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10 NOVEMBER

BRITISH TROOPS KILL 10,000 INDONESIANS IN BATTLE TO REASSERT DUTCH COLONIAL RULE.

10 November 1945 – The British begin a large scale assault on the Indonesian city of Surabaya, where nationalist forces equipped with weapons they had seized from Japanese troops continued to defy orders to disarm.  Several days earlier a British brigadier, A.W.S. Mallaby, had been killed in the city, though it wasn’t clear whether he had been the victim of an Indonesian teen or a grenade thrown by a British captain at the alleged assailant. The incident however provided a suitable excuse for the British to crush the nascent nationalist forces with overwhelming force.

Fierce fighting between British troops and Indonesian forces continued for the remainder of the month. The British lost 600 troops and estimated that they had killed 10,000 Indonesians although other estimates but the Indonesian death toll as high as 15,000 – a kill ratio of more than 20 to 1.  200,000 inhabitants were forced to abandon their homes.  Some British troops were so appalled by the atrocities they witnessed committed against Indonesians by returning Dutch troops, that they mutinied and threatened to turn their guns instead of the Dutch. (1)

FOOTNOTES

  1. Ian Cobain (2017), “The History Thieves: Secrets, Lies and the Shaping of a Modern Nation,” Portobello Books, London p69-70.

 

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