Leaving a garrison of 3000 behind to guard Louvain, the German army swept forward toward Brussels. The Belgians had thought to defend their capital, but now, fearing its destruction by bombardment, they wisely decided to evacuate the city. King Albert, on August 17, 1914, had transferred his government to the fortressed city of Antwerp. He was accompanied by all the diplomatic corps, excepting Brand Whitlock, the American Minister to Belgium, who remained at Brussels to render invaluable services to the cause of humanity.
On August 20, 1914, 50,000 German troops entered Brussels without a shot being fired, while on the nearby plain of Waterloo the main body of von Kluck's huge army was encamped. Aping the vulgar, brutal pomp of Asiatic conquerors, these Huns paraded through the streets of lovely Brussels, stopping now and then to tear down the national colors or to menace the populace with direful threats. Like another Pompey, an officer of the mounted Uhlans dragged two manacled Belgian officers by the stirrup leathers at the heels of his horse.
The Belgian populace groaned at this barbarous spectacle, whereupon a troop of Uhlans backed their horses into the ranks of the spectators, threatening them with raised sabers. That night,under cover of the darkness, many thousands of refugees left Brussels, filling the roads leading to Alost, Ghent, and Ostend.
As at Louvain, only a few thousand Huns were left behind to guard Brussels, the left wing of von Kluck's army having moved southward to attack the French on the Sambre front. The center army, after passing through Brussels, advanced south by east into the plains of Belgium. The right wing had already passed between Brussels and Antwerp to the capture of Bruges and Ghent. Governor General von Arnim imposed a fine of $40,000,000 on Brussels, which was raised after much difficulty.
The soldiers of occupation refrained from massacring the inhabitants, contenting themselves with excesses in wines and liquo...