The World at War

BELGIUM Between the World Wars

BELGIUM Timeline

November 11, 1918 – September 3, 1939
1918 November 11 Germany signs an Armistice ending World War I. Belgium’s 267,000 man army counts 13,716 killed in action, 44,686 wounded and 34,659 captured or missing. Estimated damages to the country during four years of German occupation total $7.6 billion.  
November 17 German forces evacuate Brussels.
  November 21 King Albert I calls on Catholic moderate Leon Delacroix to form a national unity government. Delacroix’s cabinet includes Catholics, Liberals and Socialists.   November 22
King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth return to Brussels.
 November 23 King Albert I calls for radical reforms including; universal male suffrage, equal rights for language groups, the foundation of a Flemish university at Ghent, and the repeal of Belgium's obligatory neutrality in an address to Parliament.
December 5 The Belgian royals King Albert I, Queen Elisabeth and the heir apparent, the Duke of Brabant, receive a triumphal welcome on an official visit to Paris.
 December 6 A Communal Council for the Restoration of the French Language at the University of Ghent is formed.
 January 14 A bill to tax war profits of more than 5,000 francs a year is introduced in Parliament.
  January 21 Ceremonies are held to mark the reopening of the Francophone University of Ghent under the direction of Rector Paul Frédéricq.
 January 30 The Allied Powers accord an indemnity of 12 billion Belgian francs to Belgium at the Versailles Conference.
 February 2 Bonds are issued for a national loan to finance unemployment insurance and increased salaries for civil servants.
  February 8 Antwerp is designated as a supply base for the Allied armies.
 February 12 A Caudron airplane flies from Paris to Brussels in 2 hours.
 February 17 A law is enacted prohibiting the employment of women and children in hotels and restaurants.
 February 24 Alcohol wholesalers and distributors demonstrate in Brussels against the proposed Vandervelde Law on the suppression of alcoholism.
 March 1 Henry Farman is authorized to establish an air link between Paris and Brussels.
SNETA - Syndicat Aeriens pour l'Etude des Transports Aeriens - (National Syndicate for the Study of Air Transport) is formed.
Belgium adopts daylight savings (summer) time.
 March 9 France and Belgium play to a 2 to 2 tie in the first post war football match at Brussels.
 March 10 Allied leaders declare in favor of Belgian annexation of the German districts of Eupen, Malmedy and the neutral zone of Moresnet.
 April 7 160,000 women sign a petition demanding universal suffrage at age 21.
 April 10 Parliament approves a bill introducing universal male suffrage at age 21.
 April 15 The International Olympic Committee awards the 1920 games to Antwerp.
 April 20 A record 200,000 passengers crowd Brussels’ Gare du Nord station over the weekend.  
May 13 A nine hour work day established by law.
 May 28 Belgium officially annexes the formerly German districts of Eupen, Malmedy and neutral Moresnet.
  May 29 The Germans requisition all livestock in the Malmedy district in defiance of the previous day’s annexation by Belgium. The town is occupied by the British at the time.  
June 15 The training ship De Smet of Naeyer returns to service.
 June 28 Treaty of Versailles is signed. Belgium receives Eupen, Malmedy and Moresnet and the former German East African districts of Ruanda and Urundi. 
  July 28 Belgian cyclist Firmin Lambot wins the first post war Tour de France.
 August 8 Parliament ratifies the Treaty of Versailles.
 September 17 Over 6000 diamond workers demonstrate for high wages in Antwerp.
 September 28 The Vandervelde Law on the suppression of alcoholism comes into effect.
 September Flemish nationalist August Borms is sentenced to death for collaboration with the enemy in time of war.
 November 16 A General Election is held under new rules. The Voting age is reduced to 21 from 25; supplemental votes for fathers of legitimate children paying over 5 francs per year house tax and citizens with university degrees are eliminated and proportional representation is introduced at the district rather than the provincial level. The resulting distribution of seats in the Chamber of Deputies: Catholics 77 (-24), Socialists 67 (+27), Liberals 33 (-12), Others 9 in the Senate: Catholics 33, Liberals 30, Socialists 20 and other to be chosen later 27
 November 17 Advocates of La Grande Belgique (Greater Belgium) suffer a setback. Belgium concludes an agreement with the Netherlands on navigation of the River Scheldt and drops claims to the Dutch province of Limburg.  
December 10 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to Jules Bordet or his discoveries relating to immunity
 January 29 August Borms’ death sentence for collaboration with the enemy is commuted to hard labor for life.  
February 28 The Government decides, against the advice of the King, to send Belgian troops to occupy Frankfurt along side the French Army.
 April 2 The Senate accepts the principal of women’s suffrage.   April 10
The Government decides to intervene on the right bank of the Rhine.
