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the German views. "They were naturally found among those who have hitherto sustained scientific relations with Germany. The Zoologist Versluys who, for eight years, studied at Giessen; a young chemist working at Leipzig; a philologian who obtained at Berlin degrees in science; a fourth, member of an ancient Dutch family, who is teaching at Berlin, in the Educational Institute.. . . I may mention also the Dutchman Labberton, the well known apologist for the German invasion of Belgium, whom we have been able to win over, not without having encountered stubborn scruples of all sorts. Finally, the distinguished Germanist, Kossmann, who abandons the fine position which he holds at The Hague in order to serve the Flemish cause." 1 Among the illustrious "Hollanders" who accepted positions in the new university, mention should also be made of Dr. Jolles, a naturalized German citizen of Dutch descent, who had served in the German armies in the present war, very probably on the western front.
Students Got By Scholarsh1ps
Students as well as professors were thought to be necessary for opening the university. No effort or expense was spared to obtain them. Young men who entered were relieved of many restrictions imposed on other Belgians; Flemish prisoners of war in Germany were offered their liberty if they would enroll; and 240 annual scholarships of 400 francs each were placed at the disposal of students who were, for one reason or another, without adequate funds to carry on their studies. Nevertheless, Professor von Dyck admitted in his report that "the number of students is still very limited on the eve of the opening of the university. We have to-day 40 students enrolled, and about 30 who have declared their intention of enrolling."2
The official report of Professor von Dyck was read October 20, 1916. On the following day the new university was formally
1 Passelecq, op. cit., 151. A useful pamphlet on the Flamandization of the University of Ghent is Kristoffer Nyrop, The Imprisonment of the Ghent Professors (London, 1917). For the attitude of the Dutch toward the "Hollanders" who accepted positions in the new university, see Chapter 7.
"Passelecq, op. cit., 161. According to the Kolnische Folkszeitung of February I, 1917, the number of students at that date was about 60.
opened. The Bavarian minister of education and many other high German officials assisted at the ceremonies, of which the chief event was an address by Freiherr von Bissing, the governor general of Belgium. In the course of his address the governor general said:
"Laboring hand in hand with the Flemings, and well-advised by German and Dutch friends, the Studien-Kommission has negotiated the nominations and created the organization of the new educational establishment. ... It is thus that Germans and Flemings work at a common task, in mutual confidence and with perfect understanding. De Raet chose as the motto of his first publication concerning a Flemish university these words: 'Two Valkyries, epic sisters, dominate the world—thought and the sword.' An admirable decree of Providence has willed that these words, written in 1822, should in a singular manner be fulfilled at the University of Ghent. This university is born of the thought of many men concerned for the fate of Flanders during the years of struggle and suffering. The God of War, with sword drawn, has held it under the baptismal font. May the God of Peace show it mercy through the centuries." 1
By a curious coincidence, it was in this same city of Ghent, almost on the very day on which the God of War, "with sword drawn," was holding the new university under the baptismal font, that some thousands of Belgian citizens were herded into cattle cars at the point of Prussian bayonets and carried away into slavery.2 These men may have consoled themselves with the thought that, although subject to outward constraint, it would presently be their high privilege to dwell in the land of "inner freedom."
1 Passelecq, op. cit., 164.
"Passelecq, op. cit., 166; Passelecq, Les deportations beiges (Paris, 1917), 2527; Nyrop, Imprisonment of the Ghent Professors, 64. The first Ghent deportations occurred between October 12 and 21, 1916.
III. THE ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION OF BELGIUM
From the point of view of the German theory that Belgium is not a nation, but two peoples held together against their will, nothing could be more logical than the conclusion that the administrative division should be made to correspond to the linguistic division. It has never occurred to the Belgians to make such an administrative arrangement. The actual situation in Belgium is thus described by Fernand Passelecq:
"The territory of Belgium has, on the map, the general configuration of a triangle divided, from the linguistic point of view, by an imaginary line running . . . from east to west, and crossing six of the nine provinces: namely, Liege, Limburg, Brabant, Hainaut, and the two Flanders. The part to the north of this line is Flemish, the part to the south is Walloon. The principal administrative divisions of the country, civil (provinces) as well as religious (dioceses), do not coincide with the 'linguistic frontier.' The provinces of Limburg, Antwerp, West Flanders and East Flanders are classed, in Belgian legislation on the employment of languages, as Flemish provinces; those of Liege, Luxemburg, Namur, and Hainaut as Walloon provinces; the (central) province of Brabant as mixed, because it comprises two Flemish districts (Brussels and Louvain), and one Walloon district (Nivelles). In fact, according to the linguistic frontier, the province of Namur is the only one exclusively Walloon, and the province of Liege the only one exclusively Flemish." ■
The Belgians have apparently never had any serious desire to change this arrangement. There was, indeed, in the years 19121914, a kind of "political gesture" in that direction. This movement did not originate with the Flemings, who are "subject to the Walloon yoke," but among the Walloon socialists, who were then complaining loudly of "the intolerable pretentions of the Flemish Clerical party." The truth seems to be that the Socialists, who are in a minority in Belgium as a whole but are very strong in
'Passelecq, op. cit., 33.
