|General Henri Winkelman|
Meanwhile, the Germans were making steady progress in the south and cutting off the Netherlands from Belgium and France. Dutch counter-attacks on May 11 were repelled by the German invaders and the situation grew increasingly critical. At the main defensive position, the Grebbe Line, the Dutch fought a fierce battle for three days, desperately trying to hold off the German tidal wave as long as possible. Yet, with every passing hour it became clear that they would be receiving no help from the Allies. On May 13 the Grebbe Line finally fell and the Germans pushed up to Rotterdam. There the Netherlands Marine Corps gave heroic service, stopping the Germans temporarily at the Meuse and fighting from street to street. Hitler was becoming furious that the conquest of the Netherlands was taking so long as he had expected the job to be done within 24 hours. On May 14 the order was given for the Luftwaffe to bomb Rotterdam, killing hundreds of civilians and destroying virtually all of the old city. Utrecht was threatened with similar treatment if the Dutch did not surrender immediately. Of course, General Winkelman knew his situation was hopeless and was already trying to negotiate a cease-fire when the bombing of Rotterdam occurred. By the end of the day, Winkelman surrendered and so the Kingdom of the Netherlands was conquered after four days of resistance.
|Queen Wilhelmina on Radio Oranje|
|General Hendrik Seyffardt|
Meanwhile, by the end of the next year of the war, the Netherlands gained another enemy which, by the way, undermined the NSB Nazi collaborators at home. They had been arguing that cooperation with Germany was the key to achieving their goal of a “Greater Netherlands” that would include Flanders and a strengthening of the Dutch empire. However, they were undercut in their arguments when the crown jewel of the Netherlands empire was lost at the hands of the Nazis Asian ally of Japan. In December of 1941 the Japanese launched their three-phase plan for the conquest of southeast Asia. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent attacks on the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia it was no secret that the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia today) was next on the Japanese menu. On December 8, 1941 the Dutch government-in-exile declared war on Japan. The Japanese invasion was organized by Field Marshal Count Hisaichi Terauchi as commander of the Southern Expeditionary Army Group and began on December 17 with the landing of troops on Sarawak at the oil production center of Miri. In command of Dutch forces in the area was Lt. General Hein ter Poorten on the land and Lt. Admiral Conrad Helfrich on the sea. Helfrich was also the overall commander of Dutch forces in the East Indies.
|Dutch submarine K-XVI|
|Dutch East Indies colonial troops|
|Admiral Karel Doorman|
|General Hein ter Poorten|
|NSB leader Anton Mussert|
|Dutch colonial troops in Australia|
|Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands|
|Queen Wilhelmina inspects Coldstream Guards|
|Admiral Conrad "Ship-a-Day" Helfrich|
|The ruins of Rotterdam|
|Field Marshal Montgomery & Prince Bernhard|