Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Guy Hope, Hugh Thomason,


This thesis was prepared for the now defunct Department of Government.

Degree Type

Master of Arts


If a man could somehow snap a picture of the world today, a viewer one hundred years hence would certainly notice its many revolutionary characteristics. Perhaps the most important of these relates to the growth of non-Western nationalism and modernization, the "revolution of rising expectations," which has resulted in the formation of many new nations within the last twenty years, led by Western-trained intellectuals in many cases. These new leaders have been faced with the problem that their fellow countrymen do not necessarily share their beliefs in or understanding of nationalism.

The leaders, many of them young, have had to become nation-builders in order to construct political units within the geographic boundaries of their new states. It often appears that the masses within these new nations have first loyalties to their tribes, religious units, racial or linguistic groups, or particular regions.

Confronted with these facts, the leadership of many new countries has used native military forces to help build a national consensus. An army has unique characteristics which may aid or detract from the formation of a sense of national consensus and a devotion to national symbols. Within an army the officer corps is its mind and its heart. An understanding of this select group can provide useful insights into the ideological roots of any army.

In this study the author will describe the role of the military in underdeveloped countries. The essay will then examine several Indonesian background factors which contributed to the condition of its military during the period 1950-1958. Geographical and general ethnic, cultural and psychological elements have left a very definite mark on the TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Indonesian National Army). Any effort to understand Indonesia must also include an analysis of the impact of the Netherlands. The Japanese occupation produced certain very discernible traits which can be found in the army officer corps during the period analyzed. Indonesia's unique war for independence formulated the major ideological foundations upon which the army was built. An examination of that critical period cannot be omitted.

The actual role played by the Indonesian military during the 1950-1958 period is then examined in comparison and contrast to preceding portions of this study.

The final chapter contains some conclusions which resulted from the study.


Asian Studies | History | International and Area Studies | Military History | Other Political Science | Political History | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences