World War II

   As the German imperial armies had disregarded Belgian neutrality in 1914, so the Nazi troops violated Dutch neu trality in May 1940, after the outbreak of World War II (1939–1945). The Dutch Army surrendered after its defeat and after the center of Rotterdam was bombed. The government and Queen Wilhelmina and the royal family went into exile in London. The German occupa tion was accompanied by the ascension to power of the Nationaal Socialistische Beweging (NSB, National Socialist Movement) under its leader Anton Mussert.
   As in the case of the annexation by Napoleon in 1810, a foreign government was installed. Arthur Seyss-Inquart (1892–1946) served as Reichskommissar, and Hans Rauter (1895–1949) was head of the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo). After their failure to win over the majority of the Dutch people to the Nazi ideology, the Germans in corporated the Netherlands into their war machine, and measures were taken to insert the society and economy into the totalitarian state. The Jewswere systematically deported to extermination camps in central Europe. Most Dutchmen were forced to comply; they col laborated with or accommodated the regime. Only a small part of the population took part in the Resistance; many of those who did were executed or died in concentration camps.
   After the Allied defeat in the battle of Arnhem, liberation was tan talizingly slow in coming. Whereas the southern provinces of the country were liberated in the summer of 1944, in the northern part of the Netherlands, where the Germans were essentially trapped, the war ended only after a bitter struggle on 5 May 1945 with the sur render of the German army (Adolf Hitler had already committed sui cide on 30 April). The purge took about five years, and the number of collaborators who were executed amounted to 40, the last in 1952.
   See also JONG, Loe de (1914–2005).

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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