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The Indonesian revolution, its origins, the course of its development, and its relation to current conditions in Indonesian society has always been a subject of major concern to the Cornell Modern Indonesia Project. Among the principal gaps in the coverage of its history (where both Indonesian and other Asian and Western scholars have given relatively little attention) are the background provided by the final year of Japanese occupation and an account of the first few months of independence, a critical time in which the revolutionary forces acquired their first institutional form.
It is a matter of great regret that most of those Indonesians best qualified to write about this period have had little opportunity for doing so because of their preoccupation with governmental administration and other heavy duties. In the past decade, during which research on Indonesia has taken root at Cornell University, there has been only one substantial study relating to this period, Professor Harry J. Benda's doctoral dissertation, later published under the title of The Crescent and the Rising Sun. (The only other significant studies in English, Dr. M. A. Aziz's Japan's Colonialism and Indonesia and Professor W. H. Elsbree's Japan's Role in Southeast Asian Nationalist Movements, 1940-1945 were written without access to the substantial body of documents available to Dr. Benda and Mr. Anderson in Cornell University Library's collection on the Japanese occupation of Indonesia.) Subsequently, a study of outstanding importance has appeared in Japan, Indoneshia ni okeru Nippon gunsei no kenkyu (A Study of the Effects of the Japanese Military Occupation on Indonesia) by Shigetada Nishijima, Koichi Kishi, et al.; but, unfortunately, this exists only in the Japanese language and has not as yet been translated into English or Indonesian.
Mr. Benedict Anderson, a member of the Cornell Southeast Asia Program's Modern Indonesia Project and for two years chief teaching assistant in the University's Department of Government, is currently on his way to Indonesia to undertake research concerning the revolutionary period (1945-1949). It is my hope and expectation that as a consequence he will be able to explore the history of the period in a balanced and scholarly way. I believe that the quality of his work in this present Interim Report, one based only on resources available at Cornell, is a substantial earnest of his capacity for doing so.
Mr. Anderson's present study deals with the earliest period of the broader study which he envisages. He wishes it emphasized that the account offered here is an interim report, not a completed mono-graph. It represents his preliminary research, based on the incomplete sources available to him at Cornell. Many of his data are regarded by him as tentative and subject to confirmation or revision - depending upon the information which he encounters during his research in Indonesia. So that this study may be improved, he and I hope that he may secure the cooperation and the full, candid criticism of knowledgeable Indonesian scholars and officials. - George McT. Kahin, September 29, 1961
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