August 8, 2017

1945. Southeast Asia in Revolt

Anti-Colonial Uprisings Across Southeast Asia
Crowds gather in Vietnam as Ho Chi Minh declares independence on September 2, 1945 (source)
From The Manchester Guardian, September 26, 1945:
Siamese Riots

Rioting continues in Indo-China and Siam (Thailand), and the situation is more difficult in Java. News is sparse from these former Japanese territories which have not yet been fully occupied by the Allies, but the latest reports are as follows:—

Indo-China: There has been a virtual state of war in Saigon for several days, says an Associated Press message. British mortars and heavy machine-guns yesterday were turned on the rebellious Annamite forces. Most shops have been closed since the major outbreak of fighting on Monday, when Annamites seized the market place and succeeded in shutting off all the city's power supplies. British troops were put to work in an attempt to restore the electricity and water systems.

Bill Downs, C.B.S. broadcaster, says that at least 100 people are reported to have been killed or wounded in what he terms the "war of independence."

"Armed Japanese troops are fighting by the side of the British and French in an effort to establish law and order," he said. "Truckloads of Japanese soldiers with rifles drive through the streets to the fronts. The revolutionists are the Annamites, who are resisting a return to the French status quo.

"When the British entered the country on September 12 it became clear that the British were committed to return the country's rule to the French. The Annamites revolted, claiming they were fighting a legitimate war of independence. The British say they did not have enough troops in Indo-China to maintain law and order and are using some 2,000 released French prisoners of war and are calling on 5,000 Japanese stationed in the Saigon area."

Admiral Thierry d'Argenlieu, the French High Commissioner to Indo-China, in a broadcast to the people of French Indo-China stated: "France will give a new political status to the people of Indo-China. All of them, without distinction of race, or colour, will have access to administrative posts."

Siam: Rioting between Siamese and Chinese is taking place both in Bangkok, the capital, and in the Siamese provinces, state Reuters cables from Colombo. The rioting began on Friday and has broken out again after a pause of twenty-four hours. A hand-grenade was thrown on the busiest railway station in Bangkok, injuring a number of people. There have been more than a hundred arrests.

An Allied military protective guard has been placed on local Japanese headquarters where some personnel have been ordered to remain to help in administrative matters.

Dutch Want to Send in Troops 
From out Special Correspondent

MELBOURNE, SEPTEMBER 25 — To rush troops to Java to cope with the Indonesian disaffection the Netherlands East Indies Government in Australia is seeking the release of Dutch ships from the Allied shipping pool. All shipping in Brisbane has been tied up because of the refusal of the waterside workers there to load six Dutch ships for the Indies whose Indonesian crews had struck. The Federal Executive of the Waterside Workers' Federation in Sydney advised all branches not to work on the vessels because Australia should not assist to force unwanted Governments on the Indonesian people.

The Dutch have 43,000 garrison troops they wish to ship to the Indies, including 7,000 Marines who have been training in the United States and 3,500 troops in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. They have 1,300,000 tons of shipping in the Allied pool. They are especially eager to get possession of the 36,000-ton liner Nieuw Amsterdam, which could transport most of the Marines from the United States.

The Japanese are still ruling Java pending the arrival of a British occupation force. Their troops are dispersing small crowds of demonstrators and are guarding important functions. Some Dutch officers think that the Japanese should take stronger measures against the demonstrators.

Supporters of the "Indonesian Republican Government," formed last month with Japanese approval, are still driving cars carrying the red and white flags.