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The Netherlands In Exile

Discussion in 'History of Holland and Belgium during World War I' started by Jim, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Holland's government, left for exile in London, three days after the Germans attacked on May 10th, 1940. With the ministers went their Queen, Wilhelmina, who had narrowly escaped a kidnap attempt by a company of German paratroopers. On May 14, facing a hopeless situation, the Dutch armed forces were ordered by their Commander in Chief to stop fighting, but thousands of troops refused to surrender to the Germans. Instead, many went into hiding, taking their weapons with them, and coolly waited for the day when they could strike a blow against the conquerors. To prepare for that day, the Dutch quickly made capital of one of their principal industries: printing. Using the abundance of small presses in the country, many skilled printers began to publish anti-German books, newspapers and pamphlets in secret. On May 15, the day the Dutch armed forces officially surrendered, the first underground publication appeared. In time more than 1,000 illegal newspapers would circulate regularly in Holland, to the immense irritation of the German Occupation forces. The Dutch kept up their morale with a persistent display of the ill will they bore the Germans. And the effect on German morale was considerable. Hugo Bleicher, a military policeman assigned to duty in The Hague in June 1940, later wrote: "We could see in Holland for the first time what foreigners thought of us in the occupied countries. The population regarded us with contemptuous aloofness and treated us as if we were not there. It was hard on the nerves to spend inactive months in the midst of a population that had only hatred and contempt for us." The Dutch used the birthday of the Queen's son-in-law, Prince Bernhard, for an organized exhibition of patriotism. Thousands of citizens wore or carried Bernhard's favourite flower, a white carnation, in loyalty to the house of Orange. When German soldiers began snatching the flowers, a few brave souls slipped razor blades among the petals.


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    Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who fled to Britain to establish a government-in-exile, broadcasted encouragement to her countrymen from London in 1942. To show her solidarity with her people, the Queen tried to greet personally every Dutchman who escaped to England, and she refused to eat foods that were unavailable or unaffordable in Holland.
     
  2. Goldberry

    Goldberry New Member

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    I am always awed by the depths of Dutch resistance during the war. I never knew this inspiring story about the queen. In my mind the Dutch were nothing short of heroic.

    I do know that even today, there is still some bitterness against Germany for the wrongs that were done to the people of the Netherlands.
     

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