The Bersiap period

The end of the Japanese occupation did not bring peace to the Netherlands East Indies, and the struggle for Indonesian independence broke out.

On 15 August 1945, the Second World War ended with the surrender of Japan. The violence continued, however, and the struggle for Indonesian independence broke out. On 17 August 1945, Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia, but the Netherlands refused to recognise it. In the meantime, Indonesian armed groups tried to wrest power from the Japanese, using violent means if necessary. This bloody ‘Bersiap period’ lasted until the spring of 1946. The Indonesian government was virtually unable to control the violent actions of the armed groups. Dutch and Indo-European citizens in republican areas were interned in camps, both for their own safety and in order to isolate them.