'Brussels in War Time'
August 1914

the Belgian Capital in the Grip of War

a postcard : 'The Brussels Garde-Civique on the March' by Alfred Bastien
see other paintings by Bastien : 'Panorama de l'Yser'


Though of little military significance, Brussels is the capital of Belgium and its capture by German forces in August 1914 was heralded as a triumph and accorded much acclaim in Germany. The King and Queen of the Belgians along with the government and the army (still in retreat from Liege), moved to Antwerp where it was hoped the triple ring of fortifications would prove sufficient to halt any further German advances. Events turned out differently.

The first month of war in Belgium was, as is usual in such situations, a momentous time. Rumours abounded, reliable news was difficult to obtain and emotions ran the fever pitch, from elation, fervored patriotism to despair. The occupation of Brussels and preceding events were described by various writers and reporters, a number of whom happened to be neutral Americans, which facilitated their movements throughout the city and surrounding countryside. The American Legation in Brussels also had the task of representing German and Austrian interests and after the ocupation, French and British interests. Both the American Minister to Belgium, Brand Whitlock, and the Secretary to the Legation, Hugh Gibson, later wrote insightful and moving accounts of their diplomatic war-time service in Brussels.

*see Nurse Edith Cavell / Visit to the Haelen Battlefield

Brussels was also near to Great Britain and newspublishers lost no time in sending their own reporters, photographers and sketch-artists to the capital of 'Brave Little Belgium'. When forced to leave the city, German photographers took over the task of recording the entry of their victorious army into the capital. Consequently, there are many fine photographs of conditions and events in Brussels during August, both prior and after the German occupation.


from a British magazine : 'The War Budget'


To Texts

from : 'With the Allies'
from : 'A Diplomatic Diary'
from : 'At the Front with Three Armies'
from : 'the Daily Chronicle War Library'
from : 'Belgium during the German Occupation'
A British Reporter in Occupied Brussels
Frederick Palmer in Brussels
Burgomaster Adolphe Max of Brussels
Mme. Carton de Wiart - Prisonnière des Allemands
La Vie à Bruxelles - 1915

To Illustrations

Belgian Mobilization

Page 01
Page 02
Page 03
Page 04

The Garde Civique

Page 05
Page 06

The German Army

Page 07
Page 08
Page 09
Page 10
page 11
page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17

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