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The Sorrows of BelgiumLiberation and Political Reconstruction, 1944-1947$
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Martin Conway

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199694341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199694341.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Sorrows of Belgium

Martin Conway

Oxford University Press

Why did the manifold political and social crises which Belgium experienced during the period from the German invasion of 1940 to the later 1940s lead to the re-establishment of a version of the pre-war political and social order? Despite the violence of the German Occupation and the upheavals which followed it, the ultimate outcome was the establishment of a largely unchanged structure of party-dominated parliamentary rule. This process of democratic consolidation, however, disguised the way in which social and political power shifted within Belgium during the 1940s away from the pre-war francophone bourgeoisie to a new Dutch-speaking Flemish elite. Symbolized by the electoral success of the Christian Democrat Party, this provided a new basis for the post-war democratic order.

Keywords:   Belgium, parliamentary democracy, Flanders, Christian democracy, Cold War, Western Europe

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