Panorama de la Guerre



From a French Serial History Publication

A Belgian Outpost / A Prepared Position


Refugees Flee to Antwerp / Bombed Houses / Preparing Barricades



Antwerp was considered to be an almost impregnable fortified camp. While the main German armies were on the march towards Paris, the Belgian field army and government retreated to the safety of the city to await help from the Allies. That such help would inevitably come and relieve the besieged city was thought to be axiomatic, especially after the Geman defeat at the Marne. But the German command needed to eliminate the threat to its rear by taking the forts and preferably capturing the Belgian Army in the process.

At the end of September 1914, the Germans launched a determined offensive to invest the city before the arrival of substansive reinforcements. From then on the fighting took on dramatic proportions which ended with the fall of Antwerp on October 9th. The newsmedia devoted extensive coverage to the events of the siege and fall of Antwerp. Not only was the city the main fortified Allied position on the western front at the time, it was also the temporary capital of Belgium.

After the war, when the main Allied histories were being published in multi-volume formats and the tale of the Great War was being reformatted into pro-Allied form, the siege of Antwerp was usually quickly glossed over as an unimportant event. Ultimately that may well have been the case, but at the time the fight for the city was considered to have been of prime importance. This can be seen in contemporary newsmagazines, most of which devoted a large porportion of their contents to reporting on the state of affairs of the siege.

To give an interesting example, we have here several pages taken integrally from a French serial history of the war, 'Panorama de la Guerre' which was published as events were taking place.

*also see full pages from 'Panorama de la Guerre' on the Battle of Verdun


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