Area 3: Thomson as a military reformer

  1. Thomson’s foreword in The Military Guide, 1903 (IMG, The Hague)
  2. Thomson as captain of infantry (IMG, The Hague)
  3. Grenadiers at The Hague Staatsspoor Station (IMG, The Hague)
  4. Article by Thomson: “A people’s army” in Pro and Contra, 1912 (University of Leiden Library)

Due to its dissemination of new ideas, The Military Guide magazine became the medium of choice for forward-thinking officers. Thomson’s belief (A) that excessive punishment did more to undermine military discipline than to support it brought him into conflict with his commander. Despite a poor evaluation, he was promoted (B), probably due to his competent performance during the railway strikes of 1903 when he was assigned to protect those who reported for work (C). That Thomson’s political career did not dim his fervour for military reform is clear from his passionate plea for the creation of a people’s army that would contribute to a strong national awareness (D). With the strikes still fresh in the public mind, his opponent called for a professional army that would remain loyal to authority against rebellious masses.