Combating a "Half-of-the-World state of mind": Indonesia Expert Raymond Kennedy Embraces World History, 1942–1950
The headline in the New York Times at the end of April 1950 was grim: "Two Americans Are Found Slain On Jeep Journey in Central Java." File photographs of the murdered men appeared below: Time-Life correspondent Robert Doyle in a bow tie, and Yale sociologist Raymond Kennedy in a dark suit. The two men were traveling on Indonesia's most populous island, from the inland tea center of Bandung to the seaport of Cheribon. Indonesia, after decades as a colony of the Netherlands, four years under Japanese occupation, and then another four years in a brutal, on-again off-again war between indigenous nationalists and Dutch colonialists, had finally achieved independence in December 1949, just months before Doyle's and Kennedy's murder. The legacy of years of conflict was still strong, as armed men who had recently been guerrillas continued to hold sway in some areas. According to Time, one such gang, in Indonesian army uniforms without official insignia, "forced Doyle and Kennedy at revolver's point to leave the jeep, [and] led them into a wood a few hundred yards from the road. There, they shot the two unarmed Americans at close range from behind."1
The new Indonesian government immediately deplored the "dastardly attack" and ordered a full investigation. Police quickly arrested four suspects, but soon released them for lack of evidence. The Indonesian government initially sought to blame "elements hostile to Indonesian freedom" who "aimed to create an international incident to discredit Indonesia," but later simply blamed "bandits."2 U.S. government sources by the end of 1950 believed that elements of the Indonesian Army were involved in the murders, an allegation the Indonesian government vehemently denied. The investigation continued for several years, and the U.S. ambassador, H. Merle Cochran, repeatedly asked high Indonesian officials for progress reports, but there were no breaks in the case.3
Any murders are tragic, but these were especially so. The 31-year-old Doyle, according to his editors, had great sympathy for "the young, eager, inexperienced Republican leaders" of Indonesia, and hoped for their success after "the ruins of colonial rule and the wreckage of war."4 Kennedy's death was of even greater moment, as he was among the two or three leading American experts of his day on the East Indies, having authored The Ageless Indies in 1942, The Islands and Peoples of the Indies the following year, and Bibliography of the Indonesian Peoples and Cultures, a comprehensive reference work, in 1945. Kennedy had lived in the Indies in the early 1930s and advised the State Department and the Office of Strategic Services on Pacific affairs during World War II. He lectured on Indonesia for the U.S. military's "Staff Officers School for Asiatic Studies" in 1945 and 1946, and he discussed the region in frequent public appearances and numerous articles throughout the 1940s. Back in Indonesia since June 1949, Kennedy was completing fieldwork for another major study, this one not on the timelessness of indigenous life, but on the "acculturation" of Indonesians under Western influences.5
Mohammed Hatta, Indonesia's prime minister, announced that with Kennedy's death the world "lost an eminent scholar and a man who was helping to build a bridge of understanding between the East and West."6 Maurice Davie, a fellow Yale sociologist, called Kennedy "a champion of the underdog, whether in America, in Indonesia, or elsewhere in the world," adding that students had dubbed him "a sociologist with a conscience." Anthropologist John Embree, who upon his colleague's death took over Yale's Southeast Asian area studies program that Kennedy had begun, wrote of the irony that Kennedy "should have met his death by violence in a country for whose independence he had argued so strenuously."7
Such eulogies were not just diplomatic and collegial boiler-plate. Kennedy had used his position to argue for understanding in the U.S. of the conditions, needs, and aspirations of the peoples of Indonesia. Since the end of World War II, during the years of conflict and negotiation between the Dutch and the Indonesians, he had adopted an increasingly pro-nationalist position. Indeed, in a torrent of conference papers, public lectures, and essays from 1946 to 1948, this former State Department adviser launched a broad assault from a non-Communist perspective on the underpinnings of U.S. policy in Asia. Kennedy charged that the U.S. temporized with European colonialism, and he warned that the strategic, economic, and racial bases for that policy created obstacles to progress for the peoples of the region and ultimately would harm the U.S. position in the world as well. Thus, Kennedy sought to puncture the smug sense of exceptionalism which many white Americans held about their nation's role in the world.
Kennedy's writing and teaching, though cut off by his untimely death in 1950, helps illuminate the journey in American academia from a Eurocentric or Western Civilization perspective towards a world history perspective. In 1945 he criticized what he labeled the "Half-of-the-World state of mind" of the U.S. government which ignored the needs and desires of the peoples of the Pacific in favor of Europeans, North Americans, and their colonial systems.8 While Kennedy spent his career studying Indonesians, at the outset his sociological and anthropological framework conceptualized them as part of the "Ageless Indies," as displaying "culture" which could only stolidly react to outside forces. By the end of World War II and in the midst of Indonesia's independence struggle against the Dutch, however, Kennedy saw the limitations of this framework, and characterized Indonesians not only as full-fledged historical actors but as leaders in the global struggle for freedom. Thus, Kennedy's work at first embodied and later rebelled against the assumption among many Americans and Europeans up until World War II "that one part of humankind was historical but another part was not," as historian Ross Dunn put it.9 Historians have pinpointed the emergence of the "Western Civ" class in American universities, with its greater attention to contemporary Europe than had previously been the case, as based on political needs in the U.S. stemming from World War I and its aftermath. Similarly, Kennedy's focus during World War II and after on Indonesia's role in the world encapsulates the increased attention that some scholars wanted Americans—policy-makers and the general public alike—to devote to Asia, past and present, because of long-term changes in the world in those periods. However, as Dunn, Gary Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and others have argued, the incipient movement in the U.S. towards a more inclusive world history faltered for a time because of the dominant Cold War paradigm which kept the focus of history and social studies education on Europe and North America.10 Similarly, Kennedy found his efforts to direct Americans' attention to southeast Asia, and thus to raise the issue of decolonization to its proper global importance, frustrated by larger cultural and ideological forces in the U.S. among both policy-makers and opinion-makers.
Kennedy's incisive comments on the bases of American foreign policy and on the connections between racism in the U.S. and European colonialism corroborate the judgments of recent historians who have looked critically at both of these issues.11 Greater attention to Kennedy's work, which has suffered from relative neglect among historians, strengthens the growing scholarly consensus that the U.S. government created an antagonistic relationship with Asian nationalists in part by an overly solicitous attitude toward Dutch colonialism. It deepens our understanding of support within American civil society in the 1940s for independence of the world's second most populous colony (with upwards of 65 million people in 1945), and a colony which won independence from its European overlord through a mix of warfare and negotiation.12 For teachers and scholars of world history, in particular, Kennedy's work demonstrates anew the complications of World War II in the Pacific and of the Cold War. In the first instance, for example, liberation for one group (in this case, the Dutch) served to hinder the liberation of another (the Indonesians), as Japanese aggression destabilized oppressive European colonial systems even as it subjugated indigenous peoples. In the second instance Kennedy's writings remind us of the messy interconnections between the Cold War and decolonization, as its confrontation with the Soviets led the U.S. often to side with European imperialism over the demands of Asians and Africans for independence.13
Kennedy, who was born in 1906 and earned his B.A. (1928) and doctorate (1935) from Yale, first traveled to the East Indies as a salesperson for General Motors. Indeed, his early academic work expressed a great deal of respect for the Dutch colonial administration. But the nationalist passions unleashed in Asia by World War II led him to revise these views, at first privately but then, by mid-1946, quite vocally. Just forty-three years old when he died, Kennedy had already made his academic mark in scholarly journals and conferences, with his writings on Indonesia, his service as associate editor of the American Sociological Review, and as a director of the Association for Asian Studies. He collaborated with his wife, Ruby Jo Reeves Kennedy, also a Yale-trained sociologist, on a study of sociology teaching in American colleges.14
Kennedy came to broader public attention with The Ageless Indies, an engagingly written book which appeared in June 1942, soon after Japan conquered the Dutch colony. For an academic author writing for a popular audience, this was a propitious time for publication. Americans were just beginning to realize the strategic significance of these islands, due to their location between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and between the Asian mainland, the Philippines, and Australia, and because they were an important source of oil, rubber, tin, and other commodities. The Ageless Indies combined an ethnographic description of the inhabitants with a balanced history of Dutch rule, along with briefer sections on Indonesia's physical geography, its history of interactions with the outside world, and an accounting of its resources for the modern world. In his conclusion, which assumed eventual Allied victory over Japan, Kennedy combined a call for a gradual transition to self-government in the Indies with a condemnation of the racist assumptions behind European and American treatment of colonial areas.15
