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Title: Guarded neutrality : the internment of foreign military personnel in The Netherlands during the First World War
Author: Wolf, Susanne
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2008
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The Dutch do not consider themselves to be a warlike nation. Traditionally isolated from mainstream European affairs, in 1914 they had no major allegiances that bound them to any one side of the conflict. Geographically and economically caught between two of the major belligerents, Great Britain and Germany, the Netherlands was constantly vulnerable to attack from either side. In adopting a position of neutrality at the beginning of the war, the Dutch took a huge gamble. The mobilization of the Dutch army offered some deterrent to a possible invader but although significant in relation to the size of the Dutch population the Dutch army was far too small to offer a realistic long-term deterrent. It therefore fell to the Dutch diplomats to pursue a course that would underscore and protect the Dutch neutral position. Whilst the Dutch government was forced to compromise and adapt their neutral stance in some areas, as a result of pressure from the belligerents and most notably in matters relating to trade and shipping, it had complete control over issues relating to internment. The internment of approximately 50,000 foreign troops in the Netherlands, some for almost the entire four years of the war, provided a convenient showcase for the Dutch to demonstrate their adherence to international law and their impartiality towards the all of the belligerents. It also allowed the Dutch to demonstrate their talents as international peacemakers and negotiators by providing a means for Great Britain and Germany to meet and agree treaties, even though at the same time they were still fighting a very bloody war.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available