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Prewar Nationalism in Southeast Asia

Final Words on Origins, Nature and Development of pre-WWII nationalism: achievements and limitations You should know the factors for the development of nationalism Colonial factor (political, economic and social impact of colonial rule; colonial powers response to rise of nationalism) Nationalist factor (esp the impact of western education and role of leaders esp in the 1920s and 1930s) Inherent/contextual SEA factor (culture & religion) External factor (impact of external events and foreign ideologies) You should know the specific role of the different factors

Impact of colonial rule explains the initial impetus for native dissatisfaction which was due to the dislocation and marginalisation from the politics, economy and the traditional society. This alienation would continue throughout the colonial rule entrenching anti-colonial sentiments. Role of Western education & leaders explains the influence of western political ideologies on nationalist movements. These ideologies were useful in mobilising and organising the native dissatisfaction.

The rise of new leaders in 1920s who adapted these ideologies to the local needs and contexts to build nationalist movements that ere more broad-based, inclusive, and secular with a political goal of achieving not only independence but an independent nation-state. Colonial response to the nationalists (suppression, carrot and stick approach etc) explains the radicalisation of nationalism – in other words how nationalism became radical in terms of its methods.

Influence of Western political ideologies and events – explains how nationalist movements became more political in outlook Influence of religion and culture : see below Sample question: Ideology was more important than religion and culture in the growth of nationalist movements in the pre-WWII period. Discuss. Handles: Each was important in different way and in different stages of nationalist development. Religion and culture: provided a rallying point for early anti-colonial dissatisfaction; continued to be force for mobilisation of mass support across time.

Ideology on the other hand – modernised movements with evolution of goals, means and organisation. Not Just about which was more important but how each used was used by leaders. Argue that ideology was more important than religion and culture Ideology ethnic neutral and had the potential to unify diverse groups of people unlike religion and culture which was diverse. Had the potential to overcome the inherent divisions ot SEA societies and to uni ty these groups. E. g. B’ Dobama Asiayone attracted socialists, Marxists, students from the Rangoon university and even the religious elements the Pongyis.

PNI in I – Sukarno’s call for national concept of ‘Indonesia’ as well as key nationhood symbols such as national flag, language – step forward for East Indies given the geographical diversity. In contrast to ideology, religion – exclude minority groups or cultures and obstacle to the formation of nationhood. E. g. Malaya: absence of unified coherent movements – instead ovements targeted one another instead of colonial powers e. g. KMS vs SCBA vs CIAM. Ethnic rifts were exacerbated by religion and culture favouritism in Malaya instead of an encompassing (inclusive) ideology.

Ideology facilitated development of modern nationalism over time. Movements before 1914 largely based on religion and culture. They usually harked back to the past or focused on self-strengthening, which sought to reform traditional religions. In other words they were backwards. On the other hand ideology politicised the movements esp after WWI. Led to movements from traditional ones to forward ooking modern movements with the goal of political independence as a nation. E. g. l: Budi Utomo vs. PNI in 1928 which focused on development of nationhood.

B: YMBA to GCBA after to DA the 1930s. Ideology provided movements with means of resistance and organisation. This particularly applies to communism – gave party organisation and strategy in contrast to religious revolts. E. g. V: ICP established large scale soviets in rural Vietnam from 1930 to capitalise on economic deprivation of GD. Embark on land redistribution during JO. I: PKI worked with trade unions and carried out Banten uprising in 1926. Argue that religion and culture was more important than ideology Greater appeal to masses. Rallying point esp before 1914.

