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Dutch reaction to Anglo-German naval race

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  • Dutch reaction to Anglo-German naval race

    Hello all,

    About 100 years ago Britain and Germany were locked in an arms race, churning out battleships against each other. While this naval race was going on, what was the Dutch reaction to it? I'd appreciate if anyone could let me know any Dutch official policy or press reactions to the Anglo-German arms race.

    The reason I am interested in it is because I see some parallel between the Anglo-German naval race in the early 20th century and the emerging naval rivalry between China and Japan right now.

    Here is some thought about a recent article by The Economist at http://maritimeasia.blogspot.com/200...lue-water.html.

    Thanks in advance,
    Sunho

  • #2
    For decades (say about the last half of the 19th century) the Dutch foreign policy had been one of strict neutrality and this persisted for another 30 odd years into the 20th century. This helped the nation to stay out of WW1 and only failed with the advent of WW2. I would have to look up the details (or others on this forum will add to this I hope) to tell you what types of ships were built in Holland around the turn of the century.

    I do know that when this policy (sometimes referred to as the 'broken rifle' or in Dutch gebroken geweertje policy) finally started to crumble in the late 1930's the Dutch government was too late in building battle cruisers. Most were still in very early stages of being built when the enemy seized them May 1940, only a few ships could escape and help the Allied effort. However, this is besides your question...

    In view of the above I would think The Netherlands just did not (want to) participate in the arms race you refer to. No comment on wether this would be a good policy for South Korea to follow in the present developmanets...
    "Try and leave this world a little better than you found it" [Baden Powell]
    "Verbeter de wereld, begin bij jezelf"... [algemeen]
    ..."maar stop daarna niet en help ook een ander op weg!" [Paul Joosten]
    https://duurzamehuizenroute.nl/wonin...s-1905-veendam

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    • #3
      Re: Dutch reaction to Anglo-German naval race

      "datafuser" wrote: Hello all,

      About 100 years ago Britain and Germany were locked in an arms race, churning out battleships against each other. While this naval race was going on, what was the Dutch reaction to it? I'd appreciate if anyone could let me know any Dutch official policy or press reactions to the Anglo-German arms race.

      The reason I am interested in it is because I see some parallel between the Anglo-German naval race in the early 20th century and the emerging naval rivalry between China and Japan right now.

      Here is some thought about a recent article by The Economist at http://maritimeasia.blogspot.com/200...lue-water.html.

      Thanks in advance,
      Sunho
      Allthough the Dutch kept a policy of strict neutrality during the early 20th century, they were not blind to the international maritime developments. The defence of the mothercountry lay largely in the hands of the army and her defensive lines of fortresses. The navy helped in defending harbour-entrances and river-deltas. Most important of all, should Holland's neutrality be violated, allies (i.e. the UK) would intervene.

      For the Dutch East Indies, another scenario was developped. In 1912, a 'Staatscommissie' (National Investigation Committee) decided that the Dutch had to achieve naval supremacy in the DEI if they were to survive a major conflict. To do so, the Committee ordered a navy consisting of a core of four 21.000 tons Dreadnoughts with 8 35cm guns, to counter any Japanese attacks. Officially, the Japanese were not depicted as the enemy, but in the secret pages of the Committee's report, they were. Because the Dutch wharfs could not built these ships, the Dreadnoughts had to be built in the UK. By 1914, the British needed all building capacity themselves and so, the Dutch Dreadnoughts were never built. Source: G. Jungschlager, Recht zo die gaat. De maritiem-strategische doelstellingen terzake van de verdediging van Nederlands-Indiƫ in de jaren twintig (Den Haag, 1991)

      Leon.
      Daily flogging will continue until the crew's morale improves...!

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      • #4
        Many thanks for kind replies.

        What was the general public's perception on the UK at that time? Was the UK perceived as a potential ally against Germany? I thought the Dutch people were mostly anti-British due to the Boer War.

        Cheers,
        Sunho

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        • #5
          Just having reread the biography of Queen Wilhelmina by Fasseur, I would say the people were emotionally anti UK (up until the late thirties), but politically and on the level of comon interest there was in colonial affairs a strong divergence with the british (and American).
          After the taking by Japan of Tsingtao and the German pacific Islands in World War 1 there had been interest from the side of Japan to probe in the direction of the dutch East Indies, the British made clear they did not want a change in the status quo.

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