Kennedy's breezy, first-person references to his travels in the archipelago and his close attention to the lives of Indonesians stand in sharp contrast to the perspectives of the two other general books on Indonesia published in the U.S. in the preceding five years. J.S. Furnivall, a former British colonial official, wrote a detailed administrative history of the Dutch colonial project in Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy, published in 1939, with the focus on how the Dutch, not the Indonesians, managed and would continue to manage the islands. Political scientist Amry Vandenbosch issued in 1941 an update of his dense 1933 The Dutch East Indies: Its Government, Problems, and Politics, whose focus was exactly as its title promised. Indeed, while acknowledging the usefulness of these and other works on Indonesia, Kennedy expressed amazement on the first page of his book "at the way native inhabitants of places in the news are treated almost as though they were not there." Soon after Kennedy's book appeared, the Dutch historian Bernard Vlekke published a scholarly study of the islands which almost uniformly defended his nation's record, and even a condensation of Vlekke's book, which appeared as World War II ended, assumed that Dutch and Indonesians alike welcomed the resumption of Dutch rule over the archipelago.16
The publisher of The Ageless Indies was the John Day Company, whose president, Richard Walsh, was the husband of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Pearl Buck. Along with Buck's books on China, Walsh brought out many other books at that time on Asia, the Pacific, and the problems of colonialism. For example, John Day was the U.S. publisher of Indian nationalist Jawaharlal Nehru, and in the same month that Kennedy's book appeared the company also issued an account of French African colonies in the first two years of World War II and an analysis of Indian nationalism by three Canadian authors. Walsh also edited Asia and the Americas, a monthly magazine which encouraged Americans to adopt a global viewpoint, and which later published one of Kennedy's more incisive commentaries on U.S.-Asia relations. Buck herself in 1942 founded the East and West Association, whose goal of "intercultural" understanding could be seen as another step towards a world history approach, and Kennedy spoke at several of the group's events.17
The Ageless Indies garnered very favorable reviews. The New York Times termed it "notably excellent," with "farseeing and important reflections at the end," while Princeton's Thomas Sebeok called it "a praiseworthy achievement" that would be useful to the general public and to social scientists alike.18 Fred Eggan of the University of Chicago called Kennedy's section on the Indonesian people "the best summary of Indonesian culture so far available in English." Vandenbosch himself noted that most previous works on the area covered either political and economic issues or the more exotic aspects of Bali, and that Kennedy's focus on "the peoples and daily life of the Indies" filled an important void.19 To be sure, there was some criticism: Elizabeth Allerton Clark wrote that Kennedy overemphasized the exotic aspects of "small and isolated tribes to the relative neglect of the refined and highly cultured people of Java."20
Kennedy argued that the era of "traditional colonial imperialism" must end, and that after the present war the "former profit-making reservations," such as the Dutch East Indies, must become independent countries, "with free, self-governing, well-educated citizens." Nevertheless, his book by no means simply attacked Dutch rule. Kennedy commended the Dutch for respecting indigenous religions and forms of local government, and for training colonial administrators in indigenous law and culture. Indeed, he stated, "there is no doubt that the Dutch civil officers in the East Indies were the best colonial administrators in the world." 21
Moreover, in contrast to the British and Americans in Asia, wrote Kennedy, the Dutch did not practice racial segregation. He concluded almost lyrically: "When East and West meet on equal terms, as all the democratic peoples of the world now bitterly realize they must, the Dutch will have done their part in showing the way to the new era of tolerance and the brotherhood of man." Kennedy's enthusiasm for Dutch liberalism rested mainly on the relatively good treatment of Eurasians, the offspring of Dutch fathers and Indonesian mothers, not on equality between Dutch and Indonesians. Praising the frank acceptance of sexual relations between Dutch males and Indonesian females, Kennedy largely ignored the power differential upon which such relations rested. Nevertheless, the distinctions he drew between Dutch attitudes and the American Jim Crow system as practiced at home and exported to an extent to the Philippines demonstrated Kennedy's willingness to criticize U.S. colonial policies, a theme to which he would later return.22
Kennedy did criticize the Dutch for failing to set up a universal system of education, which he contrasted to the more extensive American educational programs in the Philippines. As a result of this neglect, Indonesians had not been prepared for self-government. However, Kennedy took the Dutch at their word that they were gradually introducing "local self-government under European supervision." He matter-of-factly observed that exports from the Indies—rubber, sugar, petroleum, tea, coffee, quinine, pepper, palm oil, and others—"made Holland one of the richest countries in the world" even as indigenous wage-earners toiled "on the plantations and in the mines and oil fields for pay that was almost unbelievably low."23 Denouncing the unpaid, forced-labor system still in effect for road-building, Kennedy termed it "morale-destroying" and inefficient.24
While calling for eventual independence, Kennedy accepted in 1942 that after the present war the Dutch "should be given the task of directing this program." Moreover, he described the pre-war Indonesian nationalist movement only in general terms, concluding that the "high tide" of this movement had been in the 1920s. Kennedy noted almost in passing that independence advocates were confined to a remote prison colony in New Guinea; he minimized the hardships of internal exile by calling it better than the death penalty, with prisoners living "a tranquil existence, with their own families, houses, and gardens."25 Kennedy mentioned none of the major nationalists—Sukarno, Mohammed Hatta, Soetan Sjahrir, among others—who spent most of the 1930s in prison or exile and who would later lead the Indonesian republic. Reviewers Clark and Eggan chided Kennedy for, respectively, belittling Indonesian nationalists and for placing too much faith in Dutch plans for eventual self-government.26 But Kennedy, anticipating another theme that he would address after World War II, also refuted one Dutch argument against Indonesian nationalism. Noting that some Indonesians looked to the Soviet Union for inspiration, he stated that the Dutch "exaggerated" this aspect of the movement "by the prevalent habit, which persists in the United States even today, of tagging every radical movement with the communist label."27
Kennedy's book title implied an essentialist view of the Indonesian people, following in a long line of observers who saw themselves as part of a dynamic West describing, with a mix of admiration and condescension, an unchanging East. However, Kennedy's emphasis may have been more specific to the circumstances of 1942. The Indonesians, he wrote, had endured many foreign conquests—Hindu, Chinese, Moslem, and Christian—and yet had maintained their culture and societies. Thus, they would withstand the current Japanese invasion as well: "Their life goes on…only momentarily disturbed by the intruders' quarrels. They are the people of the Indies…and they will be there after every battle has died away."28 Kennedy's insistence on characterizing Indonesian ethnic groups on a continuum from primitive to civilized is decidedly outdated, but even here he occasionally subverted the convention, as when noting that "several quite primitive tribes" were nonetheless literate in an old Hindu alphabet.29
The Ageless Indies solidified Kennedy's reputation in and beyond academic circles as an expert on Indonesia, but from a moderate point of view: sympathetic toward the peoples of the Indies, balanced in his evaluation of Dutch colonialism, mixed in his comparisons to the U.S. in the Philippines, and advocating gradual decolonization. Kennedy reiterated this evaluation in a November 1942 talk before the American Ethnological Society and the following month as part of a lecture series on global affairs at the University of Pennsylvania. The Smithsonian Institution chose Kennedy to write the volume on Indonesia for its set of "War Background Studies," so a slimmed-down adaptation of his book appeared in 1943. Both the Smithsonian and the Penn series exemplified the wartime impulse to transcend Eurocentrism. The Smithsonian spotlighted peoples involved in the conflict but heretofore unfamiliar to Americans, such as the Siamese, Indochinese, and Aleuts, while other speakers in the year-long program at Penn included noted anthropologists Margaret Mead and Ralph Linton. 30 The Knickerbocker Weekly, a New York-based, Dutch-sponsored magazine, published Kennedy's ethnographic work in 1944, with no discussion of colonial policy.31
In general, however, as the war progressed Kennedy focused more on colonialism. In May 1943 he appeared before military intelligence officers in Washington to discuss the post-war world, and a more critical view of the Dutch began to emerge. While again dismissing out of hand "complete and immediate independence," Kennedy, according to his notes for the talk, criticized the Dutch government-in-exile's 1942 plan for limited self-government in Indonesia as "a smokescreen to delay action till after peace, when Dutch hope to come off clean in the confusion." He preferred an international program to develop self-government in dependent areas, rather than proposals which shielded colonial powers from scrutiny. Kennedy once again favorably contrasted the American promise of independence in the Philippines with Dutch reticence, although he acknowledged that American motives were not pure. The U.S. "fell on solution unwittingly," he observed. "The sugar senators, in their greed, gave the world an example of colonial policy," referring to support for Philippine independence by American sugar interests which did not want to compete with tariff-free sugar.32 At similar sessions before U.S. naval officials in 1943 and 1944, Kennedy emphasized Dutch economic motives in their control of the East Indies. Expressing his fear that the British would do all they could to keep their empire, Kennedy observed that the Dutch were not "stupidly imperialistic like [the] British in Burma and India," but that they, too, moved too slowly to adapt to new world conditions.33
