Appendix 18
Proclamation by King Leopold, May 10th, 1940

BELGIANS, for the second time in a quarter of a century, Belgium--a loyal and neutral country--has been attacked by the German Empire in spite of the most solemn undertakings contracted before the whole world. The Belgian people, who are fundamentally peaceful, have done everything in their power to prevent this, but between sacrifice and dishonour the Belgian of 1940 will hesitate no more than did the Belgian of 1914.

By awaiting the actual violation of our territory before appealing to our two guarantors, who have remained faithful to their promises, we have most loyally fulfilled to the last the duties of neutrality.

To our valiant Army, to our courageous soldiers, I address the greetings of the country. In them we place complete confidence. Worthy successors of the heroes of 1914, they will fight shoulder to shoulder to stop the onrush of the enemy through our provinces and to restrict the area of our national territory which is violated by the invader.

Thanks to the efforts which our country agreed to make, our fighting forces are infinitely more powerful than they were in 1914.

France and Great Britain have promised to help us. Their advance troops are already pushing forward to join up with ours. The fight will be hard. Great sacrifices and deprivation will be asked of you. But there can be no doubt about the final victory. I intend to remain faithful to my constitutional oath to maintain the independence and integrity of the territory. Like my father in 1914, I have put myself at the head of the Army with the same faith, the same clear conscience. The cause of Belgium is pure. With the help of God it will triumph.


Table of Contents

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation