Few events have altered world history to the extent that World War I did. Four years of bloody conflict culminated in a legacy of political, social and economic instability that affected, to some extent, every participant in the conflict. The relative stability that characterized most of Europe after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) was replaced by several revolutions, economic instability, the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Revolution, the collapse of the Bismarckian political structure in Germany, and a legacy of problems that ultimately culminated in the second world war.
No nation foresaw the extent of the damage that war would do to the European fabric. On the other hand, no nation actively sought an all-European conflict, although all were ready - perhaps too ready - to jump to the defense of their perceived interests, as proved to be the case in 1914. The speed with which the major powers plunged into war in 1914 can also be attributed to the rising tensions which had characterized European international politics in the decade immediately preceding the first world war. While tensions already existed concerning German naval expansion, the future of Alsace and Lorraine, and the perpetual troubles in the Balkans, these larger problems alone might not have triggered conflict. Instead, the European situation grew more delicate and unstable because of a diverse series of events; the defeat of Russia by Japan in 1904-1905, the German threats concerning Morroco in 1905, the unilateral annexation of Bosnia by Austria in 1908, the second Morrocan crisis in 1911, and the Balkan wars of 1912-13 (which, among other things, doubled Serbia’s size).
This decade of crises created a tense atmosphere for all European states, including the small ones. The position of the Netherlands was particularly complicated. Holland had no territorial ambitions in Europe and could not benefit from war (although some writers would later claim that she did). At the very least, war could disrupt profitable overseas trade and cut the ties to the colonies in the East Indies (Indonesia). Worse, the country could be occupied or become a battlefield for opposing powers. Holland sat perched uncomfortably at the strategic junction between Germany, Britain, and France. The government was not optimistic about the prospects for neutrality, but this seemed the only sensible policy to avoid destruction. The Dutch army was of respectable size given the country’s population and its quality had improved by 1914, but no one thought that it could stop a determined advance by any major power. Joining a coalition was not advantageous as it would guarantee disaster; a coalition with Germany meant that Britain would cut off Dutch trade, while a coalition with the Anglo-French entente guaranteed German invasion. Neutrality it would have to be.
Neutrality could only be maintained if Dutch military strength, economic value to belligerents, and diplomacy would discourage invasion. Hopefully the Dutch army was enough to make aggression too costly. Hopefully, each belligerent would see an independent Holland as economically more valuable to itself than it was to the enemy. Hopefully Dutch diplomats could retain good relations with all belligerents as they engaged in mortal struggle. It was a lot to hope for. At the very least, the Netherlands had to have exceptional intelligence regarding the actions and intentions of its neighbors - especially Germany, potentially the greatest threat.
Did Holland have 'exceptional intelligence’? There is some disagreement on this point. One of the best scholars of this period has argued that Holland was “unfamiliar with the war plans of the surrounding powers.<1> On the other hand, the Netherlands knew about its inclusion in the original Schlieffen plan within a year and half of its preparation,<2> after which it changed its military plans,<3> knew enough about British and German radio traffic to decode both during the war,<4> and apparently received advance information about German intentions in the summer of 1914. The Netherlands was the first country outside eastern Europe to begin mobilization, and it did this on the basis of a coded telegram received from inside Germany. There may have been other items of secret information that helped trigger the early mobilization, but these have never been revealed (it was common for officials in this era to obtain and retain intelligence informally, never filing the information anywhere).<5>
2. The Military-Diplomatic Background to Mobilization
Why did Holland need information, and why did she have to mobilize as quickly as possible - sooner than any of her major neighbors? The answer is that the strategic position of the Netherlands had grown steadily more parlous in the decade before World War I. German strategy after 1905 guaranteed that the focus of the next war would lie in the west, not the east. Holland lay directly in between two likely opponents - Britain and Germany - and understood perfectly well that it could become a highway for a German advance on France.
This understanding came from a combination of factors. First, and most obviously, there was the abovementioned awareness of Schlieffen’s original plan, which stipulated an invasion of the Netherlands as well as of Belgium to facilitate the conquest of France. Second, there was a feeling that Germany might want to occupy the Dutch coast to deny it to Britain (indeed, such a plan had been discussed in Germany in the 1890s). This could have meant the loss of most of the country, and at least would mean a fight between Germany and Britain over the southwestern province of Zeeland.<6> The German Kaiser’s 1908 public guarantee of Dutch neutrality<7> apparently made little impression.
