Holland’s black page: The violence of decolonisation

Dutch soldiers with Indonesian prisoners, central Java 1948 (© javapost.nl)

This is part of a series called “War and Forgiveness” about the victims and perpetrators of wartime atrocities, produced by Radio Netherlands together with WNYC and Sound Print. In this episode, Dheera Sujan speaks with the people involved in the violent decolonisation of the former Dutch East Indies, present-day Indonesia.

Immediately after the end of the Japanese occupation at the end of World War II, Indonesians declared independence.  A five-year struggle against Dutch colonial rule ensued that resulted in the deaths of many tens of thousands of Indonesians. The Netherlands called its military campaigns to suppress the independence struggle “police actions”, but others say this is a euphemism, and to this day it is debated whether the Dutch are guilty of actual war crimes or, as the official version goes, of mere “excesses”.

Producer: Dheera Sujan

Broadcast: May 30, 2004