The Civil and Military Dimensions of Dutch Counter-Insurgency on Java, 1947-49


  • Thijs Brocades Zaalberg Netherlands Institute of Military History in The Hague


Despite its seemingly overwhelming military superiority, the Netherlands never came close to defeating the increasingly effective nationalist insurgency on Java in the late 1940s. This article argues that the desperate state of the Dutch counter-insurgency campaign—which tends to be overlooked for the crucial years 1947-1948—is best demonstrated by focussing on the failure of the colonial power to integrate the civilian and military efforts and on its inability to govern reoccupied territory during the ‘pacification phase’.

Author Biography

Thijs Brocades Zaalberg, Netherlands Institute of Military History in The Hague

DR THIJS BROCADES ZAALBERG specialises in colonial warfare, counter-insurgency, and peace operations at the Netherlands Institute of Military History in The Hague. He has published various books and articles in international academic journals and is currently contributing to the six-volume series The Military History of the Netherlands as both author and editor. He frequently teaches at the Netherlands Defence Academy and has twice served as an operational war diarist with Dutch forces in southern Afghanistan.