A third factor lay in the geography of the southeastern Netherlands. The province of Limburg makes a deep protrusion between Belgium and Germany. Trivial as this might seem, it bedevilled military planners in Germany, Holland, and Belgium. The Germans initially planned to dash through Limburg, thereby outflanking the Belgian forts at Liege and gaining quick access to Belgium’s railroads and highways to the west. In 1909 Germany instead opted for a quick grab of the Liege forts and a pencil-thin advance of its northernmost army to squeeze around Limburg (See Figure 1). The Belgians were deeply concerned that Holland would not contest a German crossing of Limburg, thereby nullifying Belgium’s own defense planning. Inaction, however, was not an option for the Netherlands. Failure to defend Limburg meant inclusion in the war; neutrality could only be maintained if every country’s violations thereof were contested.
Quick mobilization was the only way to do this. A slow or late mobilization might tempt intervention. This problem was foreseen in 1890 by Abraham Kuyper, a future prime minister with (ironically) pro-German tendencies. He pointed out that a rapid German advance might interfere with the Dutch mobilization altogether.<8> Kuyper was no doubt wel aware that the mobilization of 1870 (a response to the Franco-Prussian War) had been a complete fiasco. To defend or contest Limburg required quick mobilization too, because the province was about equidistant from German and Dutch staging areas. This may be one reason why the Dutch general staff studied the province’s defenses intensively during the 1913-14 winter.<9>
A quick mobilization would send troops to Limburg, prepare the Maas (Meuse) bridges for destruction, and place a prepared field force to the rear of anyone moving through the province (read: Germans). All this would slow down a Limburg crossing and would take away the best motivation for invading. The army stressed speed of mobilization.<10> The mobilization plans provided for this, allowing for the setting up of river obstacles, bridge destruction devices, and harbor blockages, whenever a period of politieke spanning, “political tension,” existed. Garrison commanders near the border would also be placed on alert. The next stages called for taking over the telegraph service and railways, issuing a “danger of war” declaration, and finally the “state of war” proclamation which would mobilize reservists.<11> This way, the defenses of vulnerable areas (Limburg, harbors, and the rivers connecting Belgium to the sea) could be given some protection
even before the entire army was ready. All this would only succeed if the mobilization were quick; and since Holland could hardly hope to mobilize more efficiently than its Teutonic cousin, it needed an advance signal. On July 25, 1914, it got one.
Late that day, a telegram arrived in the Netherlands from Cologne (see Figure 2)containing the words API API (see Figure 3), Malayan for “fire”. The crisis in the Balkans was already developing. The Austrian ultimatum to Serbia had been sent on July 23, and both countries began to mobilize on July 25. The Austrian declaration of war followed three days later, and within a week after that all Europe was at war. The Dutch public remained hopeful, however. Even after the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia, Dutch newspapers continued to speculate that the war would remain localized in the Balkans.<12> The Dutch government knew better.
Its knowledge did not come through 'official’ channels. The military intelligence apparatus had barely been formed by war’s outbreak, and its newness would have prevented it from playing any meaningful role in predicting the flow of the war. Since the government and the army were not used to relying on it, however, this was not particularly significant. It is not clear whether the new GS III even had its own sources, and if it had, other offices were hardly likely to give up theirs. The genesis of the mobilization, which was preliminarily begun on July 26, lay in the relationship of a Dutch officer, Major M. D. A. Forbes-Wels, and a retired Royal Dutch Indies Army (K.N.I.L.) officer, J. J. le Roy, then a director of the Dutch-German Telegraph company, residing at Cologne.<13> (This explains, incidentally, the choice of Malayan, which was the principal language spoken in the Netherlands East Indies.)
J. J. le Roy was 37 when he became a director of the Dutch-German Telegraph Company, after an eventful career in the K.N.I.L. which included combat service. Discharged a captain in 1904, he was later promoted to major on the retired list. Major Forbes Wels would rise to the rank of Lieutenant General and Chief of the General Staff by 1922 (the highest peacetime military post in Holland) before his retirement in 1925).<14>
Exactly when and where le Roy and Forbes Wels first met is not known, but they were close in age and the Dutch military establishment is not the Pentagon. We do know that the two had reached an agreement that le Roy would send a telegram when he anticipated German mobilization.<17> Le Roy was well placed to do this. He was in Germany; he was in Cologne, the very place where German troops would mass if they were getting ready to move into Belgium and/or Holland; and he was director of a telegraph company set up, ironically, by the Dutch and German officials to circumvent British imperialism.
