The staff of Radio Belgique in a contemporary BBC photo. Victor de Laveleye can be seen at the bottom left.
|City of license||London, United Kingdom|
|Slogan||Ici Radio Belgique! Hier, Radio België!|
|First air date||28 September 1940-16 September 1944|
|Language(s)||French and Dutch|
|Affiliations||Belgian government in exile|
|Owner||BBC European Service|
Radio Belgique (French, "Radio Belgium"), also known in Dutch as Radio België, was a radio broadcast transmitted to Nazi-occupied Belgium from London during World War II. It was produced with the support of the Belgian government in exile and formed part of the BBC's European Service.
On 10 May 1940, neutral Belgium was invaded by German forces. After 18 days of fighting, the Belgian army, along with King Leopold III, surrendered and the country was placed under German occupation. The Belgian government fled, first to France and then to the United Kingdom, where it formed a government in exile in London. The national Belgian radio station, the Institut national belge de radiodiffusion (INR) sabotaged its transmitters and was banned by the Germans though many of INR's employees followed the government to London.
Radio Belgique was established on 28 September 1940 and broadcast in French and Dutch. The French service was put under the control of Victor de Laveleye (a former Liberal government minister), while Jan Moedwil was put in charge of the Dutch service. A press agency, INTERBEL, was founded for the radio, as a continuation of the pre-war BELGA agency.
On 14 January 1941, the former Belgian cabinet minister Victor de Laveleye, known for inventing the V for Victory campaign, became the announcer on Radio Belgique and began encouraging the use of the V Symbol in occupied Belgium. He was responsible for inventing one of the station's most notable slogans, "We will get them, the Boches".[note 1] In 1942, Charles de Gaulle gave a speech on Radio Belgique, celebrating Franco-Belgian friendship.
Though forbidden by the German occupiers, Radio Belgique was listened to by a majority of Belgians, far more than officially approved stations (like Radio Bruxelles) which broadcast German propaganda. The journalist and former resistance member Paul Lévy also worked at Radio Belgique.
Radio Belgique's programmes were broadcast in both French and Dutch. Originally, the programmes were broadcast from 21:00 to 21:15 each evening in French and Dutch on alternate days, but from Spring 1941, a morning edition and separate 17:30 programme allowed at least one in each language per day. From March 1943, the BBC broadcast a daily French programme at 17:30 and a Dutch one at 20:30.
Recognizing the potential effect that Radio Belgique could have on their control of information in the occupied country, the Germans rapidly created collaborationist radio stations, also aimed at a Belgian audience, using the remaining assets from the INR, the Francophone Radio Bruxelles ("Radio Brussels") and Dutch language Zender Brussel. The Germans brought out radio blockers to disrupt the signal and made listening to Radio Belgique illegal in December 1940.
Radiodiffusion National Belge
During the later stages of World War II, the Belgian government sponsored the creation of a new radio broadcaster, Radiodiffusion National Belge (RNB), which broadcast from London and later from Léopoldville in the Belgian Congo. However, it only began to be received in Belgium from September 1944 during the liberation and soon afterwards Radio Belgique was removed from the air.
- "We krijgen ze wel, de moffen" in Dutch, "On les aura, les Boches" in French.
- Christian, Laporte (1 September 1994). "LE V-Brevet Belge Signe Victor de Laveleye". Le Soir. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- Dutry-Soinne, Tinou (2006). Les Méconnus de Londres: Journal de Guerre d'une Belge, 1940–1945 (vol. 1). Brussels: Racine. p. 114. ISBN 2-87386-483-4.
- Rase, Céline. "Les Ondes en Uniforme: La propagande radiophonique allemande en Belgique Occupée" (PDF). Cegesoma. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- "La radiodiffusion en Belgique avant 1955". La Pensée et les Hommes. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- Gotovitch, José; Aron, Paul, eds. (2008). Dictionnaire de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale en Belgique. Brussels: André Versaille éd. pp. 372–3. ISBN 978-2-87495-001-8.
- Jacquemyns, Guillaume; Struye, Paul (2002). La Belgique sous l'occupation allemande: 1940–1944. Brussels: Éd. Complexe. p. 113. ISBN 2-87027-940-X.
- Lanneau, Catherine. L’inconnue française. La France et les Belges francophones 1944-1945. Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang. p. 74.
- Lanneau, Catherine. L’inconnue française. La France et les Belges francophones 1944-1945. Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang. p. 69.
- Rase, Céline. Les Ondes en Uniforme: la Propagande de Radio Bruxelles en Belgique Occupée (1940-1944). Namur: University of Namur. p. 206. ISBN 2870377088.
- De Lavayele, Victor (1949). Ici Radio Belgique... Les Meilleurs Commentaires de Victor de Laveleye. Ad. Goemaere.
- Various (1944). Voici la BBC. London: British Broadcasting Corporation.
- Various (1944). Hier Radio-België!. London: British Broadcasting Corporation.
- L.R. Boogaerts (1940). Ici, Radio Belgique (Television production). Great Britain: Paramount G.B.