Juggernaut over Holland

The Dutch Foreign Minister's Personal Story of the Invasion of the Netherlands

Eelco Nicolaas van Fleffens


This work, with some slight differences in arrangement, is published in England by Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd., under the title The Rape of the Netherlands


THE Dutch have a strange sympathy and liking for the under dog. Anyone who, rightly or wrongly, is a victim of superior force, can be sure of Dutch sympathy. The bad boy being taken to the police station can safely count on the crowd turning against the policeman. When Belgium and France suffered under the German invasion in 1914, the great bulk of public opinion in Holland was in favor of France and Belgium. But no sooner had the tide turned and Germany was found suffering under the exactions of the Versailles treaty and the occupation of the Rhineland and the Ruhr-district, than the Dutch felt great compassion for their Eastern neighbors. In recent times, the same characteristic found striking expression when the whole populace, led by the Government, spontaneously contributed large sums for the relief of Finland. The origin of this trait is perhaps to be found in the days when the Netherlands suffered from oppression, and there was engendered an aversion to all use of force against the weak. After Germany's collapse in 1918, the Dutch did a great deal to alleviate German suffering. The world has now had an opportunity of seeing how Germany reacted to the kindness and assistance Holland showed it in what Herr Hitler himself has described as


the darkest days of the German race. A few days after the Nazis had invaded Holland, one of Holland's best-known journalists in a broadcast to Germany referred to the aggression in the following terms:

"This has been done to use by those same young people whom after the Great War we took unto ourselves in Holland in order to protect them from hunger. Tens of thousands of children came in relays to us: we gave them milk, cheese and the best food we had, so that these German children, whom we regarded as innocent victims of the war, should not fall victim to rickets or consumption, should not get diseases which would mark them for life. We sanctioned large loans, so that during the war and after it food might be sent from Holland to German children. We took unto ourselves tens of thousands of small boys, who got to know every inch of our land. The Dutch were always friendly towards the Germans. That which has befallen us is the work of our friends. Those children grew up and assaulted with armed force a country which they had become acquainted with when it had in its kindness given them food.

"What will happen to the name of Germany? Will anyone ever again be able to act kindly towards Germans? The name of Germany has become a synonym of contempt, shame and daily increasing hate. And reasonable Germans must realize that is justly so. These German children, grown up into men, have now murdered our children, our wives, they have dishonored their own


uniforms and ours which they have stolen. Is this the most soldierly nation in the world? Where is the honor of the German soldiers, of the German knights? Do not say that you have not killed civilians, women and children--I have seen it!

"I can no longer even hate you, I feel compassion for you, Germans. I am sorry for the German nation, that it endures such tyranny. You, Germans, are very sensitive to what the world thinks about you. Is it a matter of indifference to you what America thinks of you, the Vatican, every decent man in the world? Where is 'Deutsche Kultur' and 'Deutsche Treue'? What has happened to these conceptions? I know that many of you are falling victim to moral despair. But it is not yet too late. With what joy would the world see the German nation awake again to honor and reason. For there is no doubt as to the issue of the war. Even if you win battles now, you will lose the war. Why are you fighting? What will the war bring you? Deutsches Volk, erwache!"



Introduction 3
Peace Island 16
The Gathering Storm 37
The Venlo Incident 64
To Arms for Defense 69
The Bolt from the Blue 79
Escape to London 105
The Juggernaut Rolls 113
Dynasty and Government 146
The Future 169
Index 191


Netherlands map
(Map opens in new window)

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation