Saturday, November 5, 2011

King Leopold's Broadcast

Here is a wonderful recording of a famous address, delivered to the USA on October 27, 1939, in the early stages of World War II, by King Leopold III of the Belgians. The speech outlines the reasons for Belgium's policy of independence and neutrality, adopted in 1937, and emphasizes Belgium's role in attempting to maintain the peace in Europe.

My warmest thanks to Mr. Daniel A. Wybo, researcher and spokesman of the National League of Veterans of His Majesty King Leopold III, who has very kindly made the recording available to the public.


Daniel said...

When Germany reclaimed the Rhineland in 1936 in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, Belgium prepared for war. However, the new Popular Front government in France declined to oppose the German aggression. Belgium, dismayed at France's lack of will and with a resurgent Germany now on her border, tore up the treaty of 1920 and became once more a neutral state, stating a policy of 'Armed Independence'.

On August 23 1939 King Leopold III of Belgium broadcasts an appeal for peace on behalf of seven smaller countries

On 26th August 1939 Germany assures Belgium, Holland and Switzerland respect for it’s borders

On 29th August 1939 Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands and King Leopold jointly offer a mediation, which is accepted by the British, French and Polish

1st September 1939
Poland is invaded by German forces from East Prussia, Slovakia and the main body of the Reich in the early morning. No declaration of war has been made

September 3rd 1939 King Leopold III in accordance with Belgium's constitution became commander in chief of the Belgian armed forces.
That day the Belgian Government made a formal declaration of Neutrality.

On October 27th 1939 King Leopold made a radio speech to the United States clarifying Belgiums postion in the war.

May said...

Thank you for this very useful timeline, Daniel.

Lee said...

Thank you, Daniel, for your concise, interesting timeline.

Thank you also for allowing us to hear this recording. I have never heard the King's voice before.

May said...

You had never heard his voice? I'm glad that has been fixed!