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'The Rape of the Netherlands'. How the Dutch lost their neutrality
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 (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to discuss how Dutch diplomatic rhetoric was gendered and whether and in which ways the rhetoric changed as the traditionally non-aligned Netherlands went from being neutral to becoming a NATO-member. In accordance with a more than hundred-year-long tradition of aloofness, the Dutch government declared the Netherlands neutral at the outbreak of the Second World War. However, as a result of the German occupation in 1940, it soon had to adapt to a position as one of the Allies. In 1949 the Netherlands became one of NATO’s founding members. A close look at key Dutch foreign policy statements from this period reveals that the diplomatic rhetoric changed surprisingly little as the country changed its international identity. The study takes as its point of departure a textual analysis of the book ‘The Rape of the Netherlands’, a clearly gendered defence of Dutch neutrality written in 1940 by Dutch foreign minister Eelco van Kleffens and his wife Margaret in face of claims that the country had not put up enough of a fight against the German attacker. Against that background, the paper studies the rhetoric used as the country’s value as an ally was increasingly emphasized. It compares ‘The Rape of the Netherlands’ to later statements by Van Kleffens, in particular the 1949 article ‘Regionalism and political pacts. With special reference to the North Atlantic Treaty’, as well as the government's 1949 note on the ratification of the North Atlantic Treay and a 1953 statement by Van Kleffens’ successor Dirk Stikker. The results are discussed in the general context of the government’s security ideas and strategies of these years.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
neutrality, gender, diplomatic rhetoric, the Netherlands, NATO
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302328OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-302328DiVA: diva2:957160
Gendering Neutrality
Available from: 2016-09-01 Created: 2016-09-01 Last updated: 2016-09-01

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Erlandsson, Susanna
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Department of History

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