Defensiehervormingen in de jaren ’70 | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 128, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



The first signs of détente combined with the fresh memory of the Prague Spring led to disagreement over defence policy in Dutch politics at the end of the 1960s. It was in this turbulent period that political and military leaders had to cope with financial problems. Three fully-fledged military branches (Navy, Army, and Air Force) could not be sustained. Radical choices had to be made as operating expenses increased and new equipment became more expensive. However, political disunity caused a two-year paralysis in defence decision-making and reform. This led to a change in civil-military relations, clearly demonstrated when several generals exploited political indecision to promote their own vision for the future of the Defence department. The resulting conflict within the armed forces ultimately led to replacement of the main army leaders, a situation cleverly used by Minister Vredeling of the new Den Uyl Cabinet to put the Defence Ministry in order.


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