The Indonesian national revolution , or Indonesian war of independence , is an armed conflict and a diplomatic struggle between Indonesia and the Netherlands , as well as a social revolution. It took place from 1945 to 1949 , between the declaration of independence of Indonesia and the recognition of Indonesia as an independent state by the Netherlands,. Indonesians call these four years of armed conflict ” Revolusi “.

In the aftermath of the Second World War , the Netherlands wanted to recover their former colony , which they had to abandon during the invasion by the Japanese in 1942 . The Dutch managed to control the big cities, but not the rural ones. The conflict slowly ruined the Dutch economy.

The conflict ended with the formal transfer, the , from sovereignty over the territory of the Netherlands Indies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to a Republic of the United States of Indonesia , created on. In the aftermath of the revolution, the caste system previously in effect became less important, reducing the power of local rājas .


Indonesian nationalism and pro-independence movements such as the Budi Utomo , the Indonesian National Party (NIP), Sarekat Islam and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) developed rapidly during the early part of the 20th century. century. Budi Utomo, Sarekat Islam and others adopted strategies of cooperation with the colonizer by sitting in the Volksraad ( “Council of the People” ) set up by the Dutch in the hope that Indonesia would one day be granted the ‘autonomy 1. Others chose a strategy of non-cooperation, demanding full autonomy for the Dutch East Indies then colonized 2 . The most important leaders of these movements were Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta , two students and figures of the nationalist movement who benefited from the educational reforms implemented in the name of ethical politics .

The three and a half years of Japanese occupation of Indonesia during the Second World War played a crucial role in the coming revolution. The Netherlands, themselves under German occupation, had little capacity to defend their colonies against the Japanese army and, only three months after their first attacks, the Japanese occupied a large part of the Dutch East Indies. In Java and, to a lesser extent, Sumatra(the two most populated and economically developed islands), the Japanese spread and encouraged nationalist sentiment. Although it was more for political interest than purely altruistic support for Indonesian independence, they created new institutions (including neighborhood organizations) and promoted political leaders like Soekarno. The Japanese éliminèrent and replaced most of the economic infrastructure, administrative and policies implemented by the Dutch 3 .

While the Japanese were about to lose the war, the Dutch sought to re-establish their authority over Indonesia and asked them to “preserve law and order” 4 . But the Japanese were rather inclined to help Indonesian nationalists prepare for autonomy. TheWhile the war really turned the disadvantage of Japanese Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso promised independence to Indonesia, but no date was not fixed 5 . The announcement was interpreted as irrefutable proof of collaboration with the Japanese Soekarno 6 .

Declared independence

Under the pressure of the radical and politicized groups of pemuda ( “young” ), Soekarno and Hatta proclaimed the independence of Indonesia , thetwo days after the Japanese emperor’s acceptance of capitulation 7 , 8 , 9 . The next day, Komite Nasional Indonesia Pusat ( KNIP ) declared Soekarno president and Hatta vice president 7 , 8 , 9 .

The euphoria of revolution

In the outer islands, the news of the declaration of independence did not spread until mid-September, and many Indonesians living far from the capital, Jakarta , did not believe it. As the information was spread, ordinary citizens resented the feeling of freedom that led many to consider themselves pro-Republican, and the joy of the revolution swept the country 10 . The external power had changed. It would take weeks before the Alliesarrive in Indonesia, the Dutch themselves being very weakened by the Second World War. The Japanese, on the other hand, had, according to the terms of capitulation, both to lay down their arms and maintain order, a paradox that was partly solved by handing over arms to Indonesians who had undergone military training. with the Japanese 11 , 12 . The power vacuum caused by the Japanese surrender, created in the weeks that followed, an atmosphere of uncertainty, but also opportunities 11 .

