Colonialism and Cold War: The United States and the Struggle for Indonesian Independence, 1945-49

Overview

The disintegration of former colonial empires in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East after World War II profoundly affected the international balance of power, irrevocably altering the political map of the world. The United States was in a unique position to influence the outcome of the struggles for independence in the Third World. In Colonialism and Cold War, Robert J. McMahon looks closely at one area where American diplomacy played an important role in the end of the European imperial order: Indonesia, the ...

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Overview

The disintegration of former colonial empires in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East after World War II profoundly affected the international balance of power, irrevocably altering the political map of the world. The United States was in a unique position to influence the outcome of the struggles for independence in the Third World. In Colonialism and Cold War, Robert J. McMahon looks closely at one area where American diplomacy played an important role in the end of the European imperial order: Indonesia, the archipelago that had been the jewel of the Dutch colonial empire since the early seventeenth century.

McMahon begins with an overview of the history of Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia and of the subsequent rise of nationalism among the peoples of the East Indies. He then traces the evolution of American policy toward Indonesia during the four years of the Dutch-Indonesian conflict, analyzing the factors that altered the course of that policy from initial support for the Dutch to halting and reluctant support for the nationalists.

The case of Indonesia illuminates American foreign relations as a whole in the postwar period. McMahon demonstrates the fundamental link between American colonial policy and the Cold War, showing that the official attitude toward Indonesia was determined by a global geopolitical strategy aimed at containing communism. His study places American policy in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, in historical context by discussing the roots of that policy and comparing the cases on Indonesia and Indochina.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Robert J. McMahon has produced a superb scholarly reconstruction of the American role in the decolonization of Southeast Asia's most important nation. He has also illuminated Washington’s persistent challenge to reconcile often-conflicting United States interests in colonialism, nationalism, and cold war. Policymakers and foreign policy theorists, as well as diplomatic historians, will find instruction in this lucidly written, tightly focused, nonpolemical, and richly documented account of the role of the United States in the Indonesian struggle for independence."—Journal of Asian Studies

"Colonialism and Cold War is based on a wide range of American archival sources, most particularly the State Department and modern military records in the National Archives, on British cabinet and Foreign Office materials in the Public Record Office, and on United Nations records in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. Robert J. McMahon is master of materials and has produced a neatly written, nicely judged, and well-argued work."—American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801477171
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

1. The Growth of Indonesian Nationalism
2. The United States, the East Indies, and the Colonial Question
3. Reoccupation: August–December 1945
4. Toward the Linggadjati Agreement: January–November 1946
5. From Negotiations to War: November 1946–July 1947
6. Intervention by the United Nations: July 1947–January 1948
7. From Negotiations to War: January–December 1948
8. The Road to Independence: December 1948–December 1949
9. The United States and Indonesian Independence

Epilogue: The United States and Indonesia, 1949–65
Bibliography of Archive Collections
Index

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