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Unspoken Allies

Unspoken Allies: Anglo-Dutch Relations Since 1780

Nigel Ashton
Duco Hellema
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 292
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46mskj
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  • Book Info
    Unspoken Allies
    Book Description:

    This study brings together the expertise of an international group of scholars to survey the development of political and economic relations between Britain and the Netherlands from the Napoleonic era to the present day. It illuminates both the underlying refrain of harmony in international outlook, ideology and interests that often made for close co-operation between the two countries, and also their episodic instances of conflict. The contributors address topics ranging from Anglo-Dutch relations in the era of imperialism; the tensions created by Dutch neutrality in the First World; the challenges of the inter-war years; the role of the Dutch in British strategy during the Second World War; colonialism and decolonisation; and, most recently, bilateral relations in the European framework. Based on detailed research in British and Dutch archives, Unspoken Allies provides new insights into relations between two of the principal 'amphibious' powers of Europe across the last two centuries.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0585-2
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 9-16)

    During a conversation in May 1962 with Under-Secretary of State George Ball - the 'Mr Europe' of the United States - the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Maurice Couve de Murville offered a fascinating assessment of the underlying similarities between the Netherlands and Great Britain. Considering the existing European Economic Community of the Six, he argued that

    …as now constituted the Community was relatively homogenous. It consisted of Continental powers except for one nation that was not so much a European as a maritime nation.The Netherlands was an island in the same sense that the United Kingdom was an....

  5. THE COLONIAL FACTOR IN ANGLO-DUTCH RELATIONS, 1780-1820
    (pp. 17-32)
    Jur van Goor

    Although the years between 1780 and 1820 constitute a crucial epoch in Dutch history, it is not a period that has ever been very popular with Dutch historians. The British occupation of the colonies, the loss of independence and the need to follow the French lead between 1795 and 1813, are not inspiring themes.¹ Optimistically one might consider the period as a preparation for better times to come.² It is a period of drastic change in which the old Republic of seven federated provinces was transformed into a unitary monarchy, chaotic years during which the internal political system was overhauled...

  6. THE DUTCH AND THE BRITISH UMBRELLA 1813-1870
    (pp. 33-42)
    N.C.F. van Sas

    In September 1830, immediately after the outbreak of the Belgian Revolt, Johan Rudolf Thorbecke, a professor at the University of Gent, wrote a pamphlet calledA Word in the Interest of Europe, on the Occasion of the Proposed Separation of Belgium and Holland.¹ It contained a passionate plea, albeit couched in dispassionate terms, for the preservation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands as it had been created in r814-15. Thorbecke argued strictly from the perspective of international politics. The internal troubles of the Kingdom and the reasons behind the Belgian Revolt did not concern him. In the post-Napoleonic world,...

  7. RELATED BUT UNEQUAL PARTNERS IN IMPERIALISM, 1870-1914
    (pp. 43-58)
    Maarten Kuitenbrouwer

    In his Guildhall-speech of 9 November 1878, the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli declared that under his leadership Great Britain would never suffer the fate of 'Genoa, and Venice, and Holland'. The last remark created quite a stir in the Netherlands. There were angry questions in Dutch Parliament and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs sought through the Dutch Ambassador in London the reassurance from Disraeli's private secretary that no offence was intended.' This little incident tells us a number of things about Anglo-Dutch relations during the age of imperialism, at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the...

  8. ANGLO-DUTCH RELATIONS DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR
    (pp. 59-84)
    Marc Frey

    Contemplating the state of Anglo-Dutch relations in the years before the First World War, the British charge d'affaire at The Hague observed that 'in writing about Holland's relations with Germany it is possible, without incurring the charge of extravagance, to cover practically the whole range of Netherlands foreign policy'.' Ten years later, the British minister in the Netherlands opined that 'all thinking Dutchmen believe that not only the future economic fate, but also the political fate of Holland is bound up with that of Germany,.2 Both diplomats concluded that Anglo-Dutch relations were of secondary importance to the Netherlands and that...

  9. ANGLO-DUTCH RELATIONS AND THE KAISER QUESTION, 1918-1920
    (pp. 85-100)
    Nigel J. Ashton and Duco Hellema

    The flight of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II to the Netherlands on 10 November 1918 at the end of the First World War marked the opening of an intense, if comparatively short-lived, crisis in Anglo-Dutch relations. In the court of Allied public opinion, the Dutch Government stood accused of granting shelter and asylum to a 'war criminal', the individual who in wartime propaganda had been portrayed as the instigator of the conflict, and the author of various 'crimes' such as the resort to unrestricted V-boat warfare which had characterised its prosecution by German forces. Although the Kaiser question complicated the...

  10. THE 'TOMMIES' OR THE 'JERRIES': DUTCH TRADE PROBLEMS IN THE INTER-WAR PERIOD
    (pp. 101-120)
    Hein A.M. Klemann

    Inter-war Europe was an unsafe place for small countries. Without alliances like NATO a fearful neutrality without the power to defend itself was the only policy left open to them. This was hardly a solution in a world which appeared more aggressive every day. The only alternative was associating completely with one of the neighbouring powers.' In the 1920S the ideals of the League of Nations concerning collective sanctions against aggressors seemed a solution. Even in The Hague the League won some respect.² In the 1930S, however, the remaining members of the organisation moved towards the anti-German, anti-Japanese camp, thus...

  11. 'A CERTAIN LIAISON IN PEACE': BRITAIN AND DUTCH SECURITY POLICY, 1933-1938
    (pp. 121-136)
    Remco van Diepen

    In British studies on the inter-war years the subject of Anglo-Dutch relations is usually neglected.' On the one hand this lack of attention should come as no surprise, given the fact that during the 1920S and 1930S the Netherlands played only a very minor part on the international scene. However, the dearth of English language material on Anglo-Dutch relations in the inter-war period is regrettable, since there are some things to be said concerning this topic which might be of interest to both British and Dutch scholars. This article, therefore, is meant to fill a small but perhaps not insignificant...

