Leader of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands, Anton Mussert is one of the most dishonourable figures in Dutch history.
Anton Adriaan Mussert was born on May 11, 1894 in Werkendam. His father was head of the village school, which young Anton also attended until his 12th birth year. He wanted to become Marine Officer but the nautical school turned him down, after which Mussert decided to go to the technical school in Delft.
The death of his father had a huge impact on the then 20-year-old Anton Mussert. He decided to enlist in the Mobilised Dutch Army, which was made ready for World War I. The Netherlands remained neutral in this war nonetheless, so the army did not come into action. For Mussert battle was never an option, because soon was discovered he had a serious kidney disease. In hospital he met nurse Maria Witlam. Although Mussert was only 23 and she 41, they married in September 1917.
Mussert restarted and finished his studies in 1918. He worked at the Provincial Water Institute in Utrecht, making career steadily.
Already at a young age, Mussert was politically interested. He was a prolific opponent of the Treaty of Versailles. He seriously got into contact with politics when Netherlands signed a treaty with Belgium, which soon caused some insurrection in the country. Mussert became secretary of the National Committee of Action Against the Treaty with Belgium. In March 1927, the Dutch First Chamber (one half of the parliament) turned the treaty down and thus marked Mussert's first political success.
In the early 1930s Mussert got acquainted with Cornelis van Geelkerken. Together they founded their own political movement on December 14, 1931: the National Socialist Movement (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging; abbreviated NSB). Admiring Benito Mussolini deeply, NSB leader Mussert copied large parts of his political program. Besides Mussolini, Mussert also expressed great admiration for Adolf Hitler.
During his first elections in 1935, Mussert and his NSB collected almost 8% of the votes. His party consisted of approximately 50,000 members. Ironically enough his popularity had decreased to almost zero at the moment that Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940. The Nazi take-over was actually Mussert's political saviour. Although the Germans had little interest in Mussert, they decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Soon the NSB was the only legal political movement in the Netherlands.
Near the end of 1941, Mussert officially declared his personal oath of fidelity to the German Führer. A year later, in December 1942, Hitler appointed Mussert Leader of the Dutch People. This seemed a great honour, but it was in fact meant to keep Mussert satisfied. In reality even the SS - adorable men as they were themselves - were disgusted by him.
The end of World War II meant the end of Anton Mussert. He was sentenced to death on December 12, 1945. Mussert was executed on May 7, 1946 around 6:30 in the morning. Location was the Waalsdorpervlakte, where the Nazis had put many resistance people to death.