Belgian patriots and traitors of the First World War. A social historical approach

Traitre ou patriote? Les civils belges et l’occupation 1914-1918. Une histoire sociale (1900-1940)
Begin - Einde 
2014 - 2017 (lopend)



The research aims to examine ‘patriotic’ resistance and ‘treason’ during the Great War in Belgium from a social perspective. The 1914-1918 German occupation of Belgium forms a unique case study to analyse the interaction between social conditions, individual choices and social perceptions. In 1914-1918, the almost entire Belgian population was confronted to serious material hardships such as increasingly se-vere rationings, compulsory labour, forced requisitioning and numerous additional offending measures. If the military occupation was generally hatred, its four years duration and the close cohabitation with the occupiers inevitably created multiple and growing societal tensions, as individuals were looking for survival strategies.How did social conditions affect individual ‘choices’ or strategies? And how were the resulting behav-iours perceived by the society after the war? These are the two central questions that this research aims to address.