Dutch Foreign Policy since 1815: A Study in Small Power Politics

By Amry Vandenbosch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII

LEAGUE OF NATIONS POLICY

AN AGONIZING REAPPRAISAL

In view of their long attachment to the policy of neutrality, it is surprising that there was so little opposition among the Dutch to joining the League of Nations. The step was not taken, however, without grave misgivings. The Dutch attitude was graphically described by Foreign Minister van Karnebeek in reply to a member of parliament who had spoken of the act as a jump in the dark: "When there is darkness and a jump must be made into it, the question which this assembly must answer is: is it not better to jump with than without the League?"

There were two currents in Dutch foreign policy which, if they were not contradictory, were hardly complementary and the decision to become a member of the League of Nations represented the triumph of one over the other. One current was that of interest in the peace movement and the development of internanational cooperation and the other that of a timid neutrality which questioned and feared any positive move in foreign policy as a dangerous involvement in great power politics. Though thoroughly committed to it, the Dutch were not altogether happy about this cautious policy. Professor A. Anema of the Free University of Amsterdam gave expression to this feeling in the First Chamber in 1923,1 While he was in general agreement with the old policy he declared that it had a dark side. It was chiefly negative and did nothing to develop an international conciousness. The Dutch felt no responsibillity for developments in the international fields; they had come to stand egotistically in a small corner and no longer felt themselves members of the world community. "Something small entered our politics, something restrictive which left no room for enthusiasm for a great idea, no eagerness to cooperate for the realization of a great international ideal."

____________________
1
Handelingen, Eerste Kamer, 1922-23, pp. 670-71.

-172-

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Dutch Foreign Policy since 1815: A Study in Small Power Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 6
  • Chapter III 32
  • Chapter IV 44
  • Chapter V 57
  • Chapter VI 70
  • Chapter VII - THE NORTH SEA DECLARATION 89
  • Chapter VIII 101
  • Chapter IX 108
  • Chapter X 140
  • Chapter XI 149
  • Chapter XII 164
  • Chapter XIII 172
  • Chapter XIV 191
  • Chapter XV 217
  • Chapter XV 241
  • Chapter XVII - RELATIONS WITH GERMANY: FAILURE OF NEUTRALITY 271
  • Chapter XVIII 289
  • Index 313
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