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Belgium, relations with

Belgium, relations with. The British played a major part in the creation of the state of Belgium 1830–9, the government soon deciding after the initial success of the Belgian revolt against the Dutch that an independent state was compatible with national interest, provided it was not subject to French influence and its neutrality was internationally recognized. Fears of French ambitions in Belgium intermittently surfaced until 1870, and help to explain British distrust of Napoleon III. From 1905 the German threat did much to give British military planning a primarily continental emphasis, and it was German defiance of Belgian neutrality in August 1914 which moved public opinion so decisively in favour of war. Germany again infringed Belgian neutrality in 1940, but the Franco-British advance to assist the victim only facilitated the success of the German outflanking drive through the Ardennes. The massive evacuation from Dunkirk followed.

C. J. Bartlett

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