The Second World War remains to this day the most notorious period in Belgian history. Seventy-five years after the liberation, the debate on the dark years of war is still raging. With this new reference work on Belgium and the Second World War, historians and other specialists from various research centres take stock: How did the war affect Belgian society?
War. Occupation. Liberation maps out all facets of war and goes beyond the lines of traditional war history. The authors not only reconstruct the military operations and the complex chronicle of the occupation: the German invasion in May 1940 and the role of the King, the operations of the Force Publique in Africa, life in an occupied country, collaboration and resistance, the persecution of the Jews, the war economy, art theft ... They also look at the turbulent period that preceded the war, with attention to the legacy of the Great War, the rise of radical political movements and the role of women in the New Order. Finally, they discuss the difficult handling of the conflict: the liberation, the purge, the Ardennes offensive and the V-bombs, and the memory of the war.
The book features striking photographs from national and international archives, an explanation of unique heritage pieces and an epilogue by the internationally renowned historian Richard Overy.
With contributions by Mathieu Billa, Jean Cardoen, Wannes Devos, Luc De Vos, Bruno De Wever, Manuel Duran, Anne Godfroid, Kevin Gony, Erik Janssen, Michel Jaupart, Chantal Kesteloot, Catherine Lanneau, Pierre Lierneux, Dirk Luyten, Fabrice Maerten, Koen Palinckx, Natasja Peeters, Kris Quanten, Dimitri Roden, Laurence Schram, Peter Schrijvers, Sandrine Smets, Jean-Michel Sterkendries, Jan Van der Fraenen, Olivier Van der Wilt, Lawrence Van Haecke, Sarah Van Ruyskensvelde, Roel Vande Winkel, Christine Van Everbroeck, Piet Veldeman, Dave Warnier and Nico Wouters.