In November 1944, speaking to U.S. Office of Education officials, Kennedy's critique of the Dutch moved onto new ground, as he "bluntly" assailed the suppression in the Indies of "native free speech and political expression" through strict censorship and internal exile. Perhaps taking to heart criticism of The Ageless Indies, Kennedy added that in the early 1930s the Dutch imprisoned thousands of "so-called radical nationalists," with hundreds sent to "a political concentration camp in the deep interior of New Guinea"—a very different image than he had presented two years earlier. Kennedy broadened this indictment to include colonial powers more generally, noting, in what he called "the great paradox of imperialism," that they were often "champions of democracy" at home while blocking "the development of democracy among their subject peoples."34
Two weeks later, Kennedy observed that with the imperialist era ending, the Dutch policy of preserving native culture to the exclusion of education or training for self-government was no longer viable. He said that "acculturation" would have to be developed among dependent peoples, thus implying that the Indies would no longer be "ageless." Anthropologists themselves would have a dual role of acculturating peoples to new conditions and protecting indigenous ways, Kennedy concluded; his notes stated: "Don't need to smash traditional cultures."35
By the end of 1944, Kennedy more directly argued that U.S. interests would be best served by repudiating European imperialist plans to regain their colonies, but also that racism at home made more difficult the American effort to win Asian support for post-war goals. In December Kennedy decried Winston Churchill's renunciation of the promise of sovereign rights and self-government in the Atlantic Charter as well as the apparent American willingness at the just-concluded Dumbarton Oaks conference on the United Nations to ignore the status of formerly dependent peoples. He called Holland and Britain "parasite states" which, unlike the U.S., needed colonies to survive. Kennedy then urged that on "practical considerations" the U.S. must help native peoples "know what democracy means" in order to make them "allies in the battle for our way of life"—even as he warned that race discrimination and prejudice in the U.S. provided "fuel to [the] fires of anti-white propaganda."36
Similarly, in a long article on "The Colonial Crisis and the Future," which appeared in January 1945 in The Science of Man in the World Crisis, a collection of essays by leading social scientists, Kennedy roamed far beyond the Dutch experience in the East Indies to argue that colonialism was outmoded. His essay intensively analyzed the British, French, Dutch, and American empires, with briefer attention to Japanese, Belgian, Spanish, and Portuguese colonialism. Identifying characteristics common to modern colonial empires, such as the color line and economic subjugation of indigenous peoples, Kennedy proceeded to refute the arguments that justified these situations. Just as several of the other essays in this collection skewered the very notion of fixed racial categories, Kennedy demonstrated that the racist underpinnings of colonialism had unraveled. Among other factors, he invoked the war then nearing its conclusion: "the obvious skill and phenomenal achievements of the Japanese in employing the white man's industrial inventions and military methods have given the concept of racial inferiority a stunning blow." At the same time, "the fact that…doctrines of innate superiority constitute the foundation stones of the ideological structure of Nazi Germany has tended to bring all racialistic dogmas into odious disrepute."37
Again, Kennedy brought up the American experience in the Philippines largely to serve as a favorable contrast to others, with the promise of and preparation for independence. However, he warned not only that Filipinos resented the "rather strict color line" that Americans imposed, but also that an independent Philippines would undoubtedly face "severe economic dislocation and strain." While still favoring trusteeship rather than independence for most colonies, Kennedy more forcefully than heretofore argued that "every country in the narrowing world has a purely practical stake in the colonial problem, because…it looms as a potential cause of future wars."38
The Science of Man in the World Crisis received rave reviews, and several commentators especially praised Kennedy's essay. One eminent anthropologist wrote, for example, that chapters by Kennedy and by Felix Keesing "should be put on the must list for all who are interested in colonial problems and future world peace."39 But at least one contemporary commentator remained unimpressed with Kennedy's favorable evaluation of the U.S. Long-time anti-imperialist Francis Hackett observed that when Kennedy "makes a constructive theory on the basis of the Philippines…he has to forget Jim Crow, the poll-tax Senators, race riots and that strange exhibit Puerto Rico."40 Even so, Kennedy's arguments resembled those made at the time by African American scholar-activist W.E.B. Du Bois, each pointing to the failure of the wartime UN and the Dumbarton Oaks conference to consider the needs and aspirations of colonial peoples.41
Kennedy advanced some of these same positions as adviser on the Southeast Asian desk of the State Department in late 1944 and early 1945. He followed up an October 1944 memorandum which described the "dark and devious Dutch policy" of repression of Indonesian political expression with a proposed article four months later for the State Department Bulletin. Kennedy's draft detailed the limits on indigenous participation in local self-government bodies and the "strict" repression of any advocacy of independence, even as he praised the tone of "compromise and conciliation" in the 1942 Dutch plan for the future of the East Indies.42 R.E. Murphy of the European Affairs division at State, however, believed publication of this article, despite its mild conclusion, would harm relations with our Dutch ally, so the Bulletin did not publish it.43 Others on the Southeast Asian desk, such as Rupert Emerson, on loan from Harvard, shared Kennedy's anti-colonial analyses, but, as Kennedy would write the following year and as scholars have since noted, the European desk—sympathetic to imperialist nations—held the power in the State Department.44
Perhaps impelled by this demonstration of the limits on U.S. maneuverability due to its alliance with the Dutch, Kennedy drafted a memorandum in March 1945 arguing that the military, economic, and political interests of the U.S. required it not only to avoid a long-term alliance with European imperialist nations but that the U.S. had the right to interfere with the policies of these powers in Southeast Asia. Kennedy's overriding appeal here was that Asians would turn their backs on the U.S., during the still-ongoing war and after, unless the U.S. supported their just aspirations for independence. Kennedy warned, moreover, that Russia was "likely to be the main gainer" if the U.S. disappointed Asian peoples. He argued for a break with European imperialism for economic reasons, too, as the U.S. required access to the region's raw materials, such as rubber and tin, and that a rising standard of living in Asia after decolonization would provide a greater market for American products.45 That summer, Kennedy participated in State Department discussions on the thorny question of how to provide some representation for "non-self-governing territories" in the new, permanent United Nations, brainstorming ways to overcome Dutch objections.46
So as World War II was ending, Raymond Kennedy had earned a place as a prominent commentator not only on the Dutch East Indies but on the future of colonialism. Spurred by the anti-imperialist discourse of those who argued for the need to attract Asian support in the struggle against Japan, he was increasingly vocal in criticizing efforts by the British and the Dutch to hold on to their southeast Asian possessions, but he still believed in a gradual transition to independence.47 While critical of American racism at home and abroad, Kennedy remained proud of the U.S. record in the Philippines in preparing that nation for independence, and he saw his nation's colonial policy as exceptional. Like many scholars, he had heeded the call to war-time government service, lending his expertise to the State Department as well as to military training programs. However, his calls for a foreign policy independent of European imperial powers increasingly fell on deaf ears.
Most of these themes were evident in yet another 1945 speech, at an Institute of Pacific Relations conference in Washington, in which Kennedy asserted that the U.S. gained prestige among Asians for its record in the Philippines, but "when President Roosevelt recently weaseled on the Atlantic Charter, saying that it was not a firm pledge but merely a loose plan, then their faith was…shaken." Kennedy repeated his by-now-familiar refrain that U.S. allies in Europe were only "half democratic": democratic at home, but "dictatorial, totalitarian, in the Orient." In place of the American orientation toward Europe, which he labeled a "Half-of-the-World state of mind," he called for a truly global consciousness. Once again Kennedy was responding in part to previous critics, hedging his assertion that Americans "desire ardently to be democratic everywhere" with a few pointed qualifications: "except, of course, in our Southern states with respect to Negroes, and perhaps in Puerto Rico, the only other really serious disease spot in our democratic body politic."48
Developments as World War II ended, however, prompted Kennedy to become more impatient with both Dutch and Americans. As the Japanese realized that the end of their occupation of the East Indies was near, they allowed nationalists to declare independence and form the Republic of Indonesia in August 1945. Several hundred thousand Japanese troops remained in Indonesia, however, and the Allied Southeast Asian Command made plans to occupy Indonesia with the goal of repatriating these troops and liberating the thousands of Dutch prisoners held in Japanese-run camps. It quickly became apparent, however, that the British, entrusted with this responsibility, interpreted their mandate to include the return of the area to Dutch control, and they enlisted these Japanese troops to help do so. Thus, armed clashes with Indonesian republican forces ensued, intensifying as Dutch troops arrived in late 1945. Kennedy lambasted "the shocking spectacle of the erstwhile enemies—'democratic' and 'totalitarian'—fighting side by side to quell the freedom movement."49 The Indonesian Republic was soon limited mainly to Java, the most populous island, and even there it withdrew from Batavia, the colonial capital and major port. Nevertheless, despite significant military assistance from British troops in late 1945 and into 1946, and with military equipment and supplies from the U.S., the Dutch could not defeat the Republic.
