Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Main article: Battle of the Netherlands German invasion
The invasion resulted in 7,500 dead, missing or wounded Dutch soldiers and the deaths of over 900 civilians. The German army lost 4,000 men, suffered 3,000 wounded and 700 troops reported missing, and 1,400 were captured and shipped to Britain.
Initially the Dutch expected to be liberated quickly by the Allied armies, who were expected to drive the Germans back. This did not happen, however. The Allied armies stationed in northern France were forced to evacuate Dunkirk for Britain, and those that remained surrendered as Germany won the Battle of France. The Dutch now knew the Nazi occupation would not be temporary.
Shortly after the German victory, the Dutch government led by Prime Minister Dirk Jan de Geer was invited by the Germans to return to the country and collaborate with Nazi forces, as the Vichy France had government agreed to do. De Geer wanted to accept this invitation but Queen Wilhelmina did not approve it, and dismissed De Geer in favor of Pieter Gerbrandy, who wanted continue fighting, as the new leader.

Aftermath of the invasion

German occupation
Following the refusal of the Dutch government to return, the Netherlands was controlled by a German civilian governor—unlike France, Denmark and Norway, which had their own governments, or Belgium, which was placed under German military control. The civil government was headed by the Austrian Nazi Arthur Seyss-Inquart. The German occupiers implemented a policy of Gleichschaltung ("enforced conformity"), which was characterized by the systematic elimination of non-Nazi organizations. This was an enormous shock to Dutch society because of decades of pillarisation, which meant that nearly every social group (for example socialists, liberals, Catholics and Protestants) had its own institutions. The Roman Catholic Church and some Socialist parties fiercely opposed these actions. All Roman Catholics were urged in 1941 by Dutch bishops to leave associations that had been Nazified. The policy was a complete failure, mainly due to the war and because of the economic situation in the Netherlands. The national-socialist ideology was alien to the approach of different Dutch ideologies in which humanism was the most important element.

Another aim of the German occupiers was to dissolve the Dutch nation and make it part of a greater Germanic, or Aryan, one. The German officials, including those of the SS, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, and Adolf Hitler himself regarded the Dutch as part of the Aryan Herrenvolk.

Position of the Dutch within the Nazi ideology
Shortly after it was established, the military regime began to persecute the Jews of the Netherlands. In 1940, there were no deportations and only small measures were taken against the Jews. In February 1941, the Nazis deported a small group of Dutch Jews to the concentration camp Mauthausen. The Dutch reacted with the February strike as a nationwide protest against the deportations, unique in the history of Nazi-occupied Europe. Although the strike did not accomplish much—its leaders were executed—it was a major setback for Seyss-Inquart as he had planned to both deport the Jews and to win the Dutch over to the Nazi cause. As a reaction to the February strike, the Nazis installed that same month a Jewish Council: a board of Jews who served as an instrument for organising the identification and deportation of Jews more efficiently, while the Jews on the council were told and convinced they were helping the Jews. In May 1942, the Nazi leaders ordered Dutch Jews to wear the Star of David. Around the same time the Roman Catholic Church of the Netherlands publicly condemned the government's action in a letter read at all Sunday parish services. Thereafter, the Nazi government treated the Dutch more harshly: notable socialists were imprisoned, and, later in the war, Roman Catholic priests, including Titus Brandsma, were deported to concentration camps. In 1942, a transit camp was built near Westerbork by converting an existing internment camp for immigrants; at Vught and Amersfoort the Germans built concentration camps as well.

Persecution of Jews
Of the 140,000 Jews that had lived in the Netherlands prior to 1940, only 30,000 survived the war. This high death toll had a number of reasons. One was the excellent state of Dutch civil records: the Dutch state, prior to the war, had recorded substantial information on every Dutch national. This allowed the Nazi regime to easily determine who was Jewish (whether fully or partly of Jewish ancestry) simply by accessing the data.
Another factor was the disbelief of both the Dutch public as a whole and the Dutch Jews themselves. Most could not believe that the Jews would be subjected to genocide and sent to death camps. This meant the Jews needed to hide in others' homes, but that was punishable by death. Despite the risks, many Dutch people helped Jews. One-third of the people who hid Jews did not survive the war.

High Jewish death toll
Arbeitseinsatz—the drafting of civilians for forced labour—was imposed on the Netherlands. This obliged every man between 18 and 45 to work in German factories, which were bombed regularly by the western Allies. Those who refused were forced into hiding. As food and many other goods were taken out of the Netherlands, rationing (with ration cards) became a way of controlling the population. Anyone who violated German laws, such as hiding or hiding another, automatically lost his or her food ration.
The Atlantic Wall, a gigantic coastal defence line built by the Germans along the entire European coast from southwestern France to Denmark and Norway, included the coastline of the Netherlands. Some towns, such as Scheveningen, were evacuated because of this. In The Hague, 3,200 houses were demolished and 2,594 were dismantled. 20,000 houses were cleared, and 65,000 people were forced to move. The Arbeitseinsatz also included forcing the Dutch to work on these projects, but a passive form of resistance took place here by working slowly or poorly.
For the resistance to succeed, it was sometimes necessary for its members to feign collaboration with the Germans. After the war this led to difficulties for those who pretended to collaborate when they could not prove they had been in the resistance —something that was difficult because it was in the nature of the job to keep it a secret.