Many pemuda joined pro-republican wrestling groups ( perjuangan badan ). The Japanese had formed paramilitary units, Heiho and PETA composed of volunteers, and conscripts. These two groups formed the force majeure policing of independence but were dissolved by the Japanese, this injured at the transition between the occupation and the nascent republic 13 . In the first weeks, Japanese troops withdrew from urban areas to avoid confrontations 14. In September 1945, control of most of the infrastructure, including railway stations and trams of the largest cities in Java, was provided by the pemuda Republicans who met a small Japanese resistance 14 . To spread the message of the revolution, the pemuda set up their own daily newspapers and radio stations, and graffiti proclaimed nationalist sentiment. On most islands, fight and militia committees were formed 15 . Republican newspapers and newspapers were readily available in Jakarta, Yogyakarta , and Surakartawhich favored the emergence of a generation of writers known as Angkatan ’45 ( “Generation 45” ). Many were convinced that their work was part of the revolutionary process 14 .

Some Republican leaders wanted a passionate armed struggle while others envisioned a more principled approach. The leftist Tan Malaka , for example, defended the idea that it was a revolutionary armed struggle that the Indonesian pemuda had to lead and win. Soekarno Hatta and, in contrast, were more likely to form a government and institutions to achieve independence through diplomatic action 15 . Massive and fiery demonstrations took place in the big cities, including one in Jakarta, followed by 200,000 people and led by Tan Malaka, whom Soekarno and Hatta, fearing violence, managed to temper.

In September 1945, many self-proclaimed pemuda became impatient. It was common for members of society considered to be “non-indigenous” – imprisoned Dutch, Indonesian-European union-born, Ambonese and Chinese – to be considered spies or intimidated. kidnapping, robbery, sometimes murder or even organized massacres. These abuses took a long time during the revolutionary period 16 , 17 , 18 , 19. As the level of violence increased across the country, the newly formed Republican government, led by Soekarno and Hatta, called for calm. However, the pemuda , favorable to the armed struggle, considered the older direction as undecided and betraying the revolution, which often led to conflicts between Indonesians.

Formation of the Republican government

In late August, a central government was established in Jakarta. He adopted the constitution drafted during the Japanese occupation by the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence. Pending the holding of a general election, a Komite Nasional Indonesia Pusat ( KNIP or Central Indonesian National Committee) was formed to assist the President. Similar committees were established at the provincial level.

Then the question of the allegiance of the princes to this government arose. The kingdom of Surakarta and the Yogyakarta Sultanate in central Java , for example, immediately declared support for the Republicans, while many princes, especially those of the outer islands, having become wealthy thanks to the Dutch, proved less enthusiastic. . This reluctance was supported by the radical, non-aristocratic and sometimes Islamic nature of Republican leaders focused on Java. However, the Republican government gained support from South Sulawesi , notably through the King of Bone(which led many battles at the beginning of the century against the Dutch), rajas of Makassars and Bugis supporting the republican governor of Jakarta, a Manadonian Christian . Many rajas Balinese also accepted the Republican authority 20 .

Fearing that the Dutch would try to reestablish their authority over Indonesia, the new Republican government and its leaders moved quickly to strengthen its enthusiastic but fragile administration. The new government was mainly active on Java and rarely in contact with the outer islands, where more Japanese troops were stationed (especially in areas held by the Imperial Navy ), Japanese officers in charge less friendly and fewer activists and leaders Republicans 21 , 22 . Ina parliamentary government was formed and Sjahrir was appointed prime minister .

Four days after the Japanese Imperial Council accepted the surrender, PETA and Heiho were dissolved by the Japanese. In the new Indonesian army, officers trained by the Japanese were more numerous than those trained by the Dutch. A 30-year- old former teacher , Sudirman , was elected commander-in-chief at the first meeting of Division Commanders in Yogyakarta,23 .

Allied Counterrevolution

Dutch opposition to independence

The Dutch accused Sukarno and Hatta of collaborating with the Japanese and the new republic accused of being a creation of fascism Japanese 6 . The administration of the Dutch East Indies had just received a loan of ten million dollars of the United States , to finance his return to Indonesia 4 .

Allied occupation

The Netherlands, however, was severely weakened by the Second World War in Europe and did not become a significant military force until early in 1946 . The Japanese and members of allied forces agreed reluctantly to the interim during this interval 15 . While US forces concentrated on the Japanese islands, the archipelago was placed under the jurisdiction of British Prince and Admiral Louis Mountbatten , Supreme Allied Commander of Southeast Asia . Allied enclaves had remained in Kalimantan , to Morotai in the Moluccas and West New Guinea, Which allowed the Dutch administrators to return to these areas 22 . In areas controlled by the Japanese navy, the arrival of Allied troops quickly prevented revolutionary activities where Australian troops, followed by Dutch troops and administrators, received the Japanese surrender (except for Bali and Lombok ) 24 .