During the Boer War, Britain had interfered with the telegraph traffic of other governments, especially those of Germany and Holland (led by the somewhat pro-German Kuyper). In 1901, while still a KNIL officer, le Roy arranged an agreement between Holland and Germany to set up a joint telegraph company, with government-appointed directors (le Roy and O. Stoecker for Germany) and government subsidy (although the company was supposed to pay 90% of its own way). Perhaps Germany hoped that such an arrangement would protect its interests in wartime (by linking up with a neutral); this was a mistake, as the stations and cables would be confiscated at Versailles (something which the Dutch feared would happen because of the intensity of anti- German attitudes right after the war).<18> Dutch officials were apparently concerned about wartime
connections with the East Indies, and rightly so, for Britain even limited Holland’s right to convoy ships to the Indies during the war.<19> Not everyone in Dutch official circles, however, supported the company. Le Roy had his enemies. At least one colonial ministry official wrote to the Governor-General of the Indies in 1905 to question le Roy’s motives for setting up the company (as well as the organization’s financial soundness<20>). Apparently the Governor-General was unconcerned. In 1917, however, another Governor-General suspected le Roy of being an agent for the German Telefunken firm and denied him a position as advisor.<21>
Nevertheless, the project went on, with le Roy’s participation. It could hardly have been otherwise, because he had been its main champion, even in 1899, only two months after the Boer War began. Le Roy had authored a newspaper article in which he noted that 20 of the world’s 23 cable companies were located in London, and that Britain might be able to interrupt Holland’s ties with the colonies. (He also worried about interruptions due to the pan-Islamic movement.)<22> Fortunately for the company, the Dutch ambassador in Berlin pursued the project, discussing it with the German foreign ministry, while the Dutch colonial minister approached a private firm in Cologne, Felten & Guilleaume Karlswerk A.G.<23> The Dutch goal was apparently to have cable access to its colonies through British, German, and French colonies, but technical difficulties of running cable through American-held islands were considerable.<24>
Le Roy was present at the negotiations held at Cologne in 1901, officially representing Amsterdam financiers interested in the project. It was quickly agreed that the cable should be Britain-free and that the organization would be sited at Cologne. It was agreed that the agreement’s contents would remain confidential. The cable system was good for the Dutch , as they did not believe that they could afford to do it alone.<25> Interestingly, despite le Roy’s intimate connections with the company’s founding and his continued interest in it throughout the war, he is not mentioned in the otherwise fairly comprehensive postwar report: nor is the API-API telegram.<26>
Two sources discuss the origins and arrival of the telegram, although both are based on the recollections of a single individual and it is possible that the first source may have been based on the second. According to the first - a classified internal history of the Netherlands Internal Security Service, the B.V.D), The telegram resulted from an agreement, mentioned earlier, between Forbes Wels and and le Roy, that the latter would send it if he anticipated German mobilization. On 25 July 1914 the telegram was sent from Cologne, and it arrived in the evening at Forbes Wels’ house. The major’s son opened it, thinking he was getting a congratulatory telegram for having passed his high school exit exam. Puzzled by the telegram but realizing that it had nothing to do with his academic success, the young Forbes Wels took the document to his father, who then took it to the Chief of Staff.<27> (This last item - based on the younger Forbes Wels’ recollections - may be incorrect, because the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General C. J. Snijders, was travelling in Germany: a government telegram reached him at a hotel in Hamburg (see Figure 5).<28> What the country’s highest-ranking military officer was doing there in July of 1914 is a bit mysterious to me).
