Sejarah Indonesia

The War for Independence: 1945 to 1950

August 1945


August 7 BPUPKI renames itself to PPKI: Panitia Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia.

August 9 Sukarno, Hatta, and Radjiman Wediodiningrat are flown by the Japanese to Vietnam to meet with Marshal Terauchi. There they are informed of the collapse of Japanese forces, and that Japan will grant Indonesia independence on August 24.

August 14 Sukarno, Hatta, and Radjiman Wediodiningrat return to Jakarta, mistrustful of the Japanese promise.

August 15 Japan surrenders to the Allies. The Japanese army and navy still control Indonesia. Japan has agreed to return Indonesia to the Dutch.

August 16 Sukarno and Hatta are spirited away by youth leaders, including Chaerul Saleh, to Rengasdengklok at 3:00 A.M. They later return to Jakarta, meet with General Yamamoto, and spend the next night at Vice-Admiral Maeda Tadashi's residence. Sukarno and Hatta are told privately that Japan no longer has the power to make decisions regarding the future of Indonesia.

August 17 Sukarno reads the brief, succinct, and unilateral "Proklamasi"; the Declaration of Independence.

PETA forces, radical youths, and ordinary people in Jakarta organize defense of Sukarno's residence. Flyers are distributed proclaiming independence. Adam Malik sends out a shortwave announcement of the Proklamasi.

August 18 PPKI moves to form an interim government with Sukarno as President and Hatta as Vice-President.

August 18 Piagam Jakarta (Jakarta Charter) mentioning Islam among the Pancasila principles is dropped from the preamble to the new constitution.

August 18 New Republic consists of 8 provinces: Sumatra, Borneo, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Sunda Kecil.

August 22 Japanese announce their surrender publicly in Jakarta.

Japanese forces disarm and disband Peta and Heiho. Many members of these groups have not yet heard of independence.

August 23 Sukarno delivers first radio address to the nation.

August 23 BKR (Badan Keamanan Rakyat), first Indonesian military force, begins organizing from former Peta and Heiho members. Some former Peta batallions join as entire units, having been told to disband only a few days before.

Dutch forces land at Sabang in Aceh.

August 29 The New Republic: The constitution that had been drafted by the PPKI preparatory committee, and announced on the 18th, is adopted (UUD 45). Sukarno is declared President, Hatta is declared Vice-President. PPKI (originally BPUPKI, founded under the Japanese occupation the previous March) is remade into KNIP (Central Indonesian National Committee). KNIP is the temporary governing body until elections can be held. The new government is installed on August 31.

The Patih (chief advisor) of Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya dies. No successor is chosen; the Sultan takes charge of his own affairs, and begins to institute reforms in Yogya

Tan Malaka reappears in Jakarta.



Proklamasi: Sukarno at the microphone on August 17, 1945.

The original constitution of 1945 is not very specific on many issues, and placed much power in the hands of the President. In 1950 a more comprehensive constitution was adopted that gave the most power to the Assembly, but this constitution was dropped in favor of a return to the 1945 constitution under Sukarno's orders in 1959.

In the opinion of the victorious Allied powers in 1945, Lord Mountbatten, the Allied supreme commander in southeast Asia, was in charge of Sumatra and Java. Australian forces were given responsibility for Kalimantan and Eastern Indonesia.

September 1945


September 1 Van Mook, Dutch Lieutenant-Governor of the Indies, meets British Lord Mountbatten in Ceylon, and asks that Japanese troops still in Indonesia be ordered by the British to suppress the Republican government. Mountbatten agrees, but the Japanese delay.

September 5 Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya and Pakualam VIII in Yogya declare their palaces to be part of the Republic of Indonesia.

September 8 First British troops parachute into Kemayoran Airport at Jakarta.

Japanese navy in Kalimantan formally surrenders to Australian forces near Balikpapan.

September 9 Japanese navy in eastern Indonesia formally surrender to Australian forces at Morotai. Japanese forces on Timor surrender to Australians in Kupang harbor.

