The usurpation of Belgium by Lambertus Mokveld (advert)

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Description

Advertisement for De overweldiging van België by the war correspondent Lambertus Mokveld. It states that this is the first and only book by a trustworthy eyewitness of the German invasion on Belgium in 1914.

Context

Lambertus Mokveld was a Dutch war correspondent who was sent to Belgium at the start of the war. In De overweldinging van België , Mokveld described the German invasion on Belgium in 1914, which he had witnessed. The cover of the book was designed by the Dutch cartoonist Louis Raemaekers, known for his anti-German drawings that were published in De Telegraaf. The book was presented as offering the best information about the drama in Belgium from the renowned correspondent. It contains descriptions of first four months of Germany's presence in Belgium. Mokveld revealed how the looted villages and burned and ruined cities really appeared. He also described how the German soldiers mistreated the Belgians, and how they looted their houses. Mokveld was captured and imprisoned for some time. The editors were to keen to emphasise that the book had been written independently, without any external pressures. Such a declaration was important, particularly in this case with an overtly anti-German book being published in the neutral Netherlands. The book's publication was followed by a series of events with the author. Not all authorities within the host cities were in favour of the popularity of Mokveld's book. The event in Middelburg was cancelled due to objections. Pro-German readers of De Tijd, the newspaper for which Mokveld worked, sent letters to the editors, accusing the author of dishonest journalism and criticising his style. Despite its controversy, the book aroused interest and was read widely. It was strongly criticised by the Germans and the pro-German Dutch press. In fact, the German envoy and pro-German Dutch intellectuals considered Mokveld's reports to be a serious violation of official Dutch neutrality.