Governing under occupation. Belgian and French mayors during and after World War One (1914-1921)

Start - End 
2013 - 2017 (ongoing)
Department of History
Research Focus 



This research project focuses on the role of mayors in occupied and liberated Belgium and France (1914-1921). As a mediator between different social groups and other powerbrokers (notably the occupier) the mayor is a highly suitable figure to research the changing relationships of power caused by the occupation during WW I. This is even more relevant, because the importance of the local governmental level grew considerably during the partial disintegration of state authority in the occupied territories.  By researching – for two national cases – how local administrators positioned themselves during a (temporary) disintegration of the modern national state (a phenomenon that took on considerable proportions during the great European wars of the 20th century) this project makes use of a comparative approach.