The other source (recollections of an army officer who got the telegram during a 1921 cleanout of an office and wrote to the younger Forbes Wels to get an explanation) contains similar information, adding that his father considered the telegram as “of great importance” and immediately took it to General Snijders. There are some important differences. Le Roy’s name was not mentioned in the letter to the army officer, and the basis for the telegram is somewhat vaguer -- saying that it would be sent by “a friend . . . if he thought that war was coming.<29>
What caused le Roy to send the telegram? The sources cited above do not directly say. The first source is rather specific, referring to German mobilization: the second was vaguer, mentioning the danger of war. Even mobilization begs the question, because it does not clarify what le Roy would base that expectation of mobilization on. What could le Roy have known? More pertinently, what could Le Roy have known that the Dutch government could not have easily discovered from some other source? Le Roy was in Cologne, a critical staging area for any German invasion of Belgium, France, or the Netherlands. Could he have observed military preparations? Germany did not issue its Kriegesgefahr declaration until July 31, 6 days later. If there were military preparations going on in Cologne on July 24th or 25th, this would run counter to our understanding of the German government’s intentions and behavior in the last week of July. Either the German government was making secret war preparations even before Austria declared war on Serbia, or the German army was making some advance preparations without waiting for further instructions from the government (not as unlikely as it sounds). In any event, it is possible, if entirely unproven, that the telegram stemmed from observations he made in the Cologne area.
This is not the most likely scenario, however. Holland had sent army officers across the border in previous crises to observe German activities, and there is no evidence whatsoever of any policy decision to stop doing this. There is no reason why, if mobilization was suspected, another junior officer could not have been sent on the train into Germany. Of course, le Roy was competent to have done so himself, having been an army officer. The previous intelligence trips, however, had been made by officers directly attached to Dutch military units, to ensure immediate information for army commanders. Admittedly, le Roy’s telegram to The Hague gave the army general staff a very fast report indeed. The army, however, had always required detailed reports based on 2-3 rail trips with actual observations at Dusseldorf and Koblenz, as well as at Cologne, and indirect information gathering regarding German movements at towns further away, like Aachen. Le Roy submitted no report that has survived (many contemporary Dutch and German archives were destroyed in 1945). Such a report would have served little purpose anyway: if it went ahead of or with the telegram, a coded telegram would make no sense, and if it came later, it would have come after the Dutch mobilization began. We therefore have a picture of a country beginning its mobilization based on a coded telegram from a retired officer in Cologne, six days before Germany officially began its pre-mobilization process, so that he could hardly have seen masses of reservists arriving, always the alarm trigger in the past.
The real question then becomes: what was the basis of the agreement between Forbes Wels and le Roy? Once again, one source refers to 'mobilization’ while the other refers to 'danger of war’ and while both sources are technically primary, their information is second hand. Even the more specific 'mobilization’ does not completely clarify the situation, because it could refer either to actual observation of mobilization (as discussed above), or to information gleaned by le Roy from some other source that led him to believe that mobilization was imminent. 'Danger of war’ would have to refer to war in the west, or a general European war, not just a conflict in the Balkans. Le Roy would be an attractive source here from Forbes Wels’ viewpoint for a rather obvious reason: he operated a telegraph company. Could he have intercepted - and decoded - telegrams passing through Cologne, and which ones might have gone through Cologne? Interestingly enough, the Austrians, if not the Germans, were rather sensitive to the risk of interception. The German ambassador in Vienna told his foreign minister on July 11 that the Austrians begged him not to telegraph the details regarding their plans about Serbia because they feared a leak inside Austria - even if the telegram were coded.<30>
If le Roy’s position at the telegraph service allowed him to intercept and decode telegrams - unlikely as this might seem - what would have triggered the telegram? Le Roy’s action would have to be triggered by a telegram that he saw in time to decode and comprehend; in all likelihood this would mean one sent on July 24, possibly on the 25th, although the latter would have had to have been sent in the morning for le Roy to have time to send his message. The telegram seen by le Roy would have had to contain proof that the European war was inevitable, and that it would spread to the west. Among the many messages flowing across the wires in late July of 1914, there were two threads that the Dutch would have considered particularly ominous.
Germany’s attitude toward the Balkan war. The Balkan crisis alone might not have triggered Dutch mobilization. Not everybody thought that a crisis with Serbia meant all-out war; even the German foreign minister claimed to believe as late as July 18 that Russia would remain quiet if faced with an Austro-German alliance.<31> Evidence of an aggressive German attitude, however, would be much more ominous. The damning telegrams between the German ambassador in London (Lichnowsky) and the German foreign minister (Jagow) on July 25 which made clear that Germany did not support Austro-Serbian conciliation were later than Le Roy’s.<32> Germany had of course pressed Austria to take a hard line toward Serbia, and was rewarded with a positive reply, but much of this was done by letter, not telegram .<33> On July 24, however, Ambassador Tschirschky telegraphed his government that Austrian Foreign Minister Berchtold was “absolutely determined not to enter upon any negotiations” and had rejected mediation. There is nothing in that telegram that even implies that Tschirschky anticipated any concern about this on the part of his own foreign ministry.<34> While this telegram was sent in time to be leaked or intercepted, Tschirsky’s better-known telegram of the 25th, reporting Serbian mobilization and implying the imminence of war, also came after the API-API telegram.<35> This is actually rather interesting, because it reminds us that le Roy could not have been responding to the Serbian mobilization itself, as even telegraphic intercepts - the fastest way of gaining that knowledge - would have come to late (the Serb mobilization began about 3 p.m. Belgrade time<36>).
