17 MAY 1940, Page 1

The Conquest of Holland

Surprise, overwhelming force and treachery from within on an unbelievable scale have added Holland to the lengthening list of the victims of violated neutrality. Five days sufficed for Ger- many to sweep through and reduce the small and untried Dutch army to such straits that it had no choice but to surrender. Holland has been swallowed by the invader before there was time for any help to reach her from the Allies by land except small advance guards, and when the only substantial aid that could be given was in the air. The swiftness of her fall was due to the attacks in the rear by heavily armed parachutists and men landed with machine-guns from aeroplanes, and most of all by a network of treachery from within. This powerful diversion in the rear played a great part in disorganising the defence on the perimeter of the water-lines, where rapidly advancing mechanised units of the enemy, preceded by waves of bombers, cut off the Dutch armies from outside aid and rolled them up into a ball within the narrow circle which includes the bulk of Holland's population. If the fight had been con- tinued the chief cities would have been razed to the ground. To avoid such a massacre of civilians the Dutch forces have capitulated. The Germans have entered Amsterdam and the Hague, and it remains for Queen Wilheln-lina and her Govern- ment to exercise sovereignty over the Dutch Empire from English soil. For this brutal conquest no blame can attach to the Allies. Their aid was not sought till it was too late, and even preliminary staff talks had not been possible.