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4. The Devèze Years

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Chapter Summary

The years between 1932 and 1936 were of major importance for the formation of Belgian defense policy. The chapter begins with a look at two of the major figures of the time, Minister of National Defense Devèze and Chief of Staff LTG Nuyten, and their opposition, which would roil not only military circles but nationalist circles as well, because their quarrel involved the organization and costs of Belgium's defenses and feelings ran high, especially in more vulnerable Wallonia. It then discusses the formation of the elite Chasseurs ardennais and Unités cyclists frontières and the budget controversy that would ultimately be the undoing of LTG Nuyten in 1934. That same year saw the ascension of Leopold III and his military advisor, Raoul van Overstraeten. The chapter looks at his personality and then the dénouement of Nuyten. It studies the important staff talks between the French and Nuyten's successor, LTG Cumont.

Keywords: Belgian defense policy; Chasseurs ardennais; Leopold III; LTG Cumont; LTG Nuyten; National Defense Devèze; Raoul van Overstraeten



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