Most nationalist leaders shared the common experience of having been imprisoned by the Dutch before the war. Thus, even though some of them, such as Sukarno, the president of the Republic, had cooperated to an extent with the Japanese occupation, and others, such as prime minister Sjahrir had organized anti-Japanese resistance, the Republic's leaders maintained a united front in the immediate post-war years. Historian Robert McMahon summarizes U.S. policy in this explosive environment: "throughout the four bitter years of Dutch-republican conflict, American authorities continually sided with the Netherlands, believing that the support of a European ally was more dependable and more useful than that of a group of untested Asian nationalists." Nevertheless, the four years of conflict were filled with intermittent cease-fires, negotiations, Communist impatience with republican gradualism and Republican suppression of a Communist-led revolt, Muslim-secular conflict, attempts by both republicans and the Dutch to win over indigenous rulers on outlying islands, and bewildering charges and counter-charges. 50
Kennedy adopted a critical but scholarly approach toward the Dutch-Indonesian conflict in an incisive and meticulously detailed analysis in April 1946. Looking closely at the February 1946 Dutch negotiating position, he recognized signs of progress, especially the possibility that complete independence might be admissible at some point. He observed: "If one remembers that public advocacy of independence has been a punishable offense in Indonesia, and that hundreds of natives have suffered imprisonment or exile…on this account, the sudden change is little short of startling." Kennedy did question undemocratic or ambiguous aspects of the Dutch plan, such as disproportionate representation in the new parliament for Europeans and Eurasians and the veto power of the Dutch-appointed governor over parliamentary actions. Nevertheless, he saw the plan as a step forward, and urged the nationalists to "drive hard" for their goals within this framework. Even as he urged negotiations and a gradual transition to independence, his sympathy for Indonesian nationalists was clear: "At this moment in history, they are leaders in the struggle for the emancipation of the subject peoples of the earth."51 No longer isolated or merely reactive, Indonesians were now, for Kennedy, full-fledged actors on an interconnected world stage, a decisive switch from being embodiments merely of "culture" to making "history." This switch in his perspective demonstrated Kennedy's embrace of two key themes in the modern elaboration of world history, global interconnectedness and the dynamic combination of change and continuity.52
Kennedy repeated the substance of this analysis of current events in three speaking events that same month: a New Haven radio address which he entitled "Revolution in Java Wins Self-Government for Indonesians"; a talk before New Haven social workers; and a lecture in New York for the East and West Association, Pearl Buck's organization. In that third appearance, Kennedy broadened his scope to include not only the Dutch negotiating position but also U.S. actions, noting that since 1945 the U.S. had lost prestige in Asia through "equivocation" on the colonial issue.53
Both the guarded optimism and lingering support for gradualism, however, were gone the very next month. In a May 1946 talk before the Eastern Sociological Society, Kennedy offered for the first time a comprehensive critique of U.S. policy in the Pacific. This lecture became the featured subject of a New York Times story on the conference, and was reprinted three months later in Asia and the Americas.54 In his 1946 lecture and article, Kennedy again welcomed Indonesia's "amazingly successful revolution" as a harbinger "of a new phase of world history: the emancipation, rapid or gradual, of the dark and dependent peoples of the earth." While still praising Dutch achievements in public health and the development of natural resources, Kennedy was more critical than before of Dutch economic exploitation of Indonesians, and he detailed the suffering which Indonesian nationalists had endured at the hands of the Dutch before World War II.55 Once again Kennedy anticipated two important themes of the modern world history approach: that liberation and progress for some is often intertwined with oppression of others; and that ideas, once released into the world, can influence others in unforeseen ways.
Kennedy here provided a strong case for Indonesian independence, roundly condemning Dutch, British, and American actions in the archipelago in 1945 and 1946. He lampooned Dutch inconsistency in regarding the newly-declared Republic "as a Japanese-inspired creation of radicals and collaborators" while simultaneously proclaiming that Japanese troops on the islands should help maintain order. While the Republic was able thus far to hold its own against British and Dutch troops, it faced an uncertain future, primarily because the U.S. "has refused to favor freedom for the Indies." The existence of the UN provided some hope for Indonesians, as conflicts between colonial powers and people struggling for freedom could henceforth be discussed in public. However, to date only the Soviets among the big powers had spoken out on behalf of the Indonesian Republic; they "have now appeared as the champions of colonial freedom at no cost to themselves," he observed. The U.S., meanwhile, had provided weapons, training, and equipment to Europeans fighting against Indonesians. Quoting a phrase former Republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie had employed in his popular wartime book, One World, Kennedy concluded dejectedly that due to such actions "our great prestige in the Orient has deteriorated so fast that our 'reservoir of goodwill' there is draining out."56
In his speech Kennedy enumerated seven reasons why the U.S. failed to support the worthwhile cause of Indonesian independence. Four of these reasons were directly tied to what he saw as the dominant Eurocentric thinking in this country, and the other three also embodied what we would today call "American exceptionalist" ideas which a world history approach—including that advanced by Kennedy in 1946—challenge. Thus, Kennedy charged that the American people and officials were, on the whole, ignorant about issues in the Far East; that the "Jim Crow complex" instinctively led the U.S. to side with other whites against non-whites; that with "the Anglo-American bloc" in world affairs the U.S. had ceded to Britain control over colonial policy; and that there was an institutionalized European orientation in the U.S. State Department. Related to these four claims is that American business, according to Kennedy, preferred to work with established powers rather than with unsettled nationalist movements—and these powers, of course, were European. Moreover, Kennedy asserted, the once revolutionary U.S., now that it had become wealthy, betrayed these traditions and distrusted radicalism—which world historians today would link to a failure to consider the American revolution as part of a larger chain of revolutionary ideas and actions. In particular, Kennedy added, since the Soviets supported Indonesian independence, Americans reflexively opposed it, "because we have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with a fear of what has been vaguely called the spread of radicalism and Communism from Russia." Kennedy's final argument, that the Navy's opposition to trusteeship for its Pacific bases "led our statesmen to renounce the principle of international trusteeship for all colonial areas," extended his critique of the U.S. tendency to see its own role in the world as uniquely positive.57
The link that Kennedy drew between American racism and U.S. policy abroad and his analysis of the submersion of the American revolutionary tradition demonstrate that the efforts of American scholars to envision a true world history arose alongside efforts to reconceptualize the American past itself and to critique undemocratic aspects of contemporary American society. In other words, "world history" as a field distinct from "Western Civ" emerged at part of the same process that increased attention to African American history and clashed with the "consensus" view of American history.58 Moreover, Kennedy's analysis prefigures themes that historians have more recently raised regarding U.S. diplomatic policy, including the increased fear of radicalism, the embrace of conservative regimes, and the influence of American racism;59 the European orientation of key State Department personnel;60 and the outsized role of the Navy in setting U.S. policy in the Pacific.61
Kennedy expounded these ideas in additional speeches over the following months, with just a few changes of emphasis. At another East and West Association forum, in November 1946, he warned against the U.S. "carrying our fear of change so far that we shall wind up on the side of reactionary world policy," even as his lecture notes emphasized opposition to both Soviet totalitarianism and Western imperialism.62 At the Naval War College only four days later, Kennedy reiterated these points, and hypothesized that southern Asia was moving toward independence more quickly than Africa due to Asians' "histories of national greatness predating the European conquest" and to the impact of Japanese occupation in breaking down European rule. While this analysis showed that Kennedy was considering Asian affairs in a broad context, some of his terminology, such as "[Africa] is at the moment relatively of less importance or interest than Southern Asia," reflected the kind of "half-the-world," racially insensitive thinking he criticized elsewhere.63
Marveling at how quickly events in southeast Asia had progressed towards independence, Kennedy implicitly acknowledged the inadequacy of his own earlier gradualism. Thus, he positively portrayed Ho Chi Minh's communist and nationalist movement in Vietnam, emphasizing "how very western" in governmental principles Ho's Republic of Vietnam was designed to be. At the same time, Kennedy pointed out without judgment that the Indonesian republic might well place new conditions on foreign businesses operating there. Standard Oil, United States Rubber, and Goodyear Rubber, he said, would be particularly affected by the new government's belief that "[o]il and other natural resources must be regarded as the common property of the Indonesians." Finally, addressing the developing Cold War context even more explicitly than before, Kennedy told the assembled naval officers that behind the U.S. policy of siding with the "imperialist bloc at every juncture" was the wrong-headed assumption that western European powers needed to be strengthened, "at whatever cost in practice or principle, because we fear a war with Russia."64
As Kennedy in 1946 revised his earlier view that the U.S. was an exceptional colonial power, in 1947 he introduced new lines of analysis which offered a yet more critical view of the American role in the world. First, he noted problems in the Philippine transition to independence which rendered it less of a model for others to follow—problems stemming from both longstanding and recent U.S. policies. At an East and West Association lecture in January, Kennedy acknowledged that the new U.S.-backed government in the Philippines "seems to favor the interests of the large landowners and other reactionary financial elements to the degree that badly needed reforms in the economic sphere are being neglected." Moreover, this new government, some of whose leaders had collaborated with the Japanese during the war, was using American weapons to suppress peasants who had actively fought against Japan, "a situation which appears to carry a most disturbing symbolic significance." More direct U.S. responsibility for Philippine problems could be seen in the terms of independence, which provided "the same rights in the islands to American citizens and capital as to Filipinos; but reciprocal rights are not granted to Filipinos" in the U.S. Kennedy thus warned that this "experiment in colonial independence" might lead to a "semi-dictatorial pseudo-democracy." In May, speaking to the Yale Anthropology Club, Kennedy went further, calling the new Philippine government an "oligarchic dictatorship."65 His prediction of a rocky post-independence path for this former U.S. colony underlines not only the similarities between American and European colonialism, but also another important issue in modern world history: the specific factors, including but not limited to economic neo-colonialism, which have prevented decolonized nations from achieving the lofty dreams of their founders.
