The Netherlands in Indonesia (1946–1949)



Although generally overlooked in the war termination literature, the Dutch-Indonesian conflict represents a significant and interesting case. Not only was it the largest overseas military operation in Dutch history, but it was also one of the nation’s most politically divisive events. Writing in 1968, Dutch political scientist Arend Lijphart observes, “All major political problems facing the Dutch during the past century have been resolved peacefully and constitutionally,” making Dutch politics appear “to be not just healthy and stable, but decidedly dull and unexciting.” The only exception, or “the only big blot on their record,” he notes, was the Indonesian conflict from 1946 to 1949, which “produced serious strains in Dutch domestic politics, similar in nature but to an even greater extent than the internal political tensions in the United States over the Vietna m issue.”1


Prime Minister Political Leadership Police Action Foreign Minister Dutch Government 
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© Shawn T. Cochran 2016

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