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On August 18, King Albert (and commander in chief of the army) ordered a general retreat of the Belgian army from the Gette to the fortified camp of Antwerp and the removal of Headquarters from Louvain fifteen miles back to Malines.

On the same day von Kluck’s leading (German) troops reached the Gette where they found themselves foiled of the Belgian Army. The destruction of that army was von Kluck’s task.

…after finding  the Belgian Army withdrawn during the night, the Germans vented their fury on Aerschot, a small town between the Gette and Brussels, the first to suffer a mass execution. In Aerschot 150 civilians were shot. The numbers were to grow larger as the process was repeated by von Bülow’s army at Ardennes and Tamines, by von Hausen’s in the culminating massacre of 664 at Dinant.

President Woodrow Wilson, in a famous statement, commanded his countrymen to be “neutral in fact as well as in name , impartial in thought as well as in action,” and explained that the ultimate purpose of neutrality was to enable the United States “to speak the counsels of peace” and “play the part of impartial mediator.” In the European conflict he hoped to exercise the duty of “moral judgment,” as he said in a later statement.

Tuchman, Barbara W. (2009-07-22). The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I;


In the Daily Telegraph, a headline says

King’s Message to His Army

“Duty Your Watchword”

And below, a column citing the Minister of war

Lord Kitchener

Advice to Soldiers

“Fear God”

“Honor the King”