The British were responsible for restoring order and civil government in Java. For the Dutch, it meant the restoration of the colonial administration in place before the war and continued well to demand recognition of their sovereignty over Indonesia 15 . However, Commonwealth troops did not land in Java until late September 1945 to receive Japanese surrender. Among the immediate tasks assigned to Lord Mountbatten was the repatriation of some 300,000 Japanese and the release of prisoners of war. The British did not want or could not, their troops involved in a long struggle to regain Indonesia for the benefit of Dutch 25. The first British troops reached Jakarta in late September 1945 then Medan ( North Sumatra ), Padang ( West Sumatra ), Palembang ( South Sumatra ), Semarang ( Central Java ) and Surabaya ( East Java ) in October. In order to avoid clashes with the Indonesians, the British commander, Lieutenant General Sir Philip Christison , dispatched soldiers from the former colonial army of the Netherlands to eastern Indonesia, where the Dutch return to the country. ran smoothly 24. Tensions grew when the Allied troops landed in Java and Sumatra. Disorders broke out between the Republicans and those whom they perceived as their enemies: the Dutch prisoners, the troops of the Koninklijk Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger ( KNIL or Royal Netherlands East Indies Army), the Chinese, Eurasian and Japanese 24 . The armed conflicts began inwhen, according to the terms of the capitulation, the Japanese tried to restore their authority abandoned to the Indonesians in the villages and the cities. Japanese military police killed Republican pemuda in Pekalongan on. Japanese troops drove the Republican pemuda out of Bandung and handed the city over to the British. But the most violent fighting involving the Japanese took place in Semarang. TheBritish forces occupied the city. The Republican forces retaliated in their retreat by killing between 130 and 300 Japanese prisoners they held. Nearly 500 Japanese and 2,000 Indonesians had been killed and the Japanese had almost captured the city when British forces arrived six days later 24 .

As a result, the British decided to evacuate the 10,000 Euro-Asian and European prisoners from the volatile region of Central Java. The British detachments sent to the towns of Ambarawa and Magelang met with strong resistance and had to launch air attacks against the Indonesians. Soekarno negotiated a ceasefire onbut at the end of November, fighting resumed and the British were driven back to the coast 24 , 26 . Republican attacks against the allies and pro-Dutch civilians suspected reached their peak in November and December, with nearly 1,200 killed in Bandung while pemuda fro on the offensive 27 . In, Republicans cornered responded to a British ultimatum enjoining them to leave the city of Bandung by deliberately burning most of the southern half of the city, event known as the ” Sea of ​​Fire Bandung ” ( Bandung Lautan Api ) . The last British troops left Indonesia inbut at the same time 55,000 Dutch soldiers had set foot on Java.

Battle of Surabaya

The Battle of Surabaya was the most important confrontation of revolution and became a national symbol of Indonesian resistance 29 . The groups pemuda of Surabaya , the second largest city in the country, seized weapons and ammunition belonging to the Japanese and created two new organizations: the Indonesian National Committee ( KNI ) and the People’s Security Body (BKR, embryo of the Indonesian army ). As the Allied forces arrived, at the end, the pemuda bridgehead in Surabaya was described as “a powerful unified stronghold” 30 .

The city itself was a pandemonium . There were bloody fights on every street corner. Bodies littered the ground on all sides. Decapitated, dismembered trunks were piled one on top of another […] Indonesians fired, stabbed and savagely killed.

– Soekarno 31

In September and the revolution was bloody. There was a series of incidents involving pro-Dutch Métis and atrocities against European prisoners and considered committed by Indonesian mobs 32 . Ferocious fighting broke out when 6,000 soldiers from the British Indian Army entered the city. Soekarno and Hatta negotiated a ceasefire between the Republicans and the British forces , led by Brigadier GeneralMallaby. Following the murder of Mallaby, the, the British sent, from more troops, supported by air strikes 30 . Although European forces took most of the city in three days, the Republicans, poorly armed, fought for three weeks, thousands of them died, while the population fled to the countryside.

