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    Zinloze slacht aan de Somme?

    Eind juni 1916 opende de Britse artillerie het vuur op de Duitse linies aan de Somme. Zeven dagen lang ging het bombardement onophoudelijk door. Het was de voorbode van een massale infanterieaanval. Over een front van 30 kilometer klommen Britse soldaten op 1 juli uit hun loopgraven en liepen op de Duitse linies toe. Om de lijn te kunnen houden, ...

    Vergeten Ronde van Vlaanderen ontdekt!

    De eerste editie van de Ronde van Vlaanderen werd in 1913 gereden als publiciteitsstunt voor de krant Sportwereld. Het jaar erop volgde een tweede uitgave. Maar omdat het parcours in frontgebied lag, kon men de wedstrijd tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog niet organiseren. Pas na de oorlog werd de draad weer opgepikt, en sinds 1919 werd Vlaanderens ...

    Schützengrabenblätter: letzte Verbindung mit der Heimat?

    Das Gros der ausländischen Soldaten an der Westfront konnte recht leicht Kontakt mit Verwandten und Freunden unterhalten. Sie schrieben und erhielten Briefe, und manche nutzten ihren Militärurlaub, um kurz nach Hause zu fahren. Die meisten belgischen Soldaten konnten das nicht, denn durch die Front waren sie von ihren Lieben im besetzten Belgien ...

    Soldier newspapers: the last link with the home front?

    For most of the foreign soldiers at the Western Front, keeping in touch with friends and family was relatively easy. They wrote and received letters, and some used their leave of absence to make quick visits home. Most Belgian soldiers did not have those options, as they were cut off from their loved ones in occupied Belgium by the front line. For ...

    Frontblaadjes: de laatste link met het thuisfront?

    Het gros van de buitenlandse soldaten aan het westelijk front kon vrij gemakkelijk contact houden met familie en vrienden. Ze schreven en ontvingen brieven en sommigen maakten van hun militair verlof gebruik om even naar huis te gaan. De meeste Belgische soldaten konden dat niet. Zij werden namelijk door de frontlijn afgesneden van hun dierbaren ...

    Pointless carnage at the Somme?

    In late June 1916, the British artillery opened fire on the German lines at the Somme. The shelling continued without interruption for seven days. It was the beginning of a massive infantry offensive. On 1 July, British soldiers climbed out of their trenches and advanced towards the German lines along a front of 30 kilometres. In order to ...

    Tourism in time of war

    Immediately before The First World War, a democratisation of tourism took place. Tourism was no longer only reserved for the very wealthiest; the well-off middle class could also afford a trip every now and then too. At the outbreak of the war, tourism in occupied Belgium initially fell completely still. Conveyances such as cars and bicycles were ...

    Wait at the Yser or major offensives?

    In contrast to the British and French armies, the Belgian army suffered much fewer losses. While approximately 3,75% of the mobilised soldiers in the Belgian army were killed, this was around 10,3% and 16,8% in the British and French armies. On the one hand, this was caused by the strategic choices of the high command, and on the other, by the ...

    Four years a refugee

    The First World War created a gigantic stream of refugees. At least 500,000 Belgian citizens, more than 7% of the Belgian population, spent four long war years abroad.    Driven out by horror stories and the advancing German army, millions of Belgians fled their town or village. Many ultimately reached the borders with The ...

    The electrified frontier: the border fence between Belgium and the...

    The border region between occupied Belgium and the neutral Netherlands soon became a smuggling paradise. Traffic in letters, military information and foodstuffs was rife. Young men who wanted to join the Belgian army also crossed the border. From the spring of 1915, the German troops decided to call a halt to this. They constructed a barbed wire ...

    The dog at the front

    Dogs, like other animals, played a role in the warfare that should not be underestimated. They too were 'called to arms' in 1914, and helped the soldiers in a variety of ways. Behind the front, they were hitched to small carts, and in this way they transported machine guns, ammunition cases and food. After artillery fire, or in no ...

    Play during the occupation

    Wartime was sometimes a difficult period for children but this did not discourage them from continuing to play. The war had a great appeal and offered them a great deal of inspiration for fantasy play. They marched along with passing troops, sang satirical songs and tore German ordinances from the walls. They collected souvenirs and began a trade ...

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