Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France

Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France
Militärverwaltung in Belgien und Nordfrankreich
Occupied territory under German military administration
Flag Emblem
German and Italian occupation zones: the zone occupée, the zone libre,the zone interdites, annexed Alsace-Lorraine Luxembourg and Eupen-Malmédy, and the Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France.
Capital Brussels
Languages Dutch
Political structure Military administration
Military Commander
   1940 Gerd von Rundstedt
  19401944 Alexander von Falkenhausen
  19401944 Eggert Reeder
Historical era World War II
   Established 1940
   Disestablished 1944
Currency Belgian franc
Preceded by
Succeeded by
French Third Republic
Reichskommissariat of Belgium and Northern France

The Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France (German: Militärverwaltung in Belgien und Nordfrankreich) was an interim occupation authority established by Nazi Germany that included present-day Belgium and the French departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais.[1] The administration was also responsible for governing the zone interdite, a narrow strip of territory running along the French northern and eastern borders.[2] It remained in existence until July 1944. Plans to transfer Belgium from the military administration to a civilian administration were promoted by the SS, and Hitler had been ready to do so until Autumn 1942, when he put off the plans for the time being.[3] The SS had suggested either Josef Terboven or Ernst Kaltenbrunner as the Reich Commissioner of the civilian administration.[4]


On 18 July 1944, the Military Administration was replaced by a civil one, led by the Gauleiter, Josef Grohé, who was named the Reichskommissar of the Reichskommissariat of Belgium and Northern France (Reichskommissariat Belgien und Nordfrankreich)[1][5]

Role of collaborationist groups

The Nazi administration was assisted by fascist Flemish, Walloon, and French collaborationists. In binational Belgian territory, the predominantly French region of Wallonia, the collaborationist Rexists provided aide to the Nazis while in Flemish-populated Flanders, the Flemish National Union supported the Nazis. In Northern France, Flemish separatist tendencies were stirred by the pro-Nazi Vlaamsch Verbond van Frankrijk led by priest Jean-Marie Gantois.[6]

The attachment of the departments Nord and Pas-de-Calais to the military administration in Brussels was initially made on military considerations, and was supposedly done in preparation for the planned invasion of Britain.[7] Ultimately, the attachment was based on Hitler's intention to move the Reich's border westward, and was also used to maintain pressure on the Vichy regime - which protested the curtailment of its authority in what was still de jure national French territory - to ensure its good behavior.[8]

Command structure

The Military Administration formed the core of a wider command structure which allowed the governance of occupied Belgium. It could rely on both military and civilian components:


Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France
Militärverwaltung in Belgien und Nordfrankreich
Part of the Wehrmacht
Militärbefehlshaber: Alexander von Falkenhausen
Nazi Germany
Part of the Sicherheitspolizei-Sicherheitsdienst
Independent of the Military Administration and directed from Berlin.

Military Administrative Staff
Militärverwaltungschef: Eggert Reeder

Command Staff
Chef der Kommandostab: Bodo von Harbou
Committee of Secretaries-General
Representatives of the Belgian civil administration

Economic Department

Feldgendarmerie and Geheime Feldpolizei
Nazi Germany
Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo)
Part of the SS
Belgian civil service:
Burgomasters and local government;
Belgian police and state security

Regional and district headquarters:
Oberfeld-, Feld- or

Belgian collaborationist groups
Principally the Vlaams Nationaal Verbond (VNV) or Rex;
Each with internal command structure.

Based on description in Van den Wijngaert, Mark; Dujardin, Vincent (2006). La Belgique sans Roi, 1940-1950. Nouvelle Historie de Belgique. 2: 1905-1950. Brussels: Éd. Complexe. pp. 19–20. ISBN 2-8048-0078-4. 

See also


  1. 1 2
  2. Vinen, Richard (2006). The Unfree French: Life under the Occupation (1st ed.). London: Allen Lane. pp. 105–6. ISBN 0-713-99496-7.
  3. Kroener, Müller & Umbreit (2003) Germany and the Second World War V/II, p. 26
  4. Kroener, Müller & Umbreit (2003) Germany and the Second World War V/II, p. 27
  5. Kroener, Müller & Umbreit (2003) Germany and the Second World War V/II, p. 29
  6. Kroener, Bernhard R.; Müller, Rolf-Dieter; Umbreit, Hans (2000). Germany and the Second World War:Organization and mobilization of the German sphere of power. Wartime administration, economy, and manpower resources 1939-1941. Oxford University Press. p. 84. ISBN 0198228872.
  7. Jackson, Julian (2003). France: the dark years, 1940-1944. Oxford University Press. p. 169. ISBN 0199254575.
  8. Kroener et al. (2000), p. 84

Further reading

  • Dejonghe, Etienne (January–March 1970). "Un mouvement séparatiste dans le Nord et le Pas-de-Calais sous l'occupation (1940-1944): le "Vlaamsch Verbond van Frankrijk"". Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine. 17 (1): 50–77. JSTOR 20527887. 
  • Geller, Jay Howard (January 1999). "The Role of Military Administration in German-Occupied Belgium, 1940-1944". The Journal of Military History. 63 (1): 99–125. JSTOR 120335. 
  • Wouters, Nico (2006). "Localisation in the Age of Centralisation : Local Government in Belgium and Nord-Pas-de-Calais (1940-1945)". In De Wever, Bruno; Van Goethem, Herman; Wouters, Nico. Local Government in Occupied Europe (1939-1945). Ghent: Academia Press. pp. 83–108. ISBN 9789038208923. 
  • Sueur, Marc. "La Collaboration Politique dans le Département du Nord (1940-1944)". Revue d'histoire de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale et des conflits contemporains. 34 (135): 3–45. JSTOR 25729197. 

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