Germany’s relationship with Britain. Holland worried more about an Anglo-German than a Franco-German war; after all, the country was sandwiched geographically and economically between the two great powers. An internal telegram on July 23 clearly reveals that Germany was lying to Britain about the Austrian demands on Serbia, even keeping Lichnowsky in the dark.<37> This duplicity, which was pursued at the expense of France as well, failed quickly, but the telegrams of July 25 which clarify the situation came too late to benefit our Dutch spy in Cologne.<38> One thing that did precede le Roy’s telegram was the Emperor’s issuance of fleet readiness orders at 9:30 a.m.;<39> no Dutch observer would have had any illusions about the British reaction to such a decision. The timing of this event could be significant - although not necessarily in the context of telegram interception. As le Roy sent his telegram 10:15 a.m., there is a strong likelihood that he found out something on the morning of the 25th that triggered his actions. It is possible, but unlikely, that he decided to send the telegram on the 24th but waited two hours the following morning before doing so. Some delay, of course, could have occurred between his delivering his text and the actual transmission.
Of course, virtually any of the telegrams of the 24th and 25th discussed above would have alerted the reader to the inevitability of a Europe-wide war and could have caused le Roy to send the API-API telegram. To the two possible “triggers” for his act - personal observation and/or telegraphic interception - we must, unfortunately, add a third. Le Roy could have had a contact inside Germany who might have supplied him with information. This may sound improbable - and it is entirely speculative - but for the fact that Holland had been notified about the original Schlieffen plan by an ?inside’ source, and that an otherwise innocent piece of information, such as about the fleet mobilization, might have been meant more to le Roy than to the German. Whichever 'trigger’ sounds the most likely (and there are problems with all three) it is not conceivable that le Roy’s telegram was sent purely on the basis of a hunch, or something as publicly available as a newspaper report. Le Roy would not have known of the Austrian mobilization much faster than the Dutch in the Hague, and he would have had to make a great interpretive leap to see that event as a threat to Holland, and it would have required the gift of prophecy for Forbes Wels and le Roy to make such an event the basis of their pre-war agreement.
Whether the Dutch government knew of, or suspected, what facts lay behind le Roy’s telegram, is unknown. What is known is that the response was extraordinarily quick, with the first mobilization telegram going out the morning after (July 26).<40> Speed was essential for two reasons. First, an invasion could only be deterred if forces were in the field before the putative enemy (Germany) was ready to march. Second, the country was so small that an invader could easily disrupt mobilization. The chief of staff (Snijders) supported early mobilization,<41> as might be expected. His role in the early decisions is obscure, however, given that he was out of town. According to his biographer, he did not get home until July 27.<42> (Oddly enough, Snijders was one of many dignitaries on the road in late in late July.<43>) There is no evidence that Snijders was in contact with The Hague except for the telegram asking him to return. In any event, Holland had forces in the field before any other west-European nation.<44> This vigorous action ran counter to some pre-war expectations, including those of the British and Belgians:
I am assured, from a Belgian source, that the Dutch cannot be relied on to act against a violation of their Limburg territory, and that they will probably withdraw from Maastricht in the event of war. In any case judging from the Dutch character I should fear that any actions which they might take would be too late to be of any use.<45>
The Dutch mobilization of 1914 was a major undertaking. In short order, the country had 95,000 soldiers in its four field divisions, 70,000 in its field fortifications, 10,000 deployed to border duty, and 20,000 in depots.<51> The country’s rapid seizure of its arms contrasted with the abject failure of the mobilization of 1870, the last time such a large operation had been attempted. The Dutch were later quite proud of this organizational achievement, unaware that its army had had the better of a week of preliminary preparations before final mobilization occurred. Le Roy’s telegram made the difference. There can be little doubt that Le Roy and Forbes Wels must have agreed to some rather specific circumstances that would trigger the telegram; otherwise the Dutch military would hardly have been willing to react as quickly as it did (although Holland did have one advantage over the larger powers; its mobilization could not be interpreted as aggressive). This episode reminds us that strategy and intelligence are not the exclusive prerogative of great powers and superpowers. The smaller states have to play the same game, and sometimes they play it exceedingly well.
