Connecting Histories: Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 1945–1962 draws on newly available archival documentation from both Western and Asian countries to explore decolonization, the Cold War, and the establishment of a new international order in post-World War II Southeast Asia. Major historical forces intersected here—of power, politics, economics, and culture on trajectories East to West, North to South, across the South itself, and along less defined tracks. Especially important democratic-communist competitions sought the loyalties of Southeast Asian nationalists, even as some colonial powers sought to resume their prewar dominance. These intersections are the focus of the contributions to this book, which use new sources and approaches to examine some of the most important historical trajectories of the 20th century in Burma, Vietnam, Malaysia, and a number of other countries.

Christopher E. Goscha is Associate Professor of History at the University of Québec at Montreal. Christian Ostermann directs the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. Contributors come from Canada, France, Malaysia, Russia, the Philippines, Singapore, the United States, and the United Kingdom.


Nayan Chanda

Series Preface
James G. Hershberg

Introduction: Connecting Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia
Christopher Goscha and Christian Ostermann

I. Western Trajectories into Southeast Asia
1. Recasting Vietnam: The Bao Dai Solution and the Making of the Cold War in Southeast Asia
Mark Atwood Lawrence
2. Containment and the Challenge of Nonalignment: The Cold War and U.S. Policy toward Indonesia, 1950–1952
Richard Mason
3. Avoiding the “Rank of Denmark”: Dutch Fears about Loss of Empire in Southeast Asia
Anne L. Foster
4. Processing Decolonization: British Strategic Analysis of Intelligence on Vietnam and Indonesia, 1945–1950
Martin Thomas

II. Internationalist Communist Intersections in the Region
5. Soviet Cold War Strategy and Prospects of Revolution in Southeast Asia
Ilya V. Gaiduk
6. Revolution and Decolonization: The “Bandung Discourse” in China’s Early Cold War Experience
Chen Jian
7. From Cheering to Volunteering: Vietnamese Communists and the Coming of the Cold War, 1940–1951
Tuong Vu

III. Southeast Asian Alignment and Non-Alignment
8. Choosing between the Two Vietnams: 1950 and Southeast Asian Shifts in the International System
Christopher E. Goscha
9. Indonesia’s Diplomatic Revolution: Lining Up for Non-Alignment, 1945–1955
Samuel E. Crowl
10. Malaysia and the Cold War: First Indochina War and Malaya, 1948–1957
Danny Wong Tze Ken
11. Phibun, the Cold War, and Thailand’s Foreign Policy Revolution of 1950
Daniel Fineman
12. Southeast Asian Perceptions of the Domino Theory
Ang Cheng Guan

IV. Cultural Connections: Religion, Society, and Civilization
13. Ludu Aung Than: Nu’s Burma during the Cold War
Michael W. Charney
14. Lawan dan kawan (Friends and Foes): Indonesian Islam and Communism in the Cold War (1945–1960)
Rémy Madinier
15. The Diplomacy of Personalism: Civilization, Culture, and the Cold War in the Foreign Policy of Ngô Đình Diệm
Edward Miller 


“Goscha and Ostermann have assembled a remarkable collection of essays that represent a stimulating complement to the emerging scholarship of new Cold War history…. Overall, this is a refreshing, insightful examination of a part of the world often neglected in historical accounts detailing the early years of the Cold War…. Highly recommended.”—C. G. Frentzos, Choice

“All in all, this volume is a truly indispensable work for those studying modern Southeast Asian history or Cold War history. Its contributors have done extensive research in various—American, British, French, Russian, and Chinese—archives, and its bibliography is composed of a wide range of secondary sources published in ten languages. To the credit of its editors and contributors, this book brings new perspectives into scholarship in a remarkably non-polemical way.”—Balazs Szalontai, H-Soz-u-Kult

Connecting Histories is an important resource on an underexamined subject, namely the intersection in Asia of the East-West struggle and the North-South struggle during the two decades after 1945. An authoritative, consistently illuminating study.”—Fredrik Logevall, Cornell University

“The roster of contributors comprises a broad, international cast of top established and younger scholars, and the scope of the book is bold and imaginative. This volume has the potential to be a model volume of the new international history.”—Robert McMahon, The Ohio State University