The Lessons of World War I

One hundred years ago tomorrow, at 8:05 a.m., two Belgian border guards stationed outside Gemmenich spotted a squadron of twenty-five German cavalrymen approaching the village.  They ordered the patrol to halt.  “Belgian frontier,” one of them announced.  “I’m perfectly aware of that,” said the commanding officer.  “But the French have crossed the border and we’re going to continue on our way.”  The officer handed a proclamation to one of the guards.  “It is with greatest regret that German troops find themselves forced to cross the Belgian frontier,” it began, and concluded by asking Belgians to use their “discretion” to save their country “from the horrors of war.” The guards discreetly moved aside and the horsemen galloped off.  More squadrons followed.  A third guard, the head of the station, telephoned the news to Army Headquarters at Leuven.  The...(Read Full Article)

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