(Distribution outside Germany, Austria and Switzerland by University Press Leuven)
Rehearsals is the first book to provide a detailed narrative history of the German invasion of Belgium in August 1914 as it affected civilians. Based on extensive eyewitness testimony, the book chronicles events in and around the towns of Liège, Aarschot, Andenne, Tamines, Dinant, and Leuven, where the worst of the German depredations occurred. Without any legitimate pretext, German soldiers killed nearly 6.000 non-combatants, including women and children, and burned some 25.000 homes and other buildings.
For more than seventy-five years, however, charges against the German Army about the killing, raping, looting, and arson have been dismissed in Germany, the U.K., and U.S. as mere atrocity propaganda. Recently, the case has been made that the violence, which crescendoed between August 19th and 26th, was the result of a spontaneous outbreak of German paranoia about francs-tireurs (civilian sharpshooters). Rehearsals provides much evidence that the executions were in fact part of a deliberate campaign of terrorism ordered by military authorities.