The second new line of analysis was perhaps even more startling. In his talk to the Anthropology Club, after cataloguing the dizzying changes occurring daily in Indonesia, Kennedy termed it a "remarkable case for an anthropologist," whose task would henceforth be the study of both "acculturation" to Western models and the maintenance of "native culture." He related with embarrassment that just a few years before, on the eve of these momentous changes, "I, God Help Me, was talking about 'The Ageless Indies.'" Kennedy then applied the word "ageless" very differently, to describe and criticize U.S. policy: Indonesia had become "a major nation, in fact, if not in the estimate of the really ageless U.S. State Department."66 It was the U.S. government, then, which held fast to an outdated Eurocentric view even as new events shattered that paradigm.
If Kennedy's May 1946 speech demonstrated the maturation of his critique of U.S. policy in Asia, a talk a year later showed that he had broadened his analysis to demand changes in American society itself. Part of an East and West Association lecture series on "Minority Peoples and Problems: A World View," Kennedy spoke this time on "Race Relations, Colonial and American."67 As in "The Colonial Crisis and the Future," Kennedy here sought to generalize across societies, but the point of comparison now was racial prejudice and discrimination in American society and in European imperialism. Framed around the concept of "caste," Kennedy argued that African Americans and other minority racial groups in the U.S. occupied a similar position as the colonized peoples of Asia and Africa in their position of social inferiority, taboos on intermarriage, restrictions on cross-racial social contacts, concentration in low-paid, low-status jobs, inability to participate in political affairs, discrimination in the provision of education, and residential segregation. He added a few caveats—African Americans could vote in northern states; Indonesia allowed more social interaction across the color line—but he drew upon laws, governmental expenditures, income and literacy rates, and other data to demonstrate the many similarities. Both systems, he concluded, rested on the "rationalization, which is not true according to all scientific evidence," that Europeans and white Americans believed "that colored people are inferior and therefore were made to be ruled by the superior whites."68
To be sure, Kennedy identified differences between the U.S. and European colonies, noting, for example, that African Americans had been brought out of their homeland to be "dominated and exploited here," while the colonial powers went abroad for that purpose. He observed that while most colonial peoples had only the recourse to revolt in order to gain freedom, in the U.S. after slavery African Americans could press "their legal claims for rights as citizens." Thus, armed revolt was not appropriate for the African American struggle, while it was legitimate in formal colonies.69 If this contrast might soothe American consciences, Kennedy's last observation would not: "I have noticed that the British, Dutch, and French…have been using the argument of racial inferiority less and less as a justification for the domination of their colonial peoples. The real, old-fashioned, full-blown, antiquated notion survives best in this country, and it is remarkably prevalent in the north as well as in the South."70 Again, Kennedy anticipated one aspect of the practice of world history as it has developed in many American classrooms: that a rigorous comparative approach can help students think more critically about their own society.
Such critical ideas placing American racism in its international context had already been voiced by Du Bois, Buck, Walter White, and Gunnar Myrdal, among others,71 but in this instance they exemplify how an expert on one seemingly remote part of the world thought in increasingly global terms. Indeed, it is noteworthy that a number of Kennedy's new departures, such as this penetrating examination of the global significance of racial ideology, came as responses to previous criticisms. While there was much continuity in his work from the war years to the post-war period, the shift in Kennedy's thinking from 1942 to 1947 is striking. He traveled ideologically from the guardedly optimistic outlook about progress for Indonesia under Dutch tutelage to scathing indictments of American collaboration with repressive Dutch imperialism. He began by positing the U.S. as an exceptional colonial power and as a model for other powers to follow, and ended with the belief that American society and ideology, based on Eurocentrism, ingrained racism, and an unreasoned anti-radicalism, stood in the way of a post-colonial world based on equality of peoples. This progression was by no means uncommon among sociologists and anthropologists, nor was it unusual among Asia specialists grouped around the Institute of Pacific Relations, the journalists and others whose work John Day and Asia and the Americas published, and writers for such liberal publications such as The New Republic, The Nation, and The Christian Century.72
In his last articles and public appearances commenting on the Indonesian war for independence, Kennedy continued to criticize U.S. reluctance to support the republic. In 1948, in a sober analysis of the latest developments which this time were favoring the Dutch, Kennedy lamented that the reversal of fortunes had been "made possible largely by British protection and American supplies" for Dutch armed forces. Kennedy again identified the overriding motive for U.S. indifference to Indonesian nationalism as "strategical considerations based upon the possibility of war against Russia." Thus, its "anti-Russian obsession" led the U.S. into the "colonial bloc."73 Again, Kennedy's insights anticipated the coverage in present-day world history textbooks, which accept the notion that the Cold War was not a simple conflict between "the free world" and "totalitarianism," but one in which the U.S. as well as the Soviet Union opposed democracy and self-determination when it suited their interests.74
During 1949, the U.S. finally did change its position, and helped broker the final agreement between Dutch and Indonesians which resulted in full independence in 1950. Concern that Dutch expenditures on war in Indonesia weakened the Marshall Plan, and thus European recovery, prompted a Congressional threat to withhold such aid, which led in turn to serious negotiations. As historian McMahon has noted, American public opinion contributed to this policy shift, 75 and Kennedy's writings and speeches bolster this argument.
Kennedy's challenging, multicultural pedagogy also became a cause célèbre in the late 1940s, when he became a principal target of the young William F. Buckley, Jr., who began his campaign against alleged liberal bias in the academy while a Yale undergraduate. Having taken Kennedy's Basic Sociology and Anthropology course, Buckley in an unsigned 1949 editorial in the college newspaper castigated his professor for seeking "to undermine the tenets of Christianity" through statements in class such as, "A cleric today is the modern counterpart of the witch doctor." The editorial, which clearly bristled at Kennedy's attempt to have students see beyond Eurocentric preconceptions, set off a flurry of debate on campus. Buckley then reprised his assault on Kennedy (whom he called "Jungle Jim") in the first pages of God and Man at Yale, the 1951 diatribe against open-mindedness that launched Buckley's career as a preeminent American conservative intellectual.76 Kennedy's cultural relativism in his lectures, informed by his ethnographic studies in Indonesia and his critique of the still-dominant American dismissal of the significance of non-Western societies, provides another example of his participation in the intellectual ferment that later established a real "world history" curriculum.
