1980s >> 1980 >> no-909-may-1980

50 Years Ago: 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 Nicolson, was Permanent Undersecretary 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”. In 1913 Sir Arthur Nicolson wrote to the Minister in Brussels: “We and France might have to move troops across the Belgian frontier in order to meet the approach of German troops from the other side”. The Herald reviewer says that this action was contemplated before the Germans actually entered Belgium”.

From an editorial in the Socialist Standard, May 1930.