Studies on Dutch Foreign Relations and Policy-Making Institutions, Utrecht 1982, p. 65; Beaufort, J. A. A. H. de: Fijftig Jaren uit onze Geschiedenis [Fifth Years of Our History], 1868-1918, volume 2, Amsterdam 1928, p. 89-90; Hampe, Karl: Belgiën und Holland vor dem Weltkriege, Gotha 1918, p. 33; van Looveren, Benelux 1952, p. 55; Phipps to Lansdowne, 18 November 1906, in: Smit, Buitenlandse bronnen [Foreign Sources] 1971, pp. 223-230; Barnouw, A. J.: Holland under Queen Wilhelmina, New York 1923, p. 106, 107; Valk, J. P. de / Faassen, M. van (eds.): Dagboeken en aantekeningen van Willem Hendrik de Beaufort 1874-1918 [Diaries and Notes of Willem Hendrik de Beaufort 1874-1918], The Hague 1993, pp. 530-531; Chief of Staff to Minister of War, 25 September 1906, Algemeen Rijksarchief-Tweede Afdeling, Generale Staf [Netherlands State Archives-Second Section, General Staff], Nr. Toegang 2.13.15.01; L’Independence, 5 November 1907.
- Landes, David: The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Why Some Are So Rich and Some Are So Poor, New York 1999, p. 247; De Schaepdrijver, Sophie: De Groote Oorlog. Het koninkrijk België tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog (The Great War. The kingdom of Belgium during the First World War), Amsterdam et al. 1997, p. 12; Segers, Paul: La defense de Flessinge et la liberté de l’Escaut, in: ARA-II, Buitenlandse Zaken, Belgisch Gezantschap, Nr. Toegang, p. 194, 210; Report by Major Renner, 12 October 1910, Flotow to Bethmann-Hollweg, 5 November 1910, in: Duitse Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken — Stukken betreffende Nederland. Algemeen Rijksarchief — Tweede Afdeling, Nr. Toegang 2.05.16: Inv. Nrs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Minutes, Committee of Imperial Defence, 4 May 1911, in: Smit, Buitenlandse bronnen 1971, pp. 312-313; De Marees van Swinderen to van der Staal van Piershil, 23 January 1911, in: Gezantschap Groot-Brittannie (en Ierland) 1813-1937, Nr. Toegang 2.05.44, Inv. Nr. 820.
- Correspondence between Grierson and Barnardiston, January-March 1906, in: Gooch / Temperley, British Documents 1926, p. 179, 192, 199; Ritter, Gerhard: The Schlieffen Plan. Critique of a Myth, New York 1958, p. 84; Baetens, R. / Bosscher, P. M. / Reuchlin, H. (eds.): Maritieme Geschiedenis der Nederlanden. Tweede helft negentiende eeuw en twintigste eeuw [Maritime History of the Netherlands. Second Half of the Nineteenth Century and the Twentieth Century], van 1850-1870 tot ca. 1970, volume 4, Bussum 1978, pp. 337-338; Meulen, J. van der: Zero Draft in the Low Countries, in: Armed Forces and Society 24 (1997), p. 317; Vandeweyer, Luc: Belgium’s Finest Hour? King Albert and Queen Elisabeth in Wartime, in: The Low Countries 22 (2014), p. 85; De Schaepdrijver, Sophie: Gabrielle Petit. The Death and Life of a Female Spy in the First World War, London et al. 2015, pp. 40-41; Gooch, John: The Plans of War. The General Staff and British Military Strategy c. 1900-1916, New York 1974, p. 283, 293; Moltke to Bülow, 23 February 1906, in: Dugdale, E. T. S. (ed.): German Diplomatic Documents, 1871-1914. The Growing Antagonism, 1898-1910, volume 3, New York 1969, pp. 239-241; Hoegaerts, Josephine / Mûelenaere, Nel de: Country and Army in the Making. The Belgian Army in the Long Nineteenth Century, in: Revue belge d'histoire contemporaine 47/2 (2016).
