The protracted search for a new place in the concert of nations

Four years of war had dramatically changed the face of the country. For decades, Belgium had been one of the top five industrial powers. But the war and the occupation put a stop to Belgian global expansion: by 1918 the country was devastated, its industrial heritage dismantled. The pre-war illusion that neutrality would protect the land forever had evaporated.

Rik Coolsaet (Beyond the Great War. Belgium 1918-1928. Lannoo)