Leopold III becomes King of Belgium.
orn Leopold Philippe Charles Albert Meinrad Hubertus Marie Miguel in Brussels, Leopold III was crowned King of Belgium on 23 Feb 1934. The WW1 veteran of the 12th Belgian Regiment very briefly attempted to resist the invading German troops in May 1940 before he surrendered. The Belgian people, who thought their King had given up too quickly, accused him of treason, but Leopold III tried proved the accusers wrong by refusing to obey Nazi policies. London, however, never recognized his right to rule.
During the winter of 1944 to 1945, he and the royal family were placed under arrest on Heinrich Himmler’s orders and they were not freed until May 1945 when the American troops reached the last location of their captivity, Strobl, Austria. He spent the next six years in exile in Switzerland due to the accusations of him being a German collaborator. In 1950, a referendum showed a slight majority of Belgians favoring his return, but upon his return he realized the nation was deeply divided over his rule. On the verge of a civil war within Belgium, Leopold III abdicated on 16 Jul 1951 and passed the crown to his son Baudouin.