Dutch people who lost their lives in the war in the Java Sea commemorated in Indonesia

Dutch people who lost their lives in the war in the Java Sea commemorated in Indonesia

The Indonesian city of Surabaya commemorates the 81st Battle of the Java Sea. More than nine hundred Dutch soldiers were killed in the 1942 naval battle. Relatives laid wreaths in the Dutch military cemetery, Eeveld, commemorating the fallen soldiers.

In 1942 Dutch, American, Australian and British ships entered the Java Sea to intercept Japanese forces heading for Java. Karel Doorman was appointed head of the Allied ships. As colonizers, the Netherlands controlled the Indonesian archipelago, which was then known as the Dutch East Indies.

The three-day naval battle resulted in a heavy Allied defeat. The Japanese had more ships and air superiority. 2,300 were killed on the Allied side and ten soldiers were killed on the Japanese side.

Shortly after the naval battle, the Dutch East Indies were occupied by Japan and the Dutch were held in concentration camps, also known as Japanese camps. Prisoners of war were also forced to do forced labor, for example on the Burma Railroad.

Japan has been conquering lands in Asia for some time now. It was planned to take over the Dutch East Indies partly for raw materials. The day after Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Netherlands declared war on Japan.

Source: NOS

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