dation of the war in conformity with the Allied interests. To refuse this passage would have served no object. These German troops would have had ample time to skirt round Limburg and to reach their country within the limit of time fixed by the armistice conditions. The Allies would in any case not have had the opportunity of forcing them to surrender.
™ — The Frontier of Dutch Flanders and the Scheldt, ttef
It is an equally undeniable fact that the neutrality of the rest of Dutch territory, including the Scheldt and Dutch Flanders, has proved a means of protection to Belgium.
It has rendered the invasion of Belgium more difficult to the Germans, as well as their defence of Antwerp once they were in possession of this city. The assertion has sometimes been made that a British squadron, sailing up the Scheldt as far as Antwerp, would have saved Belgium. But is there really any ground to suppose that such a squadron was ready ? On the contrary, England had never made preparations for such an enterprise. Neither has any proposition ever been made to Holland in this connection. After the fall of Antwerp the neutrality of the Scheldt was favourable to the Allies and unfavourable to the Germans, as Germany could not use the mouth of the Scheldt as a base for its operations. Holland systematically prohibited any military use of this river.
It is further incorrect to say that if the mouth of the Scheldt and Dutch Flanders had not been neutral Dutch territory, the Belgian forces could more easily have retreated before the Germans in 1914 without the risk of being interned, and that they would have been better able to carry with them their military stores. Would it not be more reasonable to say that in that case the Germans, having the mouth of the Scheldt at their disposal, would probably have succeeded in taking more booty and more prisoners, who now escaped them?