chapter  Chapter One
23 Pages

First Encounters

WithPaul F. Gardner

Indonesians and Americans emerged from World War II with strikingly similar ideals. The fears that haunted them, though, were very different. Indonesians believed that their new government and the solidarity that nationalism had created among their many ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups were threatened by the reimposition of Dutch colonialism. Fears are “important and dangerous companions,” Indonesia’s respected humanist Soedjatmoko pointed out. Indonesians’ colonial experiences bore scant resemblance to those of the founders of the United States. Decades later, US Foreign Service officers would be taught in their area studies that many Indonesian cultures and the Javanese culture in particular, inculcate deference to authority, strong control over the emotions, and avoidance of open expression of conflict. Sukarno apparently saw collaboration as a means of reaching the Indonesian people. Julius Tahija was among the few Indonesians to participate in Allied operations against the Japanese and the only one to receive an Allied nation’s highest decoration for bravery.