Since 1949, Indonesia is officialy an independent nation, because since then it is free from the Netherlands. Before 1949, it was a Dutch colony for a long, long time. Technically, the Dutch almost conquered Indonesia back during the Indonesian Independent War (or politionele acties in Dutch). But then the USA secured Indonesia’s independence. The Dutch had to agree, otherwise there economic help would have stopped.

But what if this never happened? What if the Politionele Acties were 100% succesfull and the Dutch took back Indonesia (So the USA doesn’t step in in this scenario). What would have happened? How long could the Dutch have kept Indonesia, or would the Indonesians maybe start a bloody guerilla war?

Thoughts?
 
I think trying to keep a population x10 times larger than yours under colonial yoke would become unsustainable eventually.
 
I think trying to keep a population x10 times larger than yours under colonial yoke would become unsustainable eventually.
I agree, so they would maybe start a guerilla war in the 1950s and break free in the 1960s I guess
 
the dutch could try their usual divide and conquer routine but I don’t think it really work in this time, since the Indonesian already tired of them, and also the soviet would gladly supported the Indonesian making them literally a soviet allies, the dutch would probably hold on to some island but in the end they would lose
 
I think trying to keep a population x10 times larger than yours under colonial yoke would become unsustainable eventually.
Agree here... but one thing to consider is that an enormous percentage of that population was concentrated in Java....
There were certain parts of today's Indonesia that the Dutch probably could've held on to for far longer - Irian Jaya, Minahasa in Sulawesi, the South Moluccas - for the simple reason that most of the locals didn't want them to leave... but, that would've required a different international political climate in the 1950's and '60's....
I think Java and Sumatra were just complete write-off's for the Dutch... no way they could've held on there any longer than they did. The rest of the archipelago though? That's sort of an open-ended question...
640px-Republik_Indonesia_Serikat_BI.PNG.png
 
The rest would go in the 1970s or early 1980s . The Dutch are not gonna integrate millions of poor Indonesians .
Millions? Maybe not... but they seem to have done a fairly credible job at integrating hundreds of thousands of other former "colonials", who decided not to stick around post-independence....
 
Since 1949, Indonesia is officialy an independent nation, because since then it is free from the Netherlands. Before 1949, it was a Dutch colony for a long, long time. Technically, the Dutch almost conquered Indonesia back during the Indonesian Independent War (or politionele acties in Dutch). But then the USA secured Indonesia’s independence. The Dutch had to agree, otherwise there economic help would have stopped.

But what if this never happened? What if the Politionele Acties were 100% succesfull and the Dutch took back Indonesia (So the USA doesn’t step in in this scenario). What would have happened? How long could the Dutch have kept Indonesia, or would the Indonesians maybe start a bloody guerilla war?

Thoughts?
The Police Actions, or Military Aggressions are Indonesians call it, were successful and guerilla war was precisely what happened OTL. Soekarno and Hatta fell into Dutch custody and the TNI continued the fight against the Dutch through warfare.

I think the POD should be “What if the US did not intervene and guerilla warfare against the Dutch continued?”

From an Indonesian POV, the crucial moment will be how the TNI deals with the death of Sudirman. Sudirman was the Commander of the TNI and in OTL he dies in January 1950, literally a month after the Dutch recognized Indonesian Independence as a result of tuberculosis. He was very charismatic and how the TNI deals with his death will decide whether continued Dutch rule will face a full on resistance or not.

Another factor to be considered was that Soekarno had given instructions to form an Emergency Government in Sumatra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Government_of_the_Republic_of_Indonesia) and if this Emergency Government fails, for a government-in-exile to be formed in India. It’s very likely that there will be a diplomatic struggle as well from this end as well.

In the event Republican resistance fails, the Dutch would also have to deal with these guys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darul_Islam_(Indonesia)
 
Last edited:
But what if this never happened? What if the Politionele Acties were 100% succesfull and the Dutch took back Indonesia (So the USA doesn’t step in in this scenario). What would have happened? How long could the Dutch have kept Indonesia, or would the Indonesians maybe start a bloody guerilla war?

It wasn't the US who stepped in and stopped the police actions. They certainly played a role, but nobody in the international community could stomach what the Dutch were doing to the Indonesians.

To repeat an answer from March 8th of this year...

---

For this to happen, the Dutch need to show their good faith. In OTL, they lacked any sort of good faith. Their first 'police action' called Operation Product was so brutal that Australia and India condemned the action and the UN had to impose it's first ever ceasefire. One Dutch officer even said the following

The Dutch armed forces were acting even more ruthlessly than the German Army had performed during the occupation of the Netherlands

Such ruthlessness included this description by a journalist.

The prisoners were mistreated in disturbing ways and tortured. Most were slain. Some had their genitals cut off. Corpses were thrown in the river. Afterwards, their tough guys invaded various small villages, called kampongs, and set those on fire. This is called 'imposing discipline'

The US was watching the events in Indonesia and they were less than impressed with Dutch efforts. In 1948, they officially began supporting the Indonesian republicans after the latter crushed an attempt by Indonesian communists to form a communist state in East Java in what is called the Madiun Affair.

When the Dutch attempted to create autonomous federal states, these states were often ruled by pro-Dutch aristocrats, who the people took a disliking to.

