- A Dutch mass army? Dutch liberal ideas and practices to enlarge the army, 1914-1922
- First World War Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 2 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
In August 1914, the Dutch government called up its citizens to enlist voluntarily in the army. This call-up failed. In 1915, the government tried to enlarge the army significantly by law. This attempt succeeded partially. At the end of the war, under threat of a leftwing revolution, the Netherlands assembled the largest voluntary force in its modern history and those volunteers stayed on after 1918. This article investigates Dutch thoughts on strengthening society to guarantee the survival of a small state. It was representatives from the liberal bourgeoisie who, from the late nineteenth century, actively propagated ideas on national strength, sometimes even of a social-Darwinist nature. The mobilization period was the test, as it were, to see how a notoriously non-military people would be prepared to act. Was the ideal of a kind of militarized citizen feasible?
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