March 2, 1942 – News Reports from Radio Tokyo in English – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
March 2, 1942 – News from Radio Tokyo’s English Service regarding the Japanese invasion of Java, which began on March 1.
In the weeks leading up to the invasion, senior Dutch government officials went into exile, taking political prisoners, family, and personal staff to Australia. Before the arrival of Japanese troops, there were conflicts between rival Indonesian groups where people were killed, vanished or went into hiding. Chinese- and Dutch-owned properties were ransacked and destroyed.
The invasion in early 1942 was swift and complete. By January 1942, parts of Sulawesi and Kalimantan were under Japanese control. By February, the Japanese had landed on Sumatra where they had encouraged the Acehnese to rebel against the Dutch. On 19 February, having already taken Ambon, the Japanese Eastern Task Force landed in Timor, dropping a special parachute unit into West Timor near Kupang, and landing in the Dili area of Portuguese Timor to drive out the Allied forces which had invaded in December. On 27 February, the Allied navy’s last effort to contain Japan was swept aside by their defeat in the Battle of the Java Sea.
From 28 February to 1 March 1942, Japanese troops landed on four places along the northern coast of Java almost undisturbed. The fiercest fighting had been in invasion points in Ambon, Timor, Kalimantan, and on the Java Sea. In places where there were no Dutch troops, such as Bali, there was no fighting. On 9 March, the Dutch commander surrendered along with Governor General Jonkheer A.W.L. Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer.
The Japanese occupation was initially greeted with optimistic enthusiasm by Indonesians who came to meet the Japanese army waving flags and shouting support such as “Japan is our older brother” and “banzai Dai Nippon”. As the Japanese advanced, rebellious Indonesians in virtually every part of the archipelago killed groups of Europeans (particularly the Dutch) and informed the Japanese reliably on the whereabouts of larger groups. As famed Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer noted: “With the arrival of the Japanese just about everyone was full of hope, except for those who had worked in the service of the Dutch.”
Here is that news report (not complete) via shortwave from Radio Tokyo, as the invasion and fighting were underway. As with all these shortwave broadcasts, the sound isn’t optimum – in fact, it’s frustrating at times. But it’s history unfolding as seen from the other side of the conflict. Somewhere between Radio Tokyo’s breathless descriptions and Allied radio descriptions as fierce fighting with massive enemy casualties, the truth lay somewhere the middle. History is just like that.
Here’s the news.