A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 150

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GERMAN INVASION OF BELGIUM


Belgian territory. In these circumstances, Germany proposed to me Belgian Government to adopt a friendly attitude to- wards her, and undertook, on the conclusion of peace, to guarantee the integrity of the kingdom and its Mssessions to their full extent. The note added that if Bdgium put difficulties in the way of the advance of German troops Germany would be compelled to consider her as an enemy, and to leave the ultimate adjustment of the relations between the two states to the decision of arms. This note has made a deep and painful impression u][X)n theBelgianGovernment. TheintentionsattributedtoFrance by Germany are in contradiction to the formal declarations made to us on August i, in the name of the French Govern- ment. Moreover, if, contrary to our e^mectation, Belgian neutrality should Jbe violated by France, Belgium intends to fulfil her international obligations and the Belgian army would offerthemostvigorousresistancetotheinvader. Thetreaties of 1839, confirmed by the treaties of 1870, vouch for the in- dependence and neutrality of Belgium under tlie guarantee of the Powers,,, and notably of the Government of his majesty thekingofPrussia. Belgiumhasalwaysbeenfaithfultoher international obligations, she has carried out her duties in a spirit of loyal im^rtiality, and she has left nothing undone to maintain and enforce respect for her neutrality. The attack upon her independence with which the German Government threatens her constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. No strategic interest justifies such a violation o^ law. The Belgian Government, if they were to accept the proposals submitt^ to them, would sacrifice the honour of the nation andbetraytheirdutytowardsEurope. Consciou.softhepart which Belgium has played for more than eighty years in the civilization of the world, they refuse to believe that the in- dependence of Belgium can only be preserved at tlie price of the violation of her neutrality. If this hope is disappointed the Belgian Government are firmly resolved to repel, by all the means in their power, every attack upon their rights. The German case is set out in a despatch sent by the Belgian minister in Berlin to M. Davignon, and dated August 4. I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a trans- lation of part of the speech made to-day in the Reichstag by the Imperial Chancellor on the subject of the infamous viola- tion of Belgian neutrality. “We are in a state of legitimate defence, and necessity knows no law. . . . Our troops have occupied Luxemburg and have perhaps already entered Belgium. This is contrary to the dictates of international law. France has, it is true, declared at Brussels that she was prepared to respect the neutrality of Belgium so long as it was respected by her

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