 April 14 Belgian troops join French forces in the occupation of Frankfurt.
 May 8 The Catholic University of Louvain agrees to admit women.
 May 17 French and Belgian troops end their occupation of Frankfurt.
 May 24 Antwerp Olympic stadium is officially inaugurated.
 June 22 German reparations to Belgium are set at £ 12.5 billion during a meeting of the Allied High Council in Boulogne, France.
July 5 Allied and German delegates meet at the Château de la Fraineuse at Spa to discuss reparations for damages sustained by the victorious states during the war and ending delays of German disarmament.
 July 16 The Spa Conference on war reparations closes. Germany agrees to apply all the disarmament clauses by the beginning of 1921.
 July 24 A plebiscite is conducted in Eupen and Malmedy. Eupen approves annexation to Belgium by a vote of 13,975 to 208. Malmedy votes 36,910 to 58 in favor of annexation. The referendum carries without opposition in the villages of Bévercé, Bellevaux et Waismes.
 July 25 Belgian cyclist Philippe Thijs, back to back victor in 1913 and 1914, wins the Tour de France for a third time. Thijs crosses the finish line in Paris 57 minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Eight Belgians finish in the top eleven places.
 August 6 The Chamber of Deputies approves a bill on use of Dutch in the civil service.
 August 14 The Seventh Olympiad opens in Antwerp.
August 19 L'Académie royale belge de langue et de littérature françaises (Royal Belgian Academy of French Language and Literature) is established by decree.
 September 2 Belgium wins the Olympic football championship defeating Czechoslovakia 2 to 0 in the final match at le stade archicomble du Beershot in Antwerp.
 September 7 Belgium and France sign a secret defensive military accord.
 September 12 The Antwerp Olympic Games close.
 September 20 The Council of the League of Nations confirms the German cession of Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium.
 November 20 Baron Henri Carton de Wiart (Catholic Party) succeeds Leon Delacroix as Premier and declares his desire to settle the dispute over introduction of Dutch as a language of administration.
 December 15 - 22 The Brussels Conference on war damages is held.
 December 31 Census taken: Belgium’s inhabitants number 7,465,782.  During the Year
Agathe Christie publishes her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles introducing the fictional Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to the English literary scene.
The FIA Gordon Bennett Cup for hot air balloon racing is won by Ernest Demuyter & M. Labrousse of Belgium who cover a distance of 1098 miles.
 February 16 The Royal Belgian Academy of French Language and Literature is inaugurated with a ceremonial opening at Brussels.
 March 8 Germany refuses to pay war reparations. French, Belgian and British troops occupy the Ruhr, Dusseldorf and Duisburg.
 April 24 Belgian women vote for the first time in municipal elections. The Socialists win an absolute majority in 264 large towns and cities and a third of the vote.
 May 24 The Government grants labor unions the right to strike.
 May 31 The Belgian Communist Party is formed under the direction of Wim van Overstraeten.
 June 14 Parliament approves a law establishing an 8 hour workday and a 48 hour work week.
 June 18 The German High Court of Leipzig acquits Max Ramdohr aka “the Terror of Termonde” and later as “the Torturer of Grammont” of war crimes charges. The acquittal arouses a violent indignation among Belgians.  
July 6 Sabotage derails the Amsterdam-Paris express train in Belgium injuring 35 people and killing 7 French postal workers.
 July 24 Belgian cyclist Leon Scieur wins the Tour de France.
 July 31 The Chamber of Deputies passes legislation regulating use of the French and Dutch languages in the Belgian civil service following a turbulent debate and numerous protest demonstrations.
 September 4 Belgian cyclist Louis Mottiat covers an 1198 km course Paris-Brest-Paris in 55 hours 7 minutes.
 October 1 Parliament rejects a proposal to extend women’s suffrage to provincial elections.  
October 2 The Eight hour workday law takes effect.
 October 13 Belgian cyclist Léon Vanderstuypt breaks 3 world records at The Hague.
 November 7 A violent storm causes severe damage in Belgium, mainly in Flanders.
 November 20 General election results: Chamber of Deputies - Catholics 82,Socialists 66, Liberals 33, Flemish Activists 4 and Senate: Catholics 42, Socialists 32, Liberals 18
 December 16 Georges Theunis forms a Catholic-Liberal coalition and succeeds Henri Carton de Wiart as Premier.
 During the Year Georges Simenon’s first novel Au Pont des Arches (To the Bridge of Arches) published by Imprimerie Bernard of Liege.  1922
 February 6 A six day cycling race at Brussels won by the Belgo-Dutch team Aerts-Van Kempen.
 March 28 Pope Pius XI receives King Albert I at the Vatican.
