The Civil and Military Dimensions of Dutch Counter-Insurgency on Java, 1947-49

Thijs Brocades Zaalberg


Despite its seemingly overwhelming military superiority, the Netherlands never came close to defeating the increasingly effective nationalist insurgency on Java in the late 1940s. This article argues that the desperate state of the Dutch counter-insurgency campaign—which tends to be overlooked for the crucial years 1947-1948—is best demonstrated by focussing on the failure of the colonial power to integrate the civilian and military efforts and on its inability to govern reoccupied territory during the ‘pacification phase’.

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