100 years ago WWI reached Leuven

On August 19, 1914  the Belgian army command and king left Leuven early in the morning to withdraw the troops at Antwerp  and they left Leuven undefended behind.   Later that day the German troops occupied the city.

Since the beginning of August there's a lot of attention and memorials to remember the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.   At that occasion Belgian newspapers publish each day what happened 100 year ago and there is also diaries and pictures published on a diary blog from Leuven each day (based on historic documents).

I must find it very interesting to follow and I learn a lot of new things. In all honesty, I seem to reduce WWI to the trenches at Flanders Fields but did not really know exactly what happened those first weeks after the outbreak of the war.   Reading these diary extracts from people in my own city makes it so real....what did they feel, what did they fear when reading about the war declaration, about the fights in Liege and the rumors that the forts were falling down one by one in the previous 2 weeks, ...How patriotic did they feel at first at the sight of the Belgian army gathering in Leuven and how did that change with the arrival of refugees from the east of the country with horrific stories on the German attrocities, ... What panic did they feel at the rumors that the last trains are leaving from Leuven and the connection was going to be cut, ...the realisation that the government has left the city behind to the Germans and the smoke at the horizon was approaching?
.....

I also learned who was Leon Schreurs after whome a nearby street is named: one of left behind soldiers shooting at the arriving Germans at the next traffic lights . Ha, I never really wondered who he was, neither realised that a monument I've walked by very frequently is about him.

Comments

yab said…
Het loont alleszins de moeite om de documentaire Leuven brandt te bekijken. Ga je naar de herdenkingsconcerten?
Brian Miller said…
the history books often hit the highlights as well...the turning points...there are so many little stories to be told of these great conflicts....