Small Countries in a Big Power World: The Belgian-Dutch Conflict at Versailles, 1919


When a devastated Belgium emerged from World War I, some of its leaders had high hopes that the upcoming negotiations would enable achievement of a long-cherished goal; annexing parts of the Netherlands lost in the final 1839 settlement which had established the country. Belgium’s strong historical and military arguments were bolstered by its courageous Great War image. Yet the Dutch proved ready and able to launch an energetic counterattack which ultimately stymied the Belgian campaign. This book explains why and how this happened, and demonstrates that small states are active participants in their own destinies, not just spectators or victims.

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Hubert P. van Tuyll van Serooskerken, J. D. (1979), Ph.D. (1986), is Professor of History at Augusta University. A native of the Netherlands and a specialist in military and strategic history, he is the author of 5 previous books, including The Netherlands and World War I (Brill, 2001).
"The sources examined include extensive materials from the Dutch and Belgian archives, as might be expected, and additionally documents providing important insights regarding the United States, France, Britain, and Germany. This is particularly advantageous for giving the reader an informative and detailed vantage not only of the Dutch and Belgian participants but also of German strategists and planners whose prewar and wartime decisions influenced the relationship and of the perspectives and infighting among the most powerful of the victorious states which theoretically had the opportunity to address the Dutch-Belgian controversy while awash in the momentous and chaotic issues of the postwar world. Small Countries in a Big Power World is a valuable, interesting, and meaningful book that earns its place on the shelves of diplomatic and World War I history". Nicholas Sambaluk, in H-Net Reviews, August 2020.
List of Illustrations and Maps vi
1 Far Away Neighbors 1
2 A Nation and an Idea 17
3 The Low Countries and the Great War to 1916 37
4 The Low Countries and the Great War, 1916–1918 74
5 Crisis and Opportunity, 1918–1919 96
6 Versailles: The Offensive Begins 124
7 Versailles: The Counteroffensive 154
8 Victory and Defeat 182
9 Postscript 207
10 Meanings 227
Bibliography 243
Index 257
Students of World War I and the postwar settlement, of Belgian and Dutch history, of small states, and diplomatic and military historians in general.
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