 May 1 The Belgo-Luxembourg Customs and monetary union is inaugurated.
May 25 Chemist Ernest Solvay dies in Brussels at age 84.
 June 3 The Government’s decision to reduce unemployment benefits sparks indignation and protest from the Socialists.  July 23
Le Tour de France is once again this year “le Tour des Belges”. Firmin Lambot carries the day in Paris. The final stage is won by his compatriot Philipppe Thys who finishes fourth among the 38 participants. Seven Belgians finish in the top ten.  
November 5 Three thousand Francophones, mostly Liberals, demonstrate in the streets of Ghent in opposition to Flemanization of the royal university and in favor of a unitary Belgian state.
 During the Year The FIA Gordon Bennett Cup for hot air balloon racing is won by Ernest Demuyter & Alexander Veenstra of Belgium who cover a distance of 852 miles.
Women are permitted to enter the legal profession.
 January 11 French and Belgian troops occupy the Ruhr district of Germany.
 January 28 Over 100,000 people protest Flemanization of the University of Ghent in street demonstrations at Brussels.
 January 31 The film Crainquebille, by Belgian Jacques Feyder,is censored on the pretext that, “it lacks the respect that each person should have for the laws of his country”.
May 23 SABENA (Societe Autonyme Belge d'Exploitation de la Navigation Aerienne) takes over as Belgium’s national air carrier from SNETA (Syndicat Aeriens pour l'Etude des Transports Aeriens) which was formed in 1919.  
July 27 The Chamber of Deputies passes the Nolf-Theunis Bill making Dutch the language of instruction and administration at the University of Ghent but allowing optional French language courses. Students were required to be bi-lingual.
 December Belgium seizes a supply of railroad rolling stock from the occupied zone of Germany as reparations for the murder of Belgian officer Lieutenant Graff near Dusseldorf.
 During the year Colonial School of the University of Antwerp is merged with the School of Tropical Medicine to form the Colonial University.
A royal decree ordains the translation of legislative texts into Dutch.
The FIA Gordon Bennett Cup hot air balloon race held in Brussels is won by Ernest Demuyter & L. Coeckelbergh of Belgium who cover a distance of 717 miles.
 April 1 SABENA carries paying passengers for the first time on a flight from Rotterdam to Strasbourg via Brussels.
 April 12 The Pan Netherlands Congress of the Flemish Movement opens in Louvain. Street fights erupt between Flemings and Walloons who believe that Flemish war collaborators who had escaped to Holland are among the delegates in the hall.
 August 17 The London Pact is signed. France and Belgium agree to evacuate their troops from Offenburg and Appenwier in the Ruhr.
 November 29 Italian composer Giacomo Puccini dies in Brussels at age 66.
 During the Year The FIA Gordon Bennet Cup hot air balloon race is hosted by Brussels for a second consecutive year. Ernest Demuyter & L. Coeckelbergh of Belgium cover a distance of 444 miles to win for a second consecutive year.
 April 3 A treaty with the Netherlands ends a long-standing dispute over navigation rights on the River Scheldt.
 April 5 General election results: The Socialists overtake the Catholics to become the largest party in the lower house. Catholics remain the largest block in the Senate. Catholics and Socialists supported women's suffrage against Liberal opposition. Chamber of Deputies: Socialists 79, Catholics 78, Liberals 23, Others 8 and Senate: Catholics 71, SSocialists 59, Liberals 23
May 13 Catholic leader Aloys Van de Vyvere forms a coalition cabinet with the Liberals succeeding Georges Theunis as Premier. Socialist leader Emile Vandervelde failed to entice Flemish Catholics into joining him in a coalition government.
 May 22 The Van de Vyvere ministry resigns.
 May 28 Belgium in crisis: Mister Max, the mayor of Brussels and leader of the Liberal Party, fails to form a new government.
 June 12 Prosper Poullet forms a Catholic-Socialist government but fails to win a vote of confidence in Parliament.
 June 17 Premier Poullet forms a new ministry including two Liberals.
 July 13 French and Belgian troops begin evacuating the Ruhr under terms of the Dawes Plan.
 July 31 The Franco-Belgian evacuation of the Ruhr is completed.
 August 5 The Senate defeats a women’s suffrage proposal by a 71 to 56 vote.October 16
The Locarno Conference ends. Great Britain and Italy guarantee the borders of France and Belgium with Germany.
 November 10 - 12 The Brussels Conference of European Communist Parties denounces the Locarno Pact as a bourgeois western pact against the Soviet Union.
 During the Year Sabena pilot Edmond Theiffry completes the first airplane flight between Brussels and Leopoldville in the Congo in a Handley Page W8f. The 8,125 km route is covered in 51days (75 hours, 25 minutes flying time).
