Advanced search
1 file | 555.27 KB Add to list

Les secrets du département de la Guerre: militaire inlichtingen 1830-1914

Kenneth Lasoen (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
On the centenary of the Belgian military intelligence service ADIV/SGRS, this article considers the antecedents of military intelligence before its foundation. Without having an organized intelligence service, the Belgian army naturally performed intelligence tasks from its earliest days in the campaign against the Netherlands. The Ministry of War had a bureau to study other armed forces, based upon open and diplomatic sources. In line with defending Belgium’s neutrality, special attention would go towards the intentions of neighbouring countries. Yet the same concern for neutrality saw policymakers very apprehensive at engaging in anything resembling foreign espionage. At times of heightened threat, such as an attempted revolution in 1848 and the war between France and Prussia in 1870, the War Ministry would rely on the intelligence capacity of the civil security service. Political wrangling about the army and conscription throughout the nineteenth century left little time for giving much thought to intelligence, while the army staff itself would base defence plans upon general assumptions, being concerned more with the actions of the Belgian Army than those of the potential invaders. At the turn of the twentieth century an organization for the surveillance of the frontiers was active. Most foreign intelligence gathering was done by the diplomatic service. As it was becoming increasingly clear that either France or Germany or both would pass through Belgium in their next war, attempts at improving security were still blocked by political opposition. Finally, a reform of the army saw the birth of an intelligence section of the general staff in 1910. Too embryonic and handicapped by internal bickering, the Agadir crisis still provided a baptism of fire. Increased vigilance came too late even if the German invasion was no surprise. The ease with which Belgium was overtaken and the need for intelligence and security at the front, gave rise to the establishment of the service still in existence today, undergoing a rapid learning process for the duration until the necessity of a military intelligence service was an acknowledged fact. In conclusion, the article considers historical parallels with Belgian complacency regarding security then and today.
Keywords
military intelligence, defence, intelligence services, Belgium, Staatsveiligheid, war, security, Algemene Dienst Inlichtingen en Veiligheid

Downloads

  • (...).pdf
    • full text
    • |
    • UGent only
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 555.27 KB

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Lasoen, Kenneth. “Les Secrets Du Département De La Guerre: Militaire Inlichtingen 1830-1914.” Classified : 1915-2015 : Het Verhaal Van De Belgische Militaire Inlichtingen- En Veiligheidsdienst. Ed. Marc Cools et al. Antwerpen: Maklu, 2015. 89–128. Print.
APA
Lasoen, K. (2015). Les secrets du département de la Guerre: militaire inlichtingen 1830-1914. In Marc Cools, P. LEROY, R. Libert, V. Pashley, & D. Stans (Eds.), Classified : 1915-2015 : het verhaal van de Belgische militaire inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdienst (pp. 89–128). Antwerpen: Maklu.
Chicago author-date
Lasoen, Kenneth. 2015. “Les Secrets Du Département De La Guerre: Militaire Inlichtingen 1830-1914.” In Classified : 1915-2015 : Het Verhaal Van De Belgische Militaire Inlichtingen- En Veiligheidsdienst, ed. Marc Cools, PATRICK LEROY, Robin Libert, Veerle Pashley, and David Stans, 89–128. Antwerpen: Maklu.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Lasoen, Kenneth. 2015. “Les Secrets Du Département De La Guerre: Militaire Inlichtingen 1830-1914.” In Classified : 1915-2015 : Het Verhaal Van De Belgische Militaire Inlichtingen- En Veiligheidsdienst, ed. Marc Cools, PATRICK LEROY, Robin Libert, Veerle Pashley, and David Stans, 89–128. Antwerpen: Maklu.
Vancouver
1.
Lasoen K. Les secrets du département de la Guerre: militaire inlichtingen 1830-1914. In: Cools M, LEROY P, Libert R, Pashley V, Stans D, editors. Classified : 1915-2015 : het verhaal van de Belgische militaire inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdienst. Antwerpen: Maklu; 2015. p. 89–128.
IEEE
[1]
K. Lasoen, “Les secrets du département de la Guerre: militaire inlichtingen 1830-1914,” in Classified : 1915-2015 : het verhaal van de Belgische militaire inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdienst, M. Cools, P. Leroy, R. Libert, V. Pashley, and D. Stans, Eds. Antwerpen: Maklu, 2015, pp. 89–128.
@incollection{6979131,
  abstract     = {On the centenary of the Belgian military intelligence service ADIV/SGRS, this article considers the antecedents of military intelligence before its foundation. Without having an organized intelligence service, the Belgian army naturally performed intelligence tasks from its earliest days in the campaign against the Netherlands. The Ministry of War had a bureau to study other armed forces, based upon open and diplomatic sources. In line with defending Belgium’s neutrality, special attention would go towards the intentions of neighbouring countries. Yet the same concern for neutrality saw policymakers very apprehensive at engaging in anything resembling foreign espionage. At times of heightened threat, such as an attempted revolution in 1848 and the war between France and Prussia in 1870, the War Ministry would rely on the intelligence capacity of the civil security service. Political wrangling about the army and conscription throughout the nineteenth century left little time for giving much thought to intelligence, while the army staff itself would base defence plans upon general assumptions, being concerned more with the actions of the Belgian Army than those of the potential invaders. At the turn of the twentieth century an organization for the surveillance of the frontiers was active. Most foreign intelligence gathering was done by the diplomatic service. As it was becoming increasingly clear that either France or Germany or both would pass through Belgium in their next war, attempts at improving security were still blocked by political opposition. Finally, a reform of the army saw the birth of an intelligence section of the general staff in 1910. Too embryonic and handicapped by internal bickering, the Agadir crisis still provided a baptism of fire. Increased vigilance came too late even if the German invasion was no surprise. The ease with which Belgium was overtaken and the need for intelligence and security at the front, gave rise to the establishment of the service still in existence today, undergoing a rapid learning process for the duration until the necessity of a military intelligence service was an acknowledged fact. In conclusion, the article considers historical parallels with Belgian complacency regarding security then and today.},
  author       = {Lasoen, Kenneth},
  booktitle    = {Classified : 1915-2015 : het verhaal van de Belgische militaire inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdienst},
  editor       = {Cools, Marc and Leroy, Patrick and Libert, Robin and Pashley, Veerle and Stans, David},
  isbn         = {978 904 6607 947},
  keywords     = {military intelligence,defence,intelligence services,Belgium,Staatsveiligheid,war,security,Algemene Dienst Inlichtingen en Veiligheid},
  language     = {dut},
  pages        = {89--128},
  publisher    = {Maklu},
  title        = {Les secrets du département de la Guerre: militaire inlichtingen 1830-1914},
  year         = {2015},
}