THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF ANTIMILITARISM AND PACIFISM IN THE NETHERLANDS FROM 1918 TO 1940 AND THE DEGREE TO WHICH THEY CONTRIBUTED TO THE QUICK DEFEAT IN MAY 1940 by John J. Bout M.A., University of Br i t i s h Columbia, 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the Department of History We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November, 1975 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced d e g r e e at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g of this t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d tha t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of / / ( S 7~Q ft \ The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 11 ABSTRACT After May 1940 a national soul searching took place in the Netherlands to uncover the reasons for the quick defeat at the hands of the Germans. One of the reasons frequently mentioned was the a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c and p a c i f i s t i c mentality permeating large parts of Dutch society during the twenties and early t h i r t i e s . But no serious investigation was ever undertaken to prove or disprove this claim. This dissertation attempts to discover the degree to which antimilitarism and pacifism weakened the national w i l l to r e s i s t an invasion in general and undermined the combat efficiency of the armed forces in particular. To determine the nature and extent of antimilitarism the wealth of contem-porary pamphlets, newspapers and documents in the Internation-al Institute for Social History in Amsterdam and in the Peace Palace in the Hague were used. Antimilitarists and p a c i f i s t s were categorized into fiv e main groups: social democrats, those further l e f t (anarchists, communists, syndicalists, etc.), religious groups, certain middle class groups i n -cluding two major women organizations, and youths. The size of each category, i t s p o l i t i c a l and economic strength, and the extent each was able to influence Dutch society as a whole are described as accurately as possible. Information on the effect of a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda on the armed forces was obtained from documents and reports in the military Central Archive Depot in the Hague, the i i i military archives in Schaarsbergen, the Sectie Krijgsge- schiedenis of the army, and the reports of the Central Intelligence Service. The conclusions reached were that in the early twenties antimilitarists were strong enough to force considerable reductions in the size of the conscripted army and the length of i t s service. Until the later t h i r t i e s a n t i m i l i t a r i s t s were i n f l u e n t i a l enough to prevent an increase i n the size of the armed forces and to block the allocation of s u f f i -cient funds for modernizations of material and weapons. An t i m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda was extensive and persuasive enough to convince a large segment of the population that the military forces were a useless and dangerous extravagance of a by-gone era. Professional soldiers were laughed at and as a result their morale was low and their efficiency slight. Conscripts were indifferent or belligerent and tried to do as l i t t l e as possible during their tour of duty. The result was that training, discipline, s k i l l and morale were i n -sufficient and below standard. Since arms and equipment were also of an inferior quality and in short supply the Dutch forces, and s p e c i f i c a l l y the army, quickly collapsed when the Germans invaded. Antimilitarism was not the sole cause of the Dutch defeat but i t was the main reason for the rapidity of the defeat of the Netherlands. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT i i TABLE OF CONTENTS iv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS v i i Chapter I. Antimilitarism and the Dutch Nation 1 1. Thesis Outline and Definition of Terms 2. National Character and the Four Blocs 3. The Government Chapter II. Dutch Pacifism and Antimilitarism to 1918... 24 1. Dutch Pacifists before 1914 2. Dutch Antimilitarists before 1914 3. The Military before 1914 4. The Netherlands Anti War Council 5. The Social Democratic Workers Party 6. The International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and Others 7. The Effect of Antimilitarism on the Army Chapter III. The Extreme Left... 56 1. Introduction 2. The Communists 3. International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and Bureau: Principles and Organization 4. International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society: Influence and Propaganda 5. Bart de Ligt (1883-1938) Chapter IV. The Social Democratic Workers Party 94 1. P i t f a l l s of Disarmament 2. The O f f i c i a l Position 3. Efforts i n Parliament 4. Party Problems 5. Propaganda 6. The Influence of Religious Social Democrats 7. Return to the Fold V Chapter V. The Religious Groups 135 1. Introduction 2. Social Religious Antimilitarism 3. P o l i t i c a l Religious Antimilitarists 4. Small Religious A n t i m i l i t a r i s t Groups 5. Church and Peace 6. Roman Catholic P a c i f i s t Theories 7. Roman Catholic Peace League 8. Catholic Dissidents Chapter VI. The Peace Movement 171 1. Introduction 2. The Liberal Democratic League 3. The Association for the League of Nations and Peace 4. The No More War Federation and A f f i l i a t e d Groups 5. National Passive Resistance 6. Women's Organizations 7. Conclusion Chapter VII. The Youth Movement 202 1. Introduction 2. War Years 3. The Libertarians 4. The Communists 5. The Social Democrats 6. The Independent Groups Chapter VIII. Proponents of a National Defence Force... 233 1. Introduction 2. Pro Defence Groups 3. The Defence Budget in the Twenties 4. Defence Preparations in the Thirties 5. Foreign Policy and Neutrality 6. P o l i t i c a l Leadership and Public Opinion 7. Conclusion v i Chapter IX. The Armed Forces 276 1. Antimilitarism and Discipline, 1919-1933 2. Security, "National Education", and Antimilitarism, 1933-1939 3. Mobilization: Men and Material 4. Defence Strategy and Personality Conflicts 5. Warnings Chapter X. Conclusion 322 1. Dutch Society and Antimilitarism 2. Five Days in May 3. The Wider Context REFERENCES 364 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 423 APPENDIX 1 444 APPENDIX II 449 v i i LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Page Map of The Netherlands 360 Map of the Deployment of the Dutch Army 361 Map of the Main Defensive Lines in the Netherlands..... 362 Map of the German Plan of Attack 363 Chapter I: Antimilitarism and the Dutch Nation 1. Thesis Outline and Definition of Terms In May 1940 the Germans defeated the Dutch in five days. This evoked an intensive national soul searching for the reasons for the quick and total defeat. Many people pointed to the "defeatist elements" before the war who had prevented the creation of proper defence measures. These "defeatist elements" were the antimilitaristi.and p a c i f i s t groups whose existence was undeniable. But no effort was made in the post war period to substantiate the charge and to investigate the specific ways in which the antimilitarists had curtailed national defence efforts. This thesis attempts to discover the nature and extent of antimilitarism in the Netherlands before 1940 and to what degree i t undermined the national w i l l to r e s i s t outside ag-gression. Such a study cannot look at antimilitarism as an isolated entity but must look at i t in relation to the way i t hindered, modified, or prevented the development of adequate defence measures. It must also investigate whether there were other reasons for the inadequacy of the military forces, and whether these other reasons were not as important as the opposition of the a n t i m i l i t a r i s t s . During the course of the research i t became clear that the achievements of the antimilitarists took place in three sepa-rate areas but that they could not a l l be measured with the same kind of accuracy. The b i l l s they defeated in parliament, 2 or whittled down, or forced to ;have withdrawn, or changed in a manner detrimental to the armed forces, are a clear indication of the strength of the a n t i m i l i t a r i s t s . The way they influenced the Dutch military forces, created an opposition to pr d i s l i k e for the military among conscripts, or fostered a defeatist mentality, i s more d i f f i c u l t to measure. But in many instances i t i s s t i l l possible to show a direct link between anti-m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda and opposition to or rebellion against the military by the men serving in those forces. The way the antim i l i t a r i s t s influenced the nation as a whole cannot be accurately measured. Certain indications and examples can be given that the country as a whole did not support i t s military and that a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda was the reason. But i t can never be proven how much greater the national w i l l to r e s i s t an invader would have been had there been no anti-m i l i t a r i s t groups in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, the thesis contends that the size of the Dutch army which fought the German invader, the training, the equipment and weapons, the preparations, the w i l l to fight, and the national support for the army were a l l deficient as a result of twenty years of a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c efforts by many people. In order to avoid confusion i t i s necessary to understand that the words "militarism","pacifism", and "antimilitarism" had a different meaning in the Dutch language than in the English. An added d i f f i c u l t y i s that the different groups tended to give varying connotations to these words and used them quite loosely at times. In the thesis these words have the meanings that the various groups gave them. 3 Since antimilitarists were birds of such diverse plumage they had many explanations as to what "militarism" was. Very few limited the meaning of the word to the domination of the p o l i t i c a l process by the military as i s commonly understood by "militarism". For many antimilitarists the fact that the Dutch government insisted on having a national defence force was enough to c a l l i t " m i l i t a r i s t i c " , regardless of the size of that force or that i t in no way dominated the c i v i l i a n processes. The term "militarism" thus lost much of i t s proper meaning but for anti m i l i t a r i s t s i t always retained a negative connotation with the emphasis that anything connected with the military ought to be opposed.Antimilitarists thus negated the difference between what Vagts c a l l s the "military way" and militarism."'* The former he describes as, marked by a primary concentration of men and materials on winning specific objectives of power with the utmost efficiency, that i s , with the least expenditure of blood and treasure. It i s limited in scope, confined to one function, and s c i e n t i f i c in i t s essential qualities. It i s important to note that Dutch antimilitarists did not make this distinction and that the word "militarism" as i t i s used in the thesis has the meaning they gave i t and thus includes opposition to the military way. It i s permissible to use the word in this sense because the prime objective of the thesis i s not a careful analytical study of the theories of Dutch anti m i l i t a r i s t s , but of the ways they hindered the Dutch military. This opposition to the military i s the most important guideline because i t , in a l l i t s varied facets, contributed to undermining the w i l l and a b i l i t y of the nation to defend i t s independence. 4 Dutch pacifis t s wanted peace and sought to achieve i t through the settlement of international disputes by arbitration and international courts of law and through gradual, inter-national disarmament. Colonial wars were accepted as necessary, however, and a defensive war for a c i v i l i z e d country, for the time being, as unavoidable. The Dutch meaning of the word pacifism, therefore, was quite limited. The present connotation of the word, that the waging of war by a state and the par-ticipation of an individual in war are wrong, was not ac-cepted by Dutch "pure" p a c i f i s t s . Antimilitarists, on the other hand, opposed not only a military s p i r i t , the ideals and attitudes of professional soldiers and the gl o r i f i c a t i o n of war, but also rejected the maintenance of an army and navy for defensive purposes. Some antimilitarists, basing themselves on religious or moral grounds, rejected a l l forms of violence; others opposed the militarism and wars of the bourgeois state for ideological and p o l i t i c a l reasons. Some of the latter thought i t permissible to use violence to overthrow the existing state. Others accepted military service to subvert the structure from within or to learn the use of weapons so that they could use them against the state when the right time came. A l l the groups had in common that they actively propagated their views and tried to convince as many people in the Netherlands as possible. Nineteenth century antimilitarists repudiated pacifi s t s as bourgeois who s t i l l wanted to maintain the c a p i t a l i s t i c and imperialistic state which, by definition, meant that wars would continue to take place. During the inter war years this 5 feeling s t i l l existed but was much less antagonistic. Bart de Ligt, one of the best known Dutch antimilitarists, wrote that the difference between pacifis t s and antimilitarists was that the latter strove for more than peace; they wanted a more worthy, more humane society. War was combated not only because i t was criminal and unworthy of human endeavour, but also be-cause i t obstructed the transcendence of society from the 2 present to a higher form. J.B.Th. Hugenholtz, another well known an t i m i l i t a r i s t , thought that p a c i f i s t s who gained a deep-er insight into themselves would become antimilitarists when they realized that war was not only bad, destructive, inhuman and unchristian, but also morally impermissible and that i t was their personal duty to bring i t to an end. Consequently, they would not only combat war, but also that which made war pos-3 sible: militarism and the system of national defence. In spite of the differences between antimilitarists and pacifist s i t i s s t i l l easy to confuse them because the termi-nology changed over the years as the English meaning of paci-fism became more prevalent. Dutch antimilitarists began to c a l l themselves "radical", "revolutionary", "left-wing", or "active" pacifi s t s which in their own understanding differed i n t r i n s i -c a l l y from the "bourgeois-pacifism", or "League of Nations pacifism", subscribed to by many upper and middle class Dutch people. To avoid confusion the term "ant i m i l i t a r i s t " w i l l be used whenever possible. The proliferation of an t i m i l i t a r i s t and p a c i f i s t groups was so extensive after 1919 that they cannot a l l be included within these broad categories. Nor can, w i l l , or need a l l the groups be discussed. 6 The criterion for consideration i s the extent each group proselytized the Dutch nation and/or actively opposed the government and the military. The labels of the groups can be misleading but talcing the above criterion into account, most of the antimi l i t a r i s t s and only a few pac i f i s t s f a l l within the framework of this thesis. Three broad categories can be noted here. The f i r s t are the religious an t i m i l i t a r i s t s . They thought Scriptures and war irreconcilable and therefore worked to end war; pastors and priests played an important role and the congregations were the fi e l d s to harvest; pressure on the government was slight, but the influence on the population considerable though d i f f i c u l t to gauge. Secondly, "parliament-arians" sought to achieve their aim through legal, p o l i t i c a l pressure on the government and the people, and their membership varied from the "bourgeois-pacifist" Liberal Democratic League to the Social Democratic Workers Party which considered i t s e l f strongly a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c . Thirdly, the "real" antimilitarists rejected the Social Democrats' claim to that name and continued to work for the overthrow of c a p i t a l i s t i c society as the necessary prerequisite to r i d the world of militarism and war. These three broad categories are not exact enough to use them as chapter headings so that a further subdivision was made. Youth was dealt with in a separate chapter because they did not f i t i n any one of the three categories. They formed separate youth associations because they were youths and wanted to keep away from the adult society which they mistrusted and blamed for the i l l s of the world—very much like the "beat generation" of the s i x t i e s — a n d this alone warrants separate treatment. 7 Both the Social Democrats and the groups which considered them-selves part of the "Peace Movement" were parliamentarians but since there were major ideological differences between them they have been treated separately. Most of the religious groups have been dealt with in the chapter of that name, but a few of them put much more emphasis on the "Social Question" than on religion and have been dealt with in conjunction with the Extreme Left, or the Social Democratic Workers Party. The order of the chapters (except the Youth chapter) i s roughly the order of the chronological development of the groups. The most intense period lasted for about one decade (from 1925 to 1935); libertarian groups v i r t u a l l y had the f i e l d to themselves before that time, while religious and middle class organizations stood almost alone when the Germans crossed the Dutch border. Within the Netherlands there were between 40 and 50 anti-m i l i t a r i s t and p a c i f i s t organizations working nationally and a similar number regionally or loca l l y so that a complete investigation of each would be too exhausting. The groups that are dealt with in detail were representative of a particular ideological or religious bloc within Dutch society. Furthermore, some of these groups were important because of the way they were viewed by the majority of Dutch society and the manner in which the latter reacted to them. Traditionally, and for reasons to be discussed later, the majority of Dutch people viewed s o c i a l i s t s , communists, and libertarians with suspicion and a certain amount of trepida-tion. This fact i s important when analyzing the reasons for the Dutch mental and military unpreparedness in May 1940. Those 8 who favoured a proper defence force were more concerned for many years with the "threat from within" than with the danger from without. Consequently the already meager military preparations were weakened because precautionary measures were taken against the l e f t . Religious a n t i m i l i t a r i s t groups are noteworthy for a very different reason. The majority of Dutch people were religious and many explained the need for a military force with religious arguments. Religious antimilitarists interpreted Scriptures differently and came to the opposite conclusion. They approached the religious majority with the alternative interpretation and thereby sowed a certain amount of doubt and confusion within the ranks of the majority. The chapter entitled "The Peace Movement" deals with groups whose composition was quite diverse and they can probably best be described as being middle class even though the term must be used with caution. The majority of those belonging to the Peace Movement—the term i s an exact translation of the t i t l e Vredesbeweging which they gave themselves—considered themselves to be middle class. Many were intellectuals, teachers, managers, businessmen, etc., but a number of workers also belonged to the Peace Movement, as well as a small group of people who were definitely upper middle or upper class. The two women's organizations have been placed in this chapter because their membership was largely drawn from the wives and daughters of men in the middle class. 9 As w i l l be outlined in the next section, a breakdown of Dutch society into classes i s especially d i f f i c u l t because there were both horizontal and ve r t i c a l divisions within fehe nation. In certain instances i t i s possible to use the horizon-t a l s t r a t i f i c a t i o n based on economics but frequently vertical party structures based on religious adherence w i l l be encountered. 2. National Character and the Four Blocs "National character" has been defined as "the enduring per-sonality characteristics and unique l i f e styles found among 4 populations of particular national states." As such, a dis-cussion of i t i s d i f f i c u l t , can never be complete, and can touch only the few "main" characteristics found in the complex population of a nation. Nevertheless, a brief explanation of the Dutch national character must be given so that later chapters w i l l be more comprehensible. The old adage that God created the world but the Dutch made Holland"' cannot be wholly substantiated; but there i s no doubt that the geography and history of the Netherlands provided the Dutch with a few peculiar national characteristics. For a country no bigger than 12,500 square miles with about six million inhabitants (in 1914) the people were unusually diverse. Many dialects were so pronounced and d i s t i n c t l y regional that verbal communication was awkward and confusing. Rivers, streams, canals and ditches fostered separation and strengthened local customs, habits, beliefs, and idiosyncrasies. The sea was a common enemy and in time of calamity brought forth a national effort to stop the inrushing waters. But the water also brought separation; each area surrounded by a dike ensured that those l i v i n g within gave their loyalty f i r s t to THEIR polder. The many who made their l i v i n g on the water—the merchant marine, the fishermen, the thousands on the river-crafts—were also very ind i v i d u a l i s t i c ; "next to God, skipper on his own ship" was a common and much loved expression.