Farce and Tragedy in Eupen-Malmedy:The Public Expression of Opinion and its Discontents
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The most controversial undertaking for which Baltia was responsible was the ‘public expression of opinion’ or popular consultation, which would definitively determine the future status of the newly ceded territories. It would also prove to be the rock on which the bona fides of Baltia’s regime would perish. Chapter 4 examines the execution of the consultation in detail, illuminating the nuances and ambiguities attached to such an undertaking from both a Belgian and a German perspective. The chapter also compares the popular consultation with other plebiscites conducted in contested borderland territories in the wake of the Great War. The allegations of intimidation and coercion that coloured the consultation’s execution were not easily discounted, and would stain both Baltia’s and Belgium’s reputations throughout the interwar period.