Liberators: The Allies and Belgian Society, 1944-1945 (Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare)
In the autumn of 1944, Belgium was liberated at lightning speed. Yet Allied troops continued to dominate much of Belgian society until late 1945. Peter Schrijvers' revisionist account reveals that throughout that time, strong currents of discontent started to build beneath the waves of gratitude and admiration. Chronic shortages of coal and food, rampant venereal disease, and deteriorating discipline led the Belgian population to lament 'from the liberators, oh Lord, liberate us'. Despite all of this, however, the countries and cultures that the Anglo-American troops represented exerted substantial attraction and influence still, leading to them to truly have a lingering effect on Belgian society in ways that could set the tone for the remainder of the turbulent twentieth century. Using newly uncovered material from the Belgian state security archives as well as testimonies of the liberated, this book vividly reconstructs the largely unknown history of Belgium's liberation era.