^ But the most predominant feature of Dutch society was i t s burgher mentality. Cities and towns had always ruled, the countryside had obeyed. The burgher had been solid and conscientious, sober and calculating. Bourgeois society of the 19th Century was concerned with the maintenance of the individual within society and of that par-ticular society as a whole. Those outside the middle class sometimes reacted against the value system of the bourgeoisie, yet they strove to obtain the same kind of values. The result was that Dutch people tended to be sober minded, conservative, frugal, business-like, religious, and very i n d i -v i d u a l i s t i c . The people disliked things military, had an anti-pathy towards the discipline this involved, hated having to leave their village or town, and did not want to subordinate themselves to men from other areas with different dialects and strange ideas. A c r i t i c a l attitude and incessant complaining (kankeren) were very much part of the national heritage but never employed as freely as when talking about the army. Family l i f e was very important for the Dutch; their social l i f e centered on the l i v i n g room, not the market place, and this was another reason military service was disliked. Religious division was very pronounced within the Netherlands and placed an indelible stamp on the lives of the people. North of the big rivers orthodox Calvinism predominated creating a society where religion played a major part in a l l aspects of private and public l i f e , not least of a l l in p o l i t i c s . South of the rivers and in the lighter s o i l areas in the east the popu-lation was largely orthodox Roman Catholic and very much under the control of the church. For centuries l i t t l e more than second class citizens, the Roman Catholics reached recognition as equals by the turn of the century through the seemingly un-natural alliance with some of the orthodox Protestants. The alliance came about because both groups had recognized a bigger enemy—the atheistic li b e r a l s , supposedly out to destroy the church. P o l i t i c a l cooperation did not necessarily mean that the common man now accepted the other's religion. The terms "heretic" and "papist" were used only s l i g h t l y less than had been the case during the Reformation. Ignorance of each other's position and centuries of one-sided teaching were s t i l l not eradicated by the time Hitler's troops crossed the border. In addition to the aforementioned, characteristically Dutch divisions within society, there were those present in every other country: between people of different occupational groups, between l i t e r a t e and i l l i t e r a t e , between believer and agnostic, between ri c h and poor, between cit y and countryside and, beginning in the latter part of the 19th Century, between class conscious workers and those controlling the means of production. 12 A typical manifestation of the Dutch national character was that most things came in fours: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Socialist, Neutral. Within the four main blocs there were often many subdivisions based on religious differences, class con-f l i c t s , minor nuances in religious, p o l i t i c a l , or ideological interpretations, or just plain stubborn individualism. The four fold separation existed not only in the p o l i t i c a l arena and trade union federations, but also in sport organizations, employer associations, etc. It was a natural dictum of l i f e that each individual f i t t e d himself into his own bloc; changing blocs usually meant a break with a l l former friends and associates. Roman Catholics formed the most homogeneous bloc because the authoritative position of the church ensured that people with diverging opinions were ostracized from the Catholic community. Dissident voices were heard from time to time but usually within the confines of what the church hierarchy judged to be permis-sible. Only a small number of Catholics broke with the " o f f i c i a l " , church supported, Roman Catholic State Party to form another p o l i t i c a l party. The Protestant bloc was internally divided into several p o l i t i c a l parties and churches. The largest Protestant church in the Netherlands, the Dutch Reformed Church, harboured three "streams" within i t s e l f : latitudinarian (usually referred to as "modern"), middle of the road, and orthodox. The latter stood very close to the other major Protestant church, the Reformed Church. Both the orthodox wing of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Reformed Church were staunchly C a l v i n i s t i c . 13 (In order to avoid confusion i t should be emphasized that the Dutch Reformed Church and the Reformed Church were separate churches with no organizational ties.) Orthodox Calvinists belonged to either the Christian Historical Union or the Anti 7 Revolutionary Party. The former broke away from the latter over the suffrage question which was a major and divisive issue in Dutch p o l i t i c s from 1880 to 1918. The Christian Historicals largely became the party of the e l i t e in the Reformed community while the Anti Revolutionaries were the "small folk" (kleine luiden). In addition there were a few small orthodox Calvinist parties who drew their membership from the smaller churches and sects and, to a slight degree, from among the ultr a con-servatives in the Reformed Church and the orthodox wing of the Dutch Reformed Church. The latitudinarian wing of the latter generally belonged to the Neutral bloc. Calvinists and Roman Catholics had great national as well as bloc loyalty. Catholic national loyalty was rather surprising because their churches and services had been banned in 1573 when the Eighty Years War with Spain started. In the centuries that followed the Catholics had always fought for emancipation within the nation. They wanted to remain part of i t because they f e l t Dutch. There was in any event no alternative because secession was impossible. At f i r s t they a l l i e d themselves with the liberal s but when the School Question became of paramount importance in the second half of the 19th Century, the Catholics joined the orthodox Protestants. Both groups demanded, and eventually obtained, public funds for their respective re-ligious schools. Throughout the long battle for equality the 14 Catholics always f e l t very strongly that they lived in a Protestant nation and the loyalty to their own bloc i s therefore self-evident. Calvinists' loyalty to their own nation and bloc i s not hard to understand. Calvinism became almost synonymous with Dutch patriotism as a result of the war with Spain and sub-sequent generations carried on the tradition. Loyalty to their own bloc became stronger as more and more "un-Godly" influences became v i s i b l e in the world. F i r s t there was the fight against the freethinking or latitudinarian liberals who refused public aid to religious schools. Thereafter came the r i s e of socialism which was not only anti-religious but also advocated the aboli-tion of God-given private property and God-instituted social classes. The neutral bloc was the most heterogeneous of the four. In a sense "neutral" i s a misnomer because i t implies a withdrawal from or indifference towards the aims of the other three blocs. This was not the case. The nucleus of the neutral bloc of the 20th Century were the conservative and l i b e r a l parties of the 19th Century. The former died as a p o l i t i c a l entity in 1891 and the latter s p l i t into three parties after 1888. Occasional cooperation proved possible but never to the extent that one l i b e r a l party was re-formed. After 1918 there were two l i b e r a l parties and they differed considerably. The Freedom League was the party of the businessmen and often supported, or was part of, the c l e r i c a l governments of the inter war years. The Liberal Democratic League was more the party of the i n t e l l e c -tuals, was in favour of moderate state socialism, and opposed 15 the c l e r i c a l governments u n t i l 1933. From 1924 to 1934 the Liberal Democrats demanded complete unilateral disarmament of the Netherlands and worked together with the Social Democrats in order to achieve this. The two groups amalgamated in 1945 in the newly formed Labour Party. Several small parties with no religious or left-wing connections completed the p o l i t i c a l manifestations of the neutral bloc. Most "neutrals" were latitudinarian in religion or were freethinkers. They wanted to keep religion and p o l i t i c s sepa-rated as much as possible. In this they differed i n t r i n s i c a l l y from the Protestant and Catholic blocs who saw their religious belief as the foundation on which their p o l i t i c a l programs ought to be b u i l t . In the Netherlands such a difference was fundamental and precluded any union; only cooperation on an ad hoc base was possible with the c l e r i c a l s . Working together with the Social Democrats was also sporadically possible for the neutrals but was in any event less important because the former did not enter the government u n t i l 1939. The s o c i a l i s t s formed the fourth bloc. Until 1913 they were a minor element in the national fabric because socialism devel-oped quite late in the Netherlands. In part this happened be-cause the industrial development did not really commence u n t i l 1870. Another deterrent was the strong hold Protestant and Roman Catholic churches had on their members. As a result the labour movement remained weak and divided. In 1914 about 250,000 workers were organized but only f i f t y per cent belonged to a national trade union federation. Inevitably blocs were formed: the syndicalists had about 10,000 members and the lb Protestants s l i g h t l y more* the neutrals had barely 4,000 but the Roman Catholics almost 60,000; the Social Democrats had the 8 greatest number, 84,000. These figures are quite small considering that more than 2,500,000 people were in the 9 labour force of whom 782,000 worked in industry. Socialists were also quite late in their appearance on the parliamentary scene. The main reason for this was the Dutch so c i a l i s t leader before 1900: Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis. Disillusioned with the parliamentary method and d i s l i k i n g formal p o l i t i c a l parties he carried many Dutch socialists with him to the anarchist corner. The Social Democratic Workers Party was a break-away movement tin 1894) from the Domela Nieuwenhuis dominated s o c i a l i s t world and had to fight a constant battle against syndicalists, free s o c i a l i s t s , and anarchists who considered Domela Nieuwenhuis their s p i r i t u a l leader even though they disagreed with him on specific issues. The Social Democrats weathered this storm quite well and after electing two men to parliament in 1897 they increased that number to six in 1901 and seven in 1909. In that year the orthodox Marxists were expelled from the party and they, under the leadership of D. Wijnkoop, formed the Social Democratic Party which became the nucleus of the Communist Party in 1918. In 1913 the Social Democratic Workers Party elected 13 men to parliament, increased this number to 22 in 1918 and thereby firmly established i t s e l f as a major bloc in Dutch society. But Social Democrats did not use this strong representation in parliament to i t s maximum advantage. Following the guidelines of the Second International, the party refused to take part in 17 any government. After the war the Social Democrats changed their mind but their attempted revolution in November 1918 created so much mistrust that the c l e r i c a l parties kept them from entering the cabinet u n t i l 1939. Being kept out of the government presented special problems for a party which held nearly one quarter of the seats in the (100 seat) Second Chamber especially since i t advocated that the country disband a l l i t s armed forces. The d i f f i c u l t i e s w i l l be discussed in Chapter IV. In the inter war years various other s o c i a l i s t parties were formed so that the l e f t became a confusing welter of groups, organizations and parties a l l working towards the creation of a new society. The envisaged end, and the required means to obtain i t , kept the groups apart while personality conflicts exacerbated the ideological differences. The whole l e f t , including communists and libertarians, opposed the existence of a national armed force. But the reasons for the opposition and the proposed paths to eliminate i t were so diverse that combined action seldom took place. The deep cleavages within the Dutch nation would have made a national existence impossible were i t not for two factors. F i r s t l y , there was an over-riding desire among a l l groups and individuals to keep the country together. No one wanted to secede and form a new nation. Secondly, there was a great propensity for finding a peaceful compromise for a l l problems. Social, class, and religious schisms might be deep but the consensus that the Dutch nation ought to continue i t s existence meant that some sort of solution was always found. Each group was allowed to l i v e as i t desired providing i t did not 18 infringe upon this same right of other groups. Consequently, no extreme l e f t or right wing organization was forbidden during the inter war years no matter how virulently i t attacked the government or an existing situation. The understood corollary was that the attackers would not use physical violence. This freedom of speech and association meant that a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda was v i r t u a l l y unchecked. Those who rejected the anti-m i l i t a r i s t i c standpoint had to counter with propaganda of their own i f they wished to obtain national support for the mainte-nance of a defence system. 3. The Government Finding an e f f i c i e n t yet democratic form of government for a nation as diverse as the Netherlands was no easy task and the Dutch never rea l l y solved the problem. During the 19th Century the powers of the king were slowly curtailed and by the time of the F i r s t World War the Queen reigned but did not rule a l -though her prestige and personality ensured that she did not become a mere figure-head. P o l i t i c a l power was vested in par-liament. The Second Chamber was elected by a meticulous form of proportional representation which gave one seat for every one per cent of the national vote a party obtained. The F i r s t Chamber was elected by the (11) provincial governments and served a somewhat similar function as the B r i t i s h Upper House or the Canadian Senate. The government was headed by a premier who needed not be (but often was) an elected member of parliament and the same was true for cabinet ministers. 19 Because of the divisions within the country p o l i t i c a l formations were numerous. In 1918, 17 parties were represented in parliament; up to 1940 the number never f e l l below 10. More than thrice as many participated in elections; the maximum number of participating parties, 54, was reached in 1933. No party ever obtained a majority in parliament and every govern-ment was therefore a coalition. After each election the Crown appointed a formateur who tried to coordinate the various party interests and their desire for a particular number of cabinet posts, and work out an agreement on broad principles which the coalition would follow for the coming years. It was a cumbersome and time consuming procedure. From 1918 to 1940 there were six elections, three premiers, and ten cabinets. The Roman Catholics, Christian Historicals, and Anti Revolutionaries each furnished one premier. As the short cabinet lives indicate, agreement in principle did not guarantee stable and long lasting governments. Party discipline was weak; there was no established tradition that parties automatically supported the legislation proposed by "their" cabinet. Members of Parliament voted as their con-science dictated; usually this meant that the cabinet could count upon the support of their coalition but in certain areas, such as national defence, this support was not automatic. The c l e r i c a l coalitions in the inter war period did not have a sound base. Before 1917 the c l e r i c a l s had been united in their fight for c l e r i c a l school support; when this became a r e a l i t y in 1917 there was l i t t l e to bind the three parties together except tradition and the fear of the l e f t . The former wore thin in the daily endeavour for particular goals; the latter was not shared by a l l c l e r i c a l party members in parliament. Coalition governments added to the tensions and s t r i f e nor-mally present i n each p o l i t i c a l party and especially in c l e r i c a l parties. They were ver t i c a l parties; they incorporated within themselves members from a l l levels of society whose particular Weltanschauung was determined by religious principles. The social heterogeneity caused stresses and strains which were magnified through collaboration with religiously "other-thinking" people. Specifically in the Roman Catholic State Party the oscillations of o f f i c i a l party policy, and the i n a b i l i t y to deliver the votes in the Chamber from time to time, reflected the subterranean upheavals. 1^ But in spite of internal f r i c t i o n there was a strong belief within the three major c l e r i c a l parties that the maintenance of a c l e r i c a l government was of paramount importance. The Netherlands prided i t s e l f on being a "Christian nation"; roughly sixty per cent of the population were members of, or at least voted for, one of the c l e r i c a l parties."'""'' Most orthodox believers held the individual's conscience to be the f i n a l arbiter of right and wrong, but this hardly resulted in unstructured individualism. The Roman Catholic Church largely decreed what the individual's conscience should accept and reject; the Protestant churches were a l i t t l e more lenient but s t i l l put great weight on church regulations. B i b l i c a l laws and examples, and governmental authority. It was generally accepted that the government had to ensure that a Christian society was maintained. In practice this meant: domestic change came slowly; 21 l i t t l e social legislation was passed (God had created classes as well as r i c h and poor); private enterprise was encouraged and favoured (God blessed the industrious); the Soviet Union was not granted diplomatic recognition ( i t was atheistic and out to destroy Christianity) and i t s admission to the League of Nations opposed; independence for the colonies was rejected (the mother country had a God-given mandate to direct, protect, and convert the native population); a military force to protect the Netherlands and Indonesia was essential. Especially the Protestants believed very strongly that God had given the Nether-lands to the Dutch—after their long fight against Spain—as a bulwark for the true religion in a wayward world. History, the House of Orange, and a considerable amount of nationalism were usually brought in to augment the religious argument. Under the impact of the Bolshevik victory in Russia, the changes in Germany, and the "near revolution" at home in November 1918, the government promised sweeping social changes, but swiftly forgot them once s t a b i l i t y returned. Old ideas and principles triumphed. Successive coalitions accepted the axiom that the Netherlands ought to be defended by i t s own armed forces, but ignored the corollary that the technical advances of the military demanded a much greater financial s a c r i f i c e . They assumed that Indonesia had to be retained, and recognized that a f l e e t was necessary for i t s defence, but would not admit that a modern fl e e t was beyond the technical and financial capabilities of the nation. The government could truthfully declare that i t was not aggressive or m i l i t a r i s t i c and that i t kept military expenditures to the bare minimum. This was a 22 time-honoured standpoint accepted by many people. The myth that the prompt mobilization in 1914 had saved the nation from being invaded was readily believed by the conservative majority and was repeated with unchanging conviction. A succession of govern-ments preached that a defence force, a position of s t r i c t neutrality, and support for the League of Nations would ensure that the country could stay out of a future war the same as i t had stayed out of the past war. That the Netherlands between the wars was ruled by conservative men i s probably an understatement—ultra-conservative would be more accurate—and this was the cause of the strange pre-dicament the country was i n . These men viewed the world, and conducted the domestic and foreign policy of the country, largely in pre-1914 terms. It created conflicts with groups who wanted a more modern approach. In the realm of a defence policy i t brought special problems because the government did not try to eradicate the beliefs and sentiments which actively undermined or passively rejected a national defence force. Antimilitarism based on particular ideological, religious, or ethical convictions could not have been changed, but the latent d i s l i k e for the military so prevalent in the Netherlands could have been lessened. This d i s l i k e stemmed from the in d i v i d u a l i s t i c nature of the Dutch which was adverse to military discipline, from the regional ties which resulted in an antipathy to being placed in garrison in another area, and from the parsimonious nature of the people which quickly labelled defence expenditures as needlessly extravagant. Such feelings could have been lessened through more eff i c i e n t and 23 more up-to-date policies i n , and for, the armed forces. But the men and parties in power showed very l i t t l e i n i t i a t i v e ; they were satisfied as long as there was an army and navy without giving much consideration to the quality of these forces. Consequently the widespread indifference or di s l i k e remained and made i t easier for antimilitarists to win converts to their cause. Few Dutch antimilitarists contended that the c i v i l i a n govern-ment was controlled by the military; such a position was d i f -f i c u l t to maintain because i t did not exist. The opposition was directed at the existence of any military force, regardless of i t s size or efficiency, either because such a force had the potential of settling international disputes through violence, or because a tiny force could become the nucleus of a larger one and could result in military domination of the c i v i l i a n process, or because war and violence were considered a sin. As the next chapter w i l l show, 19th Century antimilitarists did not yet have such ideas clearly worked out while pa c i f i s t s adhered to very different principles. The Great War proved to be a major catalyst; i t forced antimilitarists to develop their theories more f u l l y and brought them and the pacifis t s closer together. In the early twenties there was probably more formal opposition to war in general and to the national military establishment in particular than in any other country in Europe. Chapter II: Dutch Pacifism and Antimilitarism to 1918 A cursory examination of Dutch pacifism, antimilitarism, and the military before and during the Great War provides information which makes the post war period more i n t e l l i g i b l e . It i s impor-tant to note that the Netherlands had a long history of neu-t r a l i t y , that this policy was supported by a l l parts of the nation, and that this attitude shaped the view many people held on pacifism, antimilitarism, and the military. During the 19th Century neutrality was at times taken to extremes. A few examples w i l l suffice. The Protestant govern-ment in the early 1860s refused to protest against the perse-cution of Protestants in Spain. In 1867 Napoleon III sent a note to Russia protesting the severe treatment of the Poles after their abortive uprising, and other nations joined in the protest. When the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, van der Moesen, also sent a note, the uproar in the country and the Second Chamber was so great that he had to resign. 