Despite the Republican defeat and the loss of life and arms that severely hampered their strength for the rest of the revolution, the courage and determination of the Indonesians galvanized the nation for independence and helped to attract international attention. . For the Dutch, there was no doubt that the republic was not “a band of collaborators without popular support” . It also had the effect of convincing the British that wisdom was on the side of neutrality vis-à-vis the revolution. Moreover, after a few years, the United Kingdom maintained, in fact, the Republican cause in the United Nations 29 .

Dutch return

With British assistance, the Dutch managed to establish the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration ( NICA ) forces in Jakarta and other key points. Republican sources report 8,000 deaths indirectly related to the defense of Jakarta, even if the city could not be held by insurgents 25 . The republican leadership then moved to Yogyakarta , with the vital support of the new sultan, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX . Yogyakarta continued, subsequently, to play a major role in the revolution, hence the granting of a special territorial status 33 . In Bogor , near Jakarta and Balikpapan , on Kalimantan, Republican cadres were imprisoned. To prepare the occupation of Sumatra by the Dutch, its most important cities, Palembang and Medan , were bombarded. In, the Korps Speciale Troepen ( KST or literally the Dutch Special Troops), led by the commando and counter-insurgency expert , Captain Raymond “the Turk” Westerling , were accused of trying to pacify South Sulawesi by employing terror techniques, which were copied by other opponents of the Republicans. Approximately 3,000 Republicans and their supporters were killed in weeks 34 .

On Java and Sumatra, Dutch military successes were confined to the big cities. They were unable to submit the country villages. In the outer islands (including Bali), Republican sentiment was not as strong, at least among the elites. They were therefore occupied by the Dutch with comparatively more ease. Autonomous States were created by the Dutch. The largest, the state of eastern Indonesia ( Negara Indonesia Timur or NIT ), comprised most of the eastern part of the archipelago. It was established inand its administrative capital was Makassar .

Diplomacy and military offensives

Linggarjati Agreement

The Linggarjati Agreement , negotiated by the British and concluded in, saw the Netherlands de facto recognize the authority of the republic on Java, Madura and Sumatra. TheThe two sides agreed on the formation of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia , a semi-autonomous federal state headed by the Dutch crown . The KNIP did not ratify the agreement beforeand it gave no satisfaction either the Republic or the Dutch 35 . TheThe lower house of the Dutch parliament ratified a stripped version of the treaty, which was not accepted by the Republic 36 . After that, both parties accused each other of “violating the agreement” .

Operation Product 

Main article: Operatie Product .

[…] [the republic] became more and more disorganized inside; party leaders were fighting each other; governments were overthrown and replaced by others; armed groups acted in their own name in local conflicts; some republic-controlled areas never had contact with the center – they were slowly taking their own route.

The situation as a whole had deteriorated to such an extent that the Dutch Government was obliged to consider that no progress could be made until law and order were sufficiently restored to make communication between the different parts of Indonesia possible, and to guarantee the security of people with different political views.- justification for the first “police action” given by HJ van Mook , former governor of the Netherlands Indies 37

The Dutch launched, the at midnight, a major military offensive called Operatie Product , with the intention of reconquering the territory of the republic. Denouncing violations of the Linggarjati Agreement, the Dutch described the operation as a politionele actie ( “police action” ), intended to restore law and order, a task normally assigned to the Royal Netherlands Indies ( KNIL), which at that time constituted the bulk of Dutch troops in Indonesia. Shortly after the end of the Second World War , 25,000 volunteers (and, among them, 5,000 marine riflemen) had been sent overseas. They were followed by a large contingent of conscripts from the Netherlands.

During the offensive, the Dutch drove the Republican troops from parts of Sumatra, as well as from East and West Java. The Republicans were confined to the Yogyakarta region in central Java . To maintain their domination of Java, the Dutch, now numbering 100,000 men , took control of the lucrative plantations and oil and coal facilities of Sumatra, as well as all of Java’s deep-water ports.

