Op “On this day” lezen we vandaag het volgende: “1917 Flanders declares its independence, under Pieter Tack”. (Op bovenstaande foto van het bestuur van de ‘Société de Etudiants Liberaux’, de liberale Gentse studentenvereniging, van het academiejaar 1894-1895, afkomstig uit de collectie van het Liberaal Archief, staat Pieter Tack de derde van rechts op de tweede rij.)

Niet ten onrechte schrijft een zekere Wolvies dan ook op de pagina van Google Answers: “Flanders, Republic of- The Flemish homeland of Flanders seceded from Belgium in 1917 under German protection. When the Germans surrendered in 1918, the Flemish government collapsed and its leaders were hung for treason.”
I’ve never heard of this before – was it envisaged as a step on the way towards incorporating Flanders within the German Empire as a sovereign state (whilst to incorporate a republic in an empire seems odd, the Free Cities were more or less mini republics) or was it intended to keep Flanders as a vassal/ally ?
Or was there no long-term planning behind this, and it was just an
administrative trick ?
And does anyone have any information on these Flemish leaders who were
hanged ?
Een al even mysterieuze Scriptor antwoordde hierop het volgende: “After the Germans had already split Belgium in two administrative regions , Flanders and Wallonia, to prepare their post-war plans (21 March 1917), the Flemish Council declared Flemish independence on 22 December of the same year at Germany’s urging, after a plebescite with only about 50,000 participants. This was planned long before: August Borms and Pieter Tack had been in Berlin in early March 1917 and talked to the German Reich Chancellor Georg von Hertling about the issue of Flemish autonomy.
On 8 January 1918, Belgian police (Belgium’s administration was still existing, though under German supervision) arrested August Borms for his activities. But before the trial actually began, he was released again on German orders. Borms became Commissioner of National Defense of Flanders. Pieter Tack became President of the Commission of Plenipotentiaries. President of the Council of Flanders and thus head of state was Willem de Vreese. A state, however, that had neither any real future perspective nor the smallest scope. In fact, it was rather non-existant. How powerless it was became obvious on 25 July 1918: On that day, the Germans occupation authorities simply terminated Flemish autonomy after it had proven less useful and more problematic than they had expected.”

Wolvies is zeer tevreden met dit antwoord. Hij geeft er zelfs vijf sterren voor en schrijft: “Excellent answer – I guess the fact that even the Germans didn’t find them useful is why it is an ‘entity’ hardly at all heard of, even by eminent historians. Thanks !”
Wel, ik moet zeggen dat ik meer op mijn honger blijf zitten. Waar is het antwoord op zijn vraag over de gehangenen b.v.? Hieronder overigens nog een duidelijker foto van Pieter Tack.


Een gedachte over “Honderd jaar geleden: Vlaanderen onafhankelijk?

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