So, in order for the Netherlands to keep Indonesia, the Dutch need to abandon any delusions that the status quo from before 1941 will continue as if World War II never happened and they need to tone down their 'police actions' in response to guerrilla activities. This would convince the United States to support the new status quo, which is crucial since the United States was still supporting the Netherlands through the Marshall Plan and the Dutch were still using equipment that they had gotten through Lend-Lease.
 
The Dutch give independence to Indonesia as a 'dominion' style country with the Dutch monarch as head of state and nominally the Dutch parliament being higher than the Indonesian one.
Which is essentially what's happened with the Dutch West Indies...
Of course with the East Indies, there is a difference of scale (to put it mildly), plus the effects of the Japanese occupation....
 

HJ Tulp

Donor
So, in order for the Netherlands to keep Indonesia, the Dutch need to abandon any delusions that the status quo from before 1941 will continue as if World War II never happened and they need to tone down their 'police actions' in response to guerrilla activities
That the Dutch were planning to turn the back the clock to 1940 is basically a myth. It was understood that things had to change and a domion-like solution was very likely. There were a number of obstacles though:

A. Paramount was a severe lack of intelligence about the situation of the archipelago during the Japanese occupation. This made Dutch politicians think that the situation was more or less the same as in 1940: a very vocal nationalist movement in the minority and a large majority of a-political peasants. They failed to see that the years of occupation had caused a shift in popular opinion.

B. The military and diplomatic position of the Netherlands at the end of WWII. Any operations in the Indies would have to be approved and even supported by the UK and the US because they occupied the archipelago while the Dutch Army, the Royal Netherlands Navy and the KNIL were all practically non-existant at that point. This allowed chaos and the nationalists to spread like wildefire.

C. The position of Sukarno. He was undoubtedly the great leader of the Nationalists. He was also an collaborator. For the Dutch he was just like NSB-leader Anton Mussert, and they were getting ready to Mussert so it was pretty damn hard to accept him as a serious partner in post-WWII Indonesia. Because of A they also thought that they didn't need to talk with him because he was surely just as possible in Indonesia as Mussert was in the Netherlands. I've been wondering what would have happened if Sukarno had been evacuated in 1942 as planned.

The Dutch government was certainly planning to change the political status of Indonesia, but first order had to be restored! Something that didn't happen and even if it would have, it would have been too late.
 
I don't think there would have been any way to hold Sumatra and Java. The population would have resisted regardless, and they have the numbers and cultural and religious affinity to do so. As for the rest, it's a bit more complicated. They might try to go their own way, or join Indonesia, but continued Dutch rule is going to be a hard sell regardless of what you do, and their navy was in no shape to make the long voyage to retain control of anything. Hell, Britain was in no shape to do that either, and the Royal Navy was considerably more powerful.

The best they can do is follow the British example and try to ease the colonies into independence, while retaining as much influence as possible. Breaking them up is probably ideal, but how they fend off the Javanese-dominated Indonesia would be a huge question.
 
It wasn't the US who stepped in and stopped the police actions. They certainly played a role, but nobody in the international community could stomach what the Dutch were doing to the Indonesians.
India but also Australia were sympathetic to the nationalist cause.
When the Dutch attempted to create autonomous federal states, these states were often ruled by pro-Dutch aristocrats, who the people took a disliking to.
And even some of them proved unreliable in their support.
Millions? Maybe not... but they seem to have done a fairly credible job at integrating hundreds of thousands of other former "colonials", who decided not to stick around post-independence....
The story of Mollucans in the Netherlands is a story of neglect until almost litterally the bomb bursted. In the 70's young mollucans turned to terrorism to get attention for their problems, only then the integration started.
The Dutch government was certainly planning to change the political status of Indonesia
I really dissagree with this. The Dutch government was constantly forced to reasses the situation on the basis of what was happening, and at crucial moments it sabotaged negotiations with the Republic. The Linggadjati agreement was killed in Dutch parliament mainly by the KVP. Beel himself was very clearly on the side of maintaining the DEI and very hawkish.
That the Dutch were planning to turn the back the clock to 1940 is basically a myth. It was understood that things had to change and a domion-like solution was very likely. There were a number of obstacles though:

A. Paramount was a severe lack of intelligence about the situation of the archipelago during the Japanese occupation. This made Dutch politicians think that the situation was more or less the same as in 1940: a very vocal nationalist movement in the minority and a large majority of a-political peasants. They failed to see that the years of occupation had caused a shift in popular opinion.
Your point A contradicts your general statement. Because the Dutch government didn't see the change of opinion, they were dillusioned enough to believe they could restore 1940's conditions.
C. The position of Sukarno. He was undoubtedly the great leader of the Nationalists. He was also an collaborator. For the Dutch he was just like NSB-leader Anton Mussert, and they were getting ready to Mussert so it was pretty damn hard to accept him as a serious partner in post-WWII Indonesia. Because of A they also thought that they didn't need to talk with him because he was surely just as possible in Indonesia as Mussert was in the Netherlands. I've been wondering what would have happened if Sukarno had been evacuated in 1942 as planned.
That maybe true, but the Dutch government also at first tried to ignore someone spotless like Sjahrir, who happened to be prime minister.
 
Top