1 That same year, at a conference in London, the major powers declared Luxemburg neutral and guaranteed her safety. The Netherlands also signed the document, but the Second Chamber opposed i t because i t 2 was not a "neutral act." 1. Dutch Pacifists before 1914 Few Dutchmen could see the need for a peace society in a peaceloving country that did not have any enemies. When an organization was created in 1871 i t was more a reaction to the Franco-Prussian War than from being convinced by the propaganda 25 of foreign peace societies. The history of the Dutch Peace League bears out this judgement. I n i t i a l membership quickly reached 2,500 people in 26 branches, but two years later only 3 17 branches remained and by 1882 the number was down to six. The League barely remained alive (with two branches) to the turn of the century. Then i t was revitalized through the general interest in the subject of peace because of the f i r s t Disarm-ament Conference i n the Hague, the opening of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (1901), and the amalgamation with the recently created Women's League for Disarmament and Inter-national Arbitration. The new organization was called Peace Through Justice in recognition of the fact that only through international justice and arbitration could a lasting peace be obtained. The old Peace League had always considered i t s e l f p a c i f i s t which meant, in the then common definition of the term, that wars were j u s t i f i e d when "self-defence against violent attacks 4 from others was unavoidable." This rule counted for c i v i l i z e d nations because only they had a high morality and int e l l e c t u a l 5 standard. Consequently the League refused to protest the Dutch government's declaration of war against Atjeh (a small state on North Sumatra). It was thought improper to send suggestions or advice to the government at any time in spite of the fact that a number of parliamentarians were members of the organi-zation. Once international arbitration was accepted by a num-ber of governments as a viable vehicle for settling inter-national disputes, the League jumped on the bandwagon and within a few years could think of no other method to achieve peace. 26 Pacifists did not admit that disarmament or personal refusal to bear arms were acceptable methods for obtaining peace. In 1877 the Yearbook of the League urged those members who wanted to abolish the f l e e t and army to depart; twenty years g later the Yearbook s t i l l gave similar advice. Apart from con-demnations, p a c i f i s t literature of the time does not mention the an t i m i l i t a r i s t s . Why the two had nothing in common was quite clearly explained in 1905 by A. ten Bosch, one of the 7 better known spokesmen for Peace Through Justice: Pacifists are not an t i m i l i t a r i s t s . Pacifists believe in the right of self defence and also that, once humanity recognizes that justice ought to go before violence, armies w i l l come into the service of justice and w i l l be no more than police forces....Pacifist beliefs and anti-m i l i t a r i s t sentiments should not be confused. Peace Through Justice, like the Dutch Peace League before i t , professed to be an organization for a l l classes and religious convictions, but in practice was staunchly middle class with l i b e r a l humanism predominating. In 1909 Peace Through Justice held a meeting to discuss how the working class could best be attracted. The gathering took place in one of the nicest rooms of the stately Hotel des Indes in the Hague; the ladies served g tea; those present wore evening dress. This was at a time when 23 per cent of the Dutch population lived in a one room 9 house and 31 per cent in a two room house. In spite of the absence of the working class, Peace Through Justice increased i t s membership to 5,500 by 1914. The peace movement became popular and fashionable in Europe; many women became attracted to i t , partly because i t provided an outlet for their ambitions in a male ruled world. The f i r s t and second Peace Conferences, the opening of the International Court of 27 Arbitration, the building and opening of the Peace Palace— a l l in the Netherlands—provided numerous a c t i v i t i e s and much publicity which convinced many that pacifism was a worthy cause and not in any way detrimental to the traditional neutrality policy of the nation. 2. Dutch Antimilitarists before 1914 Before the Napoleonic wars the Netherlands was already in decline and the years of the French occupation, severing the connections with the colonies, hastened the descent to an economic stagnation which did not begin to revive u n t i l 1870. By this time the industrial and agricultural labourer was men-ta l l y and physically almost retarded through generations of poverty, unemployment, poor housing and an insufficient d i e t . 1 0 The advent of socialism brought a certain militancy into the workers. Minor riots and disorders, especially in Amsterdam, became frequent. The army, as the vehicle for the maintenance of law and order, became the antagonist and fueled the century old latent d i s l i k e for the military with specific grievances. Socialists could now "prove" that the army was nothing more than the f i n a l p i l l a r with which the rotten c a p i t a l i s t i c society kept i t s e l f a l o f t . Until 1898 antimilitarists focussed their attention primarily on the Replacement Law. This law, abolished in 1898r made i t pos-sible for anyone chosen (by lot) to serve in the armed forces to find a replacement. Since i t cost about 700 guilders to get a replacement—most of the money went into the pockets of the middleman—and workers earned less than one guilder a day, 28 the army was f i l l e d with the children of the poor. 1 1 The various left-wing youth leagues paid the most attention to the Replacement Law, no doubt because they were personally involved. The Social Democratic Youth League passed a resolution in 1891 demanding that the law be abolished and general conscription be 12 introduced. It was a desire to democratize the army and have the burden of conscription f a l l on a l l classes of society. Other deeds show a more militant attitude. Leaflets were dis-tributed at the places where the numbers were drawn, and again at the time when those who had drawn a "bad" number had to re-port for the f i r s t time to the barracks. Efforts were made to smuggle s o c i a l i s t propaganda into the barracks and to start an organization among those already serving. The successful example of the Young Guard in Belgium could not be duplicated, however, probably because the Dutch lacked organization, discipline, 13 and numbers. Nevertheless, between 1898 and 1913 there were at least 18—the actual number i s probably higher—young men who refused service and received repeated prison terms for 14 their refusal. A different kind of movement was the League of Navy Seamen established in 1897. Controlled and organized solely by sailors, the League tried to fight the poor treatment of the sailors, the rough conditions they had to l i v e under, and the severe discipline. At that time 13 year old boys could be signed up for 12 year periods—of which the years before they were age 16 did not count. These children were v i r t u a l l y defenceless against the whims of older sailors and officers. The League tried to get the law, which allowed children to be signed, changed. The leaders of the League were repeatedly harassed by the Navy, or dishonourably discharged from the service, but 15 others were always ready and able to f i l l the vacant places. Among the adult socialists antimilitarism tended to be marred by ideological differences which prevented unified action. Domela Nieuwenhuis, f i r s t a Lutheran pastor, then a social democrat, and later an anarchist, was by far the most active . and best known Dutch an t i m i l i t a r i s t . In 1871 he was a member of the Peace League and favoured popular m i l i t i a s and inter-national arbitration, but he quickly became disenchanted with the League and departed. In the 1890s he became the thorn in the side of the German delegates to the congresses of the Second International where he proposed a general strike, massive c i v i l disobedience, and a military strike in case a government declared war. Domela Nieuwenhuis also urged abolition of the distinction between an aggressive and defensive war because i t stank of chauvinism. At the Congress in Brussels (1891), and again in Zurich (1893) he was voted down, while in London (1896) he was not allowed to appear because he was considered an 16 anarchist. This did not stop him within the Netherlands. The speeches he had not been allowed to give before the Congresses 17 were printed and tvidely distributed within the country. The Dutch l e f t was now hopelessly divided, however, and the anarchists had to give ground to the newly formed Social Democratic Workers Party which followed the guidelines of the Second International regarding antimilitarism. The Second International advocated the abolition of standing armies and their replacement by popular mili t i a s (Paris, 1889; London, 1896; Stuttgart, 1907), urged social democrat parliamen-tarians to vote against a l l military expenditures (Paris, 1900); should war threaten, the working class, her representatives, and the International Bureau should do a l l in their power to prevent i t breaking out (Stuttgart, 1907; Copenhagen, 1910), It was not a d i f f i c u l t program to follow and the Dutch Social Democrats f a i t h f u l l y carried out the directives. They voted against the military budget, harassed the Ministers of War and Navy, and demanded a popular m i l i t i a . The careful and hesitant antimilitarism of the Second International proved i t s impotency in August 1914; that of the anarchists and Christian-socialists might have been more effective had they received greater support. The Dutch Christian-socialists (sometimes called Christian-anarchists) were loose groupings around the modernist pastors L.A. Bahler and N.J.C. Schermerhorn, and the writers Felix Orrt and L. van Mierop. Their opposition to militarism was based on religious principles. In many ways they were followers of Tolstoy but they refused to c a l l themselves Tolstoyans and would only admit that they had similar ideas. Like socialists and anarchists they saw capitalism as the main source of wars and militarism, but rejected the anarchist position that i t might take a violent revolution to overthrow c a p i t a l i s t i c society. Only peaceful methods could be employed. It was that standpoint which created an immediate division between the Christian and non-Christian so c i a l i s t s when in 1904 the f i r s t a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c organization in the Netherlands came into being. The International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society was born as a direct result of the f i r s t Anarchist Congress held in Amsterdam in 1904, but indirectly stemmed from the constant efforts of F. Domela Nieuwenhuis. His continual work to end military institutions had won converts in the Netherlands but their effectiveness was hampered by his insistance that no anarchist should enter any kind of permanent association. In 1904 he condescended to the formation of an organization limited to fighting militarism and the resulting Society—the "I" for International was largely illusionary because i t was really a Dutch organization—was for 35 years a small but extremely active hearth of antimilitarism. The Society based i t s e l f on the class struggle theory and therefore saw a l l existing military establishments as the means by which the bourgeois class maintained i t s e l f . Propaganda was the only weapon presently available. Personal refusal to serve, whether from ethical, religious, or social principles was recognized and accepted as a viable method of opposition, but a motion to support such individual action was defeated because the French and Bohemian representatives at the Congress voted 18 against i t . The Christian-socialists and anarchists l e f t the Congress because they objected to the acceptance of violence under certain circumstances. Most of the 700 members in 1905 and the 900 in 1906 were anarchists, syndicalists, and free s o c i a l i s t s . The Society's 19 membership remained f a i r l y constant u n t i l 1914. They con-sidered fighting militarism as an important propaganda weapon for their cause, as well as a necessity because the army was 32 used to break strikes and other a c t i v i t i e s used by the lib e r -tarian groups to weaken c a p i t a l i s t i c society. Of course there also existed a genuine d i s l i k e of war which would put worker against worker for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. Nieuwenhuis had already written in 1901, "I favour c i v i l war over inter-national war because in the former one fights for an idea, in 20 the latter for the pleasure and benefit of others." Efforts to spread propaganda among the soldiers was sub-stantial considering the small membership of the Society. A Soldatenalmanak (Soldiers' Almanac) was printed every year from 1906 to 1922 and the 5,000 to 10,000 copies were distributed among the conscripts; brochures about various subjects, from 10,000 to 20,000 copies, were common while the o f f i c i a l monthly publication De Wapens Neder (Down the Weapons) reached 6,000 to 7,000 people each month. A l l this material was sold by less 21 than 1,000 people in their spare time. Judicial prosecution because of certain articles was frequent, j a i l sentences quite common, and police harassment when hawking literature on the streets a constant problem. But the movement persisted and reached i t s height during and after the F i r s t World War. 3. The Military before 1914 A l l the a c t i v i t i e s of the antimilitarists against Dutch "militarism" appear exaggerated when the size and influence of the Dutch military are considered. There was no military tradi-tion to speak of. The glories of Prince Maurice' (largely mercenary army) exploits were too long ago and no significant military caste existed to give lustre and importance to the army. Whereas in Germany the victories of 1864, 1866, and 1870-1871 unified the country and swept away the last opposition to the military, the only Dutch military exploits in the century had been a disastrous expedition against (what became) Belgium in 1830 and a desultory and costly colonial skirmish against Atjeh. The Replacement Law enabled the more prosperous youths to stay out of military service, so the army became a mottled group of poor and rather ill-equipped youths who had to serve for very l i t t l e money while being subjected to the many minor and major i r r i t a t i o n s of barrack l i f e . The i n i t i a l service time was 8-1/2 months, which was too short to make soldiers out of c i v i l i a n s , while the few re-training periods in the years thereafter were only a costly nuisance, especially because they usually took place in the summer when work was more p l e n t i f u l and earnings a l i t t l e higher. The army was considered an object of squan-dered money by the majority of tax-payers, a wasted year by those conscripted, an e v i l institution by mothers who feared the bad influence of barrack l i f e , a hearth of atheism by many Roman Catholics, and the means by which the capitalists maintained their power by the s o c i a l i s t s . Growing cr i t i c i s m of the army forced the government to examine the whole military question. Abolition of the Replace-ment Law was the f i r s t step, but for the next fifteen years under four ministries and eight ministers of war the military problem was constantly a matter of p o l i t i c a l c onflict and pop-ular debate. After a series of laws, resignations of ministers, demands for c l a r i f i c a t i o n by the Queen, and long explanations by prime ministers, the f i n a l settlement was achieved in 1912 22 through the "Laws of Colijn" (the Minister of War). 34 Each year 23,000 youths would be conscripted of whom 600 went to the navy. Those in the infantry (by far the greatest number because i t was the cheapest) were to serve 8-1/2 months (the others a l i t t l e longer) with two re-training periods of no more than four and three weeks during the six m i l i t i a years. When these years were completed the men automatically became members of the Landweer which meant a six day training period in one year and a one day equipment inspection in each of the other four years. Thereafter the men were in the Landstorm, which also encompassed a l l those who had been volunteers, had been in the army in Indonesia, as well as those who had never been in the military service. A l l these men, up to age 40, could be called up in case a second mobilization was necessary, but this would only occur when the army (of the f i r s t mobil-ization) could not cope with the enemy. In theory there was a trained reserve and an untrained reserve in the Landstorm, but considering the short i n i t i a l training and the infrequent and short re-training periods thereafter, there was really no hope that these men could ever be used to defend the country. The Netherlands i s so small that by the time i t was clear that the men of the f i r s t mobilization could not cope with the enemy, i t was much too late to c a l l up, l e t alone train, the men of the second mobilization. A l l i t meant was extra administration and a certain frustration for the men who s t i l l knew themselves to be part of the army. The "standing army" of the Netherlands consisted of about 30,000 men, but 22,400 were really recruits. The "Laws of Colijn" were not viewed as a victory for their cause by the antimil i t a r i s t s , but in certain t^ays they were. Thanks in part to the unwillingness of many parliamentarians 35 to spend much money on defence, the burden of the military was rather light compared to the tremendous increase in military spending that was taking place in v i r t u a l l y every European country. An annual draft of 23,000 men out of a population of six million was hardly drastic. The short service time, and the provision that no one in the m i l i t i a could be sent to the colonies without his own consent allowed for a quick return to c i v i l i a n l i f e . A large and i n f l u e n t i a l military caste could not develop out of the existing structure. The few men in the Netherlands who admired the German system and would have liked to emulate the example did not have a chance to do so. A l l this was not enough for the Social Democrats, however; they demanded a popular m i l i t i a on the Swiss model and continued to vote against the military budget. The anarchists were even less satisfied because they wanted the abolition of a l l military forces while the Christian-socialists simply denounced every-thing connected with arms and violence. The war gave both those against and those in favour of a military establishment a chance to evaluate their ideas and allowed both to prepare for the real struggle which started about 1919. 4. The Netherlands Anti War Council I n i t i a l reaction of the Dutch people to the events of July 1914 was to r a l l y together in support of the government to face a common enemy. The rapidity of events caught the Dutch, as well as every other nation in Europe, by surprise. There was never any doubt as to what position the Netherlands should take; neutrality had been the o f f i c i a l government policy for many 36 decades. Fear of a possible German invasion, not wholly un-grounded, brought a unity to the people that had long been absent. Very few men refused to heed the mobilization c a l l , and the antimilitarists were sil e n t . Troelstra, leader of the Social Democrats, declared in parliament that the government could not be blamed for the present war, agreed that the mobilization was necessary, and promised support (with reservations) for the 23 government in the future. The Social Democrats voted in favour of the f i f t y million guilders mobilization credits even though--.