Wallonia, perceived that if Belgium were divided into two autonomous countries, each with its own legislature, they would have an excellent chance of carrying in their own country the socialist reforms which they could not carry in Belgium as a whole. The Flemish movement offered them an excellent opportunity for executing a party maneuver. Asserting that the political division of Belgium was the only way out of the interminable language dispute, they demanded the transformation of the "unitary state into a confederation of two autonomous states with a single sovereign and a common (foreign) frontier." The movement does not appear to have obtained a very general support in Wallonia. It is possible that the Socialists themselves desired only to place a stumbling block in the path of the Flemish Clerical party. At all events the Flemings, including the Flemish Socialists, characterized the whole affair as an "artificial" movement in no way justified by the real grievances of the Flemings.1
If the German authorities had really desired to meet the wishes of the Flemings, it would have been possible to find out whether they favored the administrative separation of Belgium by a very simple device: they might have submitted the question to the representatives of the people—the permanent Deputations of the Communal and Provincial Councils. This they neglected to do. Without consulting any responsible Belgians, and without consulting the Hague conventions (need one say?), the governor general issued a series of decrees dated February 25, April 22, 29, 1916, which modified the Belgian law of 1914 in respect to the use of language in the schools.2 These changes, not perhaps very serious in themselves, mark the beginning of the policy of separation; and on October 25, 1916, a further decree provided for two
1 Passelecq, op. cit., 51-54.
'The series of decrees was promulgated in the Bulletin officiel des lots et arrctes pour le territoire beige occupe, and the texts are available in Charles Henry Huberich and Alexander Nicol-Speyer, German Legislation for the Occupied Territories of Belgium, 7th Series, 115-140, 205, 226. The Hague provision referred to is Art. 43 of the conventions of 1899 and 1907, respecting the laws and customs of war and on land, as follows:
"The authority of the legitimate power having actually passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all steps in his power to reestablish and insure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in jorce in the country."
educational administrative departments, with two budgets, one for the Flemish language and one for the Walloon (French) language, both under the ministry of science and arts but otherwise entirely distinct from each other. Similar ordinances effected a similar division in all other administrative departments, with the exception of the ministries of railroads, foreign affairs, colonies, and war. These were the preliminary steps in the administrative separation of Belgium.1
Before the final step was taken certain events occurred which are not without interest from the point of view of high international comedy, and as an illustration of the working of the German mind in matters calling for a certain delicacy and finesse. The comedy was opened February 4, 1917, at Brussels, where about 250 individuals met in what was called the Flemish National Congress. This body issued a manifesto addressed to the Flemings and favoring the establishment of Flemish autonomy; provided for a permanent executive committee of 30 members, to be known as the Council of Flanders; and appointed a deputation of seven from this council to go to Berlin in order to arrange, in collaboration with the imperial authorities there, the details of Flemish reform.
In due time the deputies (with official permits in their pockets) arrived at Berlin; and on March 3, 1917, they were received by the chancellor, Bethmann-Hollweg, who made them a friendly address.2 Adverting to the racial and historical influences that created an "affinity" between the Germans and the Flemings, and to the fact that for many centuries the Flemings had been "forced" to follow paths that separated them from their ancient kinsmen, the chancellor noted the fortunate circumstance that "to-day, thanks to God, in the midst of bloody conflicts, Germans and Flemings have become conscious that, in the struggle against the invasion of barbarism, the same road ought to lead us to the same goal." What the chancellor desired chiefly, however, was to assure the deputies that the Flemings, in their endeavor to emancipate themselves from the Walloon yoke, could count upon the active co-operation of the German Empire:
•Huberich and Nicol-Speyer, 7th Series, 161-174, 208-213, 246-247, 298-303. "Passelecq, op. cit., 3-4.