World War II : Dutch East India



The occupation of the Netherlands by German troops in May 1940 had placed the Dutch East Indies in a very vulnerable position. The royal family and the Dutch government had fled to London, where a government-in-exile was established, which was recognised by the administration in Batavia. Yet, the Dutch East Indies could expect little in terms of reinforcements in case of a Japanese attack.
Japan demanded the delivery of raw materials, most importantly OIL from Sumatra. The Dutch administration complied; yet in March 1942 the Japanese invaded, occupying most of the archipelago (southern New Guinea escaped Japanese occupation). The Dutch residents, in total 170,000, were INTERNED, a Japanese military administration established; the Japanese partitioned the archipelago in three zones, Sumatra, the Central and the Eastern Islands; many Indonesians found employment in the new administration. Dutch was replaced, as language of administration, education and jurisdiction, by Bahasa Indonesia and Japanese. Indonesian political leaders SUKARNO and HATTA, held in detention by the Dutch, were liberated by the Japanese and made leaders of Indonesian political organisations. In 1943 the Japanese promised SELF-GOVERNMENT to the Indonesians; it did not materialize during the war. The Japanese exploited both Indonesia's natural resources (oil, rubber, tin etc.) and employed FORCED LABOUR (romusha); resistance was regional.
Late in World War II, positions in the eastern Dutch East Indies (HOLLANDIA Apr. 22nd 1944, MOROTAI Sept. 15 1944, TARAKAN April 30th 1945, HALMAHERA, NORTH SUMATRA June 1945) were liberated by Australian, Dutch forces and Acehnese rebels. Military targets all across the archipelago were attacked by Allied air raids.
When it became obvious that the war was lost, Indonesian patriots seized Japanese weapons; Sukarno and Hatta declared Indonesian independence immediately after Japan's surrender.


EXTERNAL
FILES
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Indonesia
History of Indonesia, from Infoplease
Links to Indonesian History, from Looksmart
Timeline of Indonesian History 1940-1945, from Serajah Indonesia
Entry Amuntai, from Footnotes to History, by James L. Erwin
The Dutch ast Indies 1941-1942, by L. Klemen
DOCUMENTS " Netherlands Consul sources: Japan attacks January 15 against Netherlands Indies " , Dec. 28th 1940, from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
American-Dutch-British Conversations, Singapore, April 1941, from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
Telegram Japanese Asst. Chief of Staff, Tokyo, to Major Kurida, Batavia : asks for information on Air Force in DEI, Oct. 22 1941; from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
Response, Oct. 25th 1941, from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
Japanese Navy Order to Adm. Yamamoto : Japan has decided to wage war against the US, Britain, the Netherlands, Dec. 1st 1941, from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
Japanese Navy Directive No.9, to Adm. Yamamoto, on war against US, UK, NL, Dec. 1st 1941, from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
Communication between UK Admiralty and Neth Govt in Exile on waters in Davao-Waigeo-Equator area, Dec. 3rd 1941, from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
Similar to previous, Dec. 4th 1941, from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
Telegram from Melbourne to US War Dept., Dec. 7 1941 on Dutch execution of Plan A 2 (in DEI), from A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
See here for complete list A Chronological Collection of Documents Relating to the U.S. Entry Into WWII.
REFERENCE Article : Netherlands Indies, in : Americana Annual 1943 pp.539-540 (on events of 1942) [G]
Article : Netherlands Indies, in : Americana Annual 1944 pp.517-519 (on events of 1943) [G]
Article : Netherlands Indies, in : Americana Annual 1945 pp.528-530 (on events of 1944) [G]
Article : Netherlands Indies, in : Americana Annual 1946 pp.540-542 (on events of 1945) [G]
The Dutch East Indies under Fire, pp.343-352 in : John Gunther, Inside Asia, 1942 War Edition, NY : Harper & Brothers (1938) 1942
Article : Netherlands Colonial Empire, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1945 p.489; Netherlands Indies pp.490-491 (on events of 1944) [G]


This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on October 19th 2006

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