Why – more accessible to masses than external ideologies that lacked traction with traditional SEA societies. Given the religious nature of SEA, most of the movements were religious or cultural based. ICP was initally weak as the idea of socialism was alien to the masses and had to be tactfully couched under native concerns and confucionism by Ho Chi Minh in order to obtain the success as seen in Vietminh. Despite their sectarian nature, it served as stepping stone for subsequent movements e. . B: movements based on Buddhism – elaborate on footwear controversy; basis for GCBA when it politicised after 1914. : BIJ and Sl based on Javanese culture and Islam. Sl popular – elab. Change in name but kept Islam – intention of gaining support of predominantly muslim population. PKI did not get as much support as Sukarno’s PNI as socialist ideology was seen as atheist, which was affront to the religious population. Religion and culture continued to be tapped by nationalist leaders to mobilise mass support. Even though ideology started to influence movements after WWI, religion nd culture will continue to be used to mobilise mass support. Why? Because of the importance of religion and culture in SEA society.

Evident that popular movements tapped on religion and culture e. g. B: Aung San and Thakins popular because they worked wit n Pongyis which attracted much suppo rt. This is in contrast to Western educated politicians who collaborated with British and seen as collaborators. V: Vietminh – national goal of HCM was to achieve independence based on Viet nation. Islamic credentials of Sukarno played up as seen from how his pilgrimege to Mecca was widely publicized. Evaluation: played different roles. Ideology – made movements modern with clear goals and organisation.

Religion and culture – ensured mass support with their appeal to traditional SEA societies. Of course the most popular movements were those which used both. Such movements had visionary leaders who promoted ideological goal with cultural-religious undertones e. g. DA in B, PNI in I and Vietminh in V – elaborate. E. g. PNI fghting for independence based on Indonesian nation while tapping on Javanese support given the dominant Javanese leadership. Who contributed more to the development of nationalism in SEA before 1941 : olonial governments or nationalist leaders?

Key ideas – you should know the examples you should use. Role of colonial governments: Political and socio-economic impact of colonial rule led to the emergence of nationalist sentiments. Definitely colonial rule was the source of nationalism. The political and economic alienation experienced by the natives gave rise to anti- colonialism and continued to feed nationalist sentiments throughout. Certainly the degree of anti-colonialism differed from one country to the next depending on the harshness of colonial rule.

Yet the presence of anti-colonial movements even in most enevolent countries suggest that at the fundamental level – colonial presence did fuel the growth of nationalism e. g. P- even under the benevolent US – despite promise of independence…. sakdal movements (discontented farmer seeking for land reforms) in the 1930s demonstrate persistence of anti-colonial sentiments. Malaya – apolitical due to immigrant demographic and non-intrusive British indirect rule. Yet radical groups like KMM and MCP Provision of Western education and its unintended impact on the politicization of nationalist movements.

Western education introduced western ideas of self-rule and ationhood to native leaders. It nurtured a generation of leaders with a clear sense of political direction and access to the colonial powers e. g. l: Sukarno and Hatta started their political activities in the General Study Club of Bandung. They would come to lead PNI by 1928 ……… B: AS and Thakins educated in U of Rangoon. Led Dobama Asiayone………. Harsh political suppression intensified anti-colonial sentiments and strengthened nationalist resolve in the LR and helped to foment an intangible sense of nationhood.

Political suppression was employed more extensively under harsh Fr and D rule. Precisely because political progress was limited, anti-colonial sentiments intensified over time and nationalist groups were able to inculcate sense of nationhood more nan n US and British colonies. E. g. V- Fr suppressed all political parties including Phan Chu Trinh who was Pro-Fr moderate, Relentless suppression continued into the 1920s with VNQDD, ICP and Vietminh. l: D suppression of ISDV in 1920 failed to prevent PKI and later PNI. Although Sukarno was exiled in 1934, the intensified support would re-emerge when Sukarno returned during JO.

But, harsh political uppression also crippled nationalist movements leading to moderate ones, e. g. Indonesia – suppression of PNI led to moderate movements like Parinda and Gerindo and Vietminh going underground for nearly a decade. The granting of political concessions contributed directly to political progress of nationalist movements. Benevolent colonial rule usually bestowed political concessions, facilitating constitutional progress. This ensured tangible achievement and concrete step towards independence. In this regard, colonies under US and Br were more successful in terms of achieving concrete political progress.