<1>” W. Klinkert, Het vaderland verdedigd: Plannen en opvattingen over the verdediging van Nederland (1874-1914) (Den Haag: Sectie Militaire Geschiedenis, 1992), 423.
<2> N. Bosboom, In moeilijke omstandigheden: Augustus 1914 - Mei 1917 (Gorinchem: J. Noorduyn & Zoon, 1933), 23.
<3> “Vervolg van de punten van bespreking bij de strategische oefeningen” (1906), Algemeen Rijksarchief, Tweede Afdeling, Koninklijke Landmacht: Algemeen Hoofkwartier, nummer toegang 2.13.15.01.
<4> M. de Meier, “Geheime dienst in Nederland 1912-1947” (Internal unpublished classified history of the Binnenlandse Vijligheids Dienst (Internal Security Service of the Netherlands) n.d.), 25.
<5> See H.A.C. Fabius, “De Inlichtingendienst van den Generalen Staf,” 196-212 in Bijdragen voor vaderlandsche geschiedenis en oudheidkunde (Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, n.d.), 200.
<6> Memorandum, General F. N. Thiange to Minister of War (28 July 1908), ARA-II, Koninklijke Landmacht - Archief van het Veldleger, nr. toegang 2.13.16.
<7> J. A. A. H. de Beaufort, Vijftig jaren uit onze geschiedenis 1868-1918 (Amsterdam: P. N. van Kampen & Zoon, 1928), II:219. The Schlieffen plan was modified to exclude Holland in 1909, after Schlieffen’s removal.
<8> A. S. de Leeuw, Nederland in de wereldpolitiek van 1900 tot heden, 2nd ed. (Amsterdam: Pegasus, 1939), 47.
<9> de Leeuw, Nederland in de wereldpolitiek, 143.
<10> “Denkbeeld den Chef van den Generalen Staf in verband met handhaving van neutraliteit en mobilisatie van Nederland in een conflict Engeland-Duitschland” (25 November 1908), ARA-II, Koninklijke Landmacht - Archief van het Veldleger, 2.
<11> “Opgave van de door den Minister van Oorlog te geven bevelen en te nemen of uit te lokken maatregelen en besluiten, ingevolge de “Strategische aanwijzingen” (1913) en andere voorschriften of wettelijke bepalingen (Geheim) (n.d.), ARA-II, Collectie N. Bosboom, nummer toegang 2.21.027.
<12> P. H. de Ritter, De Donkere Poort (?s-Gravenhage: Daamen’s, 1931), 16.
<13> de Meier, “Geheime dienst in Nederland,” 1-4.
<14> Algemeen Rijksarchief, Stamboeken, KNIL Officieren, nrs. 634-7; Algemeen Rijksarchief, Stamboeken, Officieren, nr. 448, v. 14, Generale Staf 2; Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie; Indische Pensioenen, serie 6 (Officieren); Persoonskaart CBG; Encyclopedie Nederlandsch Oost- Indie. I wish to thank Drs. V. A. J. Klooster for his assistance in compiling this biographical information.
<15> Klinkert, Het vaderland verdedigd, 432.
<16> ARA-II, Report by M. D. A. Forbes Wels, 24 January 1906, in folio “Geruchten omtrent de samentrekking van Duitsche troepen nabij de oostgrens van Belgie,” Koninklijke Landmacht - Algemeen Hoofkwartier, nr. toegang 2.13.15.01.
<17> de Meier, “Geheime Dienst in Nederland,” 4.
