I learned something new today while zapping on the tv tonight that I thought I'd share as it stunned me a bit. Like most Dutch people of my age I grew up with stories about the second world war. There were a lot of boys' books about the second world war and I devoured a lot of them. Of course many were dramatized a lot, hopelessly patriotic and seemed to convey the feeling that three quarters of the Dutch population was in some way connected to the resistance. Which is of course a blatant lie. Some numbers on the internets, which I can't really verify at the moment, claim this is as low (or high depending on your point of view) as 25.000 people actively involved. In a country with 9 million inhabitants at the time this is far from the 3/4 many people assume. But that's beside the point at this moment.
Having a dad who had majored in history and specialised in international politics of England I got a lot of knowledge that way as well. (I shudder to think what I'll actually do with the 30+ biographies of Winston Churchill if I eventually inherit them.) As an interesting aside my dad used to work (he's retired now) in the building that was occupied by Seyss-Inquart
, who was commissioner (Reichskommissar) for occupied Holland. It's a very nice building and it's good to know it's used for more benign purposes these days.
Of course history classes in the Netherlands are also riddled with references to the second world war. However there are still so many details about the second world war and the invasion following D-Day that are unknown to many, if simply because the period is so rich with history. Today I saw the tail end of a program on the BBC
which mentioned Operation Pluto
, a pipeline the allied forced laid between the British isles and the north of France to keep oil flowing to the allied forces. I did some web searches and it's very interesting. You learn something new every day. Even if it's only about something that happened more than 60 years ago.
Check out the names of cooperating oil companies
as well. British imperialism at work.