Indonesian and Dutch Reactions to the Philippine Struggle for Independence

Adrian Lapian


In 1898, when American forces wrested the Philippines from Spanish rule, the Filipinos' struggle for independence drew mild reaction from a Southeast Asian neighbor of similar colonial circumstances. At that time, Indonesia, with its limited literacy and nonexistent political landscape, could not fully appreciate the repercussions of the Philippine independence movement. Only decades later did a small part of the Indonesian nationalist movement draw inspiration from its neighbor. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, the political developments in the Philippines was followed closely even before the arrival of Admiral Dewey. Aware of the possible impact of the growing clamor for Philippine independence on Indonesian political parties with nationalist aspirations, the Dutch's greatest fear, however, was American abandonment of a newly-independent Philippines, which would leave the door wide open for Japanese conquest of the region. The Dutch proved to be prophetic in this regard, losing its colony in 1942.

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