So when Raymond Kennedy perished in central Java in April 1950, the fledgling Republic indeed lost an important American ally and the emerging movement within the academy for a broader "world history" lost an incisive advocate. Within days, his widow announced that it was "entirely fitting that he be buried in the country whose people he knew and loved so well," and Yale sociologists pledged to provide a "commemorative tablet" marking his grave in Bandung. Yale students raised funds to further Kennedy's work in what was then called "intercultural education."77
Although they were not able to find Kennedy's killers, Indonesian officials participated in ceremonies in 1951 laying the foundation for the Memorial Monument and, later, at its formal opening. At the first event, Vice Premier H.E. Suwirjo, according to the U.S. ambassador, "dwelt at considerable length on the achievements of Professor Kennedy in interpreting Indonesia to the West, and the debt of gratitude owed his memory by the nation and the government."78 At the monument's dedication in 1953, the city of Bandung formally accepted responsibility to care for it in perpetuity, and Indonesian newspapers published photographs of the monument and quotations from Kennedy's writings. John Curtis, from the U.S. Information Service, also spoke, playing up Kennedy's 1942 presumption of harmony between Dutch policies and Indonesian aspirations—but ignoring his important later ideas about the failure of the West to foster Indonesian independence.79
To be sure, Kennedy's death itself raises uncomfortable questions about whether his assessment of Indonesian nationalism in 1946 and 1947 was too optimistic. The four-year war for independence itself served to divide, as well as unite, the nationalists, and factional in-fighting continued after 1949. The war helped create a persistent climate of violence, which perhaps manifested itself in the murders of Kennedy and Doyle and certainly helped lead to a series of challenges to governmental authority by Communists, separatists, and the army. The exploitation and destruction which Indonesia had suffered under both Dutch and Japanese rule placed Indonesia in dire straits when it finally attained sovereignty. Sukarno's neutralism in foreign policy—which reached its apex with the conference of Afro-Asian nations in 1955 in Bandung, the very city in which Kennedy was buried, and which he surely would have applauded—came under severe pressure from the U.S., which continued to regard it as flirting with Communism. Just as Kennedy came to lament the path the Philippines followed after independence, had he lived he would have been broken-hearted to see his beloved Indonesia fall victim in 1965 and 1966 to brutal U.S.-supported coups which ushered in a thirty-year reign of a new kind of "oligarchic dictatorship."80
But Raymond Kennedy's body of work on Indonesia, and on colonialism and nationalism in Asia more broadly, also demonstrates how some academics during and after World War II became increasingly critical not only of European imperialism and of U.S. temporizing with empire but of the American "half-of-the-world state of mind" which viewed the globe through a Eurocentric lens. Kennedy's later work, transmitted to a popular American audience through left-liberal institutions such as the East and West Association, as well as his teaching post at Yale, sought to overcome the stereotyped dichotomy—which he himself, in a minor way, had helped to create—between a dynamic, historical West and a static, passive East. In attempting to explain to the U.S. government and the general public the need to accept new and revived Asian nations as equals on the world stage, Kennedy used his expertise on an island nation most Americans knew little about to tell a larger story about racism, empire, the U.S. role in the world, and problems in American society itself. That larger story, in turn, helped develop the modern "world history" curriculum. World War II in Asia and post-World War II decolonization have long been recognized as among the main factors which led American historians and teachers to go beyond "Western Civ" toward an inclusive world history, and Raymond Kennedy—a Yale scholar whose life and work were cut short in the nation whose significance he passionately promoted—was indeed present at the creation.
Robert Shaffer is professor of history at Shippensburg University, where he teaches world history, U.S. diplomatic history, and social studies education, among other courses. His articles on the early development of "world history" in U.S. colleges and secondary schools appeared in The History Teacher, New York History, and the World History Bulletin. He has recently published articles in Journal of World History and Peace & Change on the influence of Japanese Christian socialist-pacifist Kagawa Toyohiko on American Protestants. He can be reached at email@example.com.
1 "Two Americans Are Found Slain in Jeep Journey in Central Java," New York Times, 29 April 1950, p. 3; "Two Smiling White Men," Time, 8 May 1950, p. 26.
2 "Jakarta Deplores Americans' Killing," New York Times, 30 April 1950, p. 40; "4 Held in Indonesian Slayings," New York Times, 3 May 1950, p. 16; "The Kennedy and Doyle Tragedy," Indonesian News Bulletin, New Delhi, 3 May 1950, Box 1030, Decimal File, 1950–54 (256D.113 Kennedy, Raymond), State Department Papers, Record Group 59, National Archives, College Park, MD; "Address By Mr. A. Sidik," 18 July 1953, attachment to T.J. Hohenthal to Department of State, 27 July 1953, same box. Unless otherwise noted, subsequent references to "RG 59, NA" are to this decimal file.
3 See, e.g., all in 256D.113 Kennedy, RG 59, NA: Cochran to Hatta, 19 May 1950; Cochran to Secretary of State, 30 June 1950; Memo of Conversation, Broun and Coerr, 20 Aug. 1950; Cochran to Secretary of State, 5 Oct. 1950; Cochran to Hamengku Buwono IX, 5 Oct. 1950; Cochran to Secretary of State, 28 Feb. 1952. See also Cochran to Secretary of State, 14 March 1951, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951, vol. 6 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977), 613–616. On Cochran's sympathies for the Dutch during the Indonesian war and his opposition to independent Indonesia's neutralism, see George McT. Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1952), 332–336, 421–423, 441–443.
4 "Two Smiling White Men."
5 Maurice Davie, "Raymond Kennedy, 1906–1950," American Sociological Review 15 (June 1950): 440–441; "Staff Officers School for Asiatic Studies," class schedules, syllabi, Sept.–Dec. 1945 and May–Aug. 1946, box 2, Raymond Kennedy Papers (MS 1046), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, New Haven [hereafter Kennedy Papers].
6 "Jakarta Deplores Americans' Killing."
7 Davie, "Raymond Kennedy, 1906–1950"; John Embree, "Raymond Kennedy, 1906–1950," Far Eastern Quarterly 10 (Feb. 1951): 170–172. In a macabre coincidence, Embree was killed by a drunk driver later that year. George McT. Kahin, who became the preeminent American scholar of modern Indonesia with the publication of Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia (1952), believed that Yale's program never fully recovered from these twin blows; Kahin, "The Making of Southeast Asian Studies: Cornell's Experience," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 29 (Jan.–Mar. 1997): 38–42.
8 Kennedy, "IPR, Washington, 1945," typescript, n.d., box 1, Kennedy Papers.
9 Ross Dunn, "Introduction," in The New World History: A Teacher's Companion, Ross Dunn, ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000), 2. Cf. Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982).
10 Gary Nash, Charlotte Crabtree, and Ross Dunn, History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), chap. 3; Gilbert Allardyce, "The Rise and Fall of the Western Civilization Course," American Historical Review 87 (June 1982): 695–725; Lawrence Levine, "Looking Eastward: The Career of Western Civ," in Dunn, The New World History, esp. 22–23; Robert Shaffer, "What to Teach about Asia: Howard Wilson and the Committee on Asiatic Studies in the 1940s," History Teacher 35 (Nov. 2001): 9–26.
11 Michael Hunt, Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987); Walter LaFeber, The American Age: United States Foreign Policy at Home and Abroad, 2nd ed. (New York: Norton, 1994); Thomas Bender, A Nation among Nations: America's Place in World History (New York: Hill & Wang, 2006), chap. 4; Cary Fraser, "Understanding American Policy Towards the Decolonization of European Empires, 1945–64," Diplomacy & Statecraft 3 (March 1992): 105–125; Penny Von Eschen, Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–1957 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997); Thomas Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the World Arena (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2001); Carol Anderson, Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944–1955 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
12 Scott Bills, Empire and Cold War: The Roots of US-Third World Antagonism, 1945–47 (New York: St. Martin's, 1990); Gary Hess, The United States' Emergence as a Southeast Asian Power, 1940–1950 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987); Robert McMahon, Colonialism and Cold War: The United States and the Struggle for Indonesian Independence, 1945–49 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981), 69; Frances Gouda and Thijs Brocades Zaelberg, American Visions of the Netherlands East Indies/Indonesia (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2002), 116; George McT. Kahin, "Indonesia," in Major Governments of Asia, Kahin, ed. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1958), 471–592, at 584, 587; Government and Politics of Southeast Asia, Kahin, ed. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1959), 233; Indonesia, Ruth McVey, ed. (New Haven: Human Relations Area Files, 1963), 61–62; Robin Winks, Cloak & Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939–1961, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 49–51. On the role of international support in helping Indonesia gain independence, see also Samuel Crowl, "Indonesia's Diplomatic Revolution: Lining Up for Non-Alignment, 1945–1955," 238–257, in Connecting Histories: Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 1945–1962, Christopher Goscha and Christian Ostermann, eds. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).
