THE DUTCH RESISTANCE MOVEMENT

Created: 4/6/1945

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Oracz or Strategic Suit vices Research and Analysis Branch

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THE DUTCH RESISTANCE MOVEMENT

Unlike resistance movements in many other countries occupied by Germany, the Dutch underground is largely nonpolltlcal in character. The German occupation modified most of the Incompatibilities which prior0 divided the Dutch people into many small, sharply defined groups.esult German administration has been faced withand determined opposition from all elements of the Dutch

In France, the "Resistance" was considered synonymousrogressive. Ifevolutionary, political outlook. In the Netherlands, however, all political groupings have Joined In opposing the occupying force under leadership which has remained largely in the hands of the substantial and conservative Dutch elements which held the reins of authority in peace time.

The centralization process has been gradual In the early days of the German occupation there waa no large underground groupompleted national organization. Early resistance was chieflysporadic, and at best locally organized. Even today centralization has not been wholly achieved and individual, local resistanceubstantial part of Dutch efforts to disrupt the Nazi system.

The Dutch resistance movement also has been primarily nonmilitary In character. No large underground paramilitary formation hasThis Is probably due to the scarcity of arms and ammunition, to the uncoordinated activities of the three principal armed groups, and to German counter-measures. The underground has concerned itself chiefly with obstructing German administration, obtaining military, political, and economic intelligence, and caring for the so-called onder-duikers (undergrounders) and their families. Tbe onderduikers, estimated tor more, are those persons whoariety of reasons, particularly to avoid labor deportation, have been obliged to conceal their identity or whereabouts from German and quislingArmed bands, when they have been employed, have served to forward these objectives. The hijacking of identification and rationing documents for the use of the cmderdulkera, for example, has been atask of the armed bands. Until Allied troops reached Dutch soli, Dutch underground forces carried out few strictly military missions.

During most of the occupation period, contact between theand the Dutch Government-in-exile has been poor. This has been partly due to the attitude and shortcomings of the Government and partly to the substantially Independent outlook of the resistance itself.

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Many of the resistance members in the now liberated areas of thestill regard with suspicion Dutch officials who have spent the war years in London.

There are four principal organizations in the Dutch underground: the Landelijke Organisatiehe Orde Diensthe Road van Verzetnd the Nattonaal Comiten addition, thecomprises some prewar political parties and many small local groups. Both appear to have played important roles (former party leaders have been especially active in sponsoring the undergroundbut In general they have carried on their resistance activities through the medium of one or more of the four principal resistance organizations.

The Landelijke Organisatie (National Organization)ighly centralized national organization which devotes itself principally to the acquisition and distribution of documents which thend their families need for their own support. For this purpose Itandarge number of semiautonomous armed bands called knok ploegen.yramidal structure and is divided functionally into four units: personal identification, armed bands, falsification of documents, and Investigation.. is largely conservative in its political composition, but its members do not appear united behind any particular program or ideology. It had neithernor sought close contact with the Dutch Government-In-exile.

The Orde Dienst, organized under the aegis of former army officers, ls one of the oldest Dutch resistance groups. Its purpose has been to build up an elaborate national organization which could be used to assist in maintaining order when the Germans retreated from the Netherlands. In addition it has gathered intelligence and, with Interruptions, has maintained an excellent radio communication service with the outside world. This radio transmission service,ong time better than that of any other underground group, enabled the OJJ- to maintain close contact with the Dutch Government in London. Otherwise. was comparatively Inactive until some areas of the Netherlands wereThen. appeared with many new recruits who never before had done underground work and thereby incurred considerable ill will from other underground groups. Politically. is rightist andIts higher echelonsumber of socially prominent and wealthy men.. appears to favor strong central leadership in post-warelay in the recall of Parliament, and an increase in the power of the Crown during the rehabilitation period.. members have gained influential positions either on Prince Bemhard's staff or in Dutch Civil Affairs.