Brussels hosts the FIA Gordon Bennett Cup hot air balloon race for a third consecutive year. A. Veenstra & P. Quersin of Belgium cover a distance of 836 miles to win the cup.
 May 20 Catholic leader Henri Jaspar succeeds Viscount Poullet as Premier.
 July Parliament grants the King power to rule by decree for six months.
 July Cyclist Lucien Buysse of Belgium wins the Tour de France.
 August 24 France proposes that Belgium return the districts of Eupen and Malmedy to Germany.
 September 1 Societe Nationale chemins de fer Belges, a private concern, takes over operation of the Belgian State Railways.
 October Economic stabilization decrees are issued. The franc is devalued and a new currency unit, the belga, is introduced. One belga = five francs. The franc continues to circulate but publication of foreign exchange rates in units other than belga is prohibited.
 November 4 Prince Leopold, son of King Albert I, age 25, marries Princess Astrid, age 21, daughter of King Charles of Sweden.
 December 5 The Government finalizes plans for sale of Belgium’s navy which consists of 17 minesweepers and a few coastal patrol boats.  
During the year Desire-Joseph Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines and Primate of Belgium dies. Cardinal Mercier led the internal resistance to German occupation during World War I in the absence of King Albert and his ministers.
The FIA Gordon Bennett Cup hot air balloon race is held in Antwerp. Ward T. Van Orman & Walter W. Morton take the cup for America with a winning distance of 535 miles.
 March 24 The Scheldt Treaty is rejected by the upper house of the Dutch States General. The opponents feared that ratification would open the way for a revision of an 1839 Treaty barring militarization of the port of Antwerp and might compromise Dutch neutrality in a future war by forcing the Netherlands to allow passage of Belgian or French warships under Belgian flag (Belgium no longer possessed a navy at the time) through Dutch waters.
  July 4 The library at the Catholic University of Louvain is rededicated. The building was restored with American donations and the architect’s original plans called for an inscription on the façade reading, “Furore Teutonico Diruta: Domo Americano Restituta” (Destroyed by Teutonic Fury: Restored by an American Gift). The inscription was deleted following a heated argument between the architect, Whitney Warren, who insisted that it had been approved by the late Cardinal Mercier and opponents including King Albert, Hebert Hoover and the university Rector, who feared that it would inflame old war hatreds.  
During the Year Georges Lemaitre, Astronomer at the Catholic University of Louvain, outlines the basis for his theory of the expanding universe.
 March 2 The trial of Jules Cesar Laperre, “the traitorous Belgian who soldout his compatriots during the war” opens in Paris.
August 4 Ground is broken for the Ijzertoren, a memorial to Flemish veterans of the Belgian army that halted the German advance along the River Yser in 1914. The 50 metre high tower topped by Celtic cross formed by the letters AVV-VVK (an acronym for “alles voor Vlandern, Vlanderen voor Kristus” English: All for Flanders, Flanders for Christ) becomes a rallying point for Flemish nationalists and an object of scorn among Walloons embittered by Flemish collaboration during the German occupation.  
November 1 The first issue of Le Petit Vingtieme, a weekly children’s supplement to the daily newspaper Le Vingtieme Siecle (The Twentieth Century) is published under the editorship of Georges Remi (nom de plume: Herge).  
November 21 Socialists withdraw from the cabinet following rejection of their demands for a reduction in the term of military service from 13 to 6 months and a new plebiscite on the status of the formerly German districts of Eupen and Malmedy. Christian Democrats replace the Socialists in the coalition with Catholics and Liberals.
 December 9 Flemish nationalist August Borms is elected to parliament from an Antwerp constituency by a 2 to 1 margin. Borms is serving a sentence of life at hard labor (commuted from death) for collaboration with the Germans during World War I.
 January 10 Comic strip characters Tintin and Snowy by Herge appear for the first time in Le Petit Vingtieme in a series entitled “Tintin’s Adventures in the land of the Soviets”.  May 26
General election results: Chamber of Deputies: CATHOLICS 76, SOCIALISTS 70, LIBERALS 28 and OTHERS 13 Senate: CATHOLICS 41, SOCIALISTS 36, LIBERALS 13
 July Cyclist Maurice De Waele of Belgium wins the Tour de France.
 October 24 Italian anti-fascist Fernando de Rosa attempts to assassinate Crown Prince Humbert of Italy (husband of Belgian Princess Jose Marie) in Brussels.
 November 25 Premier Jasper’s cabinet resigns after Liberal ministers refuse to a support bill requiring regular classes at the University of Ghent to be conducted in Flemish and allowing optional classes to be offered in French.  December 1
Belgian troops are withdrawn from Aachen and other towns in the second occupation zone of the Rhineland in accordance with agreement reached at The Hague Reparations Conference earlier in the year.
