Belgians Flooding Germans


This print showing German troops struggling in an unexpected flood in Belgium is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “A heroic feat by small Belgium caused admiration from the whole world. Highly cultured Belgium, outraged by Germany's barbarian attacks, decided to take extreme measures to save the country. The whole of northern Belgium is located in the lowlands, some of which are below sea level. That part does not get flooded only because it is surrounded by dunes, and in places the dunes are interrupted by dams with locks. The dams, built over centuries, are not very tall (only five to eight sazhens), but they are so wide that roads were built on top of them and often alleys with trees planted. In some places where waves are particularly high, dams were enforced by granite rocks. During a tide the sea level at the shore rises up to four meters and if a lock is opened a large areа of lowlands becomes flooded. A flood entails high costs. Besides the damage caused by the flood itself, the land would absorb sea salt and become barren for many years. Mining and manufacturing industry are the main types of production in Belgium, but they are developed mostly in the south. In the north, agriculture is predominant, and farmers gather a rich harvest of wheat, flax, and beets. Now all of this will disappear for a few years. Belgian engineers opened the locks and let a large area of about 200 square versts get flooded. Locks at the dams regulate the flow of water and were used by ancient Egyptians and Chinese. When a lock that controls a water flow is open, water rushes out into the designated area. When the locks were opened, the Germans suffered a huge loss, as the whole valley turned into a swamp making it difficult to move not only for the artillery, but for the infantry as well. Thus, a German army consisting of two corps was unable to strike the heroic Belgium army and none of the enemy batteries will be able to get out from the slimy and swampy soil. As long as the people are alive everything will be restored. Creative energy is lost only when the nation itself is lost. We believe that history will place this small heroic nation on an honorable pedestal, and will let the next generation know of its courage and love for its country.”

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E. Konovalov & C. Printing and Lithographic Firm, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Затопление бельгийцами немцев

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Last updated: April 3, 2015