20. NEUTRALS AND THE WORLD WAR. The nations of the modern world are bound together so closely by political, social, economic and intellectual ties that any great war is inevitably felt everywhere. To a lesser de gree this has been the case in the past, and much or international law is concerned with the rights and duties of neutrals. The interests of neutrals and belligerents constantly conflict Neutrals wish to maintain as nearly as possible their ordinary relations with both sides; belligerents wish to prevent their enemies from receiving help from outside. Hence the discussions over blocicades, contraband, the °freedom of the seas" and violations of neutrality.
From the first day of the war each neutral nation faced the following problems: (1) that of keeping out of the war; (2) of avoiding un neutral acts by the government or its citizens; (3) of preventing any belligerent from violat ing its neutrality, and of securing satisfaction for unlawful acts; (4) of upholding its rights under international law of carrying on certain kinds of commerce with either belligerent; (5) of readjusting the whole economic life of ordi nary times, meeting deficits, getting raw mate rials, providing for unemployment, etc.; (6) of keeping the people fed, clothed and warmed; (7) finally, of mediation, of helping to end the war, and in the meanwhile of mitigating its severity by relief measures.
In particular the neutrals have been affected by the use of mines on the high seas, the crea tion of war zones, the increasingly ruthless use of submarines by Germany, the lengthening lists of contraband, blacklists, interference with mails, use of neutral flags by belligerents, the forcing of concessions by the withholding of imports and compelling neutral ships to enter belligerent ports. The Allies through their command of the sea could control a large part of the imports and exports of the neutrals, par ticularly the Scandinavian countries and Hol land. Germany through open land frontiers and across the Baltic had access to these north ern neutral markets. Both belligerents tried to prevent supplies from reaching their enemies indirectly through neutrals, and- demanded con cessions or threatened reprisals whenever the other side seemed to be profiting.
The At the outbreak of war Holland mobilized to defend the frontiers. The Dutch lcnew that German expansionists had long desired to control the mouth of the Rhine, the Dutch sea-coast and their colonies in the East Indies. For years Pan-German propagandists had been Urging the Dutch to join a greater Germany. German capital had secured a tremendous economic hold in Hol land. In court, army and business circles there were numerous Germans and German sympa thizers. The nation as a whole, however, was
firmly resolved to maintain its neutrality and independence. To join Germany meant the loss of the colonies to the Allies; to join the Allies meant to risk the fate of Belgium and Serbia. The spectacle of martyred Belgium made a deep impression on Holland, exciting sympathy, indignation and alarm. While many were pro Ally, Dutch patience was sorely tried by British restrictions on trade, interference with mail and cables and use of coaling privileges to control the movements of Dutch shipping. German methods of search and seizure were also re garded as illegal. Protests were made to both sides on these matters, and also as to mines in the North Sea. Specific violations of Dutch territorial neutrality by warships, aircraft or troops were resisted, or apologies were secured. Early in the hostilities the government forbade all belligerent warships to enter Dutch waters. This was extended to cover armed merchant men. Soldiers who crossed the border were interned.
The government refused to publish its spe cific reasons for keeping a considerable force mobilized. Obviously by conquering Holland, Germany would have gained additional sub marine bases and valuable rpil lines to northern France; on the other hand a neutral Holland protected the vital Rhine industrial districts. On several occasions the Dutch suspected that Germany was trying to force a quarrel. At times, as in March 1916, it was rumored that the Allies planned to attack Germany through Holland. The most serious controversies were those with the German government over its submarine policy. Losses from mines and sub marines began in 1914 and became steadily worse. Particularly critical were the sinking of the Katwyk April 1915, the Tubantia and the Palembang, March 1916, and of six grain ships, February 1917. In some cases Germany apolo gized and offered damages, in others responsi bility was disclaimed, or the sinkings justified. Finally Holland, with Germany's assent, took over German shipping in the East Indies to re place some of the lost tonnage. On 20 March 1918 all Dutch ships in American and Allied ports were taken over, after German threats had pre vented an agreement as to chartering them. Holland was to be paid and any losses made good. The Dutch government protested, but the measure though unusual was legal. Ger many protested Holland's final acquiescence as an unneutral act, and brought on a crisis by de manding the right to ship gravel and other supplies through Holland to Belgium. The previous autumn Britain had brought pressure on Holland to stop such shipments. Holland yielded to Germany only in part.