The Americans arrive

At the outbreak of the First World War, the American president Woodrow Wilson decided that the United States should stay neutral. A series of diplomatic and military incidents gradually made this neutral stance untenable, and on 6 April 1917, Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany.
Redactie 06 April 2017

Easels At the Frontline

Ruined countryside near Nieuwpoort, a flooded air-raid shelter and a self portrait in army uniform; those are just a few of the scenes painted by artists of the Section Artistique between 1916 and 1918.
Redactie 21 March 2017

The International Congress of Women

The International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) was founded by leading feminists in 1904. The organisation was devoted to securing women's suffrage and held regular international conferences. In 1915, it was due to take place in Berlin but was cancelled because of the war.
Redactie 08 March 2017

Underwater claustrophobia

In the face of Britain's powerful war fleet, the Germans decided to bring a new weapon into action: the submarine. Especially once the German army declared unrestricted submarine warfare on 1 February 1917, submarines started playing an important part. From a military point of view, the weapon was a success, with German submarines sinking almost 5000 enemy vessels during the war.
Redactie 01 February 2017

The Belgian press landscape during the Great War

On the eve of the war, the Belgian newspaper press was going through a heyday. Hundreds of national and local newspapers were being published, with a total print run of a million copies a day. It was an outspoken opinion press and many papers drew support from one of the political camps. In October 1914, the German advance brought an end to the flourishing newspaper press. The greater part of the country was occupied. The Westhoek made up the last part of free Belgium.
Redactie 09 January 2017

New Year's greetings and gunshots

After the spontaneous Christmas truce of December 1914, army command was not eager for any new fraternization between the contesting parties. On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, rifle shots rang out and the guns pounded as usual.
Redactie 01 January 2017

A Christmas spirit with a dark side

The first Christmas at the front, in 1914, passed in a remarkable atmosphere. At the start of hostilities, the soldiers had hoped for a short war. They had expected to be home long before Christmas and were surprised to find themselves still in the trenches. This is why there was little will to fight amongst many of the soldiers.
Redactie 25 December 2016

The black market

Even before the war, Belgium depended on imports for its food supply. When those dried up during the war, food shortage quickly became a serious issue. While initiatives such as the Nationaal Hulp- en Voedingscomité (National Relief and Food Committee) helped to alleviate the problem, they did not solve it completely. Food, as well as other things like fuel for heating, remained very scarce in Belgium.
Redactie 12 December 2016

St. Nicholas in wartime

Even in wartime, St. Nicholas continued to do his rounds. In December 1914, anyone who had enough money was still able to get hold of tasty treats. Bakers were inspired by the circumstances: Zeppelins, bombs and shells made of chocolate were on show in their display windows.
Redactie 06 December 2016