 December 3 Premier Jasper accepts the King’s invitation to form a new government.  
During the Year The index of industrial production remains stead at 100% of 1928 base 100.
Telephone and telegraph services privatized.
A Belgian military mission is contracted to train Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s Imperial Bodyguard.  
1930 January 8 Princess Marie Jose of Belgium, 24 year old daughter of King Albert I, marries the future King Humbert II of Italy.
 February 27 The Chamber of Deputies passes the Government’s bill making the University of Ghent a unilingual Dutch institution, providing for unilingual regiments in the army and providing administration of Flemish and Walloon regions in the respective language of the majority.  March 25
Socialist leader Emil Vandervelde denounces the treatment of Congolese laborers in an address to the Chamber of Deputies.
 April 26 King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth open the Colonial, Maritime and Art Exhibition at Antwerp. The International Industrial Exposition opens in Liege. The twin World’s Fairs mark the centennial of Belgium’s independence from the Netherlands.  April
Diamond cutters agree to reduce output of cut stones by half. The American slump hits the industry hard.
 April The Senate ends an 11 year battle with Chamber of Deputies over the manner of selecting jurors and approves a bill calling for selection first from a list of literate voters and secondarily from a list of citizens with university degrees.
 May 31 Construction of the Albert Canal begins. Shipping time from Antwerp to Liege will be cut from 8 days to 30 hours upon its completion.
 August 24 Flemish veterans gather at Diksmunde for dedication of the Ijzertoren. A passing airplane showers the grounds with leaflets accusing the veterans of cowardice during the World War. Riots erupt in Diksmunde and Ostende.
 September Fernando de Rosa convicted by a Brussels court of attempting to assassinate Italian Crown Prince Humberto and sentenced to five years imprisonment.
 October 31 Unemployed workers number 23,693 a ten fold increase since April 1929.
 December 4-6 A smog inversion in the Meuse valley above Liege kills 70 elderly villagers and numerous cattle.
 December 31 Census taken: Belgium’s inhabitants number 8,092,004  During the Year
The Socialist and Flemish parties launch a campaign led by former Foreign Affairs Minister Emil Vandervelde for the abolition of the military alliance with France.
The index of industrial production falls to 90% of 1928 base 100.
 February Unemployed workers number 81,750
 February 20 Peter and the Lett, the first of Belgian detective novelist Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret series, is published by Editions Artheme Fayard & Co., Paris.  April 10
The arrest of Belgian schoolteacher Leopold Moulin in Milan for anti-fascist activities sparks anti-Italian demonstrations in Brussels.
 May 21 The Jasper cabinet is forced to resign by the Liberal withdrawal from the coalition. Jasper angered the Liberals when he yielded to Socialist and Flemish demands for a reduction in military appropriations without consulting them.
 June 6 Catholic Jules Renkin succeeds Henri Jaspar as Premier.
 September Unemployed workers number 70,893
 October 6 Joris van Severen forms the Verbond van Dietsche Nationaal Solidaristen (Brotherhood of Dutch National Solidarity) aka Verdinaso (Green Shirts). Van Severen draws inspiration from Mussolini and Charles Maurras amongst others. The Verdinaso program calls for the establishment of a Corporatist state encompassing all Dutch speakers “from Lille to Groningen”. Van Severen attracts about 20,000 followers.  
October 15 The Liberal Party revises it platform to favor of territoriality of languages and compulsory study of the second national language.
 October 18 Delegates from French speaking districts approve a plan for a federal constitution dividing Belgium into two autonomous districts on a linguistic basis in a meeting at Liege.
 December 10 The Chamber of Deputies authorizes the Government to initiate negotiations for a customs union with France and the Netherlands.
 During the Year Georges Lemaitre publishes his theory of the expanding universe and introduces his idea of the “primitive atom” in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Lemaitre explains that the further one goes back in time, the closer the galaxies become, eventually compressing the universe into a single atom. The explosion of this gigantic primitive atom causes the universe to expand. His proposition is known as the "Big Bang" theory. The index of industrial production falls to 79% of 1928 base 100.
 May 31 A coal miners strike in the Borinage region quickly spreads to the glass, cement, metalurigical and other industries. Communists provoked riots and the erection of street barricades leads to a call out of regular army regiments and a declaration of martial law. Scores are injured on both sides and the Government expels several foreign Communists including a deputy of the Czechoslovak parliament.
 July 18 Parliament passes a bill providing that the language of administration and that of instruction in schools should be Dutch in Flemish provinces and French in the Walloon provinces. Greater Brussels and the German speaking districts of Eupen and Malmedy are exempted.
 July 19 The Ouchy Convention is concluded with Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The three countries agree to gradual reduction of economic barriers.
 September 14 Parliament grants the Government extraordinary powers to deal with the alarming budget deficits brought on by the Depression and the end of German reparations payments.
 October 22 Catholic Charles de Broqueville succeeds Jules Renkin as Premier.
 November 27 Results of elections for a new Chamber of Deputies: CATHOLICS 79, SOCIALISTS 73, LIBERALS 24, FLEMISH 8, COMMUNISTS 3
December 4 Senate election results: CATHOLICS 75, SOCIALISTS 65, LIBERALS 18, FLEMISH 1
 December 13 The cabinet resigns after announcing Belgium’s intention to default on a $2,125,000 war debt payment to the United States.  
During the Year The index of industrial production falls to 69.9% of 1928 base 100.
 January Georges Lemaitre, accompanied by Albert Einstein travels to California for a series of seminars. After the Belgian details his “Big Bang” theory, Einstein stands up, applauds and says, “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.”  
June 30 The number of unemployed workers climbs to 145,000.
 August The Government is authorized to borrow 3.3 billion francs to finance unemployment relief works.
 September 10 Vehicular and pedestrian tunnels linking Antwerp with the left bank of the Scheldt open.
 October 1 The Cabinet authorizes the Minister of War to spend 750 million francs to carry out a two year program of improvements to fortifications on the German border and of the Army.
 During the Year Georges Lemaitre publishes Discussion on the evolution of the universe.
The index of industrial production rises to 71.1% of 1928 base 100
 February 17 King Albert I is killed in a fall while rock climbing at Marche les Dames at age 59. His son Leopold III, age 33, succeeds him.
 March 7 Premier de Broqueville tells the Senate that only a preventive war can stop German rearmament but repudiates the idea of a first strike on German as “criminal folly”. The Premier went on to state that Belgium must safeguard its security through the old policy of mutual understanding.  
July 12 Formation of paramilitary units and wearing of uniforms by political organizations is banned.
 July 20 Parliament grants the Government extensive emergency powers including the right rule by decree over financial and economic affairs for six months. The Government promises not to devalue the belga without consulting Parliament and embarks on a series of tax, appropriation and interest rate cuts in hope of stimulating the economy.
 November 13 The de Broqueville cabinet resigns following dispute over proposed currency devaluation.
 November 19 Catholic Georges Theunis forms a new Catholic-Liberal coalition pledged to maintaining the value of the belga and succeeds Count de Broqueville as Premier.
 During the Year Regular army strength is increased by 8000 men.
The index of industrial production falls to 67.7% of 1928 base 100.
 February 23 SABENA begins regularly scheduled service between Brussels and Leopoldville in the Congo. Prosper Cocquyt pilots a Fokker F7b on the first flight which takes 5 ½ days(56 hours flying time).
 March 13 Gold withdrawals from the National Bank of Belgium total 77 million francs.
 March 14 Gold withdrawals from the National Bank of Belgium total 180 million francs.
 March 15 Gold withdrawals from the National Bank of Belgium total 354 million francs.
 March 16 A total of 280 million francs in gold is withdrawn from the National Bank of Belgium during a two hour Saturday banking period.
 March 17 The Government abandons the Gold Standard and places all foreign exchange transactions in gold under its control.
 March 19 The Theunis cabinet resigns after failing to convince France to lower tarriffs on Belgian goods.
 March 25 Catholic Paul Van Zeeland succeeds Georges Theunis as Premier. Van Zeeland, vice governor of the national bank and director of the Economics Institute of the University of Louvain, forms a Government of National Unity. Socialists agree to join the coalition fearing a breakdown of parliamentary government would lead to establishment of a fascist dictatorship.
 March 29 Premier Van Zeeland presents parliament with plans for a managed economy along the lines of the American New Deal. Van Zeeland calls for devaluation of the belga, reorganization of the banking system, controls on stock exchange operations, guaranty of bank deposits and a public works program for the relief of the unemployed.
 March 30 Parliament approves suspension of the gold standard, devaluation of the belga to a maximum of 30% and grants the Government decree powers for one year to deal with the economic crisis.
The first convention of the Rexist movement held in Brussels.
 April 1 The stock exchange reopens after a 5 day suspension of trading. Share prices move up.
 April 27 The Brussels Universal and International Exposition opens. The World’s Fair features exhibits from 30 countries on 152 ha site and draws 20,000,000 visitors.  
July 12 Belgium establishes diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
 July Cyclist Romain Maes of Belgium wins the Tour de France.
 August 29 Queen Astrid, age 30, wife of King Léopold III, is killed in an automobile accident at Kussnacht near Lucerne, Switzerland.
