Calls to Join the Fight
Propaganda material played a key role in the call to join the fight in Indonesia. In the Netherlands, it was decided to recruit volunteers for the war effort, initially “to liberate fellow members of the empire” and later to bring “peace and order”. On the Indonesian side, merdeka (freedom) was the key term used to mobilize the masses. The brand-new republic called on its people to defend their independence. When we look at the material in this collection, there are striking differences not just in the message but also in the technical production of the Indonesian and Dutch propaganda.
The Dutch material was developed professionally and centrally whereas the Indonesian groups were forced to produce their propaganda locally, with fewer technical resources. The Dutch material was often manufactured in large print
|runs using reputable printers, sometimes even foreign companies, while many of the Indonesian objects in this collection are one-off, hand-drawn and hand-coloured items. To a certain extent, the differences between the propaganda material of the two sides illustrate the general military situation in Indonesia, where relatively small Indonesian guerrilla units fought much more heavily armed Dutch troops. The aim of this theme too is to show the various perspectives. The war of independence in Indonesia was fought by two camps with diametrically opposed views on the future of the country and the role that the Netherlands should play there. The material also shows that there was some support in the Netherlands for the Republic of Indonesia.