Cold War Shadow

Cold War Shadow: United States Policy Toward Indonesia 1953-1963
As the Second World War was coming to its conclusion, Presi-dent Franklin D. Roosevelt held an ambiguous position about the Netherlands desire to re-colonize Indonesia. On the one hand, the President was firmly anti-imperialist as expressed in the Atlantic Charter. On the other handperhaps influenced by his Dutch ancestryhe assured Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands that Indonesia should be restored as Hollands holding after having lost it to the Japanese in 1942. Presi-dent Roosevelts successor, Harry S Truman, continued this Indonesian policy. President Truman publicly endorsed the idea of self-determination for countries under the threat of foreign subjugation, but at the same time quietly supported the Dutch attempt to re-conquer Indonesia. While Roosevelts ambiguity was primarily personal, Trumans attitude was shaped by international developments following the end of World War II. In particular, it was necessitated by mounting Cold War tensions between the Soviet-led Communist bloc and the United States-led capitalist Free World. Convinced that the Communist bloc planned to expand its influence internationally, and consequently would threaten the interests of the Free World, the Truman adminis tration (1945-1953) pursued a policy to contain the spread of communist influ-ence, including in Indonesia.

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