The Road van Verzet (Council of Resistance) was foundedafter the widespread but unsuccessful strikes of3 under the leadership of the chief of. radio service, who favored more active resistance operations than. was willing to permit, and leftith his well-organized radio network.. originally attempted to coordinate the activities of all armed resistance groups. Op-

position from other resistance organizations prevented complete unilica-tlon.esult.eparate resistance organization, which maintained contacts with other clandestine groups but carried out separate raids on German offices, liquidated particularly dangerousorganized sabotage, and aided the onder duikers.. has its own armed bands (also called knok ploegen) which often have operated in conjunction. armed bands.. has made Its radioavailable for the transmission of reports and directives between the Government-ln-exile and various resistance organizations. While. includes members of all political tendencies, lt appears to be oriented somewhat toward the Left and has received the support of the Dutch Communist Party.

The Nationaal Comite, likeeparate resistanceoriginally intended to serve as an overall coordinating body. It consistsomparatively small number of men of high standing in Dutch public, business, and professional life. Through their extensive communications these men gather andarge amount ofOn this basis they seek to give direction to public as well asresistance.. works closely with civil service, transport, Industrial, and financial leaders and carries on the greater part of its activity in the four largest Dutch cities. Its Importance and influence far exceed its numerical strength By Its very nature. ls politically conservative, though lt ls probably more nearly Right-Center than Right.

In the fall4 the knok-ploegen, which had been semiautono-mously affiliated with. andational scaletructure patterned after that of. and possiblyimilar political and economic orientation. InNetherlands. hasendency towardaction, temporarily resisting incorporation into the Dutch Forces of the Interior andomewhat undisciplined course.

Chief among the smaller resistance organizations has been the Nationaal Steunjunds. (National Financial Aid) which, since the beginning of the occupation, has sought to obtain and distribute funds to the onderduikers.. has its own sources of funds and also coordinates the relief activities of local resistance organizations. Its leadership reportedly is drawn from wealthy and3 lt has received financial support from the Govcrnment-in-exile. Other small resistance groups concern themselves chiefly with organizing and directing anti-German activities of special categories of the population. They Include the Organization of Civil Servants, the Doctors' Resistance, and the Students' Resistance.

The four most important Dutch underground newspapers axe the Vrij Nederland, Trouw, Het Parool, and De Waarheid. The oldest, Vrij Nederland initially represented the ideas of the conservativeParty but was abandoned by this Party and moved to the Left The Anti-Revolutionary Party founded Trouw, which reportedlyarger circulation than any other Dutch underground paper and is widely

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read In both Catholic and Calvlnlat circles Het Parool, established by Social Democrats, developed from the popularoen "open letters" which received wide circulation in the early days of occupation. The paper, however, lost contact with Social Democratic circles2 and subsequentlyrogressive policy. Recently It hasourse parallel to that of Vrij Nederland and has engaged in Jointwith the latter paper. De Waarheid is the official organ of the Dutch Communist Party and is the principal known activity of the Dutch Communists. Further information on the organization and resistance activities of the Dutch Communists must await the liberation ofand Rotterdam, the chief centers of Communist activity.

Following many early failures to form an overall resistancea coordinating body was formed earlyalledm or the Top, including representatives of most underground groups and clandestine newspapers. The organization was the result of theof thexile and the initiative of. Inhe Dutch Government,peedy liberation of the Netherlands, suggested that the Kern should be expanded andThis was effected and the new committee, renamed the Road van IliegaUtett, became the most important unit of the underground Little else Is known of the composition or functions ofXare. however, that Queen Wilhelmlna will select from, at least some of her advisors, once liberation has been completed.

Inrince Bemhard, chief of the Dutch Forces of the Interior, Initiated efforts to unify tbe Dutch armed resistance groups and called uponnd. torganization called the Delta. These efforts have not been whollyDutch armed resistance In recent months has been furtherby highly repressive German counter-measures.

Like many occupied nations the Dutch are confronted with theproblem of absorbing In orderly fashion former active underground units Into the national life. This problem has been somewhat easier in Holland than in France since liberation has been more gradual and Dutch armed bands are less numerous and less military In character. The issue of disarming resistance forces in liberated areas has not yet arisen since these units have been formed Into "task forces" which are assigned to guard duties, special services with Dutch Military Government, or military operations. Individuals are allowed to retain arms only If they volunteer for services of this kind. The present policy is to make the "task forces" one of the baseseconstituted Dutch Army.

Original document.

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