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From aloofness to alliance: recasting causes and aims of Dutch security policy, 1942–1948
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3515-3237
2016 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper argues that the Dutch road from aloofness to NATO-membership was not primarily about the experience of failed neutrality, or about fear of the Soviet Union or a new war: it was not, as it has often been depicted, a sacrifice of (peace-time) sovereignty for (war-time) security. On the contrary, it claims that the changed course was in fact about retaining sovereignty, not only in wartime but in times of peace. A close comparison with the Swedish case reveals that the Dutch decision to ally was based on the same considerations that caused the Swedish government to opt for non-alignment. Both were motivated by the endeavour to maintain as much margin for manoeuvre as possible in a world where small states were no longer expected to be able to survive independently. The desire to safeguard regional stability and cooperation as a prerequisite to maintaining margin for manoeuvre underpinned the decisions of both governments. In other words, the Dutch policy of alliance was an expression of the same ambition that underpinned the policy of aloofness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
The Netherlands, 1940's, security, NATO, neutrality, sovereignty, Sweden, small states, regional cooperation, margin for manoeuvre
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-283520OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-283520DiVA: diva2:925530
Symposium "Recasting the History of Dutch Foreign Relations, 1814–2000", Amsterdam, March 17, 2016.
Available from: 2016-05-02 Created: 2016-04-13 Last updated: 2016-05-02

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Erlandsson, Susanna
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