The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I

Front Cover
NYU Press, 2004 - History - 339 pages

In August 1914, the German Army invaded the neutral nation of Belgium, violating a treaty that the German chancellor dismissed as a "scrap of paper." The invaders terrorized the Belgians, shooting thousands of civilians and looting and burning scores of towns, including Louvain, which housed the country's preeminent university.

The Rape of Belgium recalls the bloodshed and destruction of the 1914 invasion, and the outrage it inspired abroad. Yet Larry Zuckerman does not stop there, and takes us on a harrowing journey over the next fifty months, vividly documenting Germany's occupation of Belgium. The occupiers plundered the country, looting its rich supply of natural resources; deporting Belgians en masse to Germany and northern France as forced laborers; and jailing thousands on contrived charges, including the failure to inform on family or neighbors. Despite the duration of the siege and the destruction left in its wake, in considering Belgium, neither the Allies nor the history books focused on the occupation, and instead cast their attention almost wholly on the invasion.

Now, The Rape of Belgium draws on a little-known story to remind us of the horrors of war. Further, Zuckerman shows why the Allies refrained from punishing the Germans for the occupation and controversially suggests that had the victors followed through, Europe's reaction to the rise of Nazi Germany might have taken a very different course.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - EricCostello - LibraryThing

An analysis of the treatment of Belgium by the German Empire during World War I. There are definite hints of what would come during World War II, in the way Belgian civilians were treated, but the ... Read full review

The rape of Belgium: the untold story of World War I

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Zuckerman argues that the atrocity stories about Germany's "rape of Belgium," which were so widely reported and discredited, have in fact distracted from telling the history of Belgian life under ... Read full review


Your Neighbors Roof
Marching Through Hell
The Ghost of 1870
Belgium Does Not Ask for Pity
A Vague and Misty Unreality
This Poisoned Atmosphere
At Least They Only Drown Your Women
Hells Premises
Like a Thief in the Night
It Is Impossible That We Will Be Abandoned
A Trifle
A Popular Delusion
About the Author

Taking Note of These Things
Mort pour la Patrie

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

Larry Zuckerman is the author of The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World, which has been translated into four languages. The British edition was the recipient of the André Simon Special Commendation Award, given annually to a book on culinary arts.

Bibliographic information