The international reaction to the Dutch attack was negative. The India , newly independent, and Australia neighbor were particularly active in their support for the Republican cause at the UN , as the USSR and, more significantly, the United States. The boycott of the loading and unloading of Dutch ships by Australian dockers, started incontinued. The UN Security Council was directly involved in the conflict, establishing a good offices committee to sponsor future negotiations, rendering the Dutch diplomatic position particularly uncomfortable. A ceasefire , demanded by a UN resolution , was signed by the Dutch and Soekarno38 .

Renville Agreement

The United Nations Security Council negotiated the Renville Agreement to remedy the failure of the Linggarjati Agreement. The agreement was ratifiedand aimed at securing a ceasefire along the Van Mook Line, an artificial line connecting the most advanced Dutch positions. Many Republican positions were, in fact, behind the line. The agreement also called for a referendum on the future policy of the areas held by the Dutch. The apparent moderation Republicans increased American benevolence 38 .

Diplomatic efforts between the Netherlands and the Republic continued throughout 1948 and 1949 . Local and international political pressure hampered Dutch trials from moving forward. Similarly, Republican leaders had great difficulty convincing their supporters to accept diplomatic concessions. Innegotiations were deadlocked and the Netherlands decided to unilaterally impose the Van Mook concept of a federal Indonesia. Thus, the states of South Sumatra and East Java were created, although neither of them had viable support from the base 39 .

The Netherlands created the Bijeenkomst voor Federaal Overleg ( BFO or Federal Consultative Assembly ), a body constituting the command of the federal states, to complete the formation of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia and the establishment of of an interim government by the end of 1948. The Dutch plans, however, left no room for the republic unless it accepted the minor role that had already been defined for it. Later plans included Java and Sumatra but no longer mentioned the republic. The main sticking point during the negotiations was the40 .

Mutual mistrust between the Netherlands and the Republic undermined the negotiations. The republic feared a second major Dutch offensive, while the Dutch objected to the incessant republican activities on their side of the Van Mook line. Inthe Siliwangi division of the Republican army, with Nasution at its head, marched from west Java to its center. This move was justified as a necessity to settle internal republican tensions due to the battalion of the Surakarta region . But the division actually faced the Dutch troops as it crossed Mount Slamet . The fear of such incursions bore fruit, as did the apparent undermining of Republicans by the Dutch against Pasundan State . Added to negative reports, they led the Dutch authorities to consider more and more that they were losing control of the situation 41 .

Operation Crow and Serangan Umum 

We have been attacked […] The Dutch government has put an end to the cease-fire agreement. All armed forces will implement plans to deal with Dutch attacks

– General Sudirman , broadcast from his hospital bed 42 .

Frustrated by the negotiations with the Republic and the believer weakened by Darul Islam and the Madiun affair , the Dutch launched a military offensive oncalled Operatie Kraai (literally “Operation Crow” ). The next day they had conquered Yogyakarta, the temporary capital of the Republicans. In late December, all major cities held by Republicans in Java and Sumatra at the hands of Dutch 43 . The president of the republic, the vice-president and all the republican ministers, with the exception of six of them, were captured by the Dutch troops and exiled on the island of Bangka , located off the east coast of Sumatra. In areas surrounding Yogyakarta and Surakarta, Republican forces refused to surrender and continued to wage a guerrilla warunder the command of the Republican Chief of Staff, General Sudirman, who had escaped enemy offensives. An emergency republican government, the Pemerintahan Darurat Republik Indonesia ( PDRI or “Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia” ), was established in West Sumatra .

Although the Dutch had conquered the cities of the heart of Java and Sumatra, they could control the villages and countryside 43 . Republican troops and militia led by Lieutenant-Colonel (and future President) Soeharto attacked Dutch positions in Yogyakarta at the dawn of. The Dutch were driven out of the city for six hours but reinforcements were brought from nearby towns of Ambarawa and Semarang in the afternoon. The Indonesian fighters withdrew at noon and the Dutch reinvested the city. This Indonesian attack, later known in Indonesia as Serangan Umum ( “The General Attack” ), is today commemorated by a monument in Yogyakarta. A similar attack took place in Surakarta , led by Lieutenant-Colonel Slamet Riyadi on.

