‘Red Days in Brussels’
German machine guns are placed in the streets of Brussels. A few days earlier, in a context of military debacle, a socialist revolution broke out in Germany. On 9 November 1918, the republic was proclaimed, forcing the Emperor Wilhelm II to abdicate. The revolt reached across the occupied territories. The very day after the fall of the Empire, a part of the German forces that were stationed in Brussels formed a Counsel of revolutionary soldiers. This Soldatenrate took control of the city, and the red flag was raised above the Kommandantur. At first the event seemed good news to Brussels, since the revolutionary soldiers refused to play the role of the occupant and fraternized with the population. Yet, chaos would soon succeed to joy, despite the machine guns that were supposed to keep order.
For several days, shootings took place between the revolutionary German soldiers and the officers that had remained loyal to the emperor, causing approximately ten casualties among Belgian civilians. The streets of the city were taken by unruly bands of soldiers. Many places were plundered. In what looked like a civil war, the revolutionaries dispersed the general government. They handed some of their prerogatives over to local authorities. Brussels was not liberated by the Allies, but by revolted German soldiers.