on 10 May 1940, the German 10th Army, spearheaded by airborne troops, invaded the Netherlands. The rest of the Wehrmacht force committed to the “overrunning of the West” executed the Manstein Plan through Belgium and the Ardennes Forest. On 14 May 1940, the Dutch commander ordered a cease-fire. Three days later, the entire Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany.
The Netherlands royal family, led by Queen Wilhelmina, along with some 4,600 Dutch officers, sailors, soldiers, and policemen, staged a Dutch Dunkirk, assisted by remnants of the country’s Navy and the entire merchant marine. This evacuation to Britain of the royal family and a cadre of the Dutch Government was critical in establishing a government-in-exile and the initial intelligence networks in Holland. Additionally, the emigration to Britain of Netherlands military people and civilians from all over the Continent and from overseas Dutch possessions helped form the core of a reconstituted Dutch Royal Army, Navy, and Air Force.