Once again, international opinion in both the United States and the United Nations was significantly offended by the Dutch military campaigns. InThe UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for the restoration of republican government 6 . US aid, specifically earmarked for the Dutch war effort in Indonesia, was immediately canceled and pressure mounted within the US Congress to stop all aid from the country. This included funds from the Marshall Plan , vital for the reconstruction of the Netherlands after the Second World War, which represented, in total more than a billion dollars in aid 44 . The Dutch government had already spent almost half of this amount to finance its campaigns in Indonesia. What'”Vain and senile imperialism” encouraged many important voices in the United States – including in the Republican Party – and from US churches and NGOs, to rule in favor of Indonesian independence 45 .

Internal disorder

Social revolutions

The “social revolutions” followed the proclamation of independence. They were so many challenges to the social order established by the Netherlands in Indonesia and, to some extent, the result of resentment of policies imposed by the Japanese. Across the country, the people rose against the traditional aristocrats and village chiefs and tried to impose a popular ownership of land and resources 46 . The majority of social revolutions ended quickly and, in most cases, challenges to social order were repressed 47 .

A culture of violence rooted in the deep conflicts that divided under Dutch rule campaigns manifested repeatedly throughout the second half of the xx th century 47 . The term “social revolution” was applied to a range of predominantly violent left-wing activities that included altruistic attempts to organize a real revolution and mere expressions of revenge or resentment and demonstrations of power. The targets of the violence were established according to the models imported by the Japanese. Figures identified as ” feudal ” , including the bupatis kingsOr more generally the rich were often abused and sometimes killed, decapitated, and rape was common on target women assaults 46 . In the coastal sultanates of Sumatra and Kalimantan, for example, the sultans and those whose authority had been undermined by the Dutch were attacked from the outset by the Japanese authorities. The secular lords of Aceh , who had been at the base of the foundation of the Dutch government, were executed. However most of the sultanates of Indonesia fell back into Dutch hands.

Most Indonesians lived in fear and uncertainty, especially a significant proportion of the population who had supported the Dutch or remained in the territories still under their control. The popular revolutionary rallying cry: ” Freedom or death ” was often interpreted to justify murders committed in the name of republican authority. Traders often found themselves in particularly difficult positions. On the one hand, they were under Republican pressure to boycott any sale to the Dutch and, on the other hand, the Dutch police were fighting smuggling on which the republican economy depended. In some areas, the term ” kedaulatan rakyat “( “Popular sovereignty” ) – mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution and used by the pemuda to ask their leaders for pro-active policies – came to be used, not only to demand free products, but also to justify extortion and theft. Chinese merchants in particular were often forced to keep the prices of their products artificially low by death threats 46 , 48 .

Communist and Muslim insurgencies

The , a Soviet Republic of Indonesia was declared in Madiun , east of Yogyakarta, by members of the PKI and PSI . Considering the time comes for an uprising proletarian , they tried to become the nerve center of the revolution against “Soekarno-Hatta, the slaves of the Japanese and America” 11 . Madiun was taken back by the Republican forces in a few weeks and the leader of the insurrection, Musso, was killed. RM Suryo , the governor of East Javaseveral police officers and religious leaders were also killed by the rebels. This ended in a perilous second front for the revolution and changed the American sympathies waves, based on anti-colonial feelings in a real diplomatic support 11 . On the international level, the republic was then considered as clearly anti-communist and as a potential ally in the global Cold War , then in preparation, between the ” free world ” headed by the United States and the bloc led by the ‘ Soviet Union 49 .

Members of the Republican Army from Hizbullah’s ranks felt betrayed by the Indonesian government. The, Kartosuwirjo , one of the leaders of Hezbollah, declared the creation of an Islamic State of Indonesia ( Negara Islam Indonesia ) in West Java . The rebellion was finally crushed in 1962 .

Transfer of sovereignty

Millions and millions of people invaded the sidewalks, the streets. They were crying, kissing, screaming “… long life in Bung Karno …” , clinging to the car, to the hood, to the running boards. They clutched me to kiss my fingers. The soldiers cleared my way to the highest step of the great white palace. There, I raised both arms high. Calm fell on millions of people. Alhamdulillah – Thank God, I cried. “We are free” .