E. g. P: promised independence as early as 1934 with the Tydings-McDuffie Act; B – Moderate nationalists Ba Maw were able to get Home Rule in 1935. Concessions could also dampen nationalist impulse and hindered a sense of nationhood. Concessions washed out anti-colonial sentiments leading to moderate and placid movements. Cultivated a group of collaborators who chose to work with rather than against colonial powers. Tydings McDuffie act in 1934 for Philippines and benevolence of Filipinization led to lack of radical movements and moderate elite rivalries – Quezon, Roxas, Osmena.

Burma – promise of Home Rule in 1935 Colonial suppression hindered the nationalist development in the SR especially potential movements. E. g. Dutch suppression of PKI in 1927 and later PNI in 1931 – removed key Indonesian leaders. The moderate lull under Parindra and Gerindo The use of carrot and stick strategy contributed to nationalist disunity e. g. Pursued in British Burma – with concessions to one group and suppression of other. Effect – moderates stayed away from radical pongyis and thakins. Deep nationalist disunity elaborate.

Role of nationalist leaders While the provision of Western education by colonial governments was important, trong nationalist leaders who were able to adapt these ideas to develop nationalism further. Contrast to the traditional self-strengthening leaders who also received western education but did not create a political vision for the movements. Nationalist leaders were successful if they could successfully conflate native concerns and problems with their western education, such as class struggle and path towards nationalism. Revolutionary leaders were able to mobilize and organize large groups for mass support. i. e.

HCM and adaptation of communist ideology to the Vietnamese context. Aung San’s ability to address native needs with nationhood ideals; common Burmese slogan and anthem – introduced land retorms to peasants development of the concept of nationhood. . Sukarno and n Disunity between and within nationalist groups and leaders could also hinder the intangible developments of nationalism. PKI branches were disorganized and disunited leading to failed coup. Thankin headquaters were disunited and lacked communication making them easy targets for colonial suppression such as the raiding of their headquaters and exiling key leaders.

Final evaluation Colonial governments were most responsible for the emergence of nationalist sentiments and benevolent colonial powers contributed more to the tangible political progress of nationalist movements. Contrast to harsh colonial governments with strong nationalist movements. Colonial governments contributed indirectly to the intangible development of nationalist movements through harsh rule and Western education but the nationalist leaders were more important in strengthening nationalist movements through harnessing Western ideas and galvanizing the masses and developing a strong sense of nationhood.

You should know the factors for the failure of nationalist movements (easiest to write) Nationalist factor Elite-mass divide and inability to capitalise on political concessions. Western educated leaders unable to relate to the masses. Lack of education on the part of the masses alienated them from the western philosophies of many movements. E. g. B: masses did not understand the democratic processes of elections and therefore influenced by wunthanu athins – shown in the voter turnout of 6. 9% in 1922. So in that sense political concessions by the British were not well utilised.

V: ICP was nitially focused more on ideology due to Soviet directive. But lack of support. Easily suppressed. Only when HCM changed the ICP to a more nationalistic Vietminh – greater support. Also moderate elite parties seen as self-serving politicians (Roxas, Osmena and Quezon) and regarded by masses as stooges of colonial powers (Golden Valley Party was seen as collaborators). Therefore little support for these western educated moderates who were negotiating with the colonial powers. E. g. B: Ba Maw discredited after his election victory in 1935 when he changed his mind with regard to separation with India.

P: Sakdal movement challenged the leading politicians from Partido Nacionalista. Why: disconnect; politicians were seen as more as enemies than the colonial powers due to elites control of land. Inter-party disunity in aims/methods and lack of unified support : too many parties at the same time; divided by aims and methods; led to split in support; can’t have a unified platform to challenge colonial powers or even to gain mass support. E. g. B: support split between Pongyis and moderate parties led by western educated leaders – 1922 1st Dyarchy elections – wunthanu athins sabotaged participation such hat there was only 6 turnout.