Not all Dutch offered active or passive resistance against the German occupation. Some Dutch men and women chose or were forced to collaborate with the German regime or joined the German army (which usually would mean being placed in the Waffen-SS).


Main article: National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands Nationaal Socialistische Beweging
Between 20,000 and 25,000 Dutchmen served in the Heer and the Waffen-SS. The most notable formations were the 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Nederland which saw action exclusively on the Eastern Front and the SS Volunteer Grenadier Brigade Landstorm Nederland which fought in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The Nederland brigade distinguished itself on the Eastern Front during the Battle of Narva (1944), with several troopers receiving the Knight's Cross, Nazi Germany's highest award for bravery.

Dutch volunteers in the German army

Main article: Dutch Resistance The final year
By the end of the war 205,900 Dutch men and women had died. The Netherlands had the highest per capita death rate of all Nazi-occupied countries in Western Europe, 2.36%.

On January 10, 1942 the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Dutch naval ships joined forces with the Allies to form the ABDA fleet (American-British-Dutch-Australian fleet) commanded by Dutch admiral Karel Doorman. On February 27 and 28, 1942, Admiral Doorman was ordered to take the offensive against the Japanese. His objections on the matter were overruled. The ABDA fleet finally encountered the Japanese surface fleet at the Battle of the Java Sea, at which Doorman gave the order to engage. During the ensuing battle the ABDA fleet suffered heavy losses. The Dutch cruisers Java and De Ruyter were lost, together with the destroyer Kortenaer. The other allied cruisers, the Australian Perth, the British Exeter and the American Houston tried to disengage but were spotted by the Japanese in the following days and eventually destroyed. According to legend, Doorman, gave the order to attack were Ik val aan, volg mij! ("I am attacking, follow me!"); in reality, the order was "All ships follow me."
After Japanese troops had landed on Java and the KNIL had been unsuccesful in stopping their advance (due to the Japanese ability to occupy a relatively unguarded airstrip) the Dutch forces on Java surrendered on March 1 1942. Dutch soldiers were imprisoned in labour camps, though some were executed on the spot. Later all Dutch, including civilians, were captured and sent to camps, some were deported to Japan or set to work on the Thai-Burma Railway.
Dutch submarines escaped and resumed the fight on with the Allies. As a part of the Allied forces, they were on the hunt for Japanese oil transports to Japan and the movement of Japanese troops and weapons to other sites of battle (including New Guinea). Because of the large amount of Dutch submarines active in this theatre of the war, the Dutch were named the Fourth Ally in this area.
Several Dutch army and navy pilots also escaped, and, with Dutch aircraft purchased from the United States, formed Royal Australian Air Force No. 18 Squadron (B-25 Mitchells) and No. 120 Squadron (P-40 Kittyhawks). These squadrons helped to defend Australia from the Japanese and participated in the eventual liberation of the Netherlands East Indies.
Gradually, control of the Netherlands East Indies was wrested away from the Japanese. The largest Allied invasion took place in July 1945 with Australian landings on the island of Borneo, ostensibly to seize the strategic oilfields from the now cut-off Japanese forces. However, the Japanese had already begun independence negotiations with Indonesian nationalists such as Sukarno, and Indonesian forces had themselves taken over control of a sizable portion of Sumatra and Java. The Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945 precipitated outright conflict between British, Dutch, Australian and American forces on one side and Indonesian forces on the other.

History of the Netherlands (1939-1945) Dutch East Indies and the war against Japan
After the war some who were thought to have collaborated with the Germans were lynched or otherwise punished without a trial. Men who had fought with the Germans in the Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS were used to clear minefields and suffered losses accordingly. Others were sentenced by the Ministry of Justice. Some were proven to have been wrongly arrested and were cleared of charges, sometimes after having been in custody for a long period of time.
The Dutch government initially developed plans to annex a sizable portion of Germany, either with or without German population — which in the latter case would have to be 'Dutchified' — doubling the land area of the Netherlands. This plan was dropped after an Allied refusal (although two small villages were added to the Netherlands). One successfully-implemented plan was Black Tulip, the deportation of all holders of German passports in the Netherlands and several thousand Germans were deported in this way.
The bank balances of Dutch Jews who were killed are still the subject of trials today, more than half a century later.
The end of the war also meant the final loss of the Dutch East Indies. Following the surrender of the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies, Indonesian nationalists fought a four-year war of independence against Dutch and British Commonwealth forces, eventually leading to the Dutch recognition of the independence of Indonesia. Many Dutch and Indonesians emigrated or returned to the Netherlands at this time, and their presence has resulted in a lasting Indonesian influence in Dutch culture and cuisine.
World War II has left many trails on Dutch society. On May 4, the Dutch commemorate those who died during the war. Among the living there are many who still have emotional problems due to the war, both in the first generation and the second. In the year 2000, the government was still granting 24,000 people an annual compensatory payment (although this also includes victims from later wars, such as the Korean War).


4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Nederland
Dutch resistance
Military history of the Netherlands during World War II
Chronological overview of the liberation of Dutch cities and towns during World War II
Culture of the Netherlands
History of the Netherlands
Military of the Netherlands
The Netherlands
World War II
Jan de Hartog