Bandung in the Early Revolution 1945-1946: A Study in the Social History of the Indonesian Revolution

Bandung in the Early Revolution 1945-1946: A Study in the Social History of the Indonesian Revolution

Bandung in the Early Revolution 1945-1946: A Study in the Social History of the Indonesian Revolution

Bandung in the Early Revolution 1945-1946: A Study in the Social History of the Indonesian Revolution

Excerpt

This work deals with events in and around the city of Bandung in West Java during the first seven or eight months of the Indonesian Revolution, an historical episode beginning with the proclamation of Indonesian independence on August 17th, 1945 and ending with the evacuation and partial destruction of the city by the Indonesians on the night of March 24th, 1946. It is a study of local history in a restricted period of time but at the same time it is intended as a contribution to the social history of modern Indonesia. Something should be said about how these two purposes are related and what sort of study results from this approach to the history of the Revolution.

The essential factor here is the change of perspective inherent in any study of local history, but particularly obvious in this case since there has been no previous work on the local history of the Revolution. By stationing myself in Bandung, and not in Jogjakarta, Djakarta or The Hague, and looking outward from there I necessarily see the Revolution differently. From the point of view of these capital cities the Revolution took the form of a struggle between the Dutch and the Indonesians, the climactic crisis in the history of the Netherlands East Indies, and it was problems of Dutch-Indonesian relations which occupied men’s hands and dominated their thoughts. Since the participants normally saw the Revolution this way and since, moreover, this particular anti-colonial struggle was part of a much larger process across most of the world it is understandable that our conceptions of the Revolution, and most of what has been written about it, should be dominated by this side of it, which may be called its foreign relations aspect.

1 See my “On the Possibility of an Autonomous History of Modern Southeast Asia,” Journal

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