 November 30 The Roman Catholic bishops forbid attendance of priests at Rexist Party meetings.
 During the year Léon Degrelle becomes the leader of the Rexist movement. The Rexists advocate establishment of a Corporatist system close to fascism.
Germany begins a propaganda campaign demanding the return of Eupen and Malmedy to the Reich. Belgian police arrest several Nazi agitators in the districts.
May 24 Elections are held for a new Chamber of Deputies. Léon Degrelle’s Rexists enter candidates for the first time capture.
SOCIALISTS - 32.1 - 70
CATHOLICS - 27.67 - 61 - -16
LIBERALS - 12.4 - 23
REXISTS - 11.5 - 21 - +21
COMMUNISTS - 6.06 - 9 - +9
 May 26 Socialist leader Emil Vandervelde’s attempt to form a coalition with Catholics and Liberals fails. The King refuses to allow the Socialists to bring the Communists into government and asks Prime Minister van Zeeland to form a new cabinet.  
June 3 Antwerp dockworkers go on strike. The action quickly spreads to other industries and involves 500,000 workers. Violent clashes between police and strikers in Liege and Charleroi force the government to declare martial law. 
The index of industrial production falls from 75.7 in May to 48.5 in June (1929 base 100).
 June 7 Provincial Councils are elected to chose 44 new senators. Rexists elect 78 councilors, Catholics, Socialists and Liberals elect 534 for a combined loss of 120 from the previous election. Socialists replace Catholics as the largest party in the Senate. The new Senate: SOCIALISTS 66,
 June 14 Premier van Zeeland brings Socialists into the cabinet with Catholics and Liberals. Socialist demands for elimination of spending for further fortification of the German border result in exclusion of Defense Minister Albert Deveze from the new cabinet.
 June 17 The Government accedes to workers demands for a minimum wage, paid vacations, guaranties of trade union liberties and a 40 hour work week.
 July Cyclist Sylvere Maes of Belgium wins the Tour de France.
 October The Government bans Rexist demonstrations in Brussels after party leader Leon DeGrelle threatens to march on the capital and overthrow the parliamentary regime.
 October 14 King Leopold announces termination of Belgium’s military alliances and a return to neutrality.  
October 25 Rexists riot in Brussels. Police arrest Leon DeGrelle and 250 followers.
 December 24 Ernest Cardinal van Roey and Catholic bishops of Belgium issue a pastoral letter warning against the dangers of totalitarian movements of the left and right.
 December The term of service for the infantry is extended from seven to eighteen months.
 During the Year The FIA Gordon Bennett Cup for hot air balloon racing returns to Belgium after an 11 year hiatus. 1925 winner Ernest Demuyter travels to Warsaw, Poland with new copilot Pierre Hoffmans. The Belgians take the cup home with a winning distance of 1,066 miles.
 January 30 The German Government guarantees the neutrality of Belgium and the Netherlands.
 March 24 France and Great Britain relieve Belgium of its military obligations.
 April 9 Cardinal van Roey, Archbishop of Malines and Primate of Belgium, denounces the Rexists as a menace to the country and urges Catholics to vote against Degrelle in an upcoming election.
 April 11 Paul van Zeeland defeats Rexist leader Léon Degrelle in a Brussels byelection. The Premier wins by a 275,840 to 69,242 vote margin.
 June Approval of an amnesty measure restoring civil rights to Flemish nationalists convicted of collaboration with the Germans during the World War sparks riots in Brussels and demonstrations by veterans.
 August Rexists charge Paul van Zeeland with corruption for accepting a salary from the National Bank after resigning as vice governor of the bank to become Premier.
 September 7-8 Premier van Zeeland calls a special session of Parliament to defend himself against corruption charges. Van Zeeland admits to receiving bonuses totaling 300,000 francs from a pool for directors of the National Bank but says that the sum was paid him in accordance with regulations in effect for eight years and never previously criticized.
 September 9 The Chamber of Deputies votes to exonerate Premier van Zeeland of corruption charges by a vote of 130 to 34.
 October 13 A German note promises to respect Belgium’s inviolability and integrity so long as Belgium refrains from participation in military action directed against the Reich.  
October The belga achieves parity with the French franc for the first time in a decade.
 October 25 The van Zeeland cabinet resigns after the suicide of General Etienne arouses new suspicions regarding irregularities in administration of the National Bank. Four attempts to form a new ministry fail due to the refusal of Liberals and Catholics to support a Socialist premier even though the Socialists are the largest party in the Chamber.
 November 27 Liberal Paul-Emile Janson succeeds van Zeeland as Premier after the Socialists agree to join a coalition cabinet.
