View Full Version : Dutch Counter-Insurgency on Java, 1947 - 49

02-21-2016, 07:59 PM
A rare article, free too on BJMH, on the Dutch 'police action' in the Dutch East Indies post-1945, now known as Indonesia. On my first read so many examples can be found in contemporary campaigns. There are a few surprises too, notably a parachute assault on the nationalist HQ, capturing the top leadership.

The author's aim:
This article addresses the question why the Dutch – despite their overwhelming military superiority and initial diplomatic successes – never came close to defeating the insurgency on Java, the key island in the Archipelago. It does so by focusing on what is often considered a central element of counter-insurgency campaigning but has received little attention in the literature on the war of decolonisation: the institutional challenge of balancing and integrating the military and civilian effort.The author concludes:
The Dutch approach in countering the Indonesian revolt can be summarised as follows. The campaign lacked a realistic political aim, too often relied on excessive force, neglected governance in occupied territory and failed to create a balanced and integrated mechanism for civil-military cooperation. ‘When we speak about “hearts and minds” [in the colonial context]’, Hew Strachan convincingly argued during a counter-insurgency conference in 2007, ‘we are not talking about being nice to the natives, but about giving them the firm smack of government.’ The Dutch never came close. Without an adequate system to either control the Indonesians in order to shield them from insurgent influence or to persuade them to join the Dutch camp,the Netherlands failed to separate the insurgents from the population. Intelligence on the enemy was militarised and often failed to distinguish between friend, ‘fence sitters’ and foe. Secondly, the Dutch lacked patience: hoping for quick results they focused on two speedy offensives at the expense of progressive pacification and long term reform. Finally, Dutch forces failed to sufficiently innovate and adapt to their enemy and environmentLink:http://bjmh.org.uk/index.php/bjmh/article/view/30/22

An older thread also covers this campaign, albeit now closed and yes this maybe merged there one day:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?13335-End-of-Empires-who-and-what-was-responsible-(post-WW2)

12-03-2016, 12:36 PM
An official Dutch apology is not enough:
The Dutch government on Friday (Dec 2) announced a new study into a bloody colonial conflict running up to Indonesia's independence in 1949, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.Link:http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/dutch-unveil-study-into-indonesia-colonial-conflict/3338614.html#.WEKvERQEI2E.twitter

05-06-2019, 06:42 PM
A belated post as I discovered this website a few months ago and had an exchange over why the Dutch returned to the Dutch East Indies after the Japanese surrender. The author responded:
Why did France decide to return to French Indo-China? I think for the Dutch there were more reasons:

1. The Dutch had a romantic relationship to their colony (guess the Brits had too)
2. The Government wanted to free their countrymen
3. They needed the income to rebuilt the Netherlands
4. They needed to get rid of a lot of resistance fighters with arms (the first 30.000 of 100.000 men were volunteers)

The author has a website on one Dutch brigade in central Java 1945-1949, it is also in English and may help readers:http://tijgerbrigade.com/