Paul Budde's History Archives

Dutch are digging deeper holes for themselves

The uncompromising Dutch re-colonialisation attitude only fuelled a broader pro-independence attitude among the ‘Indonesians’ in Australia. Those who wanted to leave the Dutch service, were treated as deserters and were given harsh punishments by the Dutch authorities, and jailed in Long Bay, Loveday (South Australia), Cowra (central NSW) and Liverpool (Sydney). The NEI government-in-exile had their own police and military force in Australia, who had near full autonomy in relation to their ‘subjects’, they could wear and use weapons.

The Dutch were only prepared to provide more participation of ‘Indonesians’ in local government structures but still have to be under the final control of the Netherlands, they had no interest in discussing independence and were adamant to restore colonialism. As a result, animosity against the Dutch increased. In Australia, the Digulists were able to put their political case before the trade unions.

What must have played a role in the back of the minds of the  Dutch politicians was that a significant part of Dutch wealth depended on the income from the NEI colony and when after WWII the Netherlands itself was close to bankrupt (the US Marshal Aid prevented this from happening) they were desperate to restore the situation where they again could reap the financial benefits from their colony. At the same time many Dutch companies had a vested interest in seeing colonialisation being restored.

But of course, the war had changed the world, people in this part of the world wanted to get rid of the their British, French and Dutch overlords.