Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The Belgian army, society and military cultures, 1830-1918
Author: Draper, Mario A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 0345
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines the conflicted relationship between the Belgian army and society from its independence in 1830 through to the end of the First World War in 1918. It assesses the role that the army played as a tool of nation building in what was a culturally, geographically, linguistically, and politically fractured country. Ultimately, the work argues that the army largely failed in this role as political interference in the institution restricted its ability to impact positively on the youth entrusted to its care. The machinations of the two dominant parties, the Catholics and the Liberals, helped reinforce local ties as opposed to fostering a wider sense of nationhood. The military implications were manifold. Not only was the army slow, within a continental context, to adopt conscription, only doing so in 1913, but the strong sense of anti-militarism within society equally held successive governments to account over necessary financial contributions towards other aspects of the military, such as the Civic Guard and the fortresses. When coupled with the issue of language among a majority Flemish rank and file commanded by a predominantly French-speaking officer corps, there was a real fear among domestic and foreign commentators that Belgium’s ability to uphold its unique imposed neutrality in the event of a future war was limited. Notwithstanding, its performance during the First World War was surprising and marked a brief interlude in the contested domestic affairs of the long nineteenth century, as opposition against the ‘other’ rallied the nation behind a single cause. It demonstrated that, despite an entrenched parochialism, multiple associations with the concept of Belgian nationality were extant, but required the crisis of the Great War in order to be clearly expressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D History General and Old World