When Germany pressed for the fortification of Flushing and another country opposed it, great care was taken that Holland's decision could not possibly be construed as a desire to join either side. When M. Baie, a distinguished Belgian gentleman, some years anterior to the war, made propaganda for a closer union between Belgium and Hofland, his proposals were received with much approval, but officially no steps were taken. The Hollanders preferred to „leave well alone." It is fortunate that they did so, for if the two small Kingdoms had become allies, not Belgium alone, but Holland as well might have been drawn into the war, and last October the Belgian refugees would have had little chance of escape, for the provinces of Noord-Brabant and the Southern part of Zeeland, which border on Belgium, could not be successfully defended against invasion, and would have been in German hands.
THE ULTIMATE DEFENCES.
And here we touch upon the extreme difficulty of defending the greater, although not the most important, part of Holland against invasion by land. About twothirds of the Dutch landfrontiers run along German territory for a distance of over 300 miles. It would be quite hopeless to try and hold such a frontier against Armies counting millions of men. It was fully recognised that Holland could resist invasion of all the eastern and southern provinces for a few short weeks at the most, in order to give the Army time to retire upon the strategical river defences which can effectively shield Holland proper (where the largest and most important cities are situated), and ultimately Amsterdam. These lines consist partly (on the south) of broad and deep rivers, and partly (on the east) of lowlands, easily inundated. In fact, they saved the country in the „frightful year" 1672, when little Holland was attacked simultaneously by England, France, Munster, and Cologne, and when the outlying provinces were partly devastated by French troops and Groningen was besieged by the Germans. What was achieved in 1672, it was claimed, and is still claimed, could be done in our time, and indeed will be done if courage and determination still count for any-