Abstract

As Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, the Japanese occupation was a decisive factor in the shaping of political developments in Indonesia after 1945. It is indeed probable that the impact of those eventful forty months was greater in Indonesia than in Burma and the Philippines, both of which countries had progressed further toward autonomy and self-rule under Western colonial rule than had the Netherlands Indies. It is certainly no coincidence that Japan granted “independence” to these areas during 1943, while in Indonesia a guarded promise of the distant goal of such independence came only as the result of the adverse course of the Pacific War in the latter part of 1944, when Allied landings in Indonesia appeared a probability. It was not until September of that year that, on instructions from Tokyo, the military administration on Java took steps which facilitated the ultimate success of the nationalist revolution in Indonesia. An examination of Japanese policies during the early months of the occupation of Java, the center of Indonesian political life then and now, leaves little doubt that the fate of Indonesia would have been far different had Japan continued victorious in the war.

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