What is War Press?

Enemy occupation puts an end to press freedom. The press is subjected to censorship. This censored press, which includes the collaborationist press, constitutes a first category of war press.

Newspapers that do not wish to submit themselves to censorship appear illegally. This clandestine press, the second group within the war press, fights the enemy and is part of the Resistance.

While the appearance of censored newspapers can be compared to ordinary newspapers, this is not the case where clandestine newspapers are concerned. Censored newspapers are made in a professional way and can often count on the support of the occupier, while the clandestine press is more often produced in an amateur way with material and techniques of minor quality.

The censored press has a regular circulation. This is mostly not the case of the clandestine press. Its production conditions are precarious and moreover it is not acceptable to the occupier because it poses a threat to his legitimacy. Clandestine newspapers and those involved in their production are traced and persecuted. Some will pay their involvement with their life. Those who were involved in the censored press could be persecuted for collaboration after the war.

Another difference concerns the distribution: while the censored press can use the regular distribution channels (controlled by the occupier), the clandestine press is distributed by motivated volunteers.

More information on the censored and clandestine press of both World wars, as well as the history of some of the papers, can be found in short articles on this website. This background information is a work in progress which will be further supplemented in the future. The goal is a ‘Wikipedia’ of the Belgian war press with, apart from the digitized press, information on the newspapers, their editors, printers and distributors.