POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

5/10 is Luxembourg's 9/11, says prof.



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 Luc Deflorenne (archives)

Essential lecture: Professor Guy de Muyser will present “A major drama in the history of Luxembourg: the German invasion on May 10, 1940” this week to the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg.

De Muyser was a young man when Germany invaded. If he had been one year older, he would have been forcibly conscripted into the German military. Years later he became close with members of Luxembourg’s royal family, including war-years sovereign Grand Duchess Charlotte. So he brings a vivid, insightful and compelling account of the time to his speech.

He also is passionate about sharing this part of Luxembourg history with foreign residents, he explained during a visit to Delano’s offices this week. The professor reckons the invasion--and subsequent liberation by US-led forces in 1944--left an indelible mark on Luxembourgers’ psyches.

In fact, for his generation: “the 10th of May was 9/11,” he says. “For a long time there was a feeling of insecurity,” he explains. “9/11 was a breakdown of confidence in the American sanctuary [of] ‘we are a super power, and nobody would invade us.’ 5/10 for Luxembourg was a breakdown of sanctuary that was called international neutrality. The results, psychologically, are parallel: insecurity, mistrust, uncertainty about the future.

Link with America

The occupation not only led Luxembourg to abandon its then firmly held belief in neutrality, de Muyser says, but it pushed the Grand Duchy towards the pro-US position that is still evident today.

Once America joined the war [Luxembourgers thought] there was almost a certainty ‘we will be liberated, we will win,’” which made a big impact on the resistance movement and post-war generation. “This is no doubt why America is so much respected and applauded, and why Luxembourg is still and should still be grateful, because without the Americans where would we be? Where would Europe be?

In addition to the wider political and historical perspective, the professor plans to share several lesser known anecdotes, such as how Luxembourg’s leaders were tipped off the night before the invasion by a banker’s gardener, while French officials were caught completely off-guard.

Today de Muyser teaches political science at the European Center of Miami University. He previously served as Luxembourg’s ambassador to Belgium, NATO and the Soviet Union, and as the equivalent of Lord Chamberlain in the Grand Ducale Palace. A lawyer by training, he is a graduate of both the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the University of Grenoble.

The speech will take place during the British Chamber luncheon on Friday, July 8 at the Parc Belair Hotel in Luxembourg city, co-sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg. As this event is likely to be oversubscribed, advanced registration--by Thursday, July 7 at 12:00--is recommended. Members of AMCHAM and the British Chamber will receive a reduced rate.

Telephone +352 465 466, email [email protected] or visit www.bcc.lu for details.

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