Belgium after World War II

By | December 26, 2021

History. РThe political malaise in Belgium, expressed by the contrasts of economic and scholastic direction between the two major parties, Christian-Social and Socialist, although united in a governmental coalition of necessity, worsened in 1949 following the re-emergence of the real question. Considering that the reasons that had temporarily excluded him from the throne had been cured by time, by virtue of the law of July 1945 which decreed his impossibility to reign, Leopold III from his Swiss exile accentuated the pressures for his return to the throne, following the meeting of Bern with the regent Prince Charles of Flanders in April 1949. The Christian-social and socialist coalition could not stand the impact of the new signs of the Leopoldine question: following new elections in June 1949, the G. Eyskens cabinet was established. For Belgium public policy, please check

To overcome the constitutional difficulties of an abrogation of the 1945 law, a consultative referendum was convened between the king and the government in October, which should have guided the Parliament in the decision that belonged only to it. The referendum of 12 March 1950 gave 57.68 of the votes in favor of the return of Leopoldo and 43.22% of votes against. But the most serious aspect of the results, accentuated in the new legislative elections held in the following June, was the deepening of the dissent between the Flemings and the Walloons, the first in favor of Leopoldo and the others against, while the mixed region of Brussels had also pronounced ‘it against.

The new Parliament repealed the 1945 law on 20 July. Leopoldo returned to Brussels two days later. Violent were the socialist reactions and a part of the liberals, not without republican extremisms, hitherto lacking in the Leopoldine controversy. The king was then forced to cede sovereign powers to his son Baldwin on 1 August, and abdicated in June 1951: Baldwin was proclaimed sovereign on 17 July 1951. The malaise continued because Leopold remained in the royal residence of Laeken: accused of influencing the son, in the spring of 1959 Leopoldo had to leave Laeken, blamed among other things for having induced the Court to arrange the marriage of Crown Prince Albert in the Vatican rather than in Brussels.

After four years of Christian-social government, the 1954 elections gave birth to the socialist-liberal A. van Ackers cabinet, which in 1958, following the Christian-social electoral victory, was followed by a new Eyskens, Christian-social cabinet. and liberal. But the disagreements over school policy and economic policy, the latter aggravated following the coal crisis of 1958-1959, continued to characterize Belgian political life. To those problems was added in 1959 the rise of nationalism in the Congo and the disagreements on the modalities of the advancement of the Congo towards independence: the intransigence of the Congolese parties to Belgian Fabianism did not fade even after the visit made to the Congo by King Baudouin in December 1959.

Meanwhile, Belgian foreign policy had a constant Western continuity. Associated in the Brussels Pact of March 1948 with Great Britain, France, Holland and Luxembourg, Belgium signed the Atlantic alliance. He joined the ECSC, despite the technical difficulties of its coal production, and the EDC, which the Belgian Parliament ratified before that treaty was rejected by the French National Assembly (August 1954). Subsequently Belgium joined the WEU, substitute for the EDC, and the Rome treaties of the European Economic Community and EURATOM.

As regards the Congo problem, the plan of accelerated emancipation was preferred to Van Bilsen’s moderate program of 1955 and the Round Table conference which ended on February 20, 1960 decided to lead Congo to independence on June 30, 1960. For the detachment of the rich colony and its dramatic and confused phases of internal struggles and international interventions, v. congo, in this App.

Belgium after World War II