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Neutral Borders, Neutral Waters, Neutral Skies Protecting The Territorial Neutrality Of The Netherlands In The Great War, 1914-1918

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Chapter Summary

For neutral states upholding the strict territorial integrity of their nation is fundamental. Neutrality is a legal concept that existed long before the arrival of the nation-state, dating as far back as the sixth century B.C. when Milesians refrained from interfering in the affairs of Ionean Greece and Persia. A full day before the Dutch government announced the general mobilization of the conscript army and navy, in the midst of the July crisis 1914, it ensured that the country's borders were protected by calling all border guards to military service. The Great War proved to be the first real test of Dutch neutrality since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Although by international law, neutrality required strict territorial isolation of neutrals from belligerents, the relationship between the Netherlands' border, the country's territorial sovereignty and the maintenance of neutrality during the Great War was uncertain.

Keywords: Dutch neutrality; Netherlands; the Great War

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