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German troops in Brussels

The German invasion of Belgium began on 4 August 1914. Earlier, on 24 July, the Belgian government had announced that if war came it would uphold its neutrality. The Belgian government mobilised its armed forces on 31 July and a state of Kriegsgefahr ("danger of war") was proclaimed in Germany. On 1 August the German government sent an ultimatum to Belgium, demanding passage through the country and German forces invaded Luxembourg. Two days later, the Belgian Government refused the demands and the British Government guaranteed military support to Belgium. The German government declared war on Belgium on 4 August and troops crossed the border and attacked the Belgian city of Liège.

German military operations in Belgium were intended to bring the 1st, 2nd and 3rd armies into positions in Belgium, from which they could invade France, which led to sieges of Belgian fortresses along the Meuse river at Namur, after the fall of Liège on 7 August and the surrender of the last forts on 16-17 August. The government abandoned the capital, Brussels, on 17 August and after fighting on the Gete river, the Belgian field army withdrew westwards, to the National Redoubt at Antwerp on 19 August. Brussels was occupied the next day and Namur was besieged on 21 August.

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