2004
Volume 126, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

After the French had evacuated the northern Netherlands, the new Dutch sovereign, William Frederick, Prince of Orange, began to raise a national army, for which he had to commission general officers. In selecting them, during the eighteen months before the battle of Waterloo, three stages can be distinguished. In the first, the sovereign prince could employ only former officers who had remained faithful to his House, but who for that reason had not worn a uniform for two decades, and Batavian-French general officers who had rallied to the prince, but were already retired or were mostly military administrators. In the second stage, the military organisation was established, first in the northern Netherlands and subsequently in the southern Netherlands. By allotting the sedentary posts to the aforesaid Orangist and Batavian-French generals the Sovereign Prince once again opted for security. Admittedly, the experienced and skilled commanding officers who had left French service to return home were given the appropriate ranks in the Dutch army, but they were not entrusted with any vital commands. When during the third stage, after Napoleon’s return to power, King William I was forced to commission general officers on a large scale, he no longer hesitated to give preference to skills and experience previously acquired in French service, without altogether abandoning long-standing loyalist officers. Accordingly, in view of the forthcoming campaign, the King assigned the sedentary posts to the most trustworthy generals, but conferred all field commands on the most experienced and competent generals. Professionalism thus prevailed over ideology.

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2013-03-01
2021-10-25
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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