-in a remarkable contradiction—they continued to vote against 24 the regular defence expenditures as they had always done. The p a c i f i s t s , after being stunned in August because the whole edifice of international arbitration had come crashing down, regained their composure and sought ways and means of bringing the war to an end. Peace Through Justice, the Roman Catholic peace society, the national women's society and other groups, including the Social Democrats, agreed that a combined effort would be most effective. By the end of September the Netherlands Anti War Council (Nederlandse Anti Oorlogs Raad— NAOR) was in existence. I n i t i a l l y there were 33 persons on the Council but a year later the number had grown to 145 of whom 25 were Members of Parliament representing three c l e r i c a l parties, two l i b e r a l parties, and the Social Democrats. In January 1915 the NAOR had 8,527 individual members and 38,746 by 1918; at this time the number of organizations belonging to the NAOR totalled 1,181.25 37 Without hesitation the NAOR originators decided that past differences ought to be forgotten, that membership would be denied no one, and that the sole objective should be to study ways and means to bring the war to an end. I n i t i a l cooperation was good; Social Democrat Members of Parliament as well as Schermerhorn, one of the originators of the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society, joined the NAOR. But dissension returned quickly. The Social Democratic Workers Party asked i t s MPs who were in a leadership role within the NAOR to withdraw from those positions. Henceforth Dutch Socialist leaders concentrated their efforts for peace i n the International Bureau which resulted in the formation of the Dutch-Scandinavian Committee and the Stock-holm Conference. The A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society held a Congress 27 in May 1915 and asked Schermerhorn to step out of the NAOR. The Society and similar organizations saw the Anti War Council as another Peace League or Peace Through Justice—organizations where various doctrines were expounded without committing the individual to anything. In a sense, the Society was correct: the NAOR did l i t t l e more than propose a "Minimum Program" necessary for peace, and issued reports on excellent in-depth studies the Council under-took on such subjects as annexation, the problem of national-i t i e s , the freedom of the seas, etc. The Minimum Program neces-sary for a permanent peace retained some of the pre-war ideas such as peace conferences and compulsory arbitration. Other points were new, and a few found themselves incorporated into Wilson's Fourteen Points: there was to be no annexation without popular consent (to be determined through a plebiscite); 38 each state should give equal status, religious freedom and language equality to a l l nationalities within i t s borders; the freedom of the seas must be ensured; a l l parliaments should have a voice in a l l foreign policy decisions; secret diplomacy 28 and treaties must be abolished. Efforts to bring the combatants to the conference table were unsuccessful; the NAOR proved as unable to bring this about as any other group or country. A conference of neutral countries was organized but did not achieve anything. Connections were laboriously established with the warring nations, both in of-f i c i a l and non-official c i r c l e s in the hope that through person-a l contact talks could be started. This proved a vain hope. The Dutch government was asked to act as mediator, but refused. Peace came without the help of the NAOR; in January 1919 the Council disbanded i t s e l f , as did Peace Through Justice. The members of both organizations decided that a new society ought to be formed. It was to be called the Association for the League of Nations and Peace and within i t s e l f embodied the l e g a l i s t i c pacifism of bourgeois society. 5. The Social Democratic Workers Party For both p o l i t i c a l and ideological reasons Social Democratic leaders had a d i f f i c u l t time convincing party members that sup-port of the government's mobilization order was in the best interest of the social democrats. Many articles and publications 29 attacking or defending the o f f i c i a l position appeared, u n t i l the matter was settled at the Arnhem Congress in Ap r i l 1915 by the acceptance of two resolutions. The f i r s t declared that 39 the Netherlands ought to remain neutral in the present conflict and must take a l l the necessary steps to ensure this; the second motion stated that the party would reconsider i t s posi-tion regarding militarism only after the present conflict was 30 terminated. The debate was vigorous and almost one-third of the votes were against—a clear indication that the party was of two minds concerning this matter. It was d i f f i c u l t for the party leaders to convince every-one that no drastic change in policy had taken place. For years the party had agitated for the replacement of the standing army by popular m i l i t i a s . The rank and f i l e had been used to reading the biting critiques of their military expert in pa r l i a -31 ment, K. ter Laan; the cry "not a man or a cent for the 32 military" had been heard frequently within party ranks; the party newspaper Het Volk (The People) had often printed polem-ics against the military establishment, especially when troops were used as strikebreakers. Ideologically the party leaders did not have a strong position. At many congresses of the Second International the Dutch had voted in favour of anti-m i l i t a r i s t i c resolutions. Unlike their German counterparts, however, Dutch Social Democrats had never stipulated that they would fight for their country in a defensive war. Now that the whole international workers' solidarity had come crashing down and was replaced by the defence of national boundaries and bourgeois governments, was i t re a l l y necessary to follow this example? The party leaders had answered in the affirmative and most of the rank and f i l e followed, but many were doubtful and their misgivings were fueled by the Extreme Left. The small groups of anarchists, syndicalists and free socialists were quite virulent in their opposition to the Dutch defence efforts. The war was viewed as a c a p i t a l i s t i c under-taking wherein the workers were slaughtered for the benefit of the possessor class. It was therefore essential to disrupt the military system as much as possible and considerable energy was expended on this project. The Marxist Social Democratic Party thought the war of no concern to the working class which should withold a l l support. Those who were drafted should try to sub-vert the system from within. Some Social Democrats could sympa-thize with these ideas and they could also point out that not a l l s o c i a l i s t s had succumbed to nationalism and chauvinism. The Zimmerwald Conference showed that not a l l s o c i a l i s t s thought i t necessary to fight and k i l l fellow workers for the defence of their country. The fact that Henrietta Roland Hoist, one of the best known li t e r a r y figures in the Dutch s o c i a l i s t world, attended the Conference and returned to preach national and international mass action against the war was i t s e l f enough to make Social Democratic leaders uneasy about the o f f i c i a l position they had adopted. Finally, there were a number of Christian s o c i a l i s t s — b o t h within and outside the party—who opposed the war and a l l support for the Dutch military on religious grounds. These groups provided considerable alter-natives to those within the Social Democratic Workers Party who disagreed with the o f f i c i a l position. Social Democratic executives were well aware of the latent antimilitarism within the ranks of their party and of the possi-b i l i t y that they could loose members because of their support 41 of the government. The party was o f f i c i a l l y s t i l l opposed to militarism, however, so that i t was possible, once the danger of invasion waned, to c l a s s i f y more and more things as "militarism" and less and less as necessary for the defence of the Netherlands. In 1915 the party voted against the Landstorm-wet which enlarged the draft; the Mobilization Clubs (see p.51) were defended in and out of parliament even though the party had l i t t l e control over them; p a r t i a l demobilization was urged on many occasions and c r i t i c i s m of the s t r i c t discipline, ex-cessive power of the military, the high cost of defence, etc., 33 were voiced frequently. These measures proved sufficient to prevent minor revolts or major.disturbances within the party in so far the o f f i c i a l position on the defence of the Nether-lands was concerned. It also ensured that the antimilitarism within the party remained alive-and made possible a more definite and far-reaching position after the war. By the end of the war the reformist Social Democrats had changed so much that even a token attempt at a revolutionary takeover was tried. As a result of riots in several military camps in late October 1918 Troelstra and other Social Democrats thought the army showed a real revolutionary s p i r i t and he 34 decided that i t was time to act. Leaders of the party and the Social Democrat trade union federation met on October 28, November 2 and 3. By this time the mutiny in Kiel had broken out (October 28) and was spreading to Hamburg, Bremen, and Lttbeck. This strengthened certain Dutch socialists in their belief that the revolution i n the Netherlands was only a matter of time. On November 5, Social Democratic MPs demanded immediate demobilization and the removal of the Commander in Chief, General Snijders. The General was removed from his post on November 8 and a hasty, p a r t i a l demobilization was decided upon by the Cabinet to take place on November 9, 10, 11, i g -noring a l l the carefully worked out demobilization plans. It looked as i f the government was collapsing and Troelstra, a peace loving men and not at a l l suited to lead a revolution, began to be carried away with the turn of events. On Sunday, November 10, Social Democrat leaders held another meeting in which diverging opinions were expressed. K. ter Laan, the military expert, warned that the many associations and clubs in the army were not revolutionary councils. Never-theless, the decision was made to print a Manifesto and to hold large meetings on Monday night in Rotterdam because that c i t y 35 appeared ready to hand control to the s o c i a l i s t s . The Manifesto h i t the streets on Monday morning and had fifteen demands of which the most extreme were immediate demobilization with financial support for those not able to find employment, socialization of certain businesses, and abolition of the F i r s t 36 Chamber. That evening, in one of the five meetings held in 37 Rotterdam, Troelstra, carried away with his own rhetoric v i r t u -a l l y announced the revolution—albeit not on the violent Russian ^ i 38 model. When parliament met the following day, November 12, i t was obvious that the s o c i a l i s t s 1 thunder had been stolen. The Premier announced that the daily bread ration would be increased, that shipments of food were on the way from England and America but that these were addressed to the Royal Netherlands Government 43 and hence would not be delivered to another government which 39 had obtained power by unconstitutional means. The Minister of War announced a series of reforms for the army as well as the 40 fact that p a r t i a l demobilization was already underway. J.B. Bomans, a member of the Catholic party announced that only that very morning the Roman Catholic workers had promised their sup-port for the government. A l l these announcements, in addition to the measures that various private individuals had taken to get loyal troops into the major c i t i e s ensured that the 41 "revolution" was s t i l l b o r n . The stimulus had come in part from events in Germany, from the apparent revolt of the Dutch troops, and from the d u p l i c i t party position on antimilitarism. The i n i t i a l reaction in August 1914 had been similar to those of other s o c i a l i s t p a r t i e s — s i d i n g with the national government to defend the nation—but when the Netherlands remained neutral, i t became more d i f f i c u l t to acquiesce to the fact that the government had to be supported in maintaining a f u l l y mobil-ized army. When the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and other organi-zations received an increasingly more favourable response to their propaganda, the attitude of the Social Democrats changed even though the o f f i c i a l position did not. Not surprisingly, therefore, the party adopted a substantially different stance after the war when i t reconsidered i t position on militarism. 6. The International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and others Antimilitarism proliferated quickly during the war years and only the major lines and organizations can be mentioned. The A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society w i l l be given the major share of attention. 44 It increased i t s membership from less than 1,000 before the war 42 to more than 3,000 by the end of 1918. During the 51 months of h o s t i l i t i e s , i t s monthly, De Wapens Neder, averaged 18,000 43 copies a month. Many brochures and pamphlets were distributed, such as the 50,000 against the Landstormwet. the 20,000 warning 44 of the danger of military toys for children, etc. Publications from other groups preached a similar message: Opwaarts (Upward), the organ of the Society of Christian Socialists; Levenskracht (Life's V i t a l i t y ) , of whom L. van Mierop, the well known vege-tarian was the editor; De Vrije Mensch (The Free Man), a monthly published by the Christian anarchist pastor L.A. Btthler. More-over, the free so c i a l i s t s and syndicalists published their own papers, i n i t i a l l y these publications combated the war with d i f -fering emphasis and arguments but the war and resulting increase in military power reached such magnitude that cooperation among the various groups became close and frequent. The A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society changed i t s focus during the war. The class war theory was not forgotten: strikes, boycotts and non-cooperation were s t i l l held to be viable means of pre-venting war and possibly bringing about the revolution, but these tactics were mentioned less frequently and seldom prac-tised. Almost a l l attention was directed towards refusal to serve i n the military; the men who made this principled decision were supported in every way possible. They, or their families, received financial contributions, letters were written to those in j a i l , etc. In line with anarchist thinking, each individual was l e f t free to act as he thought proper. The 1917 Society's Christmas Congress emphasized this by voting in favour 45 of propaganda against munition making, but l e f t members free to decide whether or not they should work in a munition fac-tory. The same was true for members who were conscripted; they 45 could serve and s t i l l remain members. Consistent with the Domela Nieuwenhuis dictum that anarchists shun a l l formal organization was the rejection of the motion that an "anti-m i l i t a r i s t candidate" participate in the next election. By de-emphasizing their various religious, doctrinal or ideological beliefs many diverse groups could work together. The slogans "not a man or a cent for the military" and "we fight for a society where there i s no place for brute force" were accepted by a great many people. When in 1916 the Society of Christian Socialists called an Easter Congress of revolu-tionary s o c i a l i s t s , thousands came. A Revolutionary-Socialist Committee Against War and i t s Consequences was set up and had 50,000 members who included nearly a l l anarchists, syndical-i s t s , Tolstoyans, revolutionary social democrats, and Chris-46 tian s o c i a l i s t s . Nevertheless, each group concentrated on the issues with which i t was most concerned; the propaganda against the military generally took one, or a combination of the following forms. The printed page was the most widely used, in the form of regular monthly papers, brochures against specific laws or acts of the government or military, pamphlets l e f t in trains or streetcars or passed from hand to hand in barracks, manifestoes distributed throughout the country and placed as notices in the newspapers that would print them. Sermons, meetings and Mobilization Clubs were quite effective, while public t r i a l s for those charged with agitation became 4b speaking platforms for those so charged. Those less flamboyant 47 sent flowers and cards to war resisters serving j a i l sentences and contributed to the funds set up to aid the families of those in j a i l . Traditional latent antimilitarism could easily be brought to the surface because the in d i v i d u a l i s t i c and independent approaches that were possible found favour with many Dutch people. From the government's point of view, one of the most damaging kinds of propaganda was the War Resisting Manifesto which f i r s t appeared in 1915 and was repeatedly reprinted with an ever larger number of signatures. The Manifesto declared that the undersigned protested against the growing s p i r i t of war and militarism in the Netherlands and declared that they opposed a l l forms of militarism, including popular m i l i t i a s . They hoped to have the strength of their convictions to refuse to serve in the military even i f they were punished with incarceration or death. And they expressed, by means of this Manifesto, their support for a l l those opposing military service, whatever the 48 reason for the opposition. The f i r s t edition of the Manifesto had 180 signatures, the fourth 577, the f i f t h over 900, the sixth passed the 1,100. Many of those who had signed were inf l u e n t i a l people: doctors, pastors, teachers, technicians, as well as factory workers, labourers, and housewives. The names of some of the signers were well known: van Mierop, Orrt, Enka (pseudonym for A. van der Vlies), and H. Roland Hoist were a l l l i t e r a r y figures. Others, such as the pastors de Ligt, Kruyt, Bahler, Schermerhorn, A.R. de Jong, etc., were known for their connections with various a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c groups and publications, 47 as well as for their sermons which had brought expulsion for 49 some of them from certain areas in the Netherlands. The t r i a l s against some of the i n i t i a t o r s and composers of the Manifesto only provided propaganda and martyrs for the cause. The speeches of the defendants were quickly printed and distributed while prominent people such as van Mierop and Roland Hoist wrote 50 scathing pamphlets denouncing the government for i t s actions. When two teachers convicted by the courts were also f i r e d from their positions in their Protestant schools a l l the non-orthodox 51 religious people took the side of the an t i m i l i t a r i s t s . Much of the popularity of those fighting for the Manifesto came from the simple fact that the Netherlands did not have any kind of law which allowed conscientious objectors exemption from military service. Orthodox Protestants and Roman Catholics who normally opposed any kind of action or suggestions from left-wing elements, now saw the lacuna in the government's position because Quakers and Mennonites did not have a law-f u l exemption either. But the government did not act and anti-m i l i t a r i s t s obtained support from people who normally would never have given i t . The l i b e r a l Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant (New Rotterdam Paper) on March 27, 1915 wrote in favour of freedom of conscience. On March 25, 1916 the organ of the Anti Revolutionary Party, De Standaard (The Standard), admitted that i t was time a conscientious objection law was passed. A few members of the Society of Christian Socialists started an Action for Conscientious Freedom and, using arguments forwarded by both the liberal s and Calvinists, demanded that the govern-ment introduce such a law. Of the people who signed the demand, 4fcS 44 were pastors and not a l l of them were pacifists or anti-52 m i l i t a r i s t s . In 1917, 1^700 citizens of Rotterdam presented 53 the government with a similar demand. The best that could be obtained was a provision by the Minister of War, de Jonge, saying that he would study requests for exemption from military service. In the meantime the requestor would stay in the service. If the request was granted the requestor would have to serve 54 one extra year in an alternative position. Such a proposal satisfied no one and only provided more fuel for antimilitarists. The Social Democrats gratefully grabbed this "militarism" issue and frequently demanded in parliament that the govern-ment introduce such a law. Considering the efforts and propaganda of the antimilitarists the number of men who went to j a i l rather than don the uniform does not appear large. The mobilized army numbered roughly 55 200,000 men, and 600 went to j a i l as war resisters. When compared to the B r i t i s h figures, however, the Dutch number i s not r e a l l y that low. In Great Britain just under 6,000 men were convicted for their conscientious objection, but the army 56 numbered more than two million men. Without casting doubt on the sincerity of the B r i t i s h objectors, the fact remained that the B r i t i s h knew they were l i k e l y to end up in the trenches; the Dutch were reasonably certain that they only faced a dull time on a border post. It i s impossible to discover how many Dutch youths dodged the draft or got out of the army on a ruse. 7. The Effect of Antimilitarism on the Army The Dutch army was so eroded through a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c propa-ganda that after four years of mobilization no real fighting force existed anymore. The latent d i s l i k e for things military provided a f e r t i l e s o i l to work i n . The small corps of pro-fessional officers and men had long known that the