Anton Mussert

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Anton Adriaan Mussert
Anton Mussert


Führer of the Dutch People
In office
December 13, 1942 – May 7, 1945
Serving with Reichskommissar Artur Seyss-Inquart

Born May 11, 1894(1894-05-11)
Werkendam, Netherlands
Died May 7, 1946 (aged 51)
The Hague, Netherlands
Birth name Anton Adriaan Mussert
Nationality Dutch
Political party National Socialist Movement (NSB)
Spouse(s) Maria Witlam
Alma mater Delft University of Technology (M.Eng)
Occupation Politician
Civil engineer

Anton Adriaan Mussert (May 11, 1894, Werkendam, North Brabant – May 7, 1946) was one of the founders of the National Socialist Movement (NSB) in the Netherlands and its de jure leader. As such, he was the most prominent national socialist in the Netherlands before and during the Second World War. During the war, he was able to keep this position, due to the support he received from the Germans. After the war, he was convicted and executed for high treason.

Biography

Early life

He was born in 1894 in Werkendam, in the northern part of the province of Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands. He showed from an early age talent for technical matters and he chose to study civil engineering in Delft. In the 1920s, he became active in several extreme right organizations such as the Dietsche Bond which advocated a Greater Netherlands including Flanders (Dutch-speaking Belgium).

Foundation of the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging

Anton Adriaan Mussert

Member of the Netherlands Parliament
for Netherlands (single nationwide constituency)
In office
May 1937 – December 1942

Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands

On 14 December 1931, he, Cornelis van Geelkerken, and ten others founded the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging (NSB) (literally, the National Socialist Movement), a Dutch counterpart to the German National Socialists, the National Socialists. In its early years, the NSB boasted that its membership included several hundred Jews,[1] until the German party directed a more antisemitic course.

A 1933 demonstration at Utrecht attracted only 600 protestors. A year later, however, the NSB rallied 25,000 demonstrators in Amsterdam. The NSB received 300,000 votes in the 1935 parliamentary elections, enough to alert the Netherlands to the Fascist threat.[2] In the 1937 voting, the Fascists polled a little more than half as much. Thereafter, Mussert worked toward preventing resistance to a German invasion. A state of siege was declared by the Dutch government in April 1940 after the foreign correspondent for the New York Times, Vladimir Poliakov, broke the news that Mussert's followers were preparing to kidnap Queen Wilhelmina as part of a coup. On May 10, German troops invaded the Netherlands and Mussert was permitted to suppress all political parties other than the NSB.

Mussert's role during the war

1940

Mussert was not appointed prime minister of the occupied nation. Instead, Austrian National Socialist Artur Seyss-Inquart was appointed as the Reichskommissar, while Berlin summoned Mussert to control his uncooperative countrymen. Mussert responded by working with the Gestapo in stopping resistance to the National Socialist occupation. On 21 June 1940 Mussert agreed to have NSB members train with the SS-Standarte 'Westland'. On 11 September, Mussert instructed Henk Feldmeijer, to organize the Nederlandsche SS (Dutch SS) as a division of the NSB. However, Mussert had nothing to do with the raising of an all-Dutch volunteer SS unit, the SS-Freiwilligen-Legion Niederlande.[3] Regardless, thousands of Dutch citizens were arrested.

Following years

Mussert's membership card in the NSB

Hitler declared Mussert to be "Führer of the Dutch People" on December 13, 1942, albeit solely as an assistant to Seyss-Inquart.[4]

Death

Upon the surrender of Germany, Mussert was arrested at the NSB office in The Hague on May 7, 1945. He was convicted of high treason on November 28 after a two day trial, and was sentenced to death on December 12 of that year. He appealed to Queen Wilhelmina for clemency. She refused. On 7 May 1946, Mussert was executed by a firing squad on the Waalsdorpervlakte, a site near The Hague where hundreds of Dutch citizens had been put to death by the National Socialist regime.[5]

See also

References

  1. Current Biography 1941, p620-23
  2. Id. at 622
  3. Meyers, Jan; Mussert, een politiek leven, Amsterdam, 1984, ISBN 90-295-3113-4 (Dutch language)
  4. "Obscure Dutch Politician Named New 'Fuehrer' for the Netherlands," Oakland Tribune, December 14, 1942, p5
  5. "Dutch National Socialist Executed," Amarillo Globe, May 7, 1946, p1

External links