- Terlinden, Charles: Histoire Militaire des Belges, Brussels 1930, p. 308, 327-28; Zaaier, J. Een Belgische Misrekening [A Belgian Miscalculation], in: De Gids 94/3 (1930), p. 107; Vos, Luc de: Belgien. Operationsplanungen und Taktik eines neutralen Landes, in: Ehlert, Hans / Epkenhans, Michael / Gross, Gerhard P.: Der Schlieffenplan. Analysen und Dokumente, Paderborn 2006, p. 303, 308-309; Stevenson, David: Armaments and the Coming of War. Europe 1904-1914, New York 1996, p. 395; Snijders, C. J. / Dufour, R.: De mobilisatiën bij de groote mogendheden in 1914 en de invloed van de generale staven op het uitbreken van den wereldoorlog [The Mobilisations by the Great Powers in 1914 and the Influence of the General Staffs on the Outbreak of the World War], Leiden 1927, p. 261; Miller, Belgian Foreign Policy 1951, p. 26.
- Various documents in Archief Orts. Algemeen Rijksarchief (Belgium); Vuure, Rob van: Laveren en schipperen achter een façade van legalisme [Navigating and Compromising Behind a Facade of Legalism]. John Loudon, 1913-1918, in: Hellema, Duco / Zeeman, Bert / Zwan, Bert van der (eds.): De Nederlandse ministers van Buitenlandse Zaken in de twintigste eeuw [The Dutch Ministers of Foreign Affairs in the Twentieth Century], The Hague 1999, pp. 72-73; Correspondence between Fallon and Davignon, 27 July – 3 August 1914, in: Smit, Buitenlandse bronnen 1971, pp. 413-421, 423-425; Snijders, C. J.: Nederland’s militaire positie gedurende den wereldoorlog [The Military Position of the Netherlands During the World War], in: Militaire Spectator 92 (1923), p. 538; Telegrams between Fallon and Davignon, 6 August 1914, in: België betrokken in den oorlog. Verzameling can diplomatieke stukken [Belgium’s Involvement in the War. Collection of Diplomatic Documents], Den Haag 1914, pp. 64-65.
- De Schaepdrijver, De Groote Oorlog [The Great War] 1997, pp. 154-155; Fischer, Fritz: Germany’s War Aims in the First World War, New York 1967, pp. 218-221; Witte, Else / Craeybeckx, Jan: Politieke geschiedenis van België sinds 1830. Spanningen in een burgerlijke democratie [Political History of Belgium since 1830. Tensions in a Civil Democracy], Antwerp 1983, pp. 187-188; Palo, Michael F.: Belgium’s Response to the Peace Initiatives of December 1916. An Exercise in Diplomatic Self-Determination, in: The Historian 42 (1980), p. 587, 588, 590, 592, 594.
- Haag, Henri: Le comte Charles de Broqueville, ministre d’Etat, et les luttes pour le pouvoir, 1910-1940, Louvain-la-Neuve et al. 1990, pp. 358-386, 416, 481-482, 484, 487, 492-496, 498, 583, 589-596, 646.
- Marks, Sally: Paul Hymans. Belgium, London 2010, p. 36; Marks, Sally: Innocent Abroad. Belgium at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Chapel Hill 1981, p. 34; Fenaux, Robert: Paul Hymans. Un homme, un temps, 1865-1941, Brussels 1946, pp. 174-176; Calmes, Christian: Le Luxembourg au centre de l’annexionnisme belge, Luxembourg 1976, p. 171; ARA, Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. Kabinet en Protocol, Nr. Toegang 2.05.18, Inv. Nr. 256; Hymans, Mémoires 1958, pp. 156-157, 167.
