Feature Articles - The Minor Powers During World War One - Luxembourg

Japanese troops in action near Kiaochow. Since the middle ages, Luxembourg City had been one of Europe's best-defended fortresses, first by the Spanish, then the Austrians as part of the southern Netherlands.

When Belgium was created in 1815, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was founded.  A Prussian garrison moved into the great fortress once it came under the jurisdiction of the German Customs Union.  The garrison left under the terms of the Treaty of London (1867), which guaranteed Luxembourg's perpetual neutrality, and the fortress was rendered unusable.

However, in 1914, Luxembourg was unfortunate enough to lie across one of the Schlieffen Plan's routes of advance and the German 4th Army, commanded by Albrecht von Württemberg, moved across Luxembourg, leaving occupation troops behind to secure the important railway junctions as well as Luxembourg city itself.

Luxembourg remained under German occupation for the duration of the war. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Germans met no resistance to their invasion in 1914 as Luxembourg's army was limited to a ceremonial palace guard.

The financial cost of the war is said to have amounted to almost $38 billion for Germany alone; Britain spent $35 billion, France $24 billion, Russia $22 billion, USA $22 billion and Austria-Hungary $20 billion.  In total the war cost the Allies around $125 billion; the Central Powers $60 billion.

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Minor Powers