'Le Temps Present'


a Belgian Magazine Published under the Occupation


'Le Temps Present' (Present Times) was a modest Belgian news magazine published in Brussels under the German occupation. The first issue appeared in mid October 1914 just a week after the fall of Antwerp and the flight of the Belgian government to France. At the time, the future did not look very bright. Nevertheless the magazine was brought on the market at a modest price. Early issues contained appeals for contributors and from the contents of the magazine it would appear that aside from a few news agency photos, most of the illustrations were taken locally, many scenes being published of the recent battlefields around Antwerp and Brussels. These landscapes did not show the awful devastation common to later Great War battlefields such as those of Verdun or the Ypres Salient, but at the time they were fascinating enough, especially for local consumption.

The magazine though published under German censorship, was hardly pro-German in its sentiments. In fact, many early articles, captions and photos contained sly and yet obvious remarks making fun of the German occupiers. One such example is where a photo of German artillery set up by the Brussels Palace of Justice is described with the caption 'Pictoresque Brussels'. Another series of articles on the history of the House of Hohenzollern for instance contained only dates of death when mentioning prominent Hohenzollerns, leading one to suspect that the editors wished for the speedy demise of the present ruler of Germany. It is difficult to conclude if such little jokes got past the censors because of the proverbial German lack of humor or because they had other more pressing concerns at the time.

In any case though 'Le Temps Present' did not offer startling or heroic battlefield scenes or gory photos of dead and maimed, it does contain many interesting and less known glimpses of how life was in German occupied Belgium.

Aside from this 12 page small-sized magazine, a larger and more ornately illustratred edition was published by the same editors. It was called 'Le Temps Moderne Illustré' and featured much the same news as in the 'Le Temps Moderne'. The printing quality was however more lavish and more care was taken on the general appearance. Needless to say, this edition was more expensive and preseumably with a smaller circulation.

see also pages on the Siege of Antwerp from 'Le Temps Present'


Left : German soldiers posing on an armored turret of a Belgian fort
Right : an Austrian detachment guarding a telegraph line

Left : French prisoner and German captor getting along together
Right : a Belgian signaller

Left : a telegraph post under the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Right : German soldier at a market in Lodz in Poland



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