Page 3439


manner incompatible with the neutrality

of the Grand Duchy, and, in general, not

to institute or tolerate in the management of these lines any act which would

not be in strict accord with the duties

incumbent upon the Grand Duchy as a

neutral state."

On August 3d, after receiving Belgium's

defiant refusal to permit a free passage

over her territory, German troops under

General von Emmich advanced from Aix

la Chapelle and crossed the frontier near

the Belgian city of Liege.

The Germans still labored under the

delusion that the Belgians would not

make much resistance, and von Emmich

issued the following address to the Belgian


"It is with my greatest regret that the

German troops find themselves compelled

to cross the frontier of Belgium. They act

under the compulsion of an inevitable

necessity, the violation of Belgium's neutrality having already been made by

French officers, who, in disguise,, have

traversed Belgian 'territory in an automobile, in order to penetrate Germany.

"Belgians! it is my greatest desire that

means may yet be found to avoid a combat

between two peoples who have been friends

up to this time; formerly, even allies. Recall the glorious day of Waterloo, when

German arms contributed to found and

establish the independence and prosperity

of your fatherland.

"But we must have a free way. The

destruction of bridges, tunnels, and railways will be considered hostile acts. Belgians, the choice is yours.

"I hope that the German Army of

the Meuse will not be required to fight

you. A free path to attack him who

would attack us is all we ask.

"I give formal guarantee to the Belgian

people that they shall suffer none of the

horrors of the war; that we will pay in

gold money for the provisions that it

will be necessary to take from the country;

that our soldiers will show themselves

the best friends of a people for whom we

feel the highest esteem, the profoundest


"Upon your wisdom and a sensible

patriotism depends the escape of your

country from the horrors of the war."

But the Belgian people felt highly outraged by the German invasion and had

no intention of submitting peacefully to

such treachery. Though poorly prepared

for war, they made what resistance they

could and thereby brought down upon

themselves retaliation so severe as to

shock the world.

Liege was the strongest place in eastern

Belgium, and its forts commanded the

natural highway and railroad lines that

the Germans must control before they

could carry out their plan of an invasion

of France from the northeast. It was a

manufacturing town, its chief industry,

in fact, being the making of firearms.

Its history dated from the Middle Ages,

and it figures in one of Scott's best

novels, Quentin Durward, a story of the

age of Charles the Bold and Louis XI.

In those days its citizens were reputed

to be "the fiercest and the most untameable in Europe." Events were to prove

that its modern inhabitants had not lost

some of the characteristics of their forefathers.

At the beginning of August, 1914, Liege

was defended by a ring of six major and

six minor forts, which had been constructed

about a quarter of a century before but

partially rebuilt "in more recent years.

The main feature of these forts was a

huge concrete shell, the top of which was

about level with the earth, and out of

which rose a sort of movable steel cupola,

technically known as a "Gruson turret".

The heavy guns of the fortresses were

housed in these turrets, and the theory

was that shells striking the curved surface

of the turrets would be deflected off without penetrating. Below were chambers

for the garrison, machinery, ammunition,

and other stores. The earth, too, was

pierced with galleries leading to machine

guns, for use against infantry attacks.

As we have seen, the Belgian army was

a small one, not especially well trained;

and much of the defense of the country

fell, in fact, upon troops corresponding