– Don Bell Report to Mutual – December 28, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
News was breaking this day in the area we now know as Indonesia but in 1945 was known as Java in the Dutch East Indies. No sooner had the ink dried and British and American forces withdrew from the bases they used during the war, than fighting erupted between rebel forces and the Dutch Army and had spread to New Guinea with some 14 dead and an uncounted number of wounded in its wake.
Trouble had been brewing for some time. The colonial power, The Netherlands had been occupied by Germany during the war, had its resources drained and was in no position to resume control over this area of the Pacific. The Dutch East Indies themselves were captured and held by the Japanese until they were forced to abandon the island-nation towards the final days of the war. There were hopes, now the war had ended, that Indonesia would emerge as one of the first of the newly independent states. The Netherlands however, was reluctant to cede power and the forces seeking independence from the Netherlands were staging armed attacks in and around Java as a way of forcibly persuading.
For all intents and purposes, the situation in Java and The Dutch East Indies wasn’t going to end well. But it would be a story repeated over and over during the coming years and decades as former colonial powers no longer could afford the dubious luxury of possessing lands beyond their borders and it was time to let go.
So this day in 1945, Mutual reporter Don Bell described a situation getting worse, as being relayed by people traveling in and around the area that rebel forces had spread to New Guinea and that fighting was intensifying throughout Java and the region in general.
Peace may have been settling in over other parts of the world, but the situation in Java and the Dutch East Indies was eluding of more things to come. 1946 was going to be interesting.
Here is that report from Don Bell as it was broadcast on December 28, 1945.
Or . . . .
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