DOI link for Prologue
Contributing to the anonymity of the experience was the fragmentation of families and particularly the separation of children from the parents, which quickly became one of the most traumatic dimensions to the crisis. The long, straggling lines of civilians, most of them women and children, were an impediment to military operations and a threat to military security. Conservatives could use it to deflect blame away from the military hierarchy and towards supposed communist subversion. Andre Morize described "entire regiments of Germans" living in Holland as disguised civilians and paying off French Communists to sabotage war factories. Lest one suspect that such fantasies were uniquely French, one should note that France's allies took them equally seriously. The British government had reacted to rumours of Fifth Column treachery in Holland by interning enemy aliens in Britain.