INDONESIA: End of the Union

Of the empires that crumbled at the shock of nationalism after World War II, few fell apart so abruptly as The Netherlands'. Just three days after Japan's surrender, Indonesia declared its independence and proclaimed the end of The Hague's richest and biggest colony, The Netherlands East Indies. By late 1949, prodded by the U.S., the Dutch had recognized Indonesian sovereignty over practically all of their Pacific territories.

In exchange for sovereignty, Indonesian leaders agreed to place their country in a Netherlands-Indonesian Union, an arrangement which had the appearance of a common bond but was not one in fact. Last week...

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