Robert Charles Adolphe Marie Lucien Close, born on April 30, 1922 and deceased on December 6, 2003 in Brussels, is a Belgian politician and military.
He received his military education first at the Royal School of Cadets (École royale des cadets) and later at the Royal Military Academy (École royale militarie), which he joined in 1939 (85th IC - Infantry-Cavalry).
During World War II, Robert Close was member of the resistance. Taken prisoner by the Germans, he passed successively through three concentration camps between 1942 and 1945. A graduate in economics, political science and diplomacy (ULB), he was a lecturer at the University of Liege.
Robert Close, nick-named Bob, had a steep military career.
In 1948 he became a 1st rank lieutenant.
In 1961 he was appointed to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).
In 1965, he was assigned to the Office of National Defence (Cabinet de la Défense nationale).
In 1967, he was appointed military attaché at the Belgian embassy in London.
In 1970 he joined the faculty of the School of War.
In 1971, he assumed command of the 17th Armoured Brigade.
In 1974 he was appointed Deputy Commander at the NATO Defense College in Rome.
In 1975, General Close displeased the Pentagon and the Chairman of the Military Committee of NATO after circulating a study suggesting a plea for a European army.
In 1976 he became commander of the 16th Armored Division and published a book around this time that brought him international fame: L'Europe sans défense? (Europe defenseless?) General Close draws in this book detailed outline of what he perceives as alarming situation of the state of military defense in Europe. The book created an earthquake within NATO and angered leftist circles.
In 1980, General Close resigned from active duty with the Belgian Army.
In 1980, he became member of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), which in 1990 transformed into the World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD).
In 1981 he ran for office and was elected Assistant to the Senator for the PRL (Parti réformateur libéral), a position he held until 1987, when he left the PRL disappointed.
In 1983 he founded the European Institute for Peace and Security together with Jacques Jonet, Paul Vankerkhoven and Nicolas de Kerchove. The Institute was waging a propaganda war against the peace movement.
In 1991, he joined the BEB-n (Belgian Unity - new / Belgische Eenheid - nieuw), a small Unitarian, right-wing party.1
Close towards the end of his life he contributed to a variety of publications of the ultra-right Alain Escada, such as to the magazine Polémique. He was also general advisor to the Cercle Leopold III, a Franco-Belgian association under the patronage of Princess Maria Esmeralda of Belgium.2
He wrote also for the ABN Correspondence.3
- Robert Close (Preface by Henri Simonet), L'Europe sans défense?: 48 heures qui pourraient changer la face du monde, Éditions Arts et voyages, coll. « Collection Inédits », Bruxelles, 1977, 359 p. (ISBN 2-8016-0050-4)
- Ernst Albrecht, Guido Brunner, Jacques Chirac, Robert Close... (et al.) (hrsg. von Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder und Hubertus Zuber), Welches Europa? : Antworten, Seewald, Stuttgart, 1977, 327 p. (ISBN 3-512-00479-2)
- Robert Close, Europe without defense: 48 hours that could change the face of the world, Pergamon Press, coll. « Pergamon policy studies », New York, cop. 1979, XV-278 p. (ISBN 0-08-023108-X)
- Robert Close (in collaboration with Nicolas De Kerchove; preface by Michael Voslensky), Encore un effort et nous aurons définitivement perdu la Troisième Guerre mondiale, P. Belfond, Paris, 1981, 297 p. (ISBN 2-7144-1446-X)
- Jacques A.-M. Noterman (préface de R. Close), Que faire pour survivre à la guerre nucléaire ? : informations pratiques destinées à augmenter de façon significative, et à peu de frais, les chances de survie d'une famille en période de guerre, y compris nucléaire, Epécé, Ciney, 1984, 40 p.
- Général Robert Close, Léopold III: les "non dits", Les Éditions Ligne claire, Bruxelles, 2001, 297 p. (ISBN 2-87115-011-7)
- 1. "Belgische eenheid - nationaal," archived on March 3, 2016. https://web.archive.org/web/20160303225600/http://users.telenet.be/beb-n/Frans/frindex.htm
- 2. "Le Cercle de Léopold III," accessed on December 21, 2018. http://s150043996.onlinehome.fr/CLIII/index.htm.
- 3. General R. Close, "East-West Relations: The New Rules of the Game," ABN Correspondence, Vol. XLV No.1, Spring 1994. http://diasporiana.org.ua/wp-content/uploads/books/14320/file.pdf.