The Army under fire

29 April 2015 - 13:48

Between 1945 and 1989, the Dutch army came under fire from different sides of society.

Civil groups, critical conscripts and professional soldiers, conscientious objectors and people from the peace movement stood up for their cause, waved along with democratization and held a public debate about the role of the armed forces. This happened against a background of post-war reconstruction, the Cold War, colonial war in Indonesia and the anti-nuclear weapon actions of the 1980s.

Coreline Boot graduated on this subject in Leiden on 9 October 2014 and now a trade edition of her thesis has appeared at Boom Uitgevers: The Army under fire. The Royal Netherlands Army and its critics 1945-1989. (in Dutch) For her analysis of the various types of social protest against the armed forces, Coreline Boot ended up at the IISH in, among other things, the archives of the Bond for Dienstplichtigen, the Vereniging van Dienstplichtig Militairen and the Vereniging Dienstweigeraars, and many archives of the peace movement. A spicy combination with the archives of the Intelligence services that these organizations were trying to keep an eye on: the National Security Office and the Military Intelligence and Security Service MIVD, where the author could also - a rarity!

This research shows, among other things, that the Ministry of Defense, at that time under Piet de Jong, was totally surprised in 1966 by the establishment of the Military Consumers' Association and the same in 1967 by the Bond van Dienstweigeraars. These relatively small groups made an enormous impression on the authorities. The ministry almost immediately allowed the VVDM to tolerate and to treat it as a quasi-contact organ, the BVD on the other hand, radius was ignored. The ministry also had to deal with a small number of cases of sabotage and repeatedly became embroiled in the long hair of conscripts. A serious study about sometimes entertaining phenomena.

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