World War II in the Dutch East Indies

The Dutch East Indies were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. The Japanese quickly defeated the weakened Dutch colonial forces, amidst the turmoil of war in Europe, and imposed a harsh regime that exploited the region’s resources and forced labor.

They interned European and Dutch nationals in concentration camps and prisoner-of-war camps, totaling 90,000 civilians and 40,000 military personnel. The Japanese occupation inflicted widespread suffering and hardship, with an estimated four million people succumbing to famine, disease, and military conflicts.

  • March 8, 1942: Surrender of the Dutch East Indies and start of the Japanese occupation
  • August 15, 1945: Surrender of Japan and official end of WWII
  • August 17, 1945: Proclamation of Independence by Sukarno and Hatta

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