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Belgium

Our Allies and Neutrality

 It is a very strange thing how deeply the average worker of to day is concerned about the independence and neutrality of “Plucky Little Belgium.” One would think to hear some of them talk, that it was the alpha and omega of this country, to protect the smaller and weaker States of the world from the continual encroachments of their larger and more powerful enemies. The capitalist Press is devoting much ink and paper in telling us that the present crisis into which we have been drawn, "to maintain our dignity and honour,” is due to Germany's disregard for the neutrality and independence of Belgium, which had been guaranteed to them by treaty, and Lt. Gen. Imhoff, at Urania Hall, Berlin, is reported by the "Daily Call," of the 8th October. 1914.

Editorial: Remember Belgium!

In 1914, hundreds of thousands of workers were duped into enlisting by the appeal to their sympathy on behalf of “poor little Belgium!" It is interesting to learn that confirmation has now been given to the statement that the Allied Governments had themselves prepared for violating Belgian “neutrality.”

Mr. Harold Nicolson has just written a life of his father, Lord Carnock, who as Sir Arthur Nicholson was Permanent Under-secretary at the Foreign Office in the years leading up to the war (“Lord Carnock,” published by Constable, 21/-).

From a review of the book which appeared in the Daily Herald on April 3rd, 1930, we learn that in September, 1911,

    “preparations for landing four or six divisions on the Continent have been worked out to the minutest detail"; and in 1913 French military authorities are reported by Sir Arthur Nicolson to be of the view that “it would be far better for France if a conflict were not too long postponed.”

Book Review: 'Congo Disaster'

The Congo

'Congo Disaster', by Colin Legum, (Penguin Books 2/6)

For a very long time, the natives of what was the Belgian Congo have been an ill used race of men. The Arab slavers look, according to one estimate, 30 million of them. The agents of Leopold II were little better. The king said. "The slave trade . . . is a plague spot that every friend of civilisation would desire to see disappear . . . " but in the event he imposed what Legum calls ". . . forced labour on a scale unknown in modern times until the advent of Hitler".

50 Years Ago: The Strike in Belgium

The Belgian strike is an attempt on the part of some of the Belgian workers to force the Government to resign or change its method of dealing with the economic crisis. The Government, a coalition of Christian Democrats and Liberals, has precipitated this situation by its austerity measures. These consist of cuts in the social services such as the Belgian equivalent of the National Health Service, in the education programme, in unemployment pay, and in coal subsidies, along with the introduction of a Means Test and what is called "additional temporary taxation." The Belgian local authorities are also to be empowered to impose additional income taxes of their own. (…)

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