army was not popular. In addition to constant crit i c i s m in parliament about expensive military projects there had been enough public pressure about "barbaric training methods" and "Prussian d r i l l tactics" that the army had been forced to simplify i t s d r i l l movements, reduce the number of watches, cut out a l l big parades except on the Queen's birthday, and allow military clubs for 57 officers and NCOs. The officers had given l i t t l e thought to the problem of this antipathy towards the military, however, and continued i n the old way. Some of them looked with longing and envy to the well trained and disciplined troops in Germany 58 but knew that this was unattainable in the Netherlands. Unlike their German counterparts, Dutch youths were not attracted to uniforms, cursed their bad luck when drafted, and only lived for the day they would be discharged. Discipline for the sake of discipline was not accepted, nor was i t clear to very many why someone had to be obeyed simply because he had a higher rank. Recruits repeatedly said that they did not wish to be commanded by NCOs from their own drafts (who were their 59 own age), or by someone from their own village. The recruits knew that their attitude was shared by the people back home, and so did the officers. On the one hand they received surly obedience from the men, on the other hand small thanks (or none 50 at all) from the general public. The public blamed the officers for the sloppiness and bad discipline in the army, and the officers held the public largely responsible because i t held 60 the officers in such slight esteem. In such a situation i t was not d i f f i c u l t for a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c groups to make matters worse and this was unintentionally aug-mented through mistakes by the military establishment. Until the summer of 1917 war resisters were imprisoned i n separate barracks in regular army camps. This lead to frequent demon-strations between those willing and those unwilling to serve, while the latter had a marvellous opportunity for spreading their ideas. Ironically, the objectors were often sent flowers and pastry by the general public l i v i n g near the camps, but the 61 soldiers were not. One writer relates how one man who had refused to serve and had "done" his time in j a i l , on his return home had been led in triumph through his village behind the 6 2 local band. This sort of thing happened not infrequently. By the time the army realized that i t made no sense to use army camps both as j a i l s and homes for regular soldiers, the situation was beyond repair. The army was also slow to realize how well the clubs and 6 3 Military Homes lent themselves for propaganda purposes. As early as September 1914 Rev. de Jong was preaching in Military Homes that war was immoral and only served the interests of a few e v i l persons. Removed from the area in staat van beleg he entered i t somewhere else to preach the same message. Rev. de Ligt followed a similar pattern and was f i n a l l y forbidden to preach to military personnel, which e l i c i t e d a typical reaction 51 from one classis of the Dutch Reformed Church; i t declared i t s e l f "saddened and indignant that the military authorities 64 prevented the preaching of the Gospel." Even more effective were the Mobilization Clubs—the s o c i a l i s t answer to the Protestant and Roman Catholic Military Homes— where the non-religious soldier could find entertainment. Social Democrats always defended these clubs even though control was frequently in other hands. The more extreme elements who gained the control usually renamed the clubs Independent Development Clubs to show their independence from the Social Democrats. Programs within the clubs varied greatly: some had outside speakers, others employed plays, musical evenings, poetry readings—almost always with an anti-military slant. Left-wing and a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c literature was usually available and could be bought freely. How the soldier smuggled i t ;intb; the barracks was his problem. The army was aware that the clubs and literature were under-mining discipline, but counter measures were not very effective. 6 5 Fourteen regular publications eventually were forbidden but keeping them out of the barracks was v i r t u a l l y impossible and preventing the reading outside the barracks wholly so. Closing clubs and transferring participating soldiers to other units was equally ineffective. The clubs would reopen under a d i f -ferent name while the transferred individuals continued their 66 a c t i v i t i e s in their new surroundings. Concrete proof that the army was deteriorating was not d i f -f i c u l t to find. In 1915 there were disturbances in the big camp in Tilburg; the following year saw small riots and protests 52 in Maastricht, Leiden, and other places; in 1917 soldiers i n Laren threw stones through the windows of the officers mess 6 7 while the latter were dining. Procrastinations, malingering and simulations were common. Ten per cent on sick c a l l when a march was planned for that day was normal. Those unable to get out of the march would drop out from "exhaustion", "sickness", or "sore feet", and make their own casual way back to camp. Often sympathetic c i v i l i a n s lavished food and drink on the "poor exhausted fellows". A drop-out rate of 50 per cent on a 68 march was not uncommon. "Theft, forging leave passes, refusing to salute, being absent without leave" were other favourites 69 and practised frequently. When in Ap r i l 1916 leaves were can-celled because of a possible German invasion, thousands of sol-70 dxers went home for Easter anyway. When by 1917 c i v i l i a n unrest increased because of fuel and food shortages, and troops were used to maintain order in the big c i t i e s , soldiers repeatedly refused to act against c i v i l i a n s , made common cause with them, or went back to their barracks without breaking up the demon-strations as ordered by their officers. The erosion of the army was reflected in the number of cases the highest military court in the Netherlands had to handle. In 1915, the f i r s t f u l l year of mobilization, the court dealt with 3,836 cases; in 1916 the number increased to 5,952, i n 1917 to 9,735, and i n 1918 71 to 10,562 cases. The way discharged soldiers were treated also aided anti-m i l i t a r i s t s . There was no law that employers were to take back workers called up for military service, and many had to look for new employment when discharged. In 1904 a group of men set up 53 the National Association to Aid Conscripts and in the ten years before 1914 at least 3,000 men were given financial assistance or were helped to find employment. The Association obtained i t s money from volunteer contributions, but these f e l l far short once 200,000 men were mobilized. Arrangements were made with the National Relief Committee and other special agencies and the Association could recoup 75 per cent of i t s expenditures; the remainder had to come from volunteer contributions. During the mobilization, 260,000 requests for help from discharged soldiers were received; 237,000 were assisted (37,000 twice) with short term financial aid, obtaining work clothes, tools, employment, 72 li v i n g quarters, etc. Efforts to have employers promise to take back their workers after their tour of duty were not very successful. In 1918 the Department of Defence f i n a l l y shouldered the responsibility for the discharged soldiers. By that time, almost one-quarter of a million men had a bitter taste in their mouths about the way they had been treated. Forced to serve their country, i t had discarded them without a thought; they had to go and ask for assistance, for food, for clothes, for tools, etc. In a way they had been treated the same as war resisters who, while in j a i l and afterwards, had also received aid from funds brought together by private organizations. It was not l i k e l y that an overly large percentage of Dutch conscripts would be willing to repeat their army experience, nor that they i n s t i l l e d i n their children much enthusiasm to serve their country. Not a l l the i l l behaviour of the Dutch conscripts stemmed from a principled antimilitarism; some of these men probably acted just as casually and indifferently in c i v i l i a n l i f e . Others disliked the army for no other reason than that the food was different than at home, that leave periods were not as fre-quent as they desired, or that the pay was poor. The boredom of four years mobilization without much useful work also was a big factor. When everything i s taken into consideration, however, there s t i l l remained a large reservoir of anti-militarism which went deeper. For some men i t was grounded in the religious belief "thou shalt not k i l l " , for others i t was an i l l defined ethical concept that no man had the right to demand that another obey a l l his orders to the extent of getting himself k i l l e d or k i l l i n g others. For those educated in the class war doctrine, the army was nothing more than the last bastion of capitalism and as such needed only to be endured superficially while undermining the structure subvertively. When in late October 1918 the ri o t s and demonstrations took place in many of the camps a l l these feelings came to the sur-face. It was not from revolutionary zeal that the soldiers acted, but a tired and "fed-up" antimilitarism which once again sought an outlet. The men had enough playing soldier for the state of the Netherlands. For the Dutch people as a whole the war had been a good, and cheap lesson. The shortcomings in the defence apparatus had glaringly come to lig h t . It had also become abundantly clear that only in time of immediate danger were the people will i n g to place the national interest f i r s t . As soon as the danger diminished, individualism, regionalism, church or party interests, etc., became more important than the national interest. D O For the government the war was proof that i t s policy of neutrality and impartiality was correct, that i t worked properly, and that i t ought to be continued. The Dutch armed forces had prevented an invasion through their prompt mobil-ization and had thus carried out their task. This myth would be repeated with unchanging conviction for twenty years. L i t t l e thought was given to preventing a recurrence of the r i o t s ; these were dismissed as "mobilization weariness". No thought at a l l was given to combating the growing a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c sentiment in the nation. The termination of the war forced antimilitarists to re-think their attitudes and policies. There was a general consensus that a repetition of such a holocaust must be prevented. It took the Social Democrats two years to work out a program to achieve this. It took several years before major religious and middle class organizations were formed to work for this goal. But the Extreme Left needed no time for soul searching; i t started the post war era determined to make i t a permanent peace and this could only be achieved through the abolition of a l l armed forces. It was self-evident that one ought to start in one's own country with the implementation of such a policy. Much energy was expended by the Dutch Extreme Left to make this happen at the earliest possible moment. Chapter III: The Extreme Left 1. Introduction Detailed coverage of Extreme Left a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c organ-izations has been limited to a few groups since i t would be pointless to investigate them a l l . The Extreme Left included anarchists, syndicalists, communists, and a l l the socialists who considered themselves to be l e f t of the Social Democrats. The Extreme Left was a f a i r l y distinctive group within Dutch society because i t s members tended to stay within their own c i r c l e even though they often switched from one organization to another. Party or group allegiance was slight and new organ-izations were created with bewildering frequency. For those not part of the movement i t looked large and dangerous. In 1934 a staunchly patriotic organization—not unlike the John Birch Society later in the United States—printed a booklet l i s t i n g the left-wing publications "which systematically undermine authority." 1 The l i s t was lengthy: more than 20 newspapers, 46 publications "of a general propaganda nature", 34 labelled "agitation propaganda", at least 16 "fomenting against the monarchy and the colonial possessions", 38 "undermining the defence establishment in general"; 33 "extremely left-wing" publications were similarly accused as were 22 communist ones. The government's Central Intelligence Service was s l i g h t l y better informed and had a longer l i s t . But these numbers do not give an accurate picture of the number of people involved. Some of these publications were translations from German or 5 / French papers, others were reprints from earlier years. The total number of publications and organizations i s probably correct, but the number of people involved was quite small. It i s not possible to determine the exact number of active a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c participants in the Extreme Left. If the member-ship of a l l the different organizations (many of them local or regional) are added the total might reach 50,000. But i t cannot be established whether a l l syndicalist and communist trade union members and a l l the members of the four left-of-the-Social Democrats p o l i t i c a l parties were active a n t i m i l i t a r i s t s . On the other hand, i f the election totals of the Extreme Left parties are taken as a guide, the number varies between 100,000 and 200,000. It can be assumed that a l l the voters were in favour of the respective a n t i m i l i t a r i s t theories of these parties even though they might not go out and propagandize them person-a l l y . It i s debatable whether i t i s important to know the exact number of people that were involved. The amount of prop-aganda produced by the Extreme Left was enough to reach every-one in the Netherlands. In many instances i t brought some kind of reaction. If i t was received favourably, antimilitarism had won a convert. If i t was received unfavourably, the person most l i k e l y belonged to the c l e r i c a l bloc. His attention was once again focussed on "the threat from within" which tried to weaken the country; having his attention thus directed often meant that the foreign threat was forgotten. Geographically the Extreme Left was represented much stronger north of the big rivers than in the Catholic south. Twente (the t e x t i l e area near the German border), Amsterdam and the Zaan 58 area (immediately north of the city) were the areas where the Extreme Left was concentrated. The communists were especially strong in the capital. In general the major c i t i e s proved a more f e r t i l e recruiting ground than the agricultural areas, but there were exceptions. East Groningen and south east Fries-land (both agricultural provinces) had sizeable libertarian or communist groups. The size of any group was closely related to the number of capable organizers in an area. Such men were the heart of a local organization and i f they moved away a 2 decline frequently followed. Most of these in the Extreme Left belonged to the working class with dock workers, construction labourers, and tex t i l e workers being strongly represented. A small number of i n t e l -lectuals provided the leadership and the written propaganda. They were usually teachers and pastors but self educated men played a prominent part in many groups. The combined a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c effort of a l l these people was considerable but was marred by the internal divisions. There was general agreement that capitalism ultimately meant war, that i t kept i t s e l f a l o f t through a military establishment, and that therefore the destruction of the military had the highest p r i o r i t y . But the groups differed on the means that ought to be employed. Some men rejected a l l forms of violence but others were willing to accept i t as a last resort for the working class. Within the latter group there were those who thought i t useful to enter parliament, others opposed i t ; some entered the military to undermine the system from within, others only wanted to work from the outside. by There were seldom clear demarcation lines between the groups because the cover organizations and co-ordination committees blurred the lines. The communists were more distinguishable than the others but s t i l l worked with roughly twenty cover organizations. The a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c efforts of the anarchists and syndicalists have been traced through the International Anti-m i l i t a r i s t i c Society, the only libertarian organization of note sp e c i f i c a l l y instituted to combat militarism. Of course the 30 or 40 anarchist, syndicalist, free s o c i a l i s t , freethinkers, etc., groups that existed also carried out a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda of their own. The A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society was the focal point, however, and so were the various committees created to investigate or oppose a particular aspect of the Dutch military. Bart de Ligt has been used as a vehicle to trace the develop-ment of a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c thought from individual war resisting, to undermining the industrial and transportation f a c i l i t i e s , to a passive disobedience campaign against the nation's own c a p i t a l i s t class or against a foreign oppressor. De Ligt, an important figure i n the Extreme Left, went through these stages himself and because he was the best known Dutch a n t i m i l i t a r i s t theorist had substantial influence in proliferating these views. De Ligt, moreover, represents the "internationalist" who tried to drag antimilitarism out of i t s narrow national confines into European and world wide prominence. bU 2. The Communists The Social Democratic Party opposed the war vigorously. The party newspaper, De Tribune (The Tribune), came out with the 3 slogan "against the war the c i v i l war"; the party made contact with every a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c group in the country, distributed 100,000 manifestoes entitled "War on the War", helped to create the Social-Anarchist Action which in turn was expanded into the Revolutionary-Socialist Alliance under the leadership of H. Roland Hoist. The long range goal of the agitation was to use the war to bring about the social revolution; more immediate demands were a moratorium on debts and rents, normal wages for mobilized soldiers, a prohibition on the export of foodstuffs, 4 and later, the immediate demobilization of the Dutch army. In 1916 David Wijnkoop, one of the three leading men in the Social Democratic Party, i n i t i a t e d a Demonstrative Congress Against the War where in addition to the above mentioned groups the Society of Christian Socialists was present. The ensuing demonstrations in Amsterdam attracted 25,000 participants while the petition against the export of food received 77,500 signa-5 tures. The campaign against the war included the War Resisting Manifesto, at least 200 different brochures against war and militarism, and also resulted in 800 war resisters going to j a i l instead of into the army by 1923. The Social Democratic Party s k i l f u l l y combined anti-war propaganda with a campaign against food shortages—a very real issue for c i t y workers— and as a result received 31,000 votes (2.3% of the total) and 7 two seats i n parliament in the 1918 elections. The Society of Christian Socialists ran i t s own candidate and so did the syndicalists with their newly formed Socialist Party. Both parties polled about 8,000 votes—enough for one seat each. Unity based on opposition to a particular war could not be extended into permanent cooperation. The Society of Christian Socialists came to an end in 1920 when a few leading figures, among them Bart de Ligt, departed. The Socialist Party f e l l into oblivion when a majority of the syndicalists proved willing to work closely with the communists i n the former's trade union federation. The "true" syndicalists departed to start their own trade union federation. When the Social Democratic Party, re-named the Communist Party Holland in 1918, held i t s 12th Congress in 1921 i t called for "the demolition of militarism with the aim: disarming of the ruling class and arming of the working 9 class." This turned away many antimi l i t a r i s t s who no longer believed that the Bolshevik Revolution would sweep Europe and therefore saw no need to bring about an armed revolution i f there was no hope of success. The Communists reinforced their isolation by their staunch defence of the militarization in Russia, which few libertarians could accept. The Communists worked hard at their own kind of antimilita-rism. Streams of pamphlets l e f t the presses and De Tribune did not neglect many chances to hammer away at the militarism in the Netherlands. That the country was m i l i t a r i s t i c was "obvious" because a country with 6 million inhabitants could otherwise not keep control of 60 million Indonesians. "Indonesia free from Holland...NOW" was therefore a frequently heard slogan. Communist propaganda had a raucous tone and the harshness of the attacks was not very effective with the sober minded Dutch. Constant attacks on the Social Democrats were included in what were supposed to be purely a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c brochures and gave an air of spiteful small-mindedness to what the Communists said. x^ The s p l i t within the party resulting in the existence of two Communist parties from 1925 to 1930 greatly hurt their c r e d i b i l i t y . The result was that the communists did not increase very much in the years after 1918. In the 1922 elections they polled 53,644 votes but women were allowed to vote for the f i r s t time so that the total voting population was much larger than in 1918. In the 