Monday, May 08, 2006

Anne Frank stuff

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rightscivil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too.

The Convention sets out these rights in 54 articles and two Optional Protocols. It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children's rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services.

By agreeing to undertake the obligations of the Convention (by ratifying or acceding to it), national governments have committed themselves to protecting and ensuring children's rights and they have agreed to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community. States parties to the Convention are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the light of the best interests of the child.

The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.

These rights were taken away from Anne, Margot and Peter, as they were the the target of discrimination, the discrimination of the Nazis against the Jewish. The prosection of these Jewish people resulted in the development of these children being affected, as spending two or three years, locked away, fearing for your life, is not the way a child, or even anyone, should live. Also, the right to survival and development was taken away from them, as if they did not hide, they would die, but their development would suffer. However if they did not hide, eventually they would be found. In the end, after all that Anne, Margot and Peter went through, they were found and murdered, which is the ultimate violation of the rights of a child.


Germany invaded Holland on May 10th 1940. The invasion, based on blitzkrieg, was swift and devastating. Holland surrendered just six days later as her military had been unable to cope with the speed of blitzkrieg. Fear was also great - Rotterdam had been severely damaged by bombing. Could the same happen to Amsterdam? The Hague?

Rotterdam destroyed by German bombing

German bombers attack Holland at 03.55 on May 10th. The target was Waalhaven airfield to the south of Rotterdam. One hour later, a battalion of paratroopers was dropped onto the airfield. Dutch troops based in Waalhaven put up fierce resistance but it was in vain. As with all early blitzkrieg attacks, the Germans had the element of surprise. While Waalhaven was being taken - a perfect base for the Luftwaffe to use - more paratroopers landed at Dordrecht, ten miles to the south-east of Waalhaven. Their task was to capture a vital bridge in the town. Such a prize would greatly assist the Germans ability to move vehicles in their assault on Holland.

As a result of the waterways that dissect Holland, small naval craft played a part in the attempts to stop the invasion. They had been reasonably successful but only delayed the inevitable. However, their perceived success persuaded the Commander-in Chief of the Royal Netherlands Navy, Vice-Admiral Fürstner, that more ships should be sent to the inland waterways to attack the Germans. To this end the destroyer 'Van Galen' was sent up the Nieuwe Waterweg - and became an easy target for German bombers. The narrow waterways ended any chance the destroyer had of changing her course - she was essentially stuck in the Nieuwe Waterweg. Though the 'Van Galen' did not receive a direct hit, many near misses had done much damage to the ship and she limped into Merwedeharbour incapable of continuing the fight. Though the journey of the 'Van Galen' had been futile, it typified the attempts by the Dutch to fight off the enemy.

The Dutch Air Force did the same. The airfield at Waalhaven was attacked four times by the Dutch (after it had fallen to the Germans) and many German planes were lost. But, despite their bravery, it was only inevitable that the Germans would be victorious. By the end of May 10th, the Germans had captured Waalhaven airbase and the vital bridge at Dordrecht. The southern sector of Rotterdam had been occupied and the Germans were in the perfect position to attack the heart of Holland's most important commercial centre. Waalhaven was used to bring in German troops - this was achieved by 250 Junkers 52 transport planes bringing in troops.

Holland was an irritation in the great scheme of the attack on France. The sooner the Germans could take out Holland, the sooner they could concentrate all their resources on France. For this reason, they wanted to shock the politicians of Holland into surrendering. Rotterdam was the pay the price for this. The Germans decided to launch a ferocious attack on Rotterdam that would have such an impact, that the government of Holland would initiate a surrender.

On May 14th, the attack on Rotterdam started. The Germans used the excuse for such an attack that British troops had landed by the Maas River, thus endangering German troops based in the area. No such landing had taken place by the British. The attack started at 13.30 and within five hours, the Germans entered the centre of Rotterdam. There were 30,000 civilian casualties.

Over the next two days, the Germans conquered the rest of Holland. However, they did meet with resistance especially at the Ypenburg and Ockenburg air bases. At Ypenburg, 11 German transport planes were shot down out of a total of 13. Such was the ferocity of the defenders at Ockenburg, that German transport planes landed on the soft sand dunes that were near to the air base.

Despite all their heroics, the Dutch Air Force lost 62 planes out of 125 on May 10th alone. Despite such losses, they continued attacking the Germans and inflicting damage up until Holland surrendered. For their valour, the Dutch Air Force was awarded the Militaire Willemforce - the Dutch equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

The threat to bomb Utrecht, persuaded the Dutch government to surrender. On May 14th, a message was sent out to all Dutch forces to lay down their arms. Commanders were ordered to stop fighting and to destroy all ammunition. Skirmishes continued until May 16th.

+ couple images.


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