‘A few shots were fired’: An analysis of concealing discourse describing extreme structural violence during the Dutch Military Operations in Indonesia (1945-1950)
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Research shows that violence carried out by the Dutch during the Indonesian National Revolution was extreme and structural. There are multiple studies researching this extreme structural violence, but this has never been researched through a discourse analysis on a microlevel, connecting individual actions to a low feeling of responsibility. This thesis, consisting of a discourse analysis of an anonymous Dutch soldier’s diary, takes the first step to explain individual motives for participating in extreme structural violence. The discourse analysis makes use of Hannah Arendt’s concept of the banality of evil. It links euphemistic and concealing discourse to habituality, thoughtlessness and distancing, three characteristics of the banality of evil. It is argued that the anonymous soldier kept participating in violent actions due to those three characteristics that become evident. Therefore, the results from this study shed light on individual motivations for extreme structural violence.