1925 elections they only received 36,770 votes. x x For the next few years the communists were at a low ebb. The two communist parties fought for control of their trade union federation (which had 13,000 members). Efforts were made to make their trade union federation a f u l l fledged competitor of the Social Democratic trade union federation (200,000 members). At the same time Comintern orders were followed to form c e l l s within the Social Democrat trade unions. A l l of this led to a hopeless chaos on the labour front. Sneevliet, a popular man in the communist trade unions, l e f t i n 1927 to start the Trotskyite Revolutionary Socialist Party.with the remnants of the Soci a l i s t Party. A change of policy by the Comintern brought a reunion of the two communist parties and with unification returned confi-12 dence and members. On February 1, 1930 there were 1,100 party 13 members; at the Christmas Congress in 1932 there were 5,500. This latter Congress decided to return to an aggressive anti-m i l i t a r i s t i c policy and i n particular to carry out the instructions of the International Anti-War Congress which had met in August in Amsterdam—a most impressive gathering of 2,000 14 delegates representing 30 million people. Earlier i n 1932 (March 27) the Communist Party had held i t s own Peoples Congress where 832 delegates—including a few Social Democrats, and several Protestants, Roman Catholics, syndicalists, e t c . , — had deliberated on the best methods to prevent a war which appear-15 ed to be drawing inexorably closer. It was decided to form small (seven men at the most) Anti-War Committees that would be active in factories, mines, harbours, and also v i s i t other workers at home to win their confidence. At least 75 of these 16 committees were eventually created. They were an extension of communist c e l l forming and were especially useful for dis-rupting industry, hindering the transportation of war materials, and pressuring other workers into strikes and work stoppages. Efforts to gain influence through cover organizations had varying degrees of success. The best results were obtained with the Organization for Folk Culture which showed publicly forbid-den films (mostly Russian ones) to i t s members, branched out into theater, educational courses, trips to the Soviet Union, etc. In 1933 the Organization for Folk Culture, now part of another cover organization—Friends of Soviet Russia—had a membership of 13,000 of whom no more than 2,000 were communists. The low p r o f i l e in the cover organizations contrasted sharp-ly with the o f f i c i a l a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda of the Com-munist Party which was made i n harsh, blatant form and struck out at the government, the Social Democrats, the Revolutionary 18 S o c i a l i s t Party, and the Independent Socialist Party created 64 in 1932. The mutiny on the old cruiser Zeven Provincien, ± v stationed in Indonesia and carried out by the crew out of protest against their low wages, brought a virulent communist attack on the government. Dutch communists had very close contacts with the communist party in Indonesia which had been 20 brutally suppressed after a f u t i l e revolt i n 1926. A number of the Zeven Provincien mutineers were Indonesians and the communists f e l t close kinship with them. In 1934 the communists were in the limelight because of their involvement in the revolt in the Jordaan (a workers' d i s t r i c t in Amsterdam) where 21 a few people were k i l l e d and about 200 injured. The govern-ment was unable to prove communist responsibility but the presses whereon De Tribune was printed were locked and P.J. Schmidt, leader of the Independent Socialist Party, was given a prison sentence on the pretext of lese-majesty. The depression and the Zeven Provincien a f f a i r brought a polarization to the Netherlands. In the 1933 elections two new a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c parties captured one seat each. The Roman Catholic People's Party and the Christian Democratic Union were both protest groups from respectively the Roman Catholic and Protestant blocs. The Communists, with 6,000 members, polled 118,236 votes (3.18% of the total) and captured four seats. Sneevliet's Revolutionary Socialist Party obtained one seat with 48,405 votes, and although the Independent Soci a l i s t Party 22 f e l l short i t s t i l l received 27,467 votes. The extreme anti-m i l i t a r i s t s thus polled one-quarter of a million votes. On the other hand, the Social Democrats lost two seats and the Liberal Democrats one; both parties demanded unilateral disarmament but 65 refused to sanction personal war resisting. The c l e r i c a l bloc did not increase but the most conservative party within the bloc, the Anti Revolutionaries, gained two seats. After 1935 the Communists drastically changed their policy. A united front against fascism became the objective and neces-sitated cooperation with a l l left-wing parties. The years of h o s t i l i t y were d i f f i c u l t to forget, however, and the Social Democrats were especially hard to convince. They refused to cooperate with the Communists in municipal elections as the latter requested and kept aloof in p o l i t i c s u n t i l 1940. But in the Social Democratic trade unions the Communists were more successful. In the early t h i r t i e s they had been banned because of their c e l l forming tactics, but in many Social Democratic trade unions this prohibition became a dead letter and individu-a l communists were re-admitted as members. C e l l forming was not practised anymore. The 1938 Communist Congress noted that where-as in 1935 only 30 per cent of party members belonged to trade 23 unxons, this percentage had now increased to more than f i f t y . In May 1936 the Communists demanded that the army, navy, and police be cleansed of fascist elements but as a major con-cession they accepted a (purified) defence force. The 1938 Congress went even further and changed the slogan "Indonesia free from Holland" to "Democratization of an Indonesia tied to the Netherlands". During the Congress Party Secretary de Groot called for an end to the blind hitting out to a l l sides and urged cooperation with a l l left-wing groups. The government 24 was warned to safeguard the nation and to ensure that i t did not become a second Austria which had just been annexed by 66 Germany. The party changed i t s name from Communist Party Holland to Communist Party Netherlands, and i t s newspaper from De Tribune to Het Volksdagblad (The People's Daily) in order not to remind people of the i s o l a t i o n i s t , Moscow-knows-best, opposition-to-everything period of the party. Winning complete acceptance and trust required more time than was granted the Dutch Communists. The Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939 forced the Communists into tortuous explanations; many had d i f f i c u l t y swallowing the new party li n e but apparent-25 ly few l e f t the party because of i t . Of course the Communists did nothing to prepare the Dutch nation against a German attack. It was unfortunate that the Dutch party thought i t essential 2 6 to follow the Moscow-Comintern line in everything. Had they continued in their pre August 1939 policies they would have been a definite asset in the defence against the German invasion. The Dutch Communists were the f i r s t to organize an underground resistance against the Germans—it was already working before the German attack on the Soviet Union—and they were tenacious opponents of fascism. Dutch Communists, l i k e their Russian counterparts, paid a high price in lives for their earlier miscalculations. 3. The International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and Bureau: Principles and Organization At the close of the war the Society had over 3,000 members. Its monthly paper De Wapens Neder had sold a total of 300,000 copies that year, and close cooperation with a l l other l e f t -wing organizations made i t a powerful a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c force. 67 The 1919 Congress rejected a resolution that the Society declare i t s e l f i n favour of a communist society and work to 27 make the revolution in a l l c a p i t a l i s t countries a re a l i t y . This brought a break with the communists. The Congress accepted a new Declaration of Principles which i t hoped were broad enough to satisfy most people belonging to "the Left". 28 Articles II and III of the Declaration stated: II An an t i m i l i t a r i s t i s he who, without reservation, opposes militarism and believes that through individual and collective efforts the greatest possible damage must be done to i t and, that general aspirations as well as every attempt by each state to maintain or increase i t s strength through militarism must be combated as strongly as possible. III The Society i s based on the individual freedom of a l l people who want to further the a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c ideal in an organizational way, and opens her arms—and MUST open them—to a l l who accept the Principles of A r t i c l e II with-out considering whether they are based on the conviction: a. that militarism i s coercion and that they condemn a l l forms of coercion (individualists) b. that militarism i s based on violence and that they condemn a l l violence (pacifists among whom Christian-anarchists) c. that militarism i s a creation of the state and that they are working for the abolishment of the state (anarchists) d. that militarism i s a creation of the c a p i t a l i s t i c state and that they want, for instance, a soviet republic (communists) e. or from any other consideration, or a combination of considerations. The Declaration was not thorough enough and at the Third Inter-national A n t i m i l i t a r i s t Congress, held in the Hague from March 25 to 31, 1921, the Society accepted a few additions. It was emphasized that belief in the state had to be combated "because the state, through militarism, enslaves man and takes away the right to l i v e . " "Bourgeois pacifism" and "social p a t r i -29 otism" were categorically rejected but anyone, whether anarchist, Christian-socialist, communist, or whoever willing to principally fight capitalism and militarism i s welcome in our ranks. 68 At the Congress there were many representatives from abroad and they could not accept the formulation. A second organization was therefore created which would be acceptable to a l l . The International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Bureau was envisaged as a central coordinating bureau of a l l organizations opposed to 30 militarism: i t accepted the following Principles: The Bureau, consisting of revolutionary ant i m i l i t a r i s t organizations, has as aim to combat militarism inter-nationally i n order to make the suppression of the working class impossible. It t r i e s to i n s t i l l in the worker a consciousness of his economic power. It propagates the general strike and mass refusal of military service to prevent the outbreak of war. It propagates the immediate cessation of a l l war materials. It promotes the disorganization of armies and navies and honours the individual war resister. It turns against any attempt at intervention in order to suppress a proletariate that has thrown off i t s c a p i t a l i s t i c yoke. It opposes a l l military oppression and economic exploitation of the coloured races, and tries to bring about the greatest possible unity among the proletariate of the North, South, East, and West. As had happened with the Society seventeen years earlier, the direction of the Bureau rested in Dutch hands: B. de Ligt be-came chairman, J. Giesen secretary, and L.J. Bot treasurer. Because the Bureau reserved the right of the working class to take up arms as a f i n a l alternative against i t s oppressor, a small group l e f t the Congress to form a truly p a c i f i s t organ-ization. At f i r s t called Paco—the Esperanto word for peace— the association, led by Kees Boeke, reorganized i t s e l f i n 1923, moved to England, and renamed i t s e l f the War Resisters Inter-national. It worked together frequently with the Bureau even though fundamental differences prevented amalgamation. Many personal connections existed: for instance, Jo Meyer, Bart de Ligt, Han Kuysten were active members in both organizations. 69 Cooperation between the Bureau and the Society was, of course, very close because many leadership functions in both organi-zations were carried out by the same persons. Both organizations sent representatives to the International Peace Congress held under the auspices of the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), which met in the Hague in December 1922. It was a bitter disappointment for the l i b e r -tarians and confirmed their suspicions that there was no co-operation possible with Social Democrat trade unions. B. de Ligt and J. Giesen managed to give short speeches before the Congress but their resolutions were ignored or rejected.^ 1 Both men later wrote very b i t t e r l y about their experience. Not sur-prisingly both the Society and Bureau had nothing but scorn for Social Democrats and concentrated solely on libertarian groups and syndicalist trade unions. At the 1923 Syndicalist Congress in Berlin the Bureau could not convince the International Workers Association to become a member; aims and ideas were similar enough, however, that in 1926 a joint International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Committee was created. This was a press service giving information about wars, war preparations, p o l i t i c a l terror, and the suppression of 32 races, nationalities and classes. By 1931 i t was providing arti c l e s to about 120 (largely extreme left-wing) papers in 33 35 countries. The Society, the Bureau, and the press service opposed the militarization i n Russia. In 1923 the Bureau had already passed a resolution protesting against military con-scription there and repeated the resolution in 1926. Logical-ly enough a l l three organizations lost their communist members. 70 Of the more than 30 Dutch organizations a f f i l i a t e d with the International Bureau—20 other organizations in 10 countries 35 completed the membership —13 were syndicalist and 18 anar-chist. A few of them, such as the Religious Anarcho-Communists, carried the word "communist" in their name, but there was no connection with the regime in the Soviet Union or with the Dutch Communists. The A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society gradually lost power and i n -fluence i n the twenties and t h i r t i e s . In part this happened because the two syndicalist trade union federations declined respectively from 7,700 members in 1924 to a negligible 1,600 in 1940, and from 20,000 members i n 1932 to 10,000 in 1940. 3 6 Disappointment i n the lack of strength was also responsible for the decline in the Society's membership: from more than 3,000 in 1918 to 1,250 in 1922 and 850 in 1925. 3 7 Various organizational changes and different a f f i l i a t i o n s were tried. For a short time the Society was a f f i l i a t e d with both the middle class No More War Federation and the communist controlled League Against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression. Attempts to form a Dutch A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Bureau wherein a l l anarchists and syndicalists would be united did not come to fru i t i o n in spite of discussions lasting several years. Efforts to form a Committee Against War and Fascism (Antifo) did succeed but d i f f i c u l t i e s with the syndicalist trade union 38 federations meant that Antifo never lived up to i t s expec-tations. The Society recovered s l i g h t l y from i t s low point in 1927, but according to the Central Intelligence Service i t s membership in 1935 was s t i l l only 800. 71 The A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society was always suspected by the government and a large segment of the population for i t s anarchistic principles. Society members were subjected to harassing raids by the police, the arrest of speakers for "agitation", and the confiscation of propaganda material. But i t was not the Dutch government which brought an end to the Society; internal division over the Spanish C i v i l War accom-plished that. Part of the Society was in favour of supporting the Spanish workers with weapons and ammunition; others wanted only to send food and medicine. After many discussions a com-mittee proposed a change in the Declaration of Principles which was accepted by a large majority. The Society declared to be against every form of organized violence, which included not only every national, imperialistic, or anti-fascist war, but 39 also c i v i l war. The question "Who i s fighting whom?" was s t i l l important but lost i t s meaning i f both sides became militarized 40 and used conscription and coercion to force people to fight. The syndicalist trade unions could not accept this position and they departed. The last contact with workers' organizations was thereby lost and the Society, supported only by the League of Anarcho-Socialists, was reduced to a tiny group of 300-41 400 people. Since the International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Bureau s t i l l had a Dutch executive the same "Spanish Question" became a source of c o n f l i c t there. Three executive members tried to prevent the Bureau from accepting the same p a c i f i s t principles as the Society but they were outvoted by representatives from a f f i l i a t e d Dutch organizations. The non-Dutch groups did not accept the new 72 principles and they departed. Both the Society and the Bureau existed to 1940, but without strength and v i t a l i t y . 4. The International A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society: Influence and Propaganda The Society was much more important than i t s grave organi-zational troubles and limited membership at f i r s t glance sug-gests. Its membership declined, but i t s monthly paper De Wapens Neder retained a circulation of 10,000 a month u n t i l about 1932, remained at 8,000 for a number of years and s t i l l sold 3,500 a month in 1940. A considerable segment of the Extreme Left must have continued to read the paper, while frequent references in other a n t i m i l i t a r i s t and p a c i f i s t papers t e s t i f y to a diverse readers c i r c l e . The a f f i n i t y for the Extreme Left by the left-wing of the Social Democrats ensured that ideas f i l t e r e d into the party which reinforced the traditional anti-militarism of the rank and f i l e Social Democrats. The Society was instrumental in making war resisting a popular cause beyond i t s own ranks. Finally, the Society tried to stimulate a c t i v i t y and more than once stirred up the whole l e f t into antimilita-r i s t i c action. Such was the case in the "Groenendaal summer". Herman Groenendaal was a convinced a n t i m i l i t a r i s t who had 42 announced his intention to refuse military service. When he did not report as ordered, he was arrested, went on a hunger strike, and after a few days was transferred to a military hospital. From there he wrote J. Giesen, secretary of the Anti-43 m i l i t a r i s t i c Bureau, and asked for support from the Bureau. Bart de Ligt, Albert de Jong, and Johnny Harinck, representing 13 the Society and the Bureau went to the Minister of War and demanded that Groenendaal be set free. The delegation pointed out that earlier the Second Chamber had accepted the "motion-Drion" which declared that i t was desirable to make allowance for conscientious objectors against military service. No specific law had been passed, however, and the Minister refused to take action in the case of Groenendaal. Thereupon the antimilitarists decided that a large scale public action would be most effective, culminating in work stoppages to "strike Groenendaal free". On Sunday, June 26, 1921 a protest meeting with several thousand participants was organized in the Hague and when the people marched to the house of the Minister of War they were forcibly dispersed by the police. Publicity was now assured because even some right-wing papers commented on the needless violence used by the police. Bart de Ligt and Albert de Jong were arrested. In the court room de Ligt repeated part of the speech for which he had been arrested and his words found 44 their way into many newspapers: In the name of Jesus Christ, i n the name of Marx, i n the name of Bakunin, i n the name of Kropotkin, in the name of Tolstoy, and i n the name of Groenendaal I urge you: refuse to build military barracks and j a i l s ; refuse military service; start a general strike i n protest against the incarceration of Groenendaal. De Ligt and de Jong received respectively 27 and 29 days— the time they had spent in j a i l awaiting their t r i a l . J. Giesen recounts that at many protest meetings where he spoke the other speakers represented Social democrats, com-munists, syndicalists, the Revolutionary Socialist Women's 45 League, and the youth movement. On June 28 several thousand workers in Amsterdam went on strike and the syndicalists 74 tried to organize strikes in the other big c i t i e s . But no mass worker movement could be created because the Social Democrats decided to keep things orderly. Without their support there was no hope of success. The many local demonstrations and protest meetings held throughout the country had no direct result; Groenendaal had to serve his sentence. There were two consequences from the "Groenendaal summer"; the government passed a conscientious objection law; conscien-tious objection in general came into the public interest, be-came a much discussed subject in the rapidly multiplying peace organizations, and provided a basis for cooperation for many pa c i f i s t groups. The principal clause of the law which the government f i n a l l y 46 passed in 1923 stated: He who i s conscripted, or already in the military service, and has conscientious objections against the military service because he i s convinced that he may not k i l l his fellow man, even when ordered to do so by the public authorities, can