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The End of the Nineteenth Century in 1914. On Gas Attacks, Poetry, Cruelty and Increased Mobility in WW I Belgium
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The End of the Nineteenth Century in 1914. On Gas Attacks, Poetry, Cruelty and Increased Mobility in WW I Belgium

(Filip Matthijs) The Low Countries - 2005, № 13, pp. 265-266

This is an article from our print archives. Please be patient as we have to scan it

A sad anniversary. 1915 was the year of the first gas attack and of the Second Battle of Ypres, but it was also the year that John McCrae wrote his poem ‘In Flanders Fields'. However, the Great War was about more than gas attacks and the despair of the poet-soldiers in the muddy trenches. During the first weeks after the German invasion of Belgium, it was largely a mobile war. In ‘The Rape of Belgium' Larry Zuckerman wants to expose the wartime suffering of the Belgians, with no fewer than two million Belgians fleeing the country. In 1916, there was even a sizeable Belgian industrial zone in Birtley, with a Belgian town-within-a-town for the employees of the National Projectile Factory: Elisabethville, where even the streets had ‘Belgian' names.

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