<18> M. W. M. M. Gruythuysen, S. U. Sabaroedin, and A. M. Tempelaars, Inventaris van de archieven van Regeringscommissarissen van het Ministerie van Kolonien 1904-1952 (Den Haag: Algemeen Rijksarchief, 1991), 19, 20; “Memorie van de Regeringscommissaris bij de Deutsch- Niederlaendische Telegraphengesellschaft Viehoff in zake het belang dezer maatschappij bij de vredesvoorwaarden” (7 January 1919) Bescheiden betreffende de buitenlandse politiek van Nederland (Den Haag: Rijks Geschiedkundige Publikatien, grote serie, Derde Periode 1899-1919) [herinafter RGP] vol. 117, nr. 870.
<19> S. L. van der Wal, ed., Herinneringen van Jhr. Mr. B. C. de Jonge; met brieven uit zijn nalatenschap (Utrecht: Het Historisch Genootschap, 1968 (Groningen: Wolters-Noordhoff, 1968)), 48-9.
<20> De Vries to Heutsz, 19 December 1905, and de Vries to Heutsz, 19/20 February 1906, ARA- II, Collectie van Heutsz, nr. toegang 2.21.08.
<21> C. de Vries to Governor-General van Heutsz (19 December 1905), RGP vol. 102, nr 529; Governor-General van Limburg Stirum to Minister of Colonies Pleyte (27 Sept. 1917), RGP vol. 116, nr. 241.
<22> First Lieutenant KNIL J. J. le Roy, Algemeen Handelsblad, 17 December 1899.
<23> Tets van Goudriaan to Foreign Minister de Beaufort (11 May 1900 and 23 May 1900), RGP vol. 100, nrs. 219 and 223. The firm, represented by E. Guilleaume, had its offices in Muelheim, located on the eastern bank of the Rhine across from Cologne.
<24> Map labelled “Nederlands-Franse Telegraafkabelovereenkomst van 6 April 1904,” RGP vol. 100; Denkschrift van van Tets van Goudriaan (5 Maart 1901), RGP vol. 100, n. 393.
<25> “Protocol van he verhandelde in de conferentie te Keulen van 19 tot 21 Maart 1901,” RGP vol. 100, nr. 402; Adm. Dept. Kol. Viehoff and Chief Engineer of Telegraphs to Min. Kol. Cremer (28 March 1901), RGP vol. 100, nr. 403; “Slot Protocol” (24 July 1901), RGP vol. 100, nr. 436.
<26> “De Duitsch-Nederlandsche Telegraafmaatschappij, hare kabelverbindingen en verdere belangen (24 Januari 1919),” ARA-II, Regeringscommissarissen van het Ministerie van Kolonien, 1904-1952, nr. toegang 2.10.46.01.
<27> de Meier, “Geheime dienst in Nederland,” 4.
<28> Telegram to “Snyders” at Hotel Vier Jahreszeite, Hamburg, 26 July 1914, with German text stating “return desired,” Sectie Militaire Geschiedenis, The Hague, File 91/3A.
<29>” Memorandum from Col. G. U. H. Thoden van Velzen, “Toelichting op telegram API API (n.d.),” Archives of the Sectie Militaire Geschiedenis, The Hague, SMG file 91/3A.
<30> Tschirschky to Jagow, 11 July 1914, in Carnegie Endowment, tr., Official German Documents Relating to the World War, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1923).
<31> Jagow to Lichnowsky, July 18, 1914, in “German Secret War Documents,” International Conciliation (May 1920) (entire issue). I say “claimed” because the rest of his correspondence with Lichnowsky is rather economical with the truth. Interestingly enough, Lichnowsky reached the right conclusion on his own. See his letter of July 23, 1914, to Jagow, in Max Montgelas and Walther Schucking, eds., Outbreak of the World War: German Documents collected by Karl Kautsky, tr. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 1924).
<32> Lichnowsky to Jagow, and Jagow to Lichnowsky, 25 July 1914, reprinted in Imanuel Geiss, ed., Julikrise und Kriegsausbruch 1914 (Hannover: Verlag fur Literatur und Zeitgeschehen, 1963).
<33> Letter, Tschirschky to Jagow, 11 July 1914, in Carnegie Endowment, tr., Official German Documents Relating to the World War, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1923).
<34> Tschirschky to Bethmann-Hollweg, 24 July 1914, in Max Montgelas and Walther Schucking, eds., Outbreak of the World War: German Documents collected by Karl Kautsky, tr. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 1924).
<35> Tschirschky to Foreign Office, 25 July 1914, in “German Secret War Documents,” International Conciliation (May 1920) (entire issue).