Gouda, Dutch Culture Overseas: Colonial Practice in the Netherlands' Indies, 1900–1942 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1995), refers to Kennedy's early work, but not to the years when Kennedy was most critical of Dutch colonialism or of U.S. policy. A retired diplomat who served in Indonesia, Paul Gardner, in Shared Hopes, Separate Fears: Fifty Years of U.S.-Indonesian Relations (Boulder: Westview, 1997), mentions, at 68, Kennedy's murder, but not his writings. Christopher Thorne's incisive works on World War II in the Pacific do not mention Kennedy; see Allies of a Kind: The United States, Britain, and the War Against Japan, 1941–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), and The Issue of War: States, Societies, and the Far Eastern War of 1941–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).
13 Goscha and Ostermann, "Introduction: Connecting Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia," 1–12, in Connecting Histories; Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005); The Cold War in the Third World, Robert McMahon, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). Representative chapter titles in recent world history textbooks for this period include "Reconstruction, Cold War, and Decolonization," in Peter von Stivers et al, Patterns of World History, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), and "The Emergence of New Nations in a Cold War World," in Bonnie Smith et al, Crossroads and Cultures: A History of the World's Peoples (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012). Coverage in such textbooks of Indonesia's post-World War II struggle for independence ranges from non-existent [Stivers, Patterns of World History, and Robert Tignor et al, Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World, 3rd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2011)], to a sentence [Valerie Hansen and Kenneth Curtis, Voyages in World History (Mason, OH: Cengage, 2010)], to a very respectable paragraph and a half, plus two pages on the 1955 Bandung conference [Smith et al, Crossroads and Cultures, 970–971].
14 Raymond and Ruby Jo Reeves Kennedy, "Sociology in American Colleges," American Sociological Review 7 (Oct. 1942): 661–675. Ruby Jo built her own solid academic reputation with studies of American ethnic marriage patterns; see, e.g., her "Single or Triple Melting-Pot? Intermarriage Trends in New Haven, 1870–1940," American Journal of Sociology 49 (Jan. 1944): 331–339.
15 Raymond Kennedy, The Ageless Indies (New York: John Day, 1942).
16 J.S. Furnivall, Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1939) [a U.S. edition appeared in 1945]; Amry Vandenbosch, The Dutch East Indies: Its Government, Problems, and Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1941); Bernard Vlekke, Nusantara: A History of the East Indian Archipelago (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1943); Vlekke, The Story of the Dutch East Indies (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1946); Kennedy, Ageless Indies, ix. A blatant brief in English on behalf of Dutch imperialism was E.S. de Klerck, History of the Netherlands East Indies, 2 vol. (Rotterdam: W.L. & J. Brusse, 1938). For Kennedy's comments on Furnivall's and Vlekke's Eurocentrism, see his "Indonesia," Yale Review 35 (Winter 1946): 363–366.
17 Robert Shaffer, "Pearl S. Buck and the East and West Association: The Trajectory and Fate of Left-Liberal Internationalism, 1940–1950," Peace & Change 28 (Jan. 2003): 1–36; Peter Conn, Pearl S. Buck, A Cultural Biography (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Jawaharlal Nehru, Glimpses of World History (New York: John Day, 1942), which was another early "world history" effort; Nehru, The Discovery of India (New York: John Day, 1946); "Books and Authors," New York Times Book Review, 3 May 1942, p. 10.
18 "The Rich Islands of Indonesia," New York Times Book Review, 23 Aug. 1942, p. 24; Thomas Sebeok, in Far Eastern Quarterly 2 (Nov. 1942): 87–88.
19 Fred Eggan, in American Anthropologist 47 (April 1945): 307–308; Amry Vandenbosch, in American Journal of Sociology 48 (Jan. 1943): 528–529. Similarly positive was Harvard's Rupert Emerson, in Yale Review 32 (Sept. 1942): 202–204.
20 Elizabeth Allerton Clark, review, in Pacific Affairs 15 (Dec. 1942): 505–507.
21 Kennedy, Ageless Indies, 188–190, 130, 118.
22 Kennedy, Ageless Indies, 161–162, 167–168, 193.
23. Kennedy, Ageless Indies, 137, 192, 124–125, 170, 178.
24 Kennedy, Ageless Indies, 44.
25 Kennedy, Ageless Indies, 192, 126–128.
26 Reviews by Clark and Eggan, cited above.
27 Kennedy, Ageless Indies, 126.
28 Kennedy, Ageless Indies, ix–x.
29 Kennedy, Ageless Indies, 9.
30 "Scientists Deny Race Superiority," New York Times, 15 Nov. 1942, p. 41; "Program, 1942–1943, Museum of the University of Pennsylvania," box 1, Kennedy Papers; Kennedy, Islands and Peoples of the Indies (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1943).
31 Kennedy, "Races and Peoples of the Indies," Knickerbocker Weekly, 4 (28 Aug. 1944): 9–13, reprinted from The Netherlands, Bartholomew Landheer, ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1943).
32 Kennedy, Analysis Section, Military Intelligence Division, G-2, WDGS, and Ethnographic Board, Washington, May 11, 1943, typescript, box 1, Kennedy Papers.
33 Kennedy, "Dutch Administration of the East Indies," notes, for Columbia School of Naval Administration lectures, 26 April 1943 and 18 Jan. 1944, box 10, Kennedy Papers.
34 Kennedy, "Office of Education, Washington, 11/7/44," typescript, quotations at 17 and 19, box 1, Kennedy Papers.
35 Kennedy, "Anthropology and Colonial Administration," notes for talk, Anthropological Society of Washington, 21 Nov. 1944, box 1, Kennedy Papers.
36 Kennedy, "The Colonial Problem and the Future," typescript, n.d. [14 Dec. 1944], box 1, Kennedy Papers.
37 Kennedy, "The Colonial Crisis and the Future," in The Science of Man in the World Crisis, Ralph Linton, ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1945), 306–346, at 312. See also in this volume essays on race by Wilton Krogman and Otto Klineberg. Kennedy had earlier denounced anti-Semitism in "The Position and Future of the Jews in America," 418–432, in Jews in a Gentile World, Isacque Graeber, ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1942).
38 Kennedy, "The Colonial Crisis and the Future," 332, 333, 341.
39 Fay-Cooper Cole, review, in American Anthropologist 48 (Jan.–Mar. 1946): 114–115. For other reviews, see: Winfred Garrison, Christian Century 62 (11 July 1945): 813–814; William Fenton, Scientific Monthly 61 (Nov. 1945): 386–389.
40 Francis Hackett, "Books of the Times," New York Times, 27 Jan. 1945, p. 9.
41 W.E.B. Du Bois, Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1945).
42 Kennedy, "Dutch Treatment of Native Political Movements in the Netherlands East Indies," 24 Oct. 1944; Kennedy to Spaulding, 13 Feb. 1945; Kennedy, "Indonesian Politics and Parties," n.d., all in box 1, Kennedy Papers.
43 R.E. Murphy to Spaulding, 15 Feb. 1945, box 1, Kennedy Papers. Kennedy's essay did appear in a different publication, as "Indonesian Politics and Parties," Far Eastern Survey 14 (23 May 1945): 129–132.
44 Rupert Emerson, "United States Policy Toward the Netherlands Indies and Indochina" (draft), 20 Nov. 1945, microfilm C-0014, reel 6, U.S. Department of State, RG 59, NA; Kennedy, "The Test in Indonesia," Asia and the Americas 46 (Aug. 1946): 341–345; McMahon, Colonialism and Cold War; Gardner, Shared Hopes, Separate Fears, esp. 67.
45 Kennedy, "American Interests in Southeast Asia," 26 March 1945, typescript, box 1, Kennedy Papers.
46 See Kennedy to Moffat, 17 July 1945 and 21 August 1945, both in box 1, Kennedy Papers.
47 See, all in the Institute of Pacific Relation's Far Eastern Survey: Kennedy, "Malaya: Colony Without Plan," 14 (15 Aug. 1945): 225–226; Kennedy, "Status of British Borneo," 14 (29 Aug. 1945): 243–246; Kennedy, "Status Quo for Malaya," 15 (8 May 1946): 134–137.
48 Kennedy, "IPR, Washington, 1945," typescript, n.d., box 1, Kennedy Papers.
49 Kennedy, "Indonesia," Yale Review 35 (Winter 1946): 363–366.
50 McMahon, Colonialism and Cold War, 304–305. See also Ronald Spector, In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia (New York: Random House, 2007), chaps. 9–11. The most complete report in English of this war remains Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia.
51 Kennedy, "Dutch Plan for the Indies," Far Eastern Survey 15 (10 Apr. 1946): 97–102, quotations at 97, 102.
52 See, e.g., Ross Dunn, "Central Themes for World History," 31–39, in Bring History Alive! A Sourcebook for Teaching World History, Ross Dunn and David Vigilante, eds. (Los Angeles: National Center for History in the Schools, n.d. ).
