Sunday, 27 November 2016

Holland gets a piece of Germany after WWII

 Image result for Bakker-Schut
Among the many ignored facts of the WWII is that Holland wanted to get a piece of Germany after the war, and got something.
Germany caused enormous material and human damages to all the countries of Europe, no European country has caused as much destruction and victims as Germany, so it is logical that Germany would had to compensate them after the war. Some even proposed their disappearance as a country which would have avoided later problems in Europe.
 We know that France regained Alsace and Lorraine, Poland obtained Pomerania, Silesia and other territories, but it is little known that Holland also wanted a part of Germany.

 In the first year following the liberation of the Netherlands in May 1945, dozens of pamphlets and brochures were published that propagated annexation of territory of the former German Reich, preferably without the accompanying German population. Several highly placed persons, including then Foreign Minister Eelco Nicolaas Van Kleffens,  put forth their own ideas regarding annexation in these publications. Opinions varied widely as to how much territory should be annexed. Some people only wanted a few border corrections, others drew the new border past Hamburg.  
In October 1945, the Dutch state asked Germany  for 25 billion quilders ( Dutch coin )  in repàrations,  but in February 1945 it had already been established at the Yalta Conference  that reparations would not be given in monetary form. The plan which was worked out in most detail was the one made by Frits Bakker Schut,  and hence became known as the Bakker-Schut Plan.
In its most ambitious form, this plan included the cities of Cologne, Aachen, Münster and Osnabrück,  and would have enlarged the country's European area by 30 to 50 percent. The local population had to be either deported, or, when still speaking the original Low German dialects, Duchified. 
Queen Wilhelmina

Queen Wilhelmina an energetic supporter of the annexation plan, strongly urged him to start negotiating on this with the Allies. In 1946, in the name of the Dutch government, he officially claimed 4,980 km2 of German territory, which was not even half of the area envisioned by Van Kleffens. The Dutch-German border would be drawn from Vaals  via Winterswijk  to the Ems River,  so that 550,000 Germans would live inside the Dutch national borders.

 The plan was largely dropped after U.S. dismissal of it in 1947.   The allies (in particular the Americans) considered it vital to have a stable West Germany in view of the coming Cold War. 

 At a conference of foreign ministers of the western allied occupation forces in London (January 14 until February 25, 1947), the Dutch government (Cabinet Beel I) claimed an area of 1,840 km2. This claim included apart from the island Borkum  large parts of the Emsland, Bentheim, the cities Ahaus, Rees, Kleve, Erkelenz, Geilenkirchen and Heinsberg and the areas around these cities.

In 1946, about 160,000 people lived in this area, of whom more than 90% spoke German. This plan was a very simplified version of the C-variation of the Bakker Schut Plan. The KVP considered this proposal much too small, while theCPN  rejected any kind of reparations in the form of territorial expansion.

The London conference of April 23, 1949, only permitted some less far-reaching border modifications. At 12 o'clock of the very same day, Dutch troops occupied an area of 69 km2, the largest parts of which were Elten  (near Emmerich am Rhein ) and Selfkant.  Many other small border corrections were executed, mostly in the vicinity of Arnhem and Dinxperlo. At that time, these areas were inhabited by a total of almost 10,000 people.
Image result for Bakker-Schut
In red Regions in Germany with Dutch as the default language in the XVII-XIX centuries

Starting in March 1957, West Germany negotiated the return of these areas with the Netherlands. These negotiations led to an agreementmade in The Hague on April 8, 1960, in which Germany agreed to pay 280 million German marks  for the return of Elten, Selfkant, and Suderwick.

 It is surprising that territories were returned to a country where the majority still had strong Nazi sentiments as shown by that in December 1951, just 5 percent of West Germans surveyed admitted feeling ‘guilty’ towards Jews. A further 29 percent acknowledged that Germany owed some restitution to the Jewish people. The rest were divided between those (some two-fifths of respondents) who thought that only people ‘who really committed something’ were responsible and should pay, and those (21 percent) who thought ‘that the Jews themselves were partly responsible for what happened to them during the Third Reich.’

Konrad Adenauer former Chanceller of Germany in that epoch

The territory was returned to Germany on August 1, 1963, except one small hill (about 3 km²) near Wyler  village, called Duivelsberg/Wylerberg  which was annexed by the Netherlands.

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