The Ypres Salient and its Regeneration

The Regeneration of the Ypres Salient

It has been a challenge to find any written reference material that studies the regeneration of the countryside of Belgium and over the next four years I will endeavour to research and explore. I have read some fascinating books on how the town of Ypres regenerated after being virtually wiped out. Urban Regeneration is another branch of this project.

Ypres Cloth Hall in 1914
Ypres Cloth Hall in 1914 from a postcard sent back to Oxfordshire from Robert Moon, a friend of John Masefields
Ypres Cloth Hall in 2014
Ypres Cloth Hall in 2014

Belgium Post War

Domestic, political democratisation and unionism, social legislation and the Flemish movement gathered momentum through Belgium after 1918. However, the economy was in terrible trouble.

The signing of the Treaty of Versailles stated that Germany was obligated to pay war reparations to Belgium. This was slow and there were shortfalls so the country fell into huge debt with high inflation.

The Belgian economy faced serious difficulties. The war had caused a loss of 16 to 20 percent of the national wealth and many parts of the country had been seriously damaged by war.

Fear of hyperinflation led to the formation in 1925 of a national union government. Belgian capital returned to the country and Belgian companies, infused with fresh capital, began to invest again outside Belgium. The discovery of rich mineral deposits in the Belgian Congo made colonial development schemes increasingly attractive.