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Bennett, Huw Charles

Bennett, Huw

NIAS-THEME Group Fellow

Comparing the Wars of Decolonization. Counterinsurgency and Extreme Violence, 1945-1962

The project’s main question will be what structural comparative research teaches us about forms and scale of, the motives for and the conditions conducive to the use of (extreme) violence by Dutch security forces during their attempt to re-establish authority during the Indonesian struggle for Independence (1945-1949).

Project Description

The violent Dutch response to the Indonesian struggle for independence (1945-1949) has been seriously underrepresented in the international historical debate on the wars of decolonization. Compounding this neglect, historians have neglected a systematic comparison of (extreme forms of) colonial violence by the various imperial powers. Triggered by revelations of the structural nature of Dutch atrocities, this project seeks to address this hiatus in order to structurally improve our understanding of the scale and forms of, motives for, and the conditions conducive to the extreme use of violence used during the counter-insurgency campaigns in Indonesia, Algeria, French-Indochina and the various British colonies.

Selected Publications

Fighting the Mau Mau: the British Army and Counter-Insurgency in the Kenya Emergency (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

‘”Detainees are always one’s Achilles heel”: the struggle over the scrutiny of detention and interrogation in Aden, 1963-67’, War in History, 23/4 (November 2016), 457-488.

‘The Baha Mousa tragedy: British Army detention and interrogation from Iraq to Afghanistan’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 16/2 (May 2014), 211-229.


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