Vintage Video - Sack of Louvain, 1914

Between Liege and Brussels, the Belgian city of Louvain was the subject of mass destruction by the German army over a period of five days from 25 August 1914.

On that date German units to the rear of the city were attacked by an initially successful Belgian force advancing from Antwerp.

Panicked, those German troops under fire withdrew to Louvain, which in itself caused confusion to German soldiers stationed in the city.  Shots were heard amid fearful cries that the Allies were launching a major attack.

Once it became clear however that no such Allied attack was underway or even imminent, the city's German authorities determined to exact revenge upon Louvain's citizenry, whom they were convinced that contrived the confusion that day.

The German form of retaliation was savage.  For five consecutive days the city was burnt and looted.  Its library of ancient manuscripts was burnt and destroyed, as was Louvain's university (along with many other public buildings).  The church of St. Pierre was similarly badly damaged by fire.

Use the player above to view footage of Louvain in August 1914.

The first zeppelin raid on London was on 31 May 1915.  Earlier raids in January 1915 had avoided London.  The London raid resulted in 28 deaths and 60 injuries.

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