  12. BRITISH PERCEPTIONS OF THE NETHERLANDS AND THE THREAT OF WAR, 1938-1940
    (pp. 137-154)
    Bob Moore

    Prior to 1939, it would be unreasonable to claim that Anglo-Dutch relations were anything more than routine. While the two states ostensibly had many common interests, especially in the imperial sphere, there were few points of conflict. Moreover, in terms of international politics, they were as chalk and cheese. While Britain continued to behave as a Great Power and funcrioned as a guarantor for most of the major treaties which underpinned European and indeed global security in the post-1918 period, the Dutch had persevered with a traditional detachment and aloofness, preferring to maintain an independent neutrality and eschewing international involvement.²...

  13. 'GOODBYE, MR. CHURCHILL': Anglo-Dutch Relations during the Second World War
    (pp. 155-178)
    Albert E. Kersten and Marijke van Faassen

    On the morning of iq May 1940 members of the Brighton Police Force arrested two gentlemen and the crew of a small seaplane off the coast of the popular English seaside resort. The two claimed to be members of the Dutch government, but to the Brighton Police Commissioner it was more likely that they were German spies who had been forced by a shortage of fuel to land off Brighton. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, E.N. van Kleffens and the Minister for the Colonies, Ch. Welter, were arrested. The Dutch Envoy to the Court of St James, Jonkheer E.F.M.]. Michiels...

  14. THE NETHERLANDS, GREAT BRITAIN AND THE INDONESIAN REVOLUTION, 1945-1950
    (pp. 179-202)
    J.J.P. de Jong

    In I945, when the war became increasingly unfavourable for Japan in occupied Netherlands East Indies as well as elsewhere, Tokyo hastily decided to offer independence to the Indonesians. Agreements were made with the nationalist leaders for an orderly transfer of sovereignty that was scheduled to take place after IS August. This plan was scuppered due to the capitulation of Japan on I5 August. The Japanese opted to wait for the arrival of the allied forces. However, Indonesian youths insisted upon immediate independence and, due to their pressure, negotiations were initiated between the nationalist leaders and the Japanese authorities. The Japanese...

  15. DUTCH-BRITISH COMMERCIAL RELATIONS IN A EUROPEAN CONTEXT, 1945-1960
    (pp. 203-222)
    Wendy Asbeek Brusse

    Over the years, policy-makers and researchers have developed various stereotypes to characterise Dutch foreign policy. Moralistic, legalistic, pro-European, maritime and free trade-oriented are well-known typologies. Atlanticist and Anglophile are also frequently mentioned, not only by the Dutch themselves but also by their British colleagues.' At an international conference in The Hague on the occasion of the British EU presidency in I997, Douglas Henderson reminded his audience of the many political, cultural and economic similarities between the Netherlands and Great Britain:

    We like fair play and straightforwardness. We have a deep interest and a sense of responsibility for what goes on...

  16. TOO CLOSE A FRIEND?: The Netherlands and the First British Application to the EEC, 1961-1963
    (pp. 223-240)
    N.P. Ludlow

    For the Dutch, 3I July I96I was a historic day. Macmillan's announcement to the House of Commons that Britain intended to open negotiations with the European Community with a view to eventual membership was welcomed with near unanimity in the Netherlands. The official response of the Dutch Foreign Ministry was perhaps a little low key: 'the Dutch government has always favoured the political and economic strengthening of the whole of Europe and thus applauds the British step." But the near euphoric tone of much of the press coverage of the British announcement made it clear that, as one prominent newspaper...

  17. 'THE SECOND TRY': The Netherlands in Britain's Strategy for EEC Entry, 1966-1967
    (pp. 241-254)
    John Young

    After Charles de Gaulle's veto of Britain's first application to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1963, an early repeat attempt at entry appeared unlikely. The chances seemed to lessen even further in October 1964 when a Labour government came to power in London under Harold Wilson. Wilson had been a critic of the Conservatives' application, his party was divided on the question of membership and his government had only a slim majority in parliament, making it impossible to risk any controversial new policies. Opponents of entry criticised the EEC as an inward-looking, protectionist trading bloc, membership of which would...

  18. ANGLO-DUTCH RELATIONS DURING THE EARLY 1970S: The Oil Crisis
    (pp. 255-272)
    Duco Hellema

    Ever since the foundation of the European community in January I958 the Netherlands had been advocating British membership. Great Britain was expected to share the Dutch orientation towards an open and liberal European Community. The Dutch hoped that Great Britain, with its traditionallaissez-faire philosophy, would fulfil the role of counterweight against French, or Franco-German, political aspirations regarding the European Community. Finally, most advocates of British membership assumed that British entry would consolidate the Atlantic ties between the United States and its West European partners and would prevent the European Economic Community developing into a political alternative to NATO.'

    Eventually, in...

  19. POSTSCRIPT
    (pp. 273-278)

    If the history of Anglo-Dutch relations outlined in the preceding chapters points towards the existence of an underlying, unspoken alliance in terms of interests and ideology, in contemporary political discourse, the concept continues to retain some currency. Indeed, the British prime minister Tony Blair went so far as to make this explicit in comments he made during a visit to the Netherlands in January 1998. 'Geography and history', he declared, 'have made our two countries friends and allies, despite a few little naval misunderstandings in the seventeenth century'.' Although the British prime minister's remark could be taken as no more...

  20. CV's
    (pp. 279-282)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 283-292)