Page 3416

3416 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

view of existing treaties, they were willing

to respect the neutrality of Belgium so

long as no other power should violate it.

France at once replied in the affirmative,

but Herr von Jagow, German Foreign

Minister, demurred, alleging that her

neutrality had already been violated. He

said that he must consult the Emperor

and Chancellor before returning any answer. He doubted whether any answer

would be given, since any reply might

disclose a part of the German plan of campaign. There were some further negotiations, but no promise was ever made.

The German plan was, of course, already

formed. On the 2d of August, German

troops invaded and occupied Luxemburg,

the tiny state lying southeast of Belgium

between France and Germany. The neutrality of this duchy had been guaranteed

by the Treaty of London of 1867, and the

Luxemburg Government protested energetically, but received the reply that they

would be reimbursed for any damage done

by the occupation.

On the same day, the Germans demanded

the right to cross Belgium. They asserted

that the French intended to march through

Belgium to attack Germany, and that it

was essential for Germany to anticipate

any such attack. If Belgium made no

resistance, Germany would guarantee her

possessions and independence and would

pay an indemnity for any damage done.

If Belgium resisted, Germany would consider her an enemy, and her fate must be

left to the decision of arms. A reply to

the demand was to be returned within

twelve hours.

Such was the ominous beginning of

Belgium's tragedy. From the young King

and his advisers was demanded a sudden

and momentous decision involving the

fate of their country. To answer in the

negative meant the instant invasion of

their country by overwhelming forces.

To comply meant the loss of their honorable standing as a nation. In either event

their country almost certainly would be

a battleground, and whether or not the

Belgians themselves took up arms, their

country would be ruined. Yet there seems

to have been no wavering. On the early

morning of the 3d, the little state replied

that she would defend her neutrality

against all who tried to invade it; that the

attack which Germany threatened constituted a flagrant violation of international law, and that to submit would

"sacrifice the honor of the nation and betray its duty towards Europe." The

Belgians would repel, by all the means in

their power, every attack upon their rights.

On the same day, King Albert addressed

a "supreme appeal" to Great Britain to

safeguard the integrity of his country. All

hesitation in Great Britain vanished. The

British now felt that by entering the war

they would not only defend their own

safety but that of a-small state needing

protection. Belgium's need aroused their

sense of chivalry and gave to the conflict

a glamour and enthusiasm that otherwise

would have been lacking. On the next

day, Sir Edward Grey demanded that by

twelve o'clock that night Germany must

agree to respect the neutrality of Belgium.

If a favorable reply was not given, the