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Banditry in occupied and liberated Belgium, 1914U+20131921 : social practices and state reactions

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

The specific combination of massive impoverishment and the disintegration of State authority provided a fertile ground for banditry in Belgium during World War One. The resurgence of banditry in a heavily urbanized and industrialized western European society and in an established state is difficult to reconcile with the prevailing perceptions of the history of banditry as a rural and Ancien RĂ©gime phenomenon. This indicates that indeed the history of banditry is more complicated and less linear than generally assumed. The breeding ground for banditry did not disappear immediately with the armistice. Bands of armed bandits continued to make Belgian regions insecure in what amounted to a serious challenge to the StateU+2019s monopoly on violence. The triumphant Belgian State saw a threat to its legitimacy in the erosion of its monopoly on violence, one of the cornerstones of its authority. The strategies used to fight the bands fit into the wider operations aimed at the re-legitimization of the Belgian State after the intervening war experience.
Tijdschrift: Social History
ISSN: 0307-1022
Issue: 1
Volume: 39
Pagina's: 83 - 105
Jaar van publicatie:2014