Celebration day at the Grand-Place, on 17 November 1918, when many thousands of people came to acclaim the return of Mayor Adolphe Max. Returning from four years of captivity in Germany, he became an icon of patriotic resistance. His homecoming was key in those disordered days: things were going back to normal.
The previous days had been particularly chaotic, since transition meant neither war nor peace. There was no police force capable of maintaining order. While there were still Germans in the capital, people set fire to “boche” press kiosks. After the departure of the Germans, violence turned towards “internal enemies” suspected of having collaborated with the occupier. War profiteers, activists and denouncers were victims of the people’s revenge. Women who were suspected of having had relations with the enemy were singled out, and some were shaved in public.