A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 151

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PREPARATIONS FOR DEFENCE


adversary. But we knew that France was ready to invade Belgium. Francecouldwait; wecouldnot. AFrenchattack upon our flank in the region of the lower Rhine might have been fatal. We were, therefore, compelled to ride roughshod over the legitimate protests of the Governments of Luxemburg andBelgium. Forthewrongwhichwearethusdoing,wewill make reparation as soon as our military object is attained. Anyone in such grave danger as ourselves, and who is strug- gling for his supreme welfare, can only be concerned with the rheans of extricating himself; we stand side by side with Austria.” It is noteworthy that Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg recog- nises, without the slightest disguise, that Germany is violating international law by her invasion of Belgian territory and that she is committing a wrong against us. • , On August 3, King Albert sent a telegram to King George as follows Remembering the numerous proofs of your Majesty's friend- ship and that of your predecessor, •and the friendly attitude of England in 1870 and the proof of friendship you have just given us again, I make a supreme appeal to the diplomatic interven- tion of your Majesty's Government to safeguard the integrity of Belgium. He then proceeded to take what measures of defence were possible. Belgiumhadseenthestormcomingforsometime,and in 1^12-13 measures of army reform had been paissed in the parliament. Thosemeasures,however,werefarfromcomplete, and Belgium was pitifully ill-prepared to receive the storm about toburstuponher. Inspite,however,ofherweakness,Belgium v^as far from being so powerless as Germany imagined. The mistake she made was in dividing her forces. Belgium had only six divisions of infantry, and one division of cavalry. The troops, moreover, were arranged without regard to strategy on a purely neutral system ; for, wkh exquisite care for his nation's honour. King Albert placed one division near the coast to repel any British violation of his territory ; there were two divisions near Namur, to check any French attempt at invasion ; and, holding two divisions in reserve near Antwerp, the king sent only his third division towards Li^ge to withstand thu German attack. It may have been quixotic in the circumstances to have adopted sohonourablyneutralanattitudeofdefence. Ontheotherhand, the idealism which inspired King Albert was based largely upon the consideration of the future position of his country at end of the war. Belgium had to show herself ready to defend her

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