World War I

   During the Great War of 1914–1918, the Netherlands remained neutral in the armed conflict between the Axis powers (Germany, Austria, and their allies) and the Allied powers (Great Britain, France, Russia, and later the United States). Unlike Bel gium, which immediately became involved in the war in 1914, the strategic and diplomatic interests of Britain and Germany favored up holding the traditional Dutch policy of neutrality. Yet, there were sev eral crises in which Germany or Great Britain threatened to involve the Netherlands in the war because of their suspicion that the Dutch were favoring the other side. Dutch trade was seriously hindered by a British sea blockade and by U.S. and German torpedoes, which hit several Dutch ships. One of the consequences of the war was the in creasing role of the state and its bureaucracy in society, among other things, for maintaining a distribution system of necessities and foods. Political pressure compelled the government to introduce universal suffrage in 1917.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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