The Jewish Genealogy Association
As of August 3, 1914:
President of the Republic: Raymond Poincaré
Prime minister: René Viviani
Foreign Affairs: Gaston Doumergue
Minister of War: Adolphe Messimy
Generalissimo of French Armies: Marshal Joseph Joffre
General mobilization in France
After consulting with the French and German governments about their intentions regarding an invasion of Belgium and the answer from Germany, Sir Edward Grey tells the Commons he intends to proceed with the mobilization already started and declares:
1 The English fleet guarantees France’s security against the German fleet
2. England strongly suports the neutrality of Belgium
The Minister from Germany, after learning that the French army was approaching the Belgian border, sends an ultimatum to Belgium
asking permission to cross its territory to facilitate their operations.
As Belgium refuses, the Germans invade in the night, aided by three airships flying over Brussels.
German ultimatum to France Meanwhile, 100,000 Germans march through Luxembourg in order to gather along the French border.
Declaration of war from Germany to France.
Immediate consequence: England which does not accept the violation of Belgian neutrality, declares war
This automatically results in most countries of the Commonwealth and colonies of the British Empire entering the war.
King Albert I takes command of the Belgian Army.
Grand Duke Nicolas Nikolayevich appointed Chief of the armed forces of Russia
Italy notifies France of its neutrality
Since July 29, following worrying diplomatic maneuvers deployed in the recent weeks, the military has been put "on a
strenghtened peace footing". However, it was poorly equipped and the reorganization plan was to be fully achieved by 1918 only.
Since the German invasion started, troops massacred some 6,500 unarmed Belgians. Many cities were destroyed. As the resistance of the Belgian army served as a protective screen in front of the French, German reprisals raged: expulsion from homes, humans used as shields, executions ...In excess of a million Belgians fleed to France, the Netherlands, or Britain.
Liège with its cordon of 12 forts resisted for 12 days, which allowed the French army time to regroup. The brave Belgian army, with the help of the French in Namur and the British in Mons, stopped the Germans. But they were exhausted. The King ordered retreat to the fort of Antwerp on August 18.
Photo Antwerp 1911 (Collection Gutmann)
Portrait of King Albert I (Wikipedia)
This is when General Louis Bernheim made a great impression (see historical and genealogical details in GenAmi #25).
But the city fell on October 10 and much of the military retreated barely in time, some destroyed the weapons and ammunition, but many were taken prisoners in the Netherlands. At Dinant, 700 civilians were massacred.
Fighting raged in the region of the Yser from October 17 to 31.
The flooding ot the plain ended the battle by stopping the enemy.
During four years of strength, bravery and suffering, the Begian people held the enemy... (to be continued)
We strongly recommend readers interested to learn more to check : http://www.sambre-marne-yser.be/ This website is organized both with detailed historical information and many images.
Portrait Wikipedia: Hymans Paul
HYMANS Paul Louis Adrien ° 03.23.1865 Brussels (Ixelles) + 03.08.1941 Nice (06)
x 04.14.1898 Thérèse Hélène Goldschmidt ° 04.02.873 Berlin + 03.13.1963 Brussels
Liberal politician; Doctor of Law and professor at the university he represented in Brussels from 1900 to 1941; appointed to a Cabinet
position in 1906, he held several ministerial posts: Economic Affairs (1917-1918) Foreign Affairs (1918-20, 24-25, 1927-34) justice
(1926-1927) and Foreign Affairs/Foreign Trade (1934-1935).
He was a member of the Cabinet from 1935 to 1936.
Marcel Goldschmidt, participated in the fighting himself:
Mobilization booklet and photo of Marcel Goldschmidt horseback riding (Documents Michel Goldschsmidt)
To be continued...