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Britain and the Belgian Exiles 1940-1945

Allen, Robert W; (1997) Britain and the Belgian Exiles 1940-1945. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Britain and the Belgian Exiles, 1940-1945. The main theme of this thesis is how the Belgian government under Prime Minister Hubert Pierlot redeemed its reputation with the British, as well as with its own citizens, during its four-year exile in London and its short tenure after Belgium was liberated in 1944. During this period, Pierlot and his government evolved from being an isolated and mistrusted neutral regime to being a valuable member of the Allied coalition against the Axis. The successful Anglo-Belgian partnership allowed Pierlot and his compatriots to have a small, but significant, part in the final Allied victory. The special British relationship with Belgium and the other small exiled Allies has been mostly overshadowed in general war and national histories, which have focused on the major powers or events centred on the homeland. This examination of wartime Anglo-Belgian relations analyses the political, military, economic and social factors that affected the achievements and disappointments of a complex partnership at three levels: official (inter-government), military (inter-unit) and individual. Linking these interactions together explains Belgium's contributions to Allied victory and the British response to the unique challenge of hosting foreign governments in London and military units throughout Britain. The first chapter shows how the Belgian leadership became discredited by late 1940 among the British, especially Winston Churchill. Chapters II through V analyse the initial period of exile, economic and military activities centred on the Belgian Congo (Pierlot's greatest asset), relations between the exiles and Belgium, and the build-up of military forces in Britain. Chapter VI covers the liberation of Belgium and Pierlot's struggle to meet the needs of his people and the Allied armies. The conclusion critiques the Anglo-Belgian partnership and highlights the benefits received by the two countries.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Britain and the Belgian Exiles 1940-1945
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101073
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