 During the Year The FIA Gordon Bennett Cup hot air balloon race is held in Brussels. Defending champions Ernest Demuyter & Pierre Hoffmans retain the cup for Belgium with a winning distance of 867 miles.
1938 January Rexist and Socialist deputies brawl in the Chamber following a heated debate on the budget.
 April 21 Belgian publisher Jean Dupuis launches Spirou, a grand journal of comic strip art.
 May 5 French franc is devalued raising the price of Belgian exports in their chief market.
 May 13 The Janson cabinet resigns in face of Socialist demands for increased social spending despite of declining tax revenues.
 May 15 Paul-Henri Spaak becomes Belgium’s first Socialist premier after forming a new cabinet in coalition with Catholics and Liberals.  May 18
Socialists abandon their long standing support for the 1919 Vandervelde Law. The sale of liquor in cafés and restaurants is legalized.
 September 5 King Leopold is recalled from his vacation in Italy to respond to the Czechoslovak crisis. Border fortresses are manned and defense preparations are expedited in Eupen and Malmedy.
 September 27 Partial mobilization: 270,000 reservists are called up. Bridges and highways on the French and German borders are mined.
 October 1 Demobilization begins after the Munich Pact resolves Czechoslovak crisis.
 October 17 Rexists, Flemish Nationalist and Communist fair poorly in municipal elections.
 November 3 Premier Spaak rejects suggestions that Belgium join in appeasing Germany by ceding all or part of the Congo in a speech to the Chamber of Deputies.
 November 18 Premier Spaak announces that Belgium will no longer turn back refugees from Germany.
 November 21 King Leopold and Prime Minister Spaak visit The Hague to discuss joint action with the Netherlands in dealing with Jewish refugees from Germany and regulation of navigation on the River Scheldt.
 November 29 Belgium extends diplomatic recognition to Franco’s Spanish Nationalists and withdraws from the London Non-intervention Committee on Spain.
December 5 Socialist vote to oppose the Spaak Government’s exchange of diplomats with Nationalist Spain. Spaak wins a vote of confidence in the Chamber despite losing the support of most of his own party.  
December The Nobel Prize in Physiology awarded to Corneille Jean François Heymans of the University of Ghent "for the discovery of the role played by the sinus and aortic mechanisms in the regulation of respiration".
 During the Year The FIA Gordon Bennett Cup hot air balloon race is held in Liege. Antoni Januaz & Franz Janick of Poland capture the trophy covering a distance of 1,051 miles.
1939 February 1 Premier Spaak appoints Adrian Maertens to a seat in the Flemish Academy of Medicine. Maertens had been convicted of treasonable acts during the World War. Spaak is roughed up by war veterans during an ensuing street protest.
 February 3 Rexist leader Léon Degrelle visits the Spanish Nationalist capital at Burgos.
 February 9 The Spaak cabinet resigns in face of an ultimatum from the Liberals demanding recision of the Maertens appointment.
 February 22 Senator Hubert Pierlot (Catholic) forms a Catholic-Socialist cabinet. The new Government survives 6 days before requesting dissolution of parliament.
  April 2 General elections are held for both houses of parliament. Catholics overtake the Socialists to become the largest block in each chamber. Nazis poll almost half the votes in Eupen and Malmedy but fail to elect a deputy in those districts. Final distribution of seats:
Chamber of Deputies PARTY - SEATS WON - NET GAIN OR LOSS
April 18 Premier Pierlot forms a Catholic-Liberal cabinet. Socialists decline the King’s request that they join the new government.  
April 26 The Senate rejects a Flemish Nationalist proposal for fortification of the border with France by a vote of 146 to 11.
The Chamber of Deputies grants the Government emergency powers to strengthen the national defense and economy.
The Government takes measures to curb German propaganda in Eupen, Malmedy and Flanders.
 May The International Exposition of Water Technology held in conjunction with completion of the Albert Canal opens in Liege.
 June 9 Premier Pierlot tells the Chamber of Deputies that Belgium has no intention of concluding a military alliance with the Netherlands but that the Government reserves the right to abandon neutrality whenever the national interest demands it.
 July 30 King Leopold presides at dedication of the Albert Canal linking Antwerp with Liege. The canal is heavily fortified and equipped with a system for flooding adjacent areas in a short time.
 July Cyclist Sylvere Maes of Belgium wins the Tour de France for a second time.
 August 23 King Leopold broadcast an appeal for peace drafted by the foreign ministers of the Oslo Powers meeting in Brussels.
August 26 Hitler calls for abrogation of the Anglo-French assistance pact with Poland but reasserts his recognition of Belgian neutrality.
 August 29 King Leopold and Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands issue a joint note to the German, French, British, Italian and Polish governments offering to mediate issues threatening the European peace.  

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