Chapter

Recovery and Upheaval, February–August 1945

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/9780199694341.003.0004
Recovery and Upheaval, February–August 1945

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The spring and summer of 1945 proved to be the decisive period in the post-liberation history of Belgium. The new government headed by Achille Van Acker established in March 1945 was confronted by the threefold crises of large-scale strikes, violent demonstrations against former pro-German collaborators, and the political polarization caused by the attempts of King Leopold III to return to the country, after his release from imprisonment in the German Reich. Thus, the formal end of the war in May 1945 brought no end to the sense of wartime emergency. In June and July the authority of the state was widely challenged, but (with strong assistance from the British authorities) Van Acker remained as prime minister until the withdrawal of the Catholic ministers from his government (in protest over Van Acker's opposition to the return of the King) forced his reluctant resignation.

Keywords: Belgium; war; strikes; Leopold III; Achille van Acker; collaboration; Allied authorities; Communist Party; Catholic Party

Chapter.  28919 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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