F.W. von Mellenthin wrote:On the Conclusion of the [French] Campaign my division was transferred to the Breda area, where the polite though reserved behavior of the German troops made an excellent impression on the Dutch. I was accomodated in the house of a former Dutch Colonial officer, and I look back with gratitude to those quiet weeks in his hospitable and cultured home. It is a matter of regret that Gestapo officers and party officials soon raised a barrier between the occupation troops and the civil population; their complete lack of consideration and ruthless conduct alienated many potential friends. Unfortunately these officials lacked culture and education--the foundation of successful work in a foreign country.
After a few weeks in Holland I was transferred back to the HQ of the First Army in Lorraine, with the appointment of Ic. We had excellent quarters in the old Gothic castle at Nancy, and I was overjoyed to serve under my old corps commander of Berlin days, Field Marschal von Witzleben, then commanding First Army. My duties brought me into contact with many Frenchmen in prominent positions in politics and commerce. I found a genuine desire to cooperate on the basis of a United Europe, built up on the principle of absolute equality. This spirit of cooperation was furthered and encouraged by the well-disciplined and affable attitude of the German occupation troops. But Hitler could not make up his mind about adopting a clear-cut policy of moderation towards France. For instance we were not permitted to let French refugees from the area north of the Somme return to their homes, and the whole of Northern France and Belgium was placed under a single military government. We could see the idea of a "Greater Flanders" behind this measure.
I would like to know if anybody else has come across other accounts; and if Hitler's half-assed peace offer to Britain was tied in with this somehow. Even if Hitler publically spoke of a United Europe, he probably didn't like the idea and didn't put too much thought into it; hence military occupation of the lower countries and France.