<36> S. L. A. Marshall, World War I (New York: American Heritage Press, 1985), 32.
<37> Jagow to the Emperor, 23 July 1914, in “German Secret War Documents.” <38> On July 25, Lichnowsky telegraphed that the British were holding Germany “morally responsible” for the excessive Austrian demands, although his telegram came too late to have influenced the Dutch. That same day, Jagow informed Lichnowsky that the British proposal for conciliation could no longer affect the situation (although he failed to reveal Germany’s role in Austria’s decision to press on). Lichnowsky left Jagow in no doubt that this would cause problems, and (in another telegram) that Britain would not remain “disinterested . . . in case France should be drawn in”. In a third communication, he reported that Britain was absolutely convinced that an Austro-Russian conflict meant world war, and added his own interpretation, namely that Britain would support France and Russia. At the same time, Germany told France that it had nothing to do with the Austrian note, which would have aroused suspicion in anyone with access to any of Germany’s other diplomatic traffic. Four telegrams from Lichnowsky to Jagow, 25 July 1914, and two telegrams from Schoen to Jagow, 25 July 1914, in Montgelas and Schucking, Outbreak of the World War; Jagow to Lichnowsky, July 25 1914, in “German Secret War Documents.”
<39> Bethmann-Holweg to the Emperor, July 25, 1914, in “German Secret War Documents;” Memorandum of Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Zimmerman), 25 July 1914, in Montgelas and Schucking, eds., Outbreak of the World War. There are several oddities about this event. The Chancellor was against the readiness order, because he thought that the British fleet was not taking any measures; Wilhelm pointed out in the margin that the British fleet was already prepared, and for once, he was right and his government wrong. The second oddity is more difficult to explain. Zimmermann records that Wilhelm issued the order at 9:30 a.m. on July 25. Wilhelm wrote in the margin of the Chancellor’s telegram that he issued the order because his ambassador in Belgrade reported Serbian mobilization. Mobilization in Belgrade did not begin until 3:00 p.m., July 25. The German ambassador in Belgrade did send a telegram very late on the 24th, but it made no mention of mobilization (it did use the words “military uprising”; the Emperor did underline these words) but it is not clear whether the Emperor would have seen it before 9:30 a.m. on July 25. The ambassador’s previous telegram did suggest public pressure in Belgrade to reject the Austrian note.
<40> de Meier, “Geheime dienst in Nederland,” 4.
<41> W. Klinkert, “De Nederlandse mobilisatie van 1914,” 24-33 in W. Klinkert, J. W. M. Schulten, and Luc de Vos, eds., Mobilisatie in Nederland en Belgie (Amsterdam: De Bataafsche Leeuw, 1991), 25-6.
<42> D. van den Berg, Cornelis Jacobus Snijders (1852-1939): Een leven in dienst van zijn Land en zijn Volk (Den Haag: Reverdeen, 1949), 75.
<43> These included Snijders, the Kaiser, the French President (all in Scandinavia), the British Prime Minister, and Prince Henry of Prussia. P. H. Ritter, De Donkere Poort ('s-Gravenhage: Daamen’s, 1931), 12.
<44> H. A. C. Fabius, “De inlichtingen dienst van den Generalen Staf,” 196-212 in Bijdragen voor vaderlandsche geschiedenis en oudheidkunde (Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, n.d.), 201.
<45> Lt. Col. N. W. Barnardiston to Maj. Gen. J. M. Grierson, 31 March 1906, in G. P. Gooch and Harold Temperley, British Documents on the Origins of the War 1898-1914, vol. 3, The Testing of the Entente 1904-1906 (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1928), 19
<46> Ritter, De Donkere Poort, 19.
<47> C. Smit, Nederland in de Eerste Wereldoorlog (1899-1919), vol. 2, 1914-1917 (Groningen: Wolters Noordhoff, 1972), 2. <48> M. W. F. Treub, Oorlogstijd. Herinneringen en indrukken (Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink, 1916). Interestingly, Treub’s wartime memoir misstates the date of the earliest telegram; did he wish to conceal the fact, or had was the cabinet not informed of all the details?
<49> Berg, Cornelis Jacobus Snijders, 76.
<50> M. J. van der Flier, War Finances in the Netherlands up to 1918 (London: Clarendon Press of Oxford Press, 1923), 36.
<51> Klinkert, “De Nederlandse mobilisatie,” 26.