Failed to convince the British that they were ready for independence. V: Phan Chu Trinh was a moderate pro-French reformist; Phan Boi Chau was a radical anti-colonial leader. Both suppressed by the French by the end of 1910S. Intra-party divide: infighting; failure to present a united front; can’t become strong. E. g. P: intense political rivalry between moderate politicians from Partido Nacionalista and Partido Federalista led to the renegotiation of Hare-Hawes Cutting Act as Tydings-McDuffie Act in 1934. Both Acts were similar in substance rather than a olitical step forward.

B: Ba Maw’s turn around from anti-separation to separation after his 1935 electoral victory discredited him in the eyes of the masses as an self- interested leader. Colonial factor Colonial suppression: lack of political space and time for popular movements to cultivate support. Many leaders suppressed even before they had time to cultivate support. This was esp detrimental given that those leaders who had the potential to win much support were suppressed. Of course in the long term, suppression eventually led to backlash of increased support instead. E. g.

Indonesia: Sl and ISDV were suppressed by 1920 giving their increasing popularity in the 1910s; Sukarno and Hatta were also exiled after popularity with students in the 1931 and PNI dissolved. B: AS and Thakins suppressed in 1938 with raiding of Thakin Hq. Colonial concessions negated nationalist challenges: placated nationalists and led to group of moderate nationalists who collaborated rather than challenge the colonial powers. Where colonial rule was benevolent – few serious nationalist challenges e. g. P: Most Filipino natives pro-U- promise of independence in the TD of 1934 effectively ed to moderate movements.

M: indirect rule – traditional Malay Sultans kept in power. Malay movement KMS moderate in nature. British benevolence – moderate socio economic movements e. g. SCBA and CIAM. Carrot and stick strategy divided the movements e. g. British concessions to the moderates; suppression of Pongyis and radical Thakins – led to moderates fear of being associated with them. Inherent divisions of SEA society Traditional and religious nature of SEA society led to permanent problem which was that it led to divided movements and difficult to forge national unity. E. g. eligious ature of SEA society ensured the undertone of native traditional reaction throughout pre-war period. The irreconcilable nature of religion with politics and the rise of communism by late 1920s led to much nationalist disunity. E. g. V: traditional cultural Cao Dai movement in the 1930s endured with ICP and Vietminh. Inherent geographical/ethnic cleavages inhibited broad-based support for nationalists. In Malaya esp ethnic nationalism highly distinctive as a result of the background ot immigrant communities in the country. Each ethnic community movements with specific aims exclusive to other groups. E. g.

Malaya: MCP – Chinese; KMS- Malay; CIAM- Indian. V: movements divided across regions – north-south divide where north was led by educated elites who sought to overthrow colonial power VNQDD, ICP and Vietminh vs. South – traditional and led by monarchical nationalists e. g. Cao Dai movement. Indonesia – Predominantly Javanese ideology excluded outer islands such as East Timor and Achehnese. Burma also marginalized hill-side tribes like the Christian Karens. Evaluation: which one was important? Nationalist factor: important in explaining why the movements failed to achieve a sense of unity and nationhood. Esp so before 1920s.

But after 1920s – presence of strong leaders despite colonial suppression – e. g. B, I and V- explain. Colonial strengths significant in the failure of movements to achieve political independence. Despite the presence of strong leadership – no colony had achieved independence. E. g. B and l. In fact colonial concessions were dependent on colonial powers. E. g. P and to some extent B – it was the colonial powers who were granting concessions despite no or little pressure. Inherent factors – as it suggests it is inherent – nothing could be done to change that. Even popular movements like PNI, DA – still largely ominated by ethnic majorities.

Yet the popularity of these movements which attempted to project inclusive image – was a result of good leadership who were able to reconcile these rifts with ethnic neutral ideology. Nor was ethnic homogeneity a necessary pre-requisite of independence. You should know the achievements of the nationalist movements. Concrete achievements e. g. P and B – which indicates steps towards political independence Not so concrete achievements e. g. ability of nationalist leaders to forge national unity; gaining mass support To qualify the achievements: result of nationalists or colonial powers?

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