'Ambtenaren in dienst van de vijand'. De bestraffing van het activisme in de Belgische rijksadministratie (1918-1921)
Keywords:World War I, Nationalism
AbstractStijn De Wilde en Frederik Verleden ‘Civil Servants working for the Enemy’. The Repression of ‘Activism’ in the Belgian Civil Service (1918-1921)
During the First World War, radical Flemish nationalists or ‘activists’ collaborated with Germany in order to obtain Flemish self-rule or even independence. In the aftermath of the war, the Belgian government prosecuted those who participated in the German Flamenpolitik. The repression of activism has led to many controversies, as the Flemish Movement considered it a harsh, anti-Flemish purge. Little is known about the repression of activists in the Belgian civil service. Yet, the scission of the Belgian civil service in a separate Flemish and Walloon branch was the most disputed measure of the German authorities and many civil servants were involved in one way or another. As it turned out, the administrative post-war purge was much larger than the criminal prosecution of activism. However, it would be a biased judgment to dismiss the administrative purge as an anti-Flemish operation as Walloon civil servants who had collaborated were also prosecuted. The repression of activism’was, however, burdened by the deficiencies typical of transitional justice: inadequate legal or administrative procedures, political interference, and infringements of the principles of a fair trial.
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