The Battle of Brussels Would not Take Place
The people of Uccle leave their homes to watch the newly-arrived soldiers of the Reich on Rue Vaderkindere, on 20 August 1914. The German columns were deployed all over town. The battle of Brussels would not take place. The Belgian soldiers, the royal family and the government left the town for Antwerp before the arrival. The entrance of the imperial troops impressed the people of Brussels. One witness, the mayor’s cousin and man of letters Paul Max wrote in his journal that day: “A whole corps, headed by a band, crossed through Brussels. The parade lasted, I would say, all day. The army seen in this way is truly formidable: One feels the iron discipline which drives all these men. They are splendidly equipped and all wear the umber-coloured uniform.”
By orders of the mayor, the civic guards had been disarmed the day before. The trenches had been filled in and the barricades demolished: It was necessary to prevent the enemy from finding a pretext for taking action against the civilians or for bombing the city. On 20 August 1914, Paul Max could laconically conclude: “The city centre has not noticeably changed: the cafes stayed open until the usual hour. There was less animation, that’s all”.