The Low Countries - 2014, № 22
14 maart 2014
The 22nd volume of The Low Countries Yearbook commemorates the First World War. You can find the table of contents here.
“I died in hell – (They called it Passchendaele)”
When the heir to the Austrian throne and his wife were shot dead in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, a deadly machine was set in motion that catapulted the European superpowers into a war that no one seemed to have wanted, but that was nonetheless greeted with euphoria in all their capitals. That euphoria saw the war as an act of hygiene for the world, as Marinetti had written in his futuristic manifesto in 1909.
By the end of 1914, however, the war had got bogged down in the mud of trench warfare. It was to last four long years and turned into a hitherto unseen Materialschlacht, in which, to quote Ernst Jünger, for the first time places rather than people became the targets. From Nieuwpoort at the North Sea to Switzerland, and from north-eastern Italy to Gallipoli in Turkey. For the Belgians the Yser became an iconic battlefield, for the British Ypres and the Somme, for the Canadians Vimy, for the French Verdun, for the Italians Caporetto, and for the Australians, New Zealanders and Turks Gallipoli. The Battle of Tannenberg was a debacle for the Russians. And for the Germans Langemark became the stuff of myth: there, in 1914, inexperienced German students advanced towards the machine guns of the professional British army.
How should we commemorate it all? Siegfried Sassoon thought the new Menin Gate in Ypres, which was officially opened in 1927, a scandal:
Here was the world’s worst wound. And here with pride
‘Their name liveth for ever,’ the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
As these intolerably nameless names?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.
(On Passing the New Menin Gate)
Today we look with awe at the close to 55,000 names on this monument – names of soldiers whose bodies were never recovered. Perhaps the list is a war poem.
In this edition we want to deal with some less obvious facets of the Great War. What was the lot of the many hundreds of thousands of refugees who ended up in the Netherlands and Great Britain in the autumn of 1914? What role did the Knight-King Albert I and his wife Queen Elisabeth play in the mythologization of ‘la Belgique sanglante et martyre’ and ‘Gallant Little Belgium’? How did occupied Belgium fare? We examine lieux de mémoire like the poppy, the Menin Gate in Ypres, war songs and the landscape - the last witness. What was the effect on the Netherlands of not experiencing the First World War? The second was certainly a traumatic experience for them and even today there are still questions about the Shoah that do not go away.
As well as the themed pieces this volume offers the usual choice of essays on writers and artists past and present, on history that survives to the present day and society that has evolved from its past.
Artikelen in dit nummer
- ‘On Being Asked For a War Poem’
- The Flanders Poppy as Lieu de Mémoire
- Commemoration in Stone and in Silence. The Menin Gate and the Last Post Ceremony as Lieu de Mémoire
- They Went with Songs to Battle. Songs as Lieux de Mémoire of the Great War
- In Flanders Fields. The Landscape of War as Lieu de Mémoire
- Violence and Legitimacy Occupied Belgium 1914-1918
- Belgian Refugees in Britain 1914-1919
- An Extract from 'Across the Channel'
- The Belgian-Dutch Border During the First World War. A Second Belgian Front?
- Belgium’s Finest Hour? King Albert and Queen Elisabeth in Wartime
- The Great War That Largely Passed Us by in the Netherlands
- Three Questions That Do Not Go Away. The Netherlands and the Shoah
- Bodybuilders in Haarlem. Startling Aspects of Cornelis van Haarlem’s Art
- Writing is Gilding. The Monumental Oeuvre of A.F.Th. van der Heijden
- The Lost Highway. Journey along the Kortrijksesteenweg
- Misanthropes, Boring Assholes and Amoral Winners. The Literary Work of Herman Koch
- Thanksgiving Came Via Leiden. The Influence of Holland on the Pilgrim Fathers
- Directors of Characters. The Sculptures of Folkert de Jong
- The Highs and Lows of Hendrik Conscience
- The Decline of the Belgian Car Industry
- d = f (a-s). Wim Crouwel, a Timeless 20th Century Designer
- Flemish Film Beyond the Borders of Flanders?
- Futile Scribbles in the Margins of History. The Literary Work of F. Springer
- The Sculptures of Oscar Jespers in an International Context. From Wieske Baseleer to Little Leda
- Nijmegen Revived. From Roman Settlement to Havana on the Waal
- All Said Before. Menno Wigman’s Ennui
- Over Exposure. The Art of Erik van Lieshout
- Population Shrinkage in the Netherlands. From a Cold to a Warm Approach
- Hand Ballet and Reflection. On the Work of Karel Dierickx
- The Everyday is Good. The Novels of Koen Peeters
- The Difference Between Language and Dialect in the Netherlands and Flanders
- The Golden Key to Happiness. Alex van Warmerdam’s ‘Borgman’
- Purveyors to the Court of Modern Variety. The Ashton Brothers
- Kaiser Turned Woodcutter. Huis Doorn, Home of the Exiled Wilhelm II (1920-1941)
- The American Dream in Antwerp. The Red Star Line Museum
- Americans in Occupied Belgium 1914-1918
- The Gazette van Detroit Celebrates its 100th Anniversary
- Pinkster in New York
- A Biography of the Dutch Language
- Cees Nooteboom as Nomadic Writer
- A Poet in Love with Words. Lucebert Translated into English
- Minimalist Grandeur. The Paradoxical Pop Music of Balthazar
- Caro Emerald Gladdens Our Hearts. A Diva Without the Whims
- The Power of the ‘Intermediate Sphere’. The Passage to Europe
- From Plato to the European Union. The Road to Democracy
- More Radical than Spinoza. Adriaan Koerbagh (1633-1669)
- Marc Van Montagu, Winner of the World Food Prize
- A Cassandra in the City. Joris Luyendijk
- The ‘Commedia dell’Arte’ of Peter Vos