"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Monday, November 15, 2004

Look to the Dutch for Inspiration Against Islamo-fascism

The Dutch have finally awakened to the Islamo-fascist threat that is now engulfing them. And, unlike the French that are naming streets for the likes of Arafat and embracing intellectuals such as Tariq Ramadan or mistakenly attempting to "Frenchify" Islam, the Dutch are now asking why in the face of their famous Dutch tolerance and acceptance, why are they being asked to be doing all of the toleration and why aren't their Muslim guests returning the favor.

Muslims have made a mistake. The Dutch don't roll over. Hitler rolled into the Netherlands in 1940, but unlike the French, there was no Vichy government. Hitler underestimated the capacity and type of resistance of which the Dutch were capable. He didn't understand them any more than Islam understands.

The Netherlands has been occupied before. Received into the Empire of Spain through inheritance, the "obstinate Dutch" struggled against Spanish rule for over a century in a series of European wars, finally was freed from Spanish rule, but was ceded to Austria in 1713, was runover by the French, back and forth during several wars, until finally The Kingdom of the Netherlands was established. After a brief period of internal rebellion, peace reigned even though the neutral years of WWI until the Nazis.

In World War II, Germany invaded (May, 1940) the Netherlands without warning, crushed Dutch resistance, and wantonly destroyed Rotterdam. The queen and her government fled abroad. German occupation authorities, headed by Arthur Seyss-Inquart, established a reign of terror; underground resistance led to mass executions and deportations. Of the approximately 112,000 Dutch Jews, about 104,000 were deported to Poland by the Germans and exterminated. Allied airborne landings (1944) at Arnhem and Eindhoven liberated Zeeland, North Brabant, and Limburg provinces.

This relatively uneventful transition had several effects. First, although the Dutch people were shocked and demoralized by the unexpected loss, they relaxed a bit. Many were deceived into believing that the Nazi occupation would not entail great hardship or the anticipated atrocities. Second, Dutch culture and tradition reinforced the idea of obedience to the law. These two factors combined led many to believe that all they needed to do was outlast the German occupation. Many believed that the war would be short-lived and thus, through a process of seeming cooperation and delay, the impact of Nazi occupation on the Dutch, including Dutch Jews, would be negligible. Unfortunately, the Nazi occupation lasted five years with devastating consequences for all of the Netherlands including the Hunger Winter of 1945.

As in the 1930s, today's Dutch at first embraced and assimilated or at least tolerated Nazi culture and after the invasion "the resitance was slow to take form."

The resistance movement was slow to take form in the Netherlands. As Nazi oppression slowly took shape, so did Dutch resistance. Hitler underestimated the Dutch people and the Nazis were unprepared to deal with the primarily non militaristic character of Dutch resistance...

As the Nazis were an overwelming occupying force, passive resistance was the main effort, although some bravely spoke out at great risk, and the clergy became responsible for reading letters from the pulpit after the loss of electricty during the war.

The underground resistance was formed as well as strikes in response to various Nazi policies, such as deportation of Dutch workers to Germany.

..underground resistance groups were organized to serve a variety of functions including the rescue and sheltering of Jews and other persecuted individuals. Underground cells were involved in the manufacture of false papers or acted as couriers of secret documents to countries outside of the Netherlands to assist Allied war efforts. It is estimated that over fifty to sixty thousand individuals were directly involved in underground activities with hundreds of thousands more offering assistance. More than ten thousand lost their lives as a direct result of their courageous efforts.

The resistance was made of several organizations, but Dutch resistance was difficult because of geographic proximity to Germany and the fact that there were cultural ties and sympathies with Germany, and a significant number of Dutch joined the Dutch Nazi Party and civilians informed on each other.

Although parallels exist between the 1930s and the present, the Dutch are taking measures against the new threat that they didn't or couldn't do in that era, realizing that they have been through this before and don't want such an upheaval again.


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