- Ibid., p. 156, 205-206; Fenaux, Paul Hymans 1946, p. 101, 157-58, 159; Beyens, Eugène: Un diplomate belge au service de son pays. Le baron Beyens, ministre des Affaires étrangès 1915-1917, Brussels 1981, p. 6, 79-80, 86-87, 98-100, 189; Marsiljé, Annexatie-plannen 1984, pp. 14-15, 16, 17; Palo, Belgium’s Response 1980, p. 586; Waele, Maria de: Naar een groter België! De Belgische territoriale eisen tijdens en na de eerste wereldoorlog. Een onderzoek naar de doeleinden, de besluitvorming, de realisatiemiddelen en de propagandavoering van de buitenlandse politiek [Toward Great Belgium! The Belgian Territorial Demands During and After the First World War. A Study of the Objectives, Decision Making, Resources, and Propaganda Efforts of the Foreign Policy] (thesis), Ghent 1989, pp. 373-375; Memoranda in DB 37, Dossier Délegation Belge a Versailles. Archief van de De Federale Overheidsdienst Buitenlandse Zaken, Buitenlandse Handel en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking; Devleeshouwer, Robert: L’opinion publique et les revendications territoriales belges à la fin de la Première Guerre Mondiale, 1918-1919, in: Melanges offerts à G. Jacquemyms, Brussels 1968, pp. 211-212, 212-227; Willequet, Jacques: Gaston Barbanson, promoteur d'une “Grande Belgique“ en 1914-1918, in: Revue belge de Philologie et d’Histoire 48/2 (1970), p. 354.
- A detailed analysis can be found in Tuyll, Hubert van: Small Countries in a Big Power World. The Belgian-Dutch Conflict at Versailles, 1919, Leiden 2017.
- General State Archives, Archief Orts, Souvenirs de ma carrière; Karnebeek to Ruys, 27 May 1919, Werkarchief Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, 1918-1927, Nr. Toegang 2.05.25, Inv. Nr. 26; Marks, Innocent Abroad 1981, p. 141; Hymans, Mémoires 1958, p. 291; Miller, Belgian Foreign Policy 1951, p. 70, 73.
- Hees, P. van / Puchinger, G. (eds.): Briefwisseling Gerretson-Geyl[Correspondence Gerretson-Geyl], Baarn 1979, pp. 42-43; Belgium - Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken: Diplomatieke documenten betreffende de herziening der verdragen van 1839 [Belgium - Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Diplomatic Documents Concerning the Revision of the Treaties of 1839], Brussels 1929, p. 4; Hymans, Mémoires 1958, pp. 284-285, 290, 291, 292.
- Frey, Marc: Der Erste Weltkrieg und die Niederlande. Ein neutrales Land im politischen und wirtschaftlichen Kalkül der Kriegsgegner, Berlin 1998, pp. 339-340; Lansing, Robert: The Peace Negotiations. A Personal Narrative, Boston et al. 1921, p. 315; Hymans, Mémoires 1958, p. 279; Devleeshouwer, L’opinion publique 1968, p. 207; Calmes, Le Luxembourg 1976, pp. 5-6.
- Willequet, Gaston Barbanson 1970, pp. 335-336, 355, 357, 359, 362-63, 365-366, 368-372, 374-376, 376; Willequet, Jacques: Gaston Barbanson, promoteur d'une “Grande Belgique” en 1914-1918 (deuxième partie), in: Revue belge de Philologie et d’Histoire 48/4 (1970), p. 1179, 1183-1188, 1196-1198.
- DB30/I, DB37, Dossier Délegation Belge a Versailles; Souvenirs de ma carrière, pp. 108-109; Miller, Belgian Foreign Policy 1951, p. 77; Broziak, Sylvie / Jeanneney, Jean-Noël (eds.): Georges Clemenceau. Correspondance (1855-1929), Paris 2008, passim; Hymans, Mémoires 1958, pp. 379-380, 434-435, 483-484; Tardieu, André: La Paix, Paris 1921, pp. 243-244; Edward Mandell House Papers Manuscripts and Archives Division, Yale University, Diary 5 April 1919; Walworth, Arthur: Wilson and His Peacemakers. American Diplomacy at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, New York et al. 1986, p. 406, 408; Lamont, Thomas William: Reparations, in: House, Edward M. / Seymour, Charles (eds.): What Really Happened at Paris. The Story of the Peace Conference, 1918-1919, New York 1921, pp. 279-280.
- Marks, Innocent Abroad 1981, pp. 316-321; Willequet, Gaston Barbanson (deuxième partie) 1970, p. 1183.
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