To meet the needs of the German army, there was much requisitioning from the civilian population during the First World War.

occupationRequisitions concerning non-ferrous metals were considered organised plunder. The deportation of men aged between 16 and 45 years old for forced labour in Germany was a scandal.

While the ministers and their staff took refuge in Le Havre in France, Belgium's state apparatus remained in place operating under German administrative supervision.

The latter attempted to meet Flemish demands, particularly concerning the use of languages.

The municipal police force was maintained and reinforced by the occupier's own surveillance bodies, particularly the military police and the vice squad for stationed or passing soldiers, and a political counter-espionage police force.