Thursday, June 25, 2009

whohoa, the Belgiums are coming...

This is great and funny news: Belgium's Leopold II wanted to conquer the Netherlands.
Okay, for some background info about the Netherlands and Belgium one sentence: the Dutch are making jokes about the ‘dim-witted’ Belgium’s like the American make jokes about the ‘stupidity’ of the Polish as the Spanish make jokes about those ‘Idiot gypsies of Portugal'…

In return, the Belgium’s make jokes about the Dutch. Especially about, in their opinion, the miserlily and arrogantly behavior of the Dutch. But I could not suppress an evil grin while reading the following:

King Leopold II of Belgium wanted to invade the Netherlands around 1854, when he was still only crown prince, according to documents discovered in the Royal Archives in Brussels by the Flemish historian and journalist Kris Clerckx. Napoleon III probably prevented the invasion.

Clerckx describes Leopold's plans, which he made when he was 19-years-old and still only the crown prince, in a new book about the former Belgian king, Dutch daily Nederlands Dagblad reported on yesterday.
Leopold II, who lived from 1835 until 1909 and succeeded his father Leopold I in 1865, was the second king of Belgium after it seceded from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1830. He is said to have been jealous of the Dutch overseas colonies, which was a reason to aspire to ruling that country as well. He later ventured on a personal colonial adventure and claimed his own personal fiefdom in Africa he called Congo Free State (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).

Leopold's plans to invade the neighbouring country, were fairly advanced, the documents show. The corwn prince sent spies to the Netherlands to investigate its military strength. He drafted a plan of attack and dispatched a high-ranking diplomat to seek permission from France, the big European power at the time.
The plan was for a surprise attack by the Belgian army which was supposed to take the country in a matter of days "in order to make sure that the news of the attack and the news of the [Dutch] surrender will get out simultaneously," the Nederlands Dagblad reports from Cleckx findings.

The spy mission into the Netherlands in 1854 showed that the troop strength would not pose a problem for Belgium. Belgium's war coffers far exceeded those of the Netherlands, which furthermore leaned heavily on its navy - a worthless asset in the case of an attack by Belgium.
Colonel Chauchet, the highest-officer military involved in the mission did warn about strength of the Dutch water-based defences and surrounding fortifications, the so-called Dutch Waterline. Chauchet also said Dutch patriotism could entice strong resistance. Leopold, however, counted on support from the Roman Catholics in the protestant-ruled Netherlands to support his invasion.
But the attack never took place, probably because of interference by the French emperor Napoleon III. After his diplomatic mission to France failed, Leopold spoke to Napoleon himself. After that consultation, Leopold felt forced to shelve his plans. Clerckx could not find the specific motivations to abandon the plan.

Now, is this dim-witted or not?. Are we right in our (Dutch) assesments that Belgiums have better beer but less brains?.)! The Dutch Navy was superior by then; we could have taken La Belgique in less than 12 hrs.)

Day Opening - June 25

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