Belgium's own history of despotic African colonialism was conveniently forgotten during WWI, when the tiny European nation was perceived as the helpless victim of German atrocities. The devastation wrought upon Belgium was vividly brought home in this four-reel documentary, released in the U.S. through the auspices of the Chicago Tribune. Scenes of such rubble-ridden cities as Antwerp, Termonde, and Alost were counterpointed by the film's floridly written subtitles, the handiwork of no less a literary luminary than Irvin S. Cobb. Even though America was officially neutral at this point in the war, films like Belgian War Pictures were indication enough that, should the U.S. enter the conflict, it would not be on the side of the Kaiser. The box-office proceeds of this film were donated to Belgian war relief, or so claimed the Tribune in its gloriously self-aggrandizing promotional packet.
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