request an alternative service. If an objector was willing to accept ambulance service he stayed eight months longer than a regular conscript; i f he also object-ed to this he was placed i n the c i v i l service and served an extra twelve months. For every person whose objection xvas accept-ed by the special j u d i c i a l committee the government could c a l l up another conscript. This latter point was objected to by the syndicalists because someone else would serve in place of the objector. The anarchists refused to make use of the law since this would be giving t a c i t consent that the government had the right to c a l l people into military service. Various MPs, mostly Social Democrats, 75 objected to the limitations of the law and the narrow inter-pretation given to i t by the minister when he introduced the b i l l . Even the Roman Catholic newspaper De T i j d (the Times) ^ , 47 noted: Anarchistic individuals have not, according to the Minister, conscientious objections but only p o l i t i c a l -revolutionary opposition against the present authorities in this c a p i t a l i s t i c state. These anarchist objectors do not f a l l within the confines of the law. Is the argument of the Minister correct? Other newspapers asked similar questions and thereby the intermittent debate started which continued u n t i l 1940. Another objection to the law, that was to be stated and restated i n many forms, was introduced by the i n i t i a t o r of 48 Church and Peace Professor G.J. Heering. He pointed out that only p a c i f i s t s who rejected a l l forms of violence, including that which the police sometimes had to use out of necessity, were e l i g i b l e for alternative service. But what about the people who accepted this form of violence, as well as self defence, but rejected the systematized, bestial, pre-meditated, refined violence of organized war? As Heering saw i t , the end had to j u s t i f y the means, and what end could j u s t i f y the means of poison gas, bacteriological warfare, and the bombing of women and children in defenceless cities? Those who objected to this kind of warfare, and wanted no part of i t , had no alternative but to refuse military service and spend ten months in j a i l l i k e common criminals. Heering's argument found quick acceptance among many Dutch people; i t opened their eyes to the fact that those who elected to go to j a i l rather than into the army were not necessarily cowards or extreme elements out to destroy the state. Many now became sympathetic to the efforts of the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and other libertarian groups to provide some r e l i e f for those who were in j a i l instead of taking part i n what Heering 49 50 called "this i d i o t i c criminal act." The Support Fund which had existed since 1916 to help families of j a i l e d war registers and had dispensed more than 100,000 guilders to 218 families by 1919,received donations from people who had previously never considered giving to such a cause. The Canteen Fund which provided incarcerated war resisters with some extra food and cigarettes also received more help. The Society had always been closely connected with these efforts and was now brought into contact with people who had always been far removed from i t . This was also the case with the new Manifesto that replaced the War Resisting Manifesto of 1916 which had fa l l e n into abeyance. The Committee organizing the campaign of the "War Resisting Manifesto Mobilization!" and the yearly congresses that were held, consisted of people from various p o l i t i c a l and religious streams who belonged to a variety of a n t i m i l i t a r i s t and 51 p a c i f i s t groups. The Manifesto Mobilization! declared: We, men and women, ant i m i l i t a r i s t s , observe with gladness that under the so called draftees the inclination increases to form "peace drafts", and that the number of those who re-fuse to become soldiers slowly but steadily increases. We feel impelled openly to choose the side of these p r i n c i -pled war resisters. We declare that, i f we are ever forced to perform military tasks, to refuse such work, not only in barracks, trenches, warships and airplanes, but also in munition plants, factories, transport organizations—in short not to perform any work which has anything to do with war and the preparation for war. We also aim with this manifesto to prevent the mobilization of the forces of war. We c a l l upon a l l those who are wi l l i n g to fight for peace, to mobilize themselves immediately with us for< peace, and when an outbreak of war threatens, to prevent i t through concrete action. / / The response to the Manifesto was good; when the f i r s t War Resisting Congress was held in A p r i l 1925 more than 1,000 52 people had signed the document. The Manifesto was printed on self-addressed post cards which were widely distributed. At the 1926 Congress i t was announced that the number of sinatures 53 had more than doubled in one year. For many people i t was not so d i f f i c u l t to publicly declare their position; for others, especially when employed in the c i v i l service, i t was not with-out risk of losing one's employment. This became especially true when the depression made work scarce and communists and anti-m i l i t a r i s t s became f a i r game. The Committee Mobilization! received quite a few requests to please remove a certain name from the l i s t because the next publication of the Manifesto with that particular name s t i l l under i t would mean the loss 54 of employment. It was largely for that reason that i n 1935, when a newly worded, more up to date Manifesto was put out, 55 there were only 1,400 names l i s t e d under the old one. The diversity of speakers at the War Resisting Congresses, and the high attendance—400 to 600 people—was impressive. In 1925, for instance. Rev. Padt of the League of Religious Anarcho-Communists, H. Schuurman of the Anarchist Youth Movement, W.H.A. Schuurman a Social Democrat, A. Hoytink an orthodox Protestant, Schermerhorn, Giesen and de Jong represent-ing the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and Bureau, Heering from Church and Peace, and Rev. Hugenholtz representing several middle class peace groups, a l l spoke at the Congress. Later Congresses were equally representative of the many Dutch • x . - 56 peace organizations. 78 A number of committees designed to help conscientious objectors and war resisters were created. The Anti Conscription Committee tried to synchronize the efforts of the many peace organizations working to force the government to end conscript-57 ion. Until 1930 this Committee had a long cumbersome t i t l e ; with the name change came a different emphasis. Instead of trying to change the government, i t now tried to inform a l l youths of draft age and their parents about the moral principle behind war resisting, the duration of the j a i l term that could be expected, and the kind of treatment that was meted out. The Society was an active participant and supporter of the Anti Conscription Committee and the i n i t i a t o r of the Committee to Study War Resisting which tried to obtain documentation a-bout the treatment of war resisters while in j a i l . In 1931 the Committee was expanded to include one member from Church and Peace, and one from the Youth Peace Action; efforts were made to get a member from the Mennonites and from the Remonstrant Church. The treatment of the prisoners was of great concern to the Society since many war resisters came from i t s ranks. There is l i t t l e doubt that i n the years shortly after 1918 war r e s i s t -ers were treated with less than kindness; they were given the same consideration as criminals, but with the difference that quite a few guards thought they had to "re-educate" them. Medical provisions were less than adequate in j a i l and De Wapens Neder constantly voiced this as well as such stories as the forceful feeding of Groenendaal and the three fellow prisoners who followed his example. A similar incident occurred a few years later when 24 war resisters went on a hunger strike. According to De Wapens Neder. at least two prisoners died i n j a i l because of improper medical treatment and one went insane. In the Committee for Guidance for Conscientious Objectors wherein Church and Peace, Youth Peace Action, the Mennonites and others cooperated, the Society would not take part. It was admitted that every effort to hamper militarism was useful, but only those who elected to go to j a i l weakened the establish ment. The Society therefore concentrated much attention and effort on the incarcerated c i v i l i a n s . Each month De Wapens Neder carried the names of a l l those i n j a i l , clubs were organ-ized to write to the men, birthdays—which were, and are, elaborately celebrated in the Netherlands—were mentioned and bazaars and other a c t i v i t i e s were organized to get money for the Canteen Fund. Unfortunately, i t i s not possible to calculate the d e f i n i -tive number of v/ar resisters during the inter war years. The libertarian papers that published l i s t s did not always have complete information and the names i n the different papers do 59 not always match. Heering stated that between 1915 and 1929 60 1,000 men went to j a i l rather than into the services. Judging from the fragmentary information i n the libertarian papers, this figure appears conservative. If the 600 who went to j a i l during the war are subtracted, 400 men over a period of 11 years preferred 10 months i n j a i l over the army or navy. In the 10 years that followed, the names in the libertarian papers show an inconsistent number, varying from 15 to 50, being held in j a i l at any one time. During the middle t h i r t i e s the num-bers were lowest but they increased sharply i n the months prior 80 to the German invasion. The decline probably reflected the decline of the libertarian groups since i t was from their ranks that most of the war resisters came. The increase in the later t h i r t i e s i s noteworthy because prison sentences were lengthened, f i r s t to 18 then to 30 months as the draft was enlarged in 1938 and a general mobilization called in August 1939. There are accurate figures for conscientious objectors who did alternative service. Between 1924 and 1938, 609 men peti-tioned the government, 393 had their petition approved, 89 had i t rejected, and the remainder withdrew their petition for un-61 specified reasons. The figures show a gradual increase each year, from less than 20 in each of the f i r s t 5 years of the law to more than 50 in each of the 7 years before 1939. When the mobilization was called, 397 men petitioned the government; only a few cases were considered by the committee before the Germans invaded so that no accurate picture can be gathered as to how many had sincere objections. A point can be made that this latter group was the f r u i t of 20 years of a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda. These men had a l l been in the service before, were older, had read and heard the arguments put forth by the p a c i f i s t s , and decided that they did not want to serve in the military. The obvious counter argument i s that for the f i r s t time i t looked as i f the Netherlands would become part of the war and that the men were anxious to save their skin and keep out of i t . Perhaps this i s true for some of them, but the number of war resisters also increased i n the f i n a l months and these men knew they could expect 30 months in j a i l . 81 By the end of the twenties the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society was giving serious thought to whether i t need not find new methods to combat militarism. Propaganda against military service was out of date considering the complete national involvement i n any new war. Was i t not more sensible to concen-trate on industry because without i t the military was powerless? Two viewpoints came to the surface: one was that a small group such as the libertarians could do l i t t l e to disrupt the indus-t r i a l process of the nation, the other insisted that small revolutionary groups could disrupt a great deal. A f i n a l de-cision was not reached although most people agreed that more accent should be placed on refusal to work in industries con-6 2 nected with the military. However, not much could be under-taken beyond spreading printed and spoken propaganda urging refusal of a l l work in such establishments. During the depres-sion, such a message was hardly effective in a country with almost half a million unemployed people eager to take every available job. After Hitler came to power in Germany the Society had to face a much more r e a l i s t i c and aggressive argument from the "mi l i t a r i s t s " than had hitherto been the case. A large part of the nation—two major and a few minor p o l i t i c a l parties, a few large p a c i f i s t groups and many small ones—had been in favour of unilateral disarmament. With the presence of a fasci s t country next door many began to reconsider their ideas. But the Society was consistent in i t s antimilitarism and was quite voluble in giving i t s assessment of the situation. HZ As the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society saw i t (and i t s view was representative of most libertarians), there was no reason to c a l l fascism the big ogre or to portray the international s i t u -ation as a case of democracy versus dictatorship. It was quite obvious from the last war that the a l l i e s had only fought for their own interests, had made a peace treaty $hich only benefit-ted themselves, and had not disarmed as promised. Moreover, they had shown themselves to be quite barbarian by starting a hunger boycott against Germany after November 1918. France had re-mained a completely m i l i t a r i s t i c nation since 1918 and had done everything possible to keep Germany down. There was no point in knocking down German militarism with French and B r i t i s h militarism; at best i t would bring a few years of uneasy peace before war started a l l over again. Bombing and poisoning Berlin, Hamburg and the Ruhr could not produce a better c i v i l i z a t i o n for Europe. The so-called democracies were trumpeting propa-ganda against Germany and the Soviet Union, but every democracy would make an alliance with either of the two countries i f national interest was served by i t . The real enemy in a l l coun-tries was militarism. It was not possible to destroy militarism from without, i t must be done from within by the people them-selves: through propaganda, upbringing of children, education. In a sense the fasc i s t leaders were more honest than the democratic ones: the former clearly told the people that guns were chosen over butter; the latter did not t e l l the people but made the same choice. Democracies were just as aggressive as other systems. Who took Germany's colonies and kept them after 1918? Who intervened in Russia from 1919 to 1921? O J There was no i n t r i n s i c difference between democracies and fascism because both were forms of capitalism, in the f i n a l analysis the workers were the ones who would lose; they would be sent to fight and die—on both sides. The workers now making the weapons would end up k i l l i n g themselves with these weapons. "We antim i l i t a r i s t s are no friends of fascism, but neither are 6 3 we taken i n by the propaganda of the democracies." The message of the Society did not make a great impression even though a few of the predictions proved quite accurate. At Munich the democracies did make a "deal" with Germany; Britain very nearly reached an accord with the Soviet Union in 1939; the workers (and their families) did get k i l l e d by the very materials they produced. The apparent f a i l u r e of the Society and the Bureau should not be taken to mean that the whole movement had achieved nothing. The many war resisters who preferred j a i l over simple submission, the thousands who contributed money out of their a l l too meager income, the many hours spent s e l l i n g brochures and De Wapens Neder-—often harassed by police or Orange-minded Dutchmen—spoke of a conviction and sincerity not attained by many self-righteous patriots. Perhaps most important i s the p a c i f i s t theory that slowly developed over the years. L i t t l e has been said about i t because the theory did not stand in close relationship with the organizational and propagandizing aspects of the Society. Perhaps this was the greatest weakness of the organization—it was too negative. A l l actions and propa-ganda more or less said, " l e t us do away with militarism, then capitalism w i l l crumble and we can build a new society." The b4 major means of doing away with militarism was refusal to serve; i t meant that the 20-year olds had to carry the burden. And there were not enough libertarian youths to carry out the task. By the time the accent was changed to the industrial sector, the depression made every available job a highly desirable treasure. Consequently, i t xvas unrealistic to expect workers to refuse jobs that had to do with the military. The biggest handicap for the Society was that i t could not shake i t s sectarianism; just l i k e the small orthodox denominations and sects which were so detested the libertarians remained in their own l i t t l e corner and refused to cooperate unless the others would underwrite the same goals and ideals they had. The Inter-national A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society wanted too much; had i t worked with the Social Democrats and others demanding uni-lateral disarmament, the excellent organizers and propagan-dists within, the Extreme Left could have achieved much more. Perhaps the scales could have been tipped within the Nether-lands and the army could have been disbanded: i t would not have prevented the German invasion but i t would have saved many lives and a great deal of destruction in 1940. Bart de Ligt, the theoretician of the libertarians, eventually realized this and tried to move in that direction in the years just before his death. For him and for the Society this change came too late. 85 5. Bart de Ligt (1883-1938) In the history of Dutch antimilitarism Bart de Ligt takes a special place. He wrote prodigiously; between 1914 and his death in 1938 more than 500 a r t i c l e s , pamphlets, brochures, reports and books appeared in print: almost a l l of them concerned with the question of peace, bringing militarism to an end, and 64 creating a new society where brute force would have no place. Starting as a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church he joined the Society of Christian Socialists and became one of the i n i t i a t o r s of the War Resisting Manifesto of 1915 for which act he was put in j a i l for a few weeks in 1916. By this time he had already been banned by the government from the southern part of the Netherlands for preaching a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c sermons. He had an active part in the formation of the Revolutionary Socialist Alliance and he took a strong stand against the Social Democrat-i c Workers Party for i t s petit-bourgeois mentality and i t s acceptance of the war. 6 5 During the war de Ligt studied and wrote a great deal and became convinced that the church was not the place for him. In 1917 he stopped preaching and two years later he l e f t the Society of Christian Socialists because he could no longer c a l l himself a Christian. The transformation came in part be-cause of his studies of Bakunin and Kropotkin and in part because of the Bolshevik Revolution. It appeared as i f a new world was being created and de Ligt f e l t very much in tune with the ideas that were propagated. To prepare for the expected change in Dutch society he participated in the formation of the League of Revolutionary S o c i a l i s t i c Intellectuals which tried 86 to win larger groups "through practical and moral arguments" and thereby reduce "the violent character of eventual social 66 c r i s i s as much as possible." Anarchists, syndicalists, neo-Marxists, and Christian s o c i a l i s t s worked together in the League and the government feared them suf f i c i e n t l y to take a l l sorts of measures to neutralize the influence of the i n t e l -6 7 lectuals. As the reaction took hold in the Netherlands, how-ever, many intellectuals l e f t the League; the o f f i c i a l organ, De Nieuwe Amsterdammer (New Amsterdam), lost most of i t s supporters and had to stop publication. For de Ligt i t was essential that the relationship between method and aim always be in harmony; he could therefore no longer support the revolution in Russia when i t started to use methods reminiscent of the Czarist regime. For that reason he started to work more and more with the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and in 1921 helped to create the International Bureau. These organizations fought against war and reaction by appealing "to what i s the most revolutionary within revolutionaries: res-ponsibility, awareness, reasonable judgement, and solidarity." The end could never ju s t i f y the means; the means themselves had to r e f l e c t the envisaged goal. De Ligt's importance l i e s in the fact that he elevated antimilitarism from i t s narrow party or ideological confines to a sound and worthy ideal which had i t s foundations within the very essence of humanity. Ideas from Hegel, Fichte, Ruskin, Tolstoy, Ghandi and numerous other thinkers were i n -corporated in the doctrine of nonviolence which he stated and restated countless times. His constant fight against a/ militarism could be reduced to the thesis that each human being was a unique individual and that militarism always tried to reduce that individualism to a conforming grey mass of instant obedience. The i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c personality of each man had i t s roots and obtained i t s strength from the community. 