– Memories of Soekarno of the accomplishment of the revolution 50 .

The resilience of Republican resistance and an active international diplomacy did turn world opinion against the Dutch efforts to re-establish their colony 45 . The second police action was a diplomatic disaster for the cause of the Netherlands. The newly appointed US Secretary of State , Dean Acheson , urged the Dutch government to accept the negotiations recommended by the United Nations but previously rejected by the Netherlands. A Conference of the Round Table between the Republic, the Netherlands and the Federal States created by the Dutch was held in The Hague from the . The Netherlands agreed to recognize Indonesian sovereignty over a new federal state: the Republic of the United States of Indonesia (RIS). This included all the territories of the Dutch East Indies with the exception of the western part of New Guinea , which remained under the authority of the Netherlands until further negotiations with Indonesia. The other difficult question on which Indonesia made concessions was the debt of the Dutch East Indies. Indonesia accepted the charge that amount of $ 4.3 billion of pounds, the bulk of which was directly attributable to the Dutch attempts to break the revolution. Sovereignty was formally transferred on and the new State immediately recognized by the United States of America.

Republican-controlled Java and Sumatra together formed a single state within the sixteen-member federation, but made up almost half of its population. The other fifteen states were created by the Netherlands from 1945. These states were detached from the Republic in the first half of 1950 . TheIn Bandung, an anti – republican coup led by the famous Raymond Westerling failed, led to the dissolution of the state of Pasundan in West Java and accelerated the dissolution of the federal structure. Colonial soldiers, mostly Amboinese , clashed with Republican troops in Makassar ,. Amboines, mostly Christian, were among the supporters of the Netherlands and worried about a Republic dominated by mostly Muslim Javanese and unfavorably considered leftists. Thean independent Republic of the South Maluku (RMS) was proclaimed in Ambon, but a republican military campaign that took place between July and November put an end to it, with its government then exiled to the Netherlands. East Sumatra remained the only state of the federation still existing before joining the unitary republic. The, the fifth anniversary of the declaration of independence, Soekarno was able to proclaim the Republic of Indonesia as a unitary state 51 , 52 , 53 .


Although there is no precise count of the number of Indonesian victims of the conflict, there were more than the Dutch side, and many died in the hands of other Indonesians. Estimates of the number of Indonesian combat deaths vary from 45 000 to 100 000, the number of civilian casualties exceeded 25,000 and could reach 100 000 54 . A total of 1200 British soldiers were killed or missing in Java and Sumatra in 1945-1946, most belonging to the Indian Army 55 . More than 5,000 Dutch soldierslost their lives in Indonesia between 1945 and 1949. There were even more deaths on the Japanese side: in Bandung alone, 1,057 died, only half in combat, the rest during demonstrations and clashes. Tens of thousands of Chinese and Eurasians were killed or became homeless. 7 million people were displaced in Java and Sumatra 56 .

The revolution had direct effects on the economic conditions; scarcity was common, especially for food, clothing and fuel. In practice, there were two economies – a Dutch and a Republican – which had simultaneously been formed after the Second World War and had continued during the revolution. The republic had to provide daily necessities from postage stamps and military insignia to train tickets despite the Dutch trade blockade. The confusion and ruinous inflation peaks were caused by the competition of currencies: the yen, the new Dutch currency and Republican currencies were all used, often simultaneously 56 .

Indonesian independence could not have been achieved without the winning – albeit often fortuitous – mixture of diplomacy and strength. Without the resistance of the pemuda against the colonial forces (and their indiscipline leaving the specter of anarchy), the republican diplomatic efforts had been in vain. When comparing this fight with those of Vietnam , Indonesia gained its independence with faster, as only very remarkable difference, the importance of its diplomatic strength 57 .

The revolution is the turning point in the history of modern Indonesia and has provided the point of reference and the backbone of the political tendencies perpetuated until today. She gave particular impetus to the movement communist , nationalism, the ” managed democracy ” of Sukarno, political Islam and was the origin of the importance and role of the army, constitutional arrangements and centralization of power 57 .