‘Making Good Belgians’: Political Incorporation and National Assimilation 1920–1925
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Baltia’s mission involved a parallel process of political incorporation and national assimilation. This project of ‘Belgicization’ impacted the temporal, cultural and spiritual life of the districts. Baltia identified the inculcation of young minds towards Belgium, limiting the influence of the pro-Germany clergy, and the ‘Belgicization’ of local government as essential elements of assimilation. While political incorporation could be achieved in a relatively short period of time, the national assimilation of these ‘new Belgians’ would need a much longer period of gestation. This chapter assesses the challenges and achievements of the assimilatory project up to its termination in 1925. It also examines how the population of these districts was facilitated in coming to terms with becoming Belgian through the commemoration of their recent past and their acculturation to the present.