Reichskommissariat of Belgium and Northern France

(Redirected from Reichsgau Flandern)

The Reichskommissariat of Belgium and Northern France (German: Reichskommissariat Belgien-Nordfrankreich) was a Nazi German civil administration (Zivilverwaltung) which governed most of occupied Belgium and northern parts of occupied France in the second half of 1944 during World War II.

Location of Belgium
StatusReichskommissariat of Nazi Germany
Common languagesGerman (administration)
GovernmentCivil administration
• 1944
Josef Grohé
Historical eraWorld War II
• Grohé appointed
13 July 1944
• Allied liberation of Brussels
3 September 1944
CurrencyBelgian franc
ISO 3166 codeBE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France
Kingdom of Belgium
Provisional Government of the French Republic
Today part ofBelgium

The Reichskommissariat was established on 13 July 1944 by Hitler's "Erlaß des Führers über die Errichtung einer Zivilverwaltung in den besetzten Gebieten von Belgien und Nordfrankreich vom 13. Juli 1944".[1]

The Reichskommissariat replaced an earlier military government, the Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France, established in the same territory in 1940.[2][3]

History Edit

Establishment Edit

After its invasion by Germany in May 1940, Belgium was initially placed under a "temporary" military government, in spite of more radical factions within the German government, such as the SS, urging for the installation of another Nazi civil government, as had been done in Norway and the Netherlands.[4] on 15 June it was joined with the two French départements of Nord and Pas-de-Calais (included on the grounds that part of this territory belonged to Germanic Flanders, as well as the fact that the entire region formed an integral economic unit[5]) as the Military Administration in Belgium and North France (Militärverwaltung in Belgien und Nordfrankreich).[citation needed]

In spite of this uncompromising attitude at the time, it was decided that the entire area should someday be assimilated into the Third Reich[6] and divided into three new Reichsgaue of a Greater Germanic Reich: Flandern and Brabant for the Flemish territories, and Wallonien for the Walloon parts.[7] Reichsgau Brabant was to be headed by Gauleiter U. van Brusselen. On 13 July 1944, a Reichskommissariat Belgien-Nordfrankreich was established to accomplish precisely this goal, derived from the previous military administration.[1][8]

On 13 July 1944, the Gauleiter of Gau Cologne-Aachen, Josef Grohé, was named Reichskommissar of the territory, known as the Reichskommissariat Belgien und Nordfrankreich or Reichskommissariat für die besetzte Gebiete von Belgien und Nordfrankreich.[2][9] It covered the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, as well as Belgium except for Eupen-Malmedy which were reincorporated directly into the German Reich.[citation needed]

The Wehrmacht troops in the area were commanded by Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Belgien-Nordfrankreich Martin Grase (13 July 1944 – 16 September 1944).[citation needed]

The territory was mostly liberated by the Allies in September 1944, in the aftermath of the Normandy landings, so the existence of the territory was short.[citation needed]

Plans for the future Edit

Although most of Belgium and Northern France were no longer under de facto German control by the end of September 1944, the Nazi German leadership and its Flemish and Walloon collaborators continued making plans for the future political division and administration of the territories. Most versions of these plans included the future establishment of three separate territories: a Reichsgau Flandern, a Reichsgau Wallonien, and a District or Free City of Brussels, which were supposed to be annexed by the German Reich.[10][11][12] On 8 December 1944, German Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop appointed Léon Degrelle as the "Head of the Walloon Liberation Committee", followed by the appointment of Jef van de Wiele on 15 December 1944 to "Head of the Flemish Liberation Committee".[13] When the German military launched the Ardennes Offensive on 16 December 1944, the Nazi collaborators had renewed hopes of carrying out their ideals.[14] In a 20 December 1944 interview with a pro-Nazi newspaper, Degrelle said no decision had yet been taken about the future of Belgium: 'The issue of the transformation of the States of the West is not current. The war must be won first...'[14] Degrelle's "Walloon Liberation Committee" was based in Bonn.[15] Meanwhile, van de Wiele's Vlaamsche Landsleiding, a self-proclaimed Flemish collaborator government-in-exile which had fled to Ústí nad Labem (German: Aussig) in November 1944[16] and had been designing statutes for a future Reichsland Flandern,[17] in late December 1944 moved to Wahn near Cologne to prepare for the 'liberation' of Flanders as it was building a combat group of Flemish collaborators to join the Ardennes Offensive.[18] In January 1945, Van de Wiele was negotiating with Foreign Ministry representative Diehl about the future establishment of separate subdivisions for Flanders and Wallonia; he did not care whether Flanders was to be called a Reichsgau or Reichsmark, as long as the 'artificial' Belgian state was split, and the 'unnatural union' of Flemings and Walloons was brought to an end.[19] The Ardennes Offensive was a disaster, and after the German troops were ordered to retreat on 13 January 1945, any further talks on the political future of Belgium were discontinued, as the German leadership was no longer interested in discussing plans with Van de Wiele.[20]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "Reichskommissariat Belgien und Nordfrankreich". Retrieved 2022-10-09.
  2. ^ a b Rolf Jehke. "Reichskommissariat Belgien und Nordfrankreisch". Retrieved 2015-03-09.
  3. ^ Kroener, Müller & Umbreit (2003) Germany and the Second World War V/II, p. 29
  4. ^ Rich, Norman: Hitler's War Aims: The Establishment of the New Order, p. 173. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1974.
  5. ^ Rich, Norman, p. 172.
  6. ^ Rich, Norman, pp. 171, 196.
  7. ^ Bernhard Kroener, Rolf-Dieter Müller, Hans Umbreit (2003). Germany and the Second World War: Volume V/II. Oxford University Press, p. 26 [1]
  8. ^ Rich, Norman, p. 195.
  9. ^ Kroener, Müller & Umbreit (2003) Germany and the Second World War V/II, p. 29
  10. ^ Lipgens, Walter. Documents on the History of European integration: Volume 1 – Continental Plans for European Integration 1939–1945, p. 45. Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1974.
  11. ^ Meyers, Willem C.M. (1972). "Le "Vlaamse Landsleiding"" (PDF). Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  12. ^ Albert de Jonghe (1970). "L'etablissement d'une administration civile en Belgique et dans le Nord de la France: La discussion finale au quartier générale du Führer, le 12 juillet 1944" (PDF). Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  13. ^ Meyers 1972, p. 250–251.
  14. ^ a b Meyers 1972, p. 251.
  15. ^ Meyers 1972, p. 262.
  16. ^ Meyers 1972, p. 249.
  17. ^ Meyers 1972, p. 252.
  18. ^ Meyers 1972, p. 261.
  19. ^ Meyers 1972, p. 263.
  20. ^ Meyers 1972, p. 265.

Further reading Edit

  • De Jonghe, Albert (1972). Hitler en het politieke lot van België, 1940-1944. De vestiging van een Zivilverwaltung in België en Noord-Frankrijk. Antwerp: Uitgeverij De Nederlandssche Boekhandel.