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Strategic Dilemmas Of A Small Power With Colonial Empire. The Netherlands East Indies 1936–1941

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Chapter Summary

Netherlands had been able to uphold its neutrality during World War I, but only been by a narrow margin. Prospects for escaping total war in a next round of war between the Great Powers seemed rather bleak. The question now was how to harmonize a credible strategic defence with a lower budget. Would modern technologies like bomber and torpedo aircraft, in combination with submarines, offer a solution or would it be wiser to fall back on more and larger cruisers as core capabilities of a harmonious fleet? The objective of this chapter is to compare between these two options as potentially viable solutions for the strategic dilemma of the Netherlands for the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) in the late inter-war years. The chapter also reveals the extent the army and the navy were inclined to fight each other instead of making joint preparations for meeting the enemy.

Keywords: Netherlands East Indies (NEI); strategic dilemmas; World War I



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