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Sukarno and the Nature of Indonesian Political Society: A Review of the Literature




Reid, Anthony

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University of Auckland


The names Indonesia and the Republic of Indonesia have been in our political vocabulary for only three decades. When they were first proclaimed to the world in 1945, there were violently opposed interpretations of what they betokened. The Indonesian nationalists declared that a new state had been born, with a flag, a government, a territory embracing the islands of the former Dutch East Indies, a national identity, and a place in the hearts of 70 million people. They demanded that the Republic of Indonesia be treated as other states and its sovereign equality accepted by the world. At the other extreme, outraged Dutch politicians and officials, who claimed to know 'the Indies' well, dismissed it as 'a puny form of words'; 'a handful of men who called themselves the "Indonesian Republic" '. 1 They possessed a radio transmitter, but nothing else that suggested statehood. Only Dutch colonial institutions, these conservative voices argued, had united a variety of peoples with their own diverse but traditional political and religious loyalties.



Indonesia, Republic of Indonesia, sovereign state, Dutch East Indies



New Zealand Journal of History


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Open Access

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