69 War resisting, therefore, became a "representative act" by an individual which exemplified what lived within the whole community. Man was a historic being; as a force of reason and morality man fought through millions of generations and b i l -lions of individuals to arise above the purely instinctive, animalistic l i f e . Man became conscious of himself as a reason-70 able, morally responsible being. It was therefore not worthy of human beings that one suppress the other and exploit him for his own purpose or that of a small group. Capitalism was condemned by de Ligt because i t s very existence depended on the exploitation of one class by another. Imperialism was even worse because i t l i t e r a l l y enslaved whole peoples and cultures for the benefit of colonial masters. Militarism was the natural result of a system that maintained i t s e l f by force. The military was "sold" to the people as being "necessary" for the maintenance of national independence while in r e a l i t y this chauvinism was nothing but a tool used by a small group benefitting from war and m i l i t a r i s m . 7 1 For two reasons a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c organizations were con-sidered essential by de Ligt. F i r s t , the existing military structure in a l l countries was so strong and permeated each national l i f e so greatly that only strong, positive action had any hope of success. He rejected bourgeois pacifism as passive. oo without principle and only interested in preventing an outbreak of war without wil l i n g to destroy the roots from which war and militarism drew their strength. Secondly, antimilitarists were conscious of their individual uniqueness which needed a free community and society to l i v e and develop in and were aware that the whole society desired the same. Each a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c act was a manifestation of what lived, often unexpressed, with-in the soul of each people. Each war resister who went to j a i l broke down the power of the military regime and at the same time prepared for the revolution which would create the new society of free individuals. De Ligt frequently expressed his whole idea in the phrase geestelijke weerbaarheid which translates l i t e r a l l y as " i n t e l -lectual defence" but also means"spiritual preparedness". It was this very lack of s p i r i t u a l preparedness that turned him so vehemently against the Social Democratic Workers Party. It practised pure opportunism with the whole antimilitarism 72 question and he lashed out against such hypocrisy. By the t h i r t i e s de Ligt had become the most important theoretician of the a n t i m i l i t a r i s t movement. In 1927 he wrote that war resisting and the fight to end conscription was not enough; in fact, considering the military development, there was a certain danger in i t . More and more countries were think-ing of a professional army because large numbers of men were not necessary anymore. The center of effort had to be trans-ferred to the economic sphere; people must refuse to work in any establishment connected with the military. Pride, honour, love for the fatherland must become associated with pacifism, antimilitarism, conscientious objection, and war resisting. Pastors and teachers were most important in this respect be-cause they could i n s t i l l the new values in the people. He reminded his readers how from 1915 to 1918 whole congregations were swayed by their pastors to sign the War Resisting Manifesto. There was no point in continuing along the way suggested by the Social Democrat trade union congresses (in 1920, 1921, 1922) and c a l l a strike in the event of mobilization. Governments could prevent such a strike c a l l , raise "the fatherland in 75 danger" cry, or put the country under martial law. There was nothing to expect from the League of Nations either. The disarmament plan was similar to what had happened to prosti-tution. At f i r s t i t was outlawed by law; when that did not help i t was regulated by law. This did not make prostitution any i *. . 7 6 less prevalent, nor any nxcer. Democracy was not primarily a p o l i t i c a l system for de Ligt, but instead had to be thought of as a social-cultural relation-ship which meant liberty, equality, fraternity. But i t was not the equality of military uniformity. It meant the p o s s i b i l i t y for everyone to develop according to his own nature and a b i l i t y so that the unique personality of each person could come to f u l l f r u i t i o n . It allowed each the right to be UNequal: multi-formity was the aim. The real content of democracy was there-fore anarchy: self governing individuals with a free economic, social and cultural association, in conscious discipline 77 forming a true community. In such a society there was no place for brute force, but de Ligt did not reject a l l violence. In his correspondence 78 with Ghandi de Ligt said: 90 I do not maintain a dogmatic anti-violence standpoint; I objectively recognize the right of every oppressed class or race to free i t s e l f with the help of weapons. I admit that a people that defends i t s e l f forcefully acts better from a moral standpoint than i f due to cowardliness and lack of character i t would not defend i t s e l f . When precisely such an act would be acceptable according to de Ligt*s view was d i f f i c u l t to determine. When Einstein changed his view on war resisting i n 1933 de Ligt did not think his 79 reasons va l i d and thought that treating the Germans as they treated the Jews was not going to solve anything. In a long a r t i c l e i n November 1933 de Ligt asked whether armed defence 80 against Hitler should be tried. The last sentence read, Therefore we agree with Heering [of Church and Peace] that the modern war has stepped out of the bounds of what i s morally permissible and acceptable and that we can therefore not accept i t for any purpose. The apparent contradiction in the foregoing statements was 81 explained in an a r t i c l e about the c i v i l war in Spain. De Ligt accepted the right of the workers to defend themselves and was saddened that the spontaneous worker movement had not erupted throughout the whole country. But he strongly c r i t i -cized the attempts to militarize the revolution by introducing conscription. This brought an end to the spontaneous revolution and resulted in one military e l i t e fighting another. The key to the whole question was the individual's own w i l l . If he was conscious enough of his own w i l l , he would decide for himself whether or not to fight. No one had the right to force him. Apparently de Ligt overlooked that such freedom of choice, and enough time for an individual to become aware of what he should or should not do, i s not always available in time of war or revolution. This very lacuna in his reasoning was i n no small part responsible for the s p l i t in the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and Bureau over the Spanish Revolution. The same kind of dichotomy in his reasoning about the moral permissibility of modern war would have had to be faced by him had he lived long enough. If the conqueror used terrible weapons and methods, should he be met in kind i f there was no other deterrent? The foregoing paragraph does not suggest that de Ligt was a theoretician far removed from r e a l i t y . He had taken part in too many demonstrations, had been in j a i l twice, had stood too close to r e a l i t y not to realize the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved. Very early he recognized that the accent should be shifted from war resisting to refusal to produce and transport military goods. The Achilles' heel of the military was i n the economic sector. From his studies of Ghandi he obtained the idea of working out a system of nonviolence for the Western World. A detailed program for the anti-war forces included a general strike in case war threatened and a complete boycott of the functions of the war making government. In 1929 his "Plan of Campaign Against a l l War and a l l Preparations for War" was given to the War Resisters International for study; in 1933 the f i n a l version was published in pamphlet form. The following year he explained his plan in a "100 minute" speech before the Congress of the War Resisters International in Dingwell Park, England. Thereafter "the Plan" was printed in various publi-8 2 cations and several languages. "The Plan" described the individual and collective activ-i t i e s that ought to be undertaken during peace time to prevent war and mobilization. If the latter two situations already 92 existed, other duties were suggested to prevent their contin-uation. Teachers, mothers, youths, technicians, journalists, production workers, etc., were a l l given specific tasks. Sabotage was quite acceptable providing no loss of l i f e took g o place. There was to be no compulsion of any kind: The deeds to be accomplished and the attitudes to be taken...are dictated to no one. They are instanced in order that individuals and collective bodies may become conscious of the numerous p o s s i b i l i t i e s within their reach today to make a l l and every war impossible. The cases mentioned should especially stimulate men to put into the service of this new fight their maximum energy, devotion and courage. The one problem de Ligt could not solve, and this was the case with a l l p a c i f i s t or an t i m i l i t a r i s t ideas, was to convince enough people in a l l countries that the prevention of war was a worthwhile and urgent goal. As has been noted, the implementation of de Ligt's ideas was discussed within the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and other libertarian groups. Once the plan was published i t gained numerous adherents in many of the middle class p a c i f i s t organ-izations and youth groups. Especially some of the latter were in favour of carrying out a plan modified to f i t the Dutch nation. Being a convinced anarchist did not li m i t de Ligt's mission f i e l d . His active participation i n the A n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c Society and Bureau, in the League of Anarcho-Communists, in the War Resisters International, etc., speaks for i t s e l f , but he also held speeches and lectures before women, youth, religious, and middle class groups who could not accept his anarchistic viewpoints but were nevertheless w i l l i n g to l i s t e n to his anti-84 m i l i t a r i s t i c theories. When libertarian groups declined after 193 3, he concentrated more than ever before on large, international a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c organizations. He was intrumen-ta l i n the formation of the Rassemblement Universel pour la Paix, worked for the creation of the Rassemblement Inter-nationale contre l a Guerre (RIGM) and had an active role u n t i l 85 his death in the Groupement Pacifiste International (GPI). In these later years he acted much more as a theorist and organizer than a representative of Dutch a n t i m i l i t a r i s t organ-izations. De Ligt's name was mentioned i n almost a l l the Dutch paci-f i s t and a n t i m i l i t a r i s t publications and his ideas were valued highly by them. But the Social Democrats and Liberal Democrats rejected his theories. For them antimilitarism meant something very different than for de Ligt. In many ways de Ligt stood closer to the middle class groups (whose c a p i t a l i s t i c society he rejected), and to the religious groups (although he had be-come an agnostic), than to the Social Democrats (who also aimed at a new society). It was unfortunate that de Ligt had such a strong antipathy against the Social Democrats. They did look hard for p o l i t i c a l advantages and, as w i l l be shown, some of their leaders viewed antimilitarism opportunistically, but most of the rank and f i l e were sincere i n their antimilitarism. If de Ligt, as one of the most i n f l u e n t i a l spokesmen of the Extreme Left, could have established some kind of rapport, Dutch anti-militarism would have been much more powerful. But de Ligt and the Extreme Left f e l t far removed from the Social Democrats and the leaders of the latter f e l t the same about the Extreme Left. It meant that Social Democrats pursued their own a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c goal and rejected every other approach but their own. Chapter IV: The Social Democratic Workers Party 1. P i t f a l l s of Disarmament From the moment of i t s birth the Social Democratic Workers Party tried to achieve a s o c i a l i s t society through the lawful, democratic process. (The "near revolution" had been a regret-f u l mistake which would not be tried again.) In 1918 the Social Democrats became the second largest p o l i t i c a l party in the Netherlands. For such a party to demand unilateral dis-armament had far reaching consequences. Party members had to be convinced that such a policy was not detrimental to their other interests. Party executives had to consider whether such a demand was l i k e l y to lose votes and hamper party growth. Finally, the desires of the rank and f i l e had to be balanced against what was p o l i t i c a l l y achievable. Social Democrats were proud of the advances they had made since 1894 and worked d i l l i g e n t l y to enlarge their power and influence within the Netherlands. Party membership increased from 27,000 i n 1918 to 53,000 in 1929 and 82,000 i n 1933. In those respective years the party polled 200,000, 800,000 and 800,000 votes which gave i t 22, 24, and 22 seats in the 100 seat Second Chamber. Party members consistently captured be-tween 1,000 and 1,500 seats in municipal governments. Social Democrats had the biggest trade union federation with 150,000 members in 1918, 200,000 in 1927, and 300,000 i n 1932 which was as much, and sometimes more, than the combined total of the Protestant and Catholic trade union federations. 1 These figures were a great source of pride, especially since they were augmented by other achievements. Social Democrats had their own press, had several large daily newspapers—circulation o f Het Volk increased from 45,000 in 1923 to 109,000 i n 1931 , by which time the second paper, Voorwaarts (Forward), sold 95,000—had their own vacation and study centers, their own radio broadcasting organization and numerous choir, drama, 2 and other cultural associations. Relations between the party and the trade union federation were so good that many workers thought their union membership automatically made them party members. The party frequently had to point out this misunderstanding in order to get workers to join the party. Many people f e l t that their movement was a great, closely knit family which would continue to go forth from strength to strength u n t i l the f i n a l goal, a s o c i a l i s t society, was achieved. The very size, achievements, and optimism of the rank and f i l e accentuated the risk of a policy of antimilitarism. Much had been gained and therefore much could be lost. Social Dem-ocrats were very much aware that they lived i n a hostile envi-ronment; the c l e r i c a l majority considered them a threat to everything they believed important. The hatred of religion which the pre-war Social Democrats had nurtured was much abated by the twenties, but the c l e r i c a l s remembered. The dis-l i k e for the House of Orange had also lessened, but the Rooie (Reds) were clearly not good Dutchmen i f they could not embrace the Royal House. Social Democrats naturally enough f e l t them-selves apart from the c l e r i c a l s , but at the same time did not 96 feel themselves any worse Dutchmen than they. In the f i r s t years after 1918 the need to prove their loyalty was not strong, but when dangers outside the borders multiplied, and when the election figures proved that the party had reached i t s culmi-nation point i f i t could not attract voters from other blocs, the need to show that they were as much part of the nation as others intensified. There was already so much that separated the "Reds" from the majority that a policy of antimilitarism added one more barrier to their acceptance i n the national community. There were three p i t f a l l s i n accepting antimilitarism. The f i r s t was the obvious one: a country that makes i t s e l f defence-less can easily be conquered, even by a small force. The party was not ready to accept this natural consequence for a number of years, but had d i f f i c u l t y explaining that national disarma-ment did not mean leaving the country open to a l l invaders. The explanations were never convincing. A second danger stemmed from the peculiar nature of Dutch p o l i t i c s . In 1913 Social Democrats had rejected participation in government; after 1918 party leaders began to regret this decision because i t was p o l i t i c a l l y harmful. Being perpetually in opposition gave a feeling of impotence. Forcing one's way into government could only be accomplished by having a policy acceptable to potential coalition partners, or making substan-t i a l advances i n elections. In both instances the national disarmament policy appeared to be an obstacle. For p o l i t i c a l reasons the demand should be minimized or abolished, but party o f f i c i a l s dared not suggest this because the rank and f i l e was too imbued with antimilitarism to accept i t . y / The third p i t f a l l was of a very different nature. If the party came out in favour of antimilitarism would not many i n d i -viduals "do their own b i t " for the cause? And could this i n d i -vidualism not threaten party cohesion? Individual war resisting was propagated by the Extreme Left as the answer to end m i l i -tarism. But was i t f a i r to ask young Social Democrats to go to j a i l for ten months? More importantly, could the party retain control i f many young men went to j a i l and older ones refused to report for re-training exercises? Apart from the question of legal i t y there was the question of disci p l i n e . Could the party survive without s t r i c t discipline? These immediate and potential problems were recognized to a greater or lesser degree by the leaders and they v*ere not anxious to broach the subject of antimilitarism. They were forced to do so because of the promise made at the Arnhem Congress (1915), pressure from the rank and f i l e , and the a c t i v i t i e s of the international trade union federations. 2. The O f f i c i a l Position Pressure from below started at the 1919 Easter Congress where five locals wanted the party to accept unilateral disarma-ment and six urged that the slogan "not a man or a cent for the military" be endorsed as party policy. The Congress spent a l l i t s time discussing the "almost revolution" of November 1918 and the military question was held over. The following year more, and more insistent suggestions were forwarded by the locals and the executive promised that a policy statement would be forthcoming shortly. By this time the Second (Bern-Geneva) 98 International had made i t s position clear. A boycott against Hungary had fa i l e d but a s t r i k e — l a r g e l y by B r i t i s h workers— had prevented weapons and ammunition from reaching Poland. At the international congresses of the Transport Workers, the Metal Workers, and the Miners there had been pledges of strikes or boycotts to prevent war. The Special International Trade Union Congress held in London i n November 1920 declared:"above a l l things, militarism must be combated in every form," and promised "international mass-action in the assault on reaction, in declaring war against war, and for the realization of a new social system." 3 On the heels of these developments the party executive issued 4 a brochure explaining i t s position. It was pointed out that opposition to militarism could not rest on ethical principles alone but also had to be viewed in concrete p o l i t i c a l terms. How would such a policy affect Dutch workers? Considering the determination of the international workers' organizations to enforce peace through mass strikes, taking into account that there was now a League of Nations, and, perhaps most important-ly, realizing that defending the Netherlands was impossible and that any effort towards this was wasted money, the party executive proposed that national disarmament become the party's policy. The pre-war demand that national disarmament be tied to international disarmament was dropped; the party would exert i t s e l f to make formal education free from nationalistic and m i l i t a r i s t i c propaganda. The 1921 Congress made this the o f f i c i a l party policy. 99 For the party leaders unilateral disarmament was, and remained, more a p o l i t i c a l and financial question than a humanitarian one. Party dis c i p l i n e weighed heavily and they saw no hope i n the "individualistic humanitarian emotionalism" of the a n t i m i l i t a r i s t i c groups on the Extreme Left. Disarmament could only be achieved through rational argument, sensible programs, and within the confines of the law. On the one hand such an approach proved effective: the whole weight of the disciplined party could be employed. On the other hand, there was a danger in this approach. Attracted to the "humanitarian and emotional" attitude of the groups on the l e f t , the rank and f i l e Social Democrats could at times only be held in check with great d i f f i c u l t y . When called upon for demonstrations, protests, or petitions, most members responded with enthusiasm, but when the party asked for no more than propaganda they found this d i f f i c u l t to accept. At times confused, the rank and f i l e nevertheless was convinced that disarmament was the only road for the Netherlands. Over the years, one good reason was piled on top of another in support of this vision u n t i l i t seemed incomprehensible that any xvell-meaning person could see i t differently. Shortly after the party had accepted unilateral disarmament the f i r s t p o l i t i c a l snag presented i t s e l f . It came i n the form of a motion in the Second Chamber introduced by the Independent W. Wijk, "that the Netherlands i f attacked by another power 5 need not defend herself." Introduc
UBC Theses and Dissertations
The nature and extent of antimilitarism and pacifism in the Netherlands from 1918 to 1940 and the degree… Bout, John Jacob 1976
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