Dutch government-in-exile

The Dutch government-in-exile (Dutch: Nederlandse regering in ballingschap), also known as the London Cabinet (Dutch: Londens kabinet), was the government in exile of the Netherlands, supervised by Queen Wilhelmina, that fled to London after the German invasion of the country during World War II on 10 May 1940. The government had control over the Free Dutch Forces.[citation needed]

Dutch government-in-exile
Nederlandse regering in ballingschap
StatusGovernment in exile
• 1940–1945
Prime Minister 
• 1940
Dirk Jan de Geer
• 1940–1945
Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Historical eraWorld War II
15 May 1940
5 May 1945
Preceded by
Succeeded by

Background and exile edit

Stratton House on Piccadilly by Green Park, where the Dutch government-in-exile was based.

Until 1940, the Netherlands was a neutral country that was generally on good terms with Germany. On 10 May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Queen Wilhelmina fled the country aboard the British destroyer HMS Hereward, arriving in London on 13 May.[1] The Dutch armed forces surrendered two days later as they had been unable to withstand the speed of Germany's Blitzkrieg style attack. In London, the queen took charge of the Dutch government-in-exile, which was established at Stratton House in the Piccadilly area of London, opposite Green Park.[2] Initially, their hope was that France would regroup and liberate the country. Although there was such an attempt, it soon failed, and the Allied forces were surrounded and forced to evacuate at Dunkirk. The Dutch armed forces in the Netherlands except for those occupying Zeeland surrendered on 15 May 1940.

To safeguard the succession, the heir to the throne, Princess Juliana, along with her family, was sent farther away to Canada, where they spent the war.[3]

The government-in-exile was soon faced with a dilemma. After France had been defeated, the Vichy French government came to power and proposed to Adolf Hitler a policy of collaboration. That led to a conflict between Prime Minister Dirk Jan de Geer and the Queen. De Geer wanted to return to the Netherlands and collaborate as well. The government-in-exile was still in control of the Dutch East Indies with all its resources and was the third-largest oil producer in the world, after the United States and the Soviet Union. Wilhelmina realized that if the Dutch collaborated with Germany, the Dutch East Indies would be surrendered to Japan, as French Indochina was surrendered later by orders of the Vichy government.[citation needed]

Exile in London edit

Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy, Prime Minister of the exiled government at a BBC microphone, 23 September 1941

As the hope for liberation was now the entry of the Americans or the Soviet Union into the war, the Queen dismissed De Geer as prime minister. She replaced him with Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy, who worked with Churchill and Roosevelt on ways to smooth the path for an American entry. Aruba and Curaçao, with world-class exporting oil refineries, were important suppliers of refined products to the Allies. Aruba became a British protectorate from 1940 to 1942 and a US protectorate from 1942 to 1945. On 23 November 1941, under an agreement with the Dutch government-in-exile, the United States occupied Dutch Guiana to protect the bauxite mines.[4] An oil boycott was imposed on Japan,[by whom?] which helped to spark the Pearl Harbor attack.[citation needed]

In September 1944, the Dutch, Belgian and the Luxembourgish governments in exile began formulating an agreement over the creation of a Benelux Customs Union.[5] The agreement was signed in the London Customs Convention on 5 September 1944.

The Queen's unusual action was later ratified by the States General of the Netherlands in 1946. Churchill called her "the only man in the Dutch government".[6] After World War II ended, Wilhelmina and her government returned from exile to re-establish a regime more democratic than ever before.[7]

Militair Gezag edit

In 1943, Dutch military officer Hendrik Johan Kruls was tasked with preparing a Dutch-led military administration in the Netherlands in the event that the allies would enter the country, known as the Militair Gezag (Military Authority).[8] In June 1944, the allies landed in Normandy and re-opened the western front, and in the ensuing months gradually advanced to the Siegfried Line. On 12 September 1944, the allies crossed the Belgium–Netherlands border and Mesch became the first Dutch village to be liberated.[9] Soon after on the 14th, the allies liberated Maastricht [nl], marking the first Dutch urban city to fall in the hands of the allies. That same day the Militair Gezag was established in the Netherlands, with Maastricht as its capital and Kruls at its head, marking the return of the Dutch government to its own country, albeit under a military administration rather than an elected one. After the end of the war, the Militair Gezag was dissolved on 4 March 1946.[10]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "The German invasion of Holland - History Learning Site". History Learning Site. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Plaque: Netherlands Government in exile". London Remembers. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Dutch Princess Seeks Asylum in Canada", History, retrieved 8 November 2020
  4. ^ "World War II Timeline". Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  5. ^ Walsh, Jeremy. "Benelux Economic Union – A New Role for the 21st Century" (PDF). Lehigh University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  6. ^ "War Over Holland - The Royal Family". Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  7. ^ "Netherlands - History | history - geography". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  8. ^ de Jong, Loe (1980). Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog (PDF) (in Dutch). Rijksinstituut voor oorlogsdocumentatie. p. 377(This article incorporates text from this work, which is released under a CC BY 3.0 NL Akte license.){{cite book}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  9. ^ Ramaka (12 September 2019). "12 september 1944: Mesch, het eerste bevrijde dorp in Nederland". MAX Vandaag (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  10. ^ W. B. Heins, CAS Winschoten (teamleider T. P. Reuderink-Kort) en G. J. Röhner. "Militair gezag (Het Utrechts Archief ) - Het Utrechts Archief". hetutrechtsarchief.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 7 December 2023.