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Chapter Summary

Throughout the period between the world wars, the factors influencing Belgian defense policy have been constant and, in fact, the same basic debates went on before both wars, frequently with the ministers of war. The issues involved the size, deployment, languages, military policy, and equipment of the army and were colored by Belgian geography, foreign policy, and domestic policy. Through the analysis of these issues and their development, one can see how defense planning is conducted in a parliamentary democracy. Political and natural geography is an important influence on Belgian defense policy. Foreign policy had a major impact on defense policy and vice-versa. Belgium's statutory neutrality shaped its defense planning before World War I. After the war, the Belgians concluded that their neutrality had failed them and renounced it. The Belgian government's repeated attempts to reach an agreement with the British failed and Belgium fell into French arms.

Keywords: Belgian defense policy; Belgian domestic policy; Belgian foreign policy; Belgian geography; World War I



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