Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Iyanatul Islam
Chapter 9: Indonesia
Thee Kian Wie A short political history On 17 August 1945, two days after the Japanese unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces, Sukarno and Hatta, Indonesia’s two most charismatic leaders, proclaimed Indonesia’s independence. Disregarding this proclamation, the Netherlands was intent on reclaiming its colony from the Japanese. In the following four years, heavy ﬁghting broke out between Dutch troops and the ﬂedlging Indonesian army and irregular troops. Through the mediation of the United Nations, the Netherlands and Indonesia called a truce in 1949. The Indonesian and Dutch delegations got together in a Round Table Conference (RTC) in The Hague, in the autumn of 1949 to discuss the terms of the Dutch transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia. The oﬃcial transfer of sovereignty from the Netherlands to Indonesia took place on 27 December 1949. The achievement of political independence, however, was not accompanied by economic independence. The Dutch delegation at the RTC had extracted a concession from the Indonesian delegation that their extensive business interests could continue to operate without hindrance in an independent Indonesia. This problem as well as the Dutch refusal to hand over West Irian (Dutch West New Guinea) to Indonesia doomed from the start amicable relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia. The deteriorating relations between the two countries in late 1957 led to the takeover of all Dutch companies in Indonesia, and their subsequent nationalization in 1959. Hence, with one sweep, the vast Dutch business interests, which had operated in Indonesia since 1870, were swept away. The...
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