Chapter

The Legacies of an Occupation, 1940–1944

Martin Conway

in The Sorrows of Belgium

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199694341
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738401 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199694341.003.0002
The Legacies of an Occupation, 1940–1944

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The German Occupation of Belgium from May 1940 to September 1944 was in many respects a profound rupture in the history of the country. Power passed from a political elite to a civil-service, professional, and social elite, who became the intermediaries between the population and their new rulers. Movements of collaboration and resistance developed, which sought to seize power in their own names. At the same time, the division in the formal government of the country which had occurred in May 1940 led to the creation of rival poles of legitimacy around King Leopold III and the government in exile in London. In the months preceding the Liberation, no solution was found to this problem of governance, leaving the Allies as the arbiters of power.

Keywords: Belgium; Second World War; German Occupation; resistance; collaboration; suffering; Allied powers; Leopold III

Chapter.  24910 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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