19256 VISE, BELGIUM, SCENE OF THE FIRST CONFLICT OF THE WAR This peaceful little Belgian town of 3,600 people whose ancient houses are mirrored in the still waters of the Meuse River, or as the Dutch call it, the Maas, about midway between Liege (le-ezh'), Belgium, and Maastricht, Holland, was at the beginning of the war chiefly noteworthy as a center for the rearing of geese. But, unfortunately for its people, it was a way station on the trunk line railway extending from the German frontier city of Aachen (a'ken), better known by its French name, Aix-la-Chapelle, through Liege to the Border of France. So Vise was directly in the path chosen by the Germans for crossing Belgium and striking France on its weakest side. On the morning of August 4th, 1914, the drowsy quiet of its streets was rudely shattered by the rattle of rifles and machine guns and the crash of falling shells, as the advance guards of the 19th Hanoverian Corps, under General Von Emmerich, of General Von Kluck's 1st German Army, swept down on the place from the north and northeast. Belgian engineers, aware of the enemy's approach, had already blown up the Vise bridge across the Meuse, and a handful of local Belgian troops made a spirited effort to hold the German advance in the streets of the town. They might as well have thrown their puny strength against a descending avalanche. The gray-clad hosts of the invaders swept them aside like leaves and rolled on toward the doomed fortress city of Liege. Behind them the Germans left Vise, battered as we see it after even those few brief moments of battle; a grim harbinger of the infinitely greater devastation which was to make the pathways of the German armies wherever they trod in the fair lands of Belgium and France. Copyright by The Keystone Company