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Re: The lamps are going out all over Europe

Belgium did not declare war on anybody. Is that true?

As far as I'm aware Belgium maintained her neutrality throughout the war, a declaration would have presumable been a breach of that.....

Re: The lamps are going out all over Europe

The Belgian Expeditionary Corps (of armoured cars) in Russia showed there was a way round the neutrality issue. They were deemed as volunteers in the Russian army.

Offensive operations were also carried out by the Belgian Force Publique in German territories in East Africa. The former German territories of Ruanda and Urundi became Belgian trustee territory after the League of Nations declaration in 1925.
Later on the Belgians fought in the Korean War as a volunteer corps (BUNC)together with the Luxembourgish. The Treaty of London still seemed to be holding in the 1950s.

BTW Luxembourg was also neutral in WWI and was given a similar ultimatum to the one given to the Belgians by the Germans.

Liberia declaring War on Germany in 1914 is an interesting one.


Re: The lamps are going out all over Europe

There were plenty of Volunteers from many "Neutral" nations during WW1 fighting in the Armies of France and Britain, Russia is probably no exception to this rule.....
Offensive actions in Africa can be considered defensive considering the nature of the warfare and terrain....

"What perpetual neutrality means.
When war breaks out between two or more States, the powers who are not at the
outset involved in the conflict are usually free to decide what
attitude they will maintain during the hostilities. Following the dictates of their own interests, they declare in
favour of one of the belligerents or they determine to remain
neutral, thus promising to give no support, directly or
indirectly, to the armies about to take the field. But such
an abstention is not always voluntary; it is sometimes imposed by international treaties which lay upon a State, so
restricted in all circumstances, except in case of being
, a strict obligation not to engage, in future, in
any warlike enterprise, and to maintain exclusively peaceable
relations with its neighbours : that is perpetual or permanent
From: The violation by Germany of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg 1915

The response to the Ultimatum by Germany....

"There were two possible courses of action open to us:
The first was to allow a free passage to the German armies in their march
on France and to obtain a large indemnity for the damage suffered,
that would have meant the friendship of Germany today and her sovereignty
tomorrow. It would also have meant the tearing up of the title deeds of the
Belgian nation and the violation by her own hand of the neutrality which had been decreed by Europe and accepted by Belgium and treason to the duties
imposed upon us by that neutrality.
The alternative was to run the danger of war and invasion, to oppose the most formidable military power in the world and to keep our honour unstained,
to maintain our title, to respect our treaties.
There was no discussion. Our decision was plain before us. It was taken at once. We decided to protest and to resist."
From: The violation of the neutrality of Belgium (1915)

The Entry for Liberia in 1914 may not be correct other sources say 1917?


Re: The lamps are going out all over Europe

I produced a lengthy reply but it was deemed to be spam and deleted-not the first time on this forum
So here is the short version

"There were plenty of Volunteers from many "Neutral" nations during WW1 fighting in the Armies of France and Britain, Russia is probably no exception to this rule....."

true but not my point

The instance I give is an example of much more than individuals volunteering and I think you know that. King Albert and Tsar Nicholas II as respective CinCs had arranged for the force to be transferred from the Belgian Yser front to Russia. Armoured cars and all by ship to Archangel. They then fought on the Galician front as a coherent unit. There were many (per head of population) Luxembourgish volunteers in the French army but these had volunteered and had nothing to do with the Luxembourg government's plans.

"Offensive actions in Africa can be considered defensive considering the nature of the warfare and terrain...."

Again true(and I was referring to German East Africa) especially of the Germans with Lettow Vorbeck's campaign but not my point.

The Belgians did have ambitions for territorial gains in German East Africa if not the whole colony as General Smuts indeed feared. Ruanda-Urundi (now two countries Rwanda and Burundi) became a Belgian trusteeship territory.

Both show a fairly flexible interpretation of neutrality. It seems that in both instances the legal implications had been considered and were catered for. I suppose showing how Belgian had been limited and compromised by the neutrality article in the 1839 Treaty is another approach or option. I have never seen anybody support the scrap of paper approach but it does have some valid aspects. The forts and rearmament, larger army etc in the early 1900s seem to suggest the Belgians were not that confident in the Treaty themselves.

RE Liberia
They declared neutrality in 1914

It was reported in the NY Times on Aug 7th 1917 that Liberia had declared War with Germany after a U boat had shelled Monrovia some give the date as Aug 4th and there are a few variations but 1917 not 1914.

Not quite sure what this has do with model plastic soldiers but never mind