Excerpt from The Agony of Belgium

Excerpt from Chapter II of The Agony of Belgium by Sir Frank Fox page 19 with the speech from King Albert I to the Belgium parliament on August 4th, 1914.

On July 31st, 1914, the mobilization of the Belgian Army was ordered, and the Belgian King at the same time called publicly Europe’s attention to the fact that Germany, Great Britain and France were solemnly bound to respect and to defend the neutrality of his country. On August 2nd, Great Britain and France having replied that they would faithfully observe their treaty obligations, Germany intimated to Belgium that she intended to march troops through her territory to attack France, and if Belgium would acquiesce in this, then Belgium would not be annexed after the war and no damage would be done.
On August 3rd Belgium replied that to assent to that would be to sacrifice her national honour and to betray her duty to Europe, and on August 4th the Belgian King, addressing his Parliament, said:
“Never since 1830 has a graver hour sounded for Belgium. The strength of our right and the need of Europe for our autonomous existence make us still hope that the dreaded events will not occur. If it is necessary for us to resist an invasion of our soil, however, that duty will find us armed and ready to make the greatest sacrifices. If a stranger should violate our territory, he will find all the Belgians gathered round their Sovereign, who will never betray his Constitutional Oath. I have faith in our destinies. A country which defends itself wins the respect of everyone and cannot perish. God will be with us.”
The same day the German Army violated Belgian territory, crossing the frontier at dawn. On August 4th Liége was attacked and on August 7th fell.*

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