Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
John W. Rooney
David E. Gardinier
Frank L. Klement
Julius R. Ruff
J. Patrick Donnelly
Although the Belgian Revolution has been studied intensively, the revolt lacks a recent, full-length study of its military history. Most treatments of the conflict are limited to either the Belgian forces, or the Conference of London.
The first approach concentrates on the role of the Belgian army in achieving the independence of the southern Netherlands, while slighting the important contributions of the foreign powers. These studies tend to be highly-specialized works that focus on the first two years of the revolution.
The diplomatic histories are concerned mainly with the actions of the major powers during the revolt. They normally attribute Belgian independence to the achievements of the Conference of London, and devote little attention to the military developments in the Low Countries.
The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a comprehensive military history of the Belgian Revolution which addresses the problems created by the other two approaches. The study is centered on the four major campaigns. These are (1) the first revolts in Brussels against the Dutch in 1830. (2) the spread of the revolution to the other southern provinces, (3) the Ten Days Campaign of August 1831, and (4) the Siege of Antwerp in 1832. In addition, the formation of the Belgian army is discussed extensively.
The military roles of France, the Netherlands, and Britain are given a strong emphasis in the discussions of the 1831 and 1832 campaigns. The diplomatic aspects of the Belgian Revolution are linked to the military developments of the conflict.
Overall, the military events are given primary credit for the formation of the Belgian state. The role of the Conference of London is assigned less importance since that gathering was influenced heavily by the results of the battlefield. Secondary themes concern the character of the warfare, the problem of the barrier fortresses, and the tendency of Belgium to resist foreign assistance.
Primary source material was obtained through research conducted in the French and Belgian military and diplomatic archives. This data was supplemented with published collection of documents, memoirs, and contemporary histories. In addition, the major secondary works were consulted.