53 "Yale Interprets the News: Revolution in Java Wins Self-Government for Indonesians," 14 April 1946, WTIC radio; "Social Workers, New Haven, 4/15/46," notes; "Indonesia: An American View," East and West Association, New York Town Hall, April 1946, typescript, all in box 1, Kennedy Papers. For additional examples of Kennedy's E&WA lectures, see Edelman to Kennedy, 31 Jan. 1947, box 1, Kennedy Papers, and the newsletter, People East and West 3 (Jan.–Feb. 1948): 31, and 3 (May–June 1948): 25.
54 Kennedy, "Dutch Rule and Native Revolution in Indonesia," typescript, 4 May 1946, and program, Eastern Sociological Society, 4–5 May 1946, both in box 1, Kennedy Papers; "Sociologist Scores U.S. Policy in East," New York Times, 5 May 1946, p. 26; Kennedy, "The Test in Indonesia." Buck and Walsh had advanced similar in Asia and the Americas; see Buck "American Imperialism in the Making," 45 (Aug. 1945): 365–368, and Walsh, "Conflict and Compromise," 45 (July 1945): 314. The magazine made clear its critique of Dutch efforts at reconquest in its February 1946 cover photograph of a white soldier leading a barefoot, brown-skinned young man by a rope tied around the youth's wrist, with the devastating caption: "White Man in Indonesia."
55 Kennedy, "The Test in Indonesia," 341, 342.
56 Kennedy, "The Test in Indonesia," 343, 344. Willkie's phrase, "Our Reservoir of Good Will," was a chapter title in his One World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1943), referring to a conversation with an Indian who argued, in Willkie's words (p. 184), that the U.S.'s war-time silence about India's colonial status had "already drawn heavily on our reservoir of good will in the East." The very title of Willkie's book demonstrates the tentative embrace of "world history" during World War II.
57 Kennedy, "The Test in Indonesia," 344, 345.
58 See Nash et al, History on Trial, chaps. 3 and 4.
59 Hunt, Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy; LaFeber, American Age; Fraser, "Understanding American Policy Towards the Decolonization of European Empires"; Borstelmann, Cold War and the Color Line.
60 McMahon, Colonialism and the Cold War; Marc Gallicchio, The Cold War Begins in Asia: American East Asian Policy and the Fall of the Japanese Empire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988); John McNay, Acheson and Empire: The British Accent in American Foreign Policy (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001).
61 Hal Friedman, Creating an American Lake: United States Imperialism and Strategic Security in the Pacific Basic, 1945–1947 (Westport, CT.: Greenwood, 2000).
62 "Englewood, 11/11/46, Indonesia," notes, emphasis in original, box 1, Kennedy Papers.
63 Kennedy, "Western Powers in Southeast Asia and Indonesia," typescript, n.d. [15 Nov. 1946], quotations at 2, 15, 23a, 26–27, 28, box 1, Kennedy Papers. For a recent account which also emphasizes the importance of the "Japanese overthrow of Western empires across Southeast Asia during World War II" in stimulating decolonization there before it occurred in Africa, see Goscha and Ostermann, "Introduction," Connecting Histories, 2.
64 Kennedy, "Western Powers in Southeast Asia and Indonesia."
65 Kennedy, "American Interest in the Social and Political Future of the Pacific Peoples, East & West Association, Maplewood, N.J., 1/31/47," typescript, and Kennedy, "Acculturation and Revolution in Indonesia, Yale Anthropology Club, 5/8/47," both in box 1, Kennedy Papers. Kennedy probably drew on analyses already enunciated in Asia and the Americas and other liberal publications which criticized the manner in which the U.S. granted independence to the Philippines; see Robert Shaffer, "'Partly Disguised Imperialism': American Critical Internationalists and Philippine Independence," Journal of American-East Asian Relations 19 (Sept. 2012): 235–262.
66 Kennedy, "Acculturation and Revolution in Indonesia," esp. 3–4, emphasis in original.
67 Kennedy, "Race Relations, Colonial and American, [22 April 1947]," and program, East and West Association Peoples Congress, "Minority Peoples and Problems: A World View," both in box 1, Kennedy Papers.
68 Kennedy, "Race Relations, Colonial and American," 8, 9.
69 Kennedy, "Race Relations, Colonial and American," 5–6, 7.
70 Kennedy, "Race Relations, Colonial and American," 9.
71 Du Bois, Color and Democracy; Walter White, A Rising Wind (Garden City: Doubleday, 1945); Pearl Buck, What America Means to Me (New York: John Day, 1943); Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1944). On the intersection between foreign relations and the demand for equal rights at home, see also Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).
72 John Day published two important books on Indonesian nationalism during this period: Charles Wolf, Jr., The Indonesian Story: The Birth, Growth, and Structure of the Indonesian Republic (1948), and Soetan Sjahrir, Out of Exile (1949). See also Vincent Sheean, "Nationalism Old and New," Asia and the Americas 46 (July 1946): 292–293. For a sampling of coverage in IPR publications, see, both in Far Eastern Survey, Charles Bidien, "Independence the Issue," 14 (5 Dec. 1945): 345–348, and George McT. Kahin, "Resistance in Indonesia," Far Eastern Survey 18 (23 Feb. 1949): 45–47. For coverage in other liberal publications, see, e.g.: "Stop Shooting the Javanese," New Republic, 7 Jan. 1946, p. 8; Andrew Roth, "American Flipflop in Indonesia," Nation, 10 July 1948, pp. 39–41; Garland Evans Hopkins, "We Have Failed Indonesia!" Christian Century 65 (18 Feb. 1948): 202–203.
73. Kennedy, "Truce in Indonesia," Far Eastern Survey 17 (24 Mar. 1948), 65–68. See also Kennedy, "Acculturation and Revolution in Indonesia," notes of a 1947 lecture.
74 On a continuum from subtle to more overt in making this point, see, e.g., Jerry Bentley et al, Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, 4th ed. (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008), chap. 39; Hansen & Curtis, Voyages in World History, chap. 30; Smith et al, Crossroads and Cultures, chap. 29.
75 McMahon, Colonialism and Cold War, chaps. 8–9; Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia, esp. 403–405, 443–445. Richard Mason, in "Containment and the Challenge of Non-Alignment: The Cold War and U.S. Policy toward Indonesia, 1950–1952," 39–67 in Contesting Histories, argues that the Republic's suppression of a 1948 Communist revolt also led the U.S. to look more favorably on Indonesian independence.
Kennedy returned to Indonesia in June 1949, before full independence. One can only speculate as to why his lectures and articles on Indonesia ceased after mid-1948. Perhaps Kennedy wished to avoid antagonizing either side as he prepared to return to his long-delayed ethnographic studies, but perhaps it was simply that he became a father that year, or assumed more responsibilities setting up Yale's Southeast Asian center. Yale posthumously published a portion of Kennedy's research from that final trip: Field Notes on Indonesia: South Celebes, 1949–1950, Harold Conklin, ed. (New Haven: Human Relations Area Files, 1953).
76 "For a Fair Approach" (editorial), 9 Mar. 1949, p. 4, and "Communications," 10 Mar. 1949, p. 2, both in Yale Daily News; William F. Buckley, Jr., God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of "Academic Freedom" (Chicago: Regnery, 1951), 14–18, 172, 207–213.
77 Ruby Jo Reeves Kennedy to O'Sullivan, 6 May 1950, and enclosure, 256D.113 Kennedy, RG 59, NA; "A Raymond Kennedy Memorial," Yale Daily News, 4 May 1950, p. 1. The Yale Daily News extensively covered the murder and associated fund-raising efforts, 28 April to 10 May 1950. Ruby Jo soon became bitter about Indonesia's handling of the case; see, e.g., O'Sullivan to Merchant, 5 Dec. 1950, and English to Ruby Jo Reeves Kennedy, 19 Mar. 1951, 256D.113 Kennedy, RG 59, NA.
78 Cochran to State Department, 14 Sept. 1951, 256D.113 Kennedy, RG 59, NA.
79 Rosenthal to State Department, 27 July 1953, and enclosures, 256D.113 Kennedy, RG 59, NA.
80 Bradley Simpson, Economists With Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960–68 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008); John Roosa, Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Suharto's Coup D'Etat in Indonesia (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006).
|Home | List Journal Issues | Table of Contents|
|© 2016 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois|
Content in World History Connected is intended for personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, modify, create derivative works from, display, or in any way exploit the World History Connected database in whole or in part without the written permission of the copyright holder.