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(2014)JOURNAL OF BELGIAN HISTORY-REVUE BELGE D HISTOIRE CONTEMPORAINE-BELGISCH TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR NIEUWSTE GESCHIEDENIS.44(2-3).p.170-196 Mark abstract From 1914 onwards, Belgian historians have produced a considerable output on the subject of the First World War. Few episodes in the history of Belgium have known such a consistent historiographical investment. When comparing this output with those of the other former belligerent countries, it becomes clear that the studies on Belgium have gradually moved away from the international model. In interwar Europe, when historiography was dominated by "a diplomatic and military component" (Prost and Winter), Belgian his- torians put forward the civilian dimension of the conflict. Thus, by in some way continuing to breathe life into the idea of "Poor little Belgium", they contributed to a specific Belgian memory of the Great War which pays special attention to the experience of the invasion and the occupation. This cleavage was heightened in the course of the five decades following the Second World War. While the history of the Great War was thoroughly renewed through social science approaches, Belgian historiography withdrew in itself. The national production on the 1914-1918 conflict was reduced to its smallest dimension: more than in any other country, the First World War was overshadowed by the Second. In Belgium, the Great War never became a central issue in contemporary history as it was institutionalized at that time. Not until the 1990s did Belgian historiography become part again of the 'temporalities' as described by Prost and Winter. Combining cultural and social approaches, Belgian historians reintegrated the international debate on the Great War, which by then had made Belgium into a paradigmatic example of the "total war" that marked the 20th century.

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Autor: Bruno Benvindo, Benoît Majerus and Antoon Vrints



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