Despite her declared stance of neutrality, Belgium lay in the path Germany planned for her advance on France. Requests to be allowed to march through were denied, but Germany chose to enter Belgium anyways on August 4th. The small Belgian Army could only mobilize just over 100,000 men, but elected to fight the invaders rather than lay down.

King Albert I took personal command of his armies, and the Belgians put up an unexpectedly tenacious defense of their country, buying the French and British more time prepare to meet the German invaders.