Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Winkelman, Henri Gerard (1876–1952)

Netherlands Army general and commander of Dutch forces at the onset of World War II. Born at Maastricht, the Netherlands, on 17 August 1876, Henri Winkelman completed his secondary education in 1892 and was appointed a cadet at the Royal Military Academy (RMA). In 1894, he joined the infantry in the Netherlands. Two years later, he was promoted to second lieutenant and assigned to the 4th Infantry Regiment. Between 1902 and 1905, he studied at the Advanced Military Academy. In 1913, he was promoted to captain and in 1923 to major. From 1909 to 1913 and 1917 to 1924, Winkelman served with the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense. By 1931, he was chief of staff of the field army. That same year, Winkelman was promoted to major general and took command of the 4th Military Division.

In 1934, Winkelman retired, but with a German invasion impending and on the mobilization of Dutch forces, he was recalled into active service in 1939 and appointed commander of Dutch air defenses. On 6 February 1940, Winkelman was also made commander of the army and navy. On 10 May, German forces invaded the Netherlands. Almost immediately, it was clear that Dutch forces could not long resist, and with the departure of Queen Wilhelmina and her ministers to Britain, Winkelman became the highest authority on Dutch territory. The government empowered him to capitulate at what he judged to be the proper time. On 15 May, Winkelman signed the instruments of surrender at Rijsoord. He then oversaw the demobilization of the Dutch army. In July 1940, he was deported to Germany as a prisoner of war, where he remained until the end of the war. On 12 May 1945, he returned to the Netherlands, and he formally retired from the army in October. In 1946, he served as a military councilor in the Special Court of Annulment. Winkelman died in Soesterberg, the Netherlands, on 27 December 1952.

Kathleen G. Hitt


Further Reading
Jong, L. H. de. Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog (The Netherlands in the Second World War). Leiden, the Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1988.; Maas, Walter B. The Netherlands at War. New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1970.
 

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