On the Threshold of Transition: Eupen-Malmedy in 1919—Between Occupation and Annexation
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In January 1919, the borderland districts of Eupen and Malmedy fell under allied occupation as peace negotiations proceeded in Paris. On the ground in the occupied districts, a fierce rivalry ensued between pro-Belgian and pro-German agitators seeking both locally and internationally to influence the outcome of any agreement. Rumours of an imminent annexation by Belgium were eventually realized, leaving the inhabitants of this contested space to consider their fate. During this time, romantic notions of loyalty and belonging competed with the more pragmatic concerns of everyday life. This chapter examines tensions on the ground in Eupen-Malmedy throughout 1919 as the territory passed from allied occupation to Belgian military administration, with the appointment of Lieutenant-General Herman Baltia as royal high commissioner in September of that year.