Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer

Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer - rather than house arrest, he opted for internment.

March 9, 1942 – Fall Of The Dutch East Indies – So Goes Sumatra, Java and Timor.

Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer – rather than house arrest, he opted for internment.

News from Radio Tokyo (English Service) – March 9, 1942 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

One of the darker days for the Allies in the Pacific theatre of the war, with the fall of the Dutch East Indies, as reported with breathless excitement over the shortwave by way of Radio Tokyo and their daily English Service newscasts.

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. While the Japanese offered to let him stay at his home under house arrest and receive special treatment he refused. He was separated from his wife, Christine, and daughters, who were interned in a different POW camp.
Later, he was transferred to the Manchurian camp at Hsien (now Liaoyuan), where he was held along with other prominent prisoners, including General Jonathan M. Wainwright, until the camp was liberated on 16 August 1945.

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 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 a little over an hour of news from Radio Tokyo. Hard to hear in places, as was the nature of Shortwave broadcasts at the time, but a historic document nonetheless. Clearly, for the allies, it was going to get much worse before it got better.




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