Southeast Asia History

Topics: Nationalism, Colonialism, Malaysia Pages: 4 (1392 words) Published: October 11, 2013
How effectively did colonial governments deal with of nationalist movements in Southeast Asia the period before WWII? Colonial initiatives during pre-war nationalism in Southeast Asia took the form of both colonial suppression and concessionary measure. The extent of effectiveness of these measures is depended on how the colonial masters carried put these initiatives and also the extent to which the nationalist movements could resist them. Colonial suppression was the most effective in the short run as it was able to suppress certain national movements. However, in the long run, this back fired as the suppressed movements re-emerged after the Japanese Occupation, posing a larger threat to the nationalist movements. Hence, colonial suppression was only effective in dealing with nationalist movements in the short run. Similarly, although concession may have effectively pacified certain moderate nationalist movements in the short run, it was not effective in the long run as superficial concessions led to nationalist frustrations and radicalism. However, colonial powers that choose to use the carrot and stick method were more judicious, allowing the moderate movements to the pacified and the radical movements to be kept in check.

Radical nationalist movements were crippled through the use of aggressive suppression tactics and policies. Fear was used as a political tool to pressurize many nationalist movements to back down and ceased to exist other movements were replaces with more moderate movements that supported colonial policies. This can be clearly seen in Vietnam where Phan Boi Chao’s Eastern Travel Movement and Renovation Society were clamped down on by the French. Similarly, the Vietminh and the ICP were also later repressed. In Indonesia, the Sarekat Islam was also suppressed even before they got the opportunity to develop. Later, movements, such as Sukarno’s Parti Nasional Indonesia (PNI), were also suppressed. As such, it is clear from the above...
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