Dutch Military Thought, 1919-1939

A Small Neutral State’s Visions of Modern War


Total War was the core concept around which military thought revolved during the interwar period. Total War was also a multifaceted, confusing concept that affected both civilian and military life. How did small states conceive of their place in such a destructive war? Did they close their eyes, relying on international law to protect them, or did they seek creative solutions?
This book examines how Dutch officers, in the shadow of three great powers, considered their military future, analysing the impact of European military ideas on a small state. This approach offers a new perspective on interwar dealing with assumptions about a new world war.

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Wim Klinkert, Ph.D. (1992), is Professor of Military History at the Netherlands Defence Academy and at the University of Amsterdam. His publications focus on Dutch military history between 1870 and 1945 and include Defending Neutrality. The Netherlands Prepares for War, 1900-1925 (Brill, 2013).
List of Figures and Tables


1 Setting the Scene
 1 Small States in Interwar Europe
 2 Dutch Military Publications
 3 The Dutch Daily Press
 4 The State of the State
 5 Dutch Historiography on the Interwar Years
 6 Setup and Structure

2 A Strong, Resilient People: Pieter Willem Scharroo
 1 An Engineer Officer in Politics and Sports
 2 Scharroo’s Publications: Contours of Total War, 1919–1922
 3 Scharroo’s Commitment to Sports and Education, 1914–1922
 4 Resilience and Youth in Public Debates, 1919–1921
 5 The Roots of Scharroo’s Thinking: People’s Strength (volkskracht)
 6 Untiring Perseverance, 1915–1939

3 The Human Factor: Hendrik Cornelis Rouffaer
 1 An Unreliable Army?
 2 The Floor is Rouffaer’s, 1925
 3 The Shock of 1918, the Rich Legacy of 1919–1920
 4 From Ideas to Practice: Psychotechnics, 1920–1930
 5 The Dutch Classics: Steinmetz and Gunning
 6 Morale in Combat Manuals
 7 War on the Horizon, 1933–1938

4 League of Nations, Neutrality and Disarmament: Abraham Johannes Maas
 1 Unilateral National Disarmament?
 2 Maas against Disarmament and for the League of Nations
 3 The Voice of the Law, 1925–1927
 4 The Voice of the Spirit, 1924–1928
 5 Maas’ Riposte, 1929
 6 Fighting Disarmament, 1925–1929
 7 Public Opinion Counted

5 Economic and Industrial War Preparation: Doe van den Berg
 1 Van den Berg Puts Economic War Preparation on the Agenda, 1925
 2 Fraternal Support, 1928
 3 The First Steps, 1930–1931
 4 Renewed Attention in the Press and in Politics, 1934–1935
 5 From Theory to Practice, 1936–1938
 6 Implementing the New System, 1939–1940

6 The Defence Industry
 1 The Dutch Defence Industry
 2 Artillerie Inrichtingen
 3 Fokker
 4 Koolhoven
 5 Aviolanda
 6 HIH Siderius
 7 Nedinsco
 8 Signaal and Nedalo
 9 Philips
 10 DAF
 11 Research for the War Effort

7 Gas War: Schelte Schilderman
 1 The Gas School
 2 Schilderman and Chemical Warfare, 1928
 3 Schilderman’s Publicity Offensive, 1931–1937
 4 The Science of Combat Gases, 1923–1939
 5 Combat Gases and International Law, 1899–1932

8 No Trespassing! Dutch Military Strength as a Guarantee for Peace in Europe: Willem Joost van de Woestijne
 1 A Social-Democrat Against Disarmament
 2 Social-Democrats and the Defence of the Country, 1928–1936
 3 Van de Woestijne Advocates Defence of the Country, 1929–1931
 4 The Strategic Vulnerability of Limburg, 1918–1931
 5 The Southern Netherlands Raises its Voice, 1932–1934

9 Vulnerability Exposed, 1934: Banse, Baldwin and Von Epp
 1 Strategic Vulnerability
 2 Ewald Banse
 3 Stanley Baldwin
 4 Franz von Epp

10 Danger From the Air: Mathieu Gemmeke
 1 Gemmeke’s Appeal, 1933–1934
 2 Viewpoints on Bombing Civilians in the Netherlands, 1922–1930
 3 Johan Zegers: an Innovative Voice from the Luchtvaartafdeling, 1929–1936
 4 Air Protection in the Making, 1926–1936
 5 Air Protection Takes Shape, 1936–1939
 6 Abyssinia, Spain and Poland: Prophets and Practice, 1937–1939

11 On the Verge of War: Michael Rudolph Calmeijer
 1 Imminent War?
 2 Modern War, 1930–1935
 3 Opinion Formation on Modern Mechanized Warfare, 1927–1936
 4 Searching Beyond the Obvious
 5 Calmeijer Goes to Germany, 1937–1939
 6 Liddell Hart in the Netherlands
 7 The Use of Parachutists

 1 From Theory to Practical Application
 2 Three Key Themes
  2.1 The Totality of War
  2.2 The Strategic Assault
  2.3 Armed Forces – People – Government

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Military historians and researchers of international relations, civil-military relations and cultural history; students, specialists, and officer education.
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