September 11 First official broadcast of RRI (Radio Republik Indonesia).

September 16 British Rear Admiral Patterson lands in Jakarta. He announces that the British mission is "to maintain law and order until the time that the lawful government of the Netherlands East Indies is once again functioning". The Dutch ask Patterson to have the leaders of the Republic arrested, but the British high command tells Patterson not to interfere in politics.

September 17 Mass pro-Republic rallies in Jakarta.

September 23 Patterson sends Captain Huyer of the Dutch Navy to inspect installations in Surabaya.

September 27 Republican youths take over PTT (Post, Telegraph and Telephone) headquarters in Bandung.

September 29 British reinforcements land in Jakarta.

Republican youths take over railways and radio stations in Jakarta, installations in Yogya, Solo, Malang, and Bandung.

Mass independence rallies are held in Jakarta and Surabaya.

The Susuhunan of Solo declares allegiance to Republic.

King of Bone declares support for the Republic; rajas of Makassar and Bugis join him.

Balinese rajas declare their support for the Republic.

Scattered violence breaks out between youths and Dutch former internees. Dutch soldiers who had been prisoners-of-war under the Japanese are put back into active service against the Republic.

Australian troops take surrender from Japanese navy. Australian military gives support to NICA (Netherlands Indies Civil Administration) to retain government control in eastern areas, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan.

Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya was an early supporter of the new Republic.

Japanese surrender to Australian forces at Koepang, Timor, September 1945.

Postage stamps of the Japanese occupation, overprinted with "Repoeblik Indonesia", 1945.

October 1945


October 5 Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (later ABRI, TNI) is founded: Indonesian armed forces. Naval forces are founded as Angkatan Laut Republik Indonesia (ALRI, later TNI-AL). October 5 is later celebrated as Armed Forces Day.

October 8 Republican forces in Surabaya take Captain Huyer into custody.

British troops in Padang, Medan, Palembang.

Fighting escalates between Republican youths and foreigners. Dutch troops attack civilians.

Malay Nationalist Party is founded in Malaya, with covert ties to the PKI in Indonesia.

Republican Angkatan Darat forces skirmish with Dutch on Java, Sumatra, Bali.

Japanese military police massacre Republican youths in Pekalongan.

"Tiga Daerah" leftist revolution in Brebes, Tegal and Pemalang, north coast of Central Java. (Although the revolutionaries--"laskar"-- proclaim support for the Republic, they are undisciplined, and Sukarno has them suppressed in December.)

Japanese troops push Republicans out of Bandung; hand over city to British.

October 14 Republican youths begin five-day battle against Japanese troops in Semarang.

October 16 Sutan Sjahrir and Amir Sjarifuddin take over Central Indonesian National Committee (KNIP). Sjahrir publishes pamphlet in support of democracy and social justice, and against feudalism, fascism and the remnants of Japanese fascist thought. Government decree authorizes the formation of political parties.

October 17 Van Mook sends telegram to Dutch government urging that negotiations with the Republic be rejected.

October 18 Japanese troops secure Semarang; hand over city to British.

October 22 Nahdlatul Ulama proclaims that a state of jihad exists against the Dutch, making participation obligatory for Muslims.

October 23 Under British pressure, Van Mook meets with Sukarno for informal talks. Neither side gives ground.

Japanese Admiral Shibata surrenders Surabaya to Dutch, but hands over his weapons to Republicans. Many Japanese troops are disarmed by Republican youths.

October 25 British 49th Indian Infantry arrives under General Mallaby.

October 27 British airplanes drop leaflets on Surabaya demanding surrender by Republican forces within 24 hours. British troops on the ground are nearly destroyed by Indonesian troops and mobs of ordinary people.

October 29 Sukarno and Hatta arrive in Surabaya by plane. Sukarno and General Mallaby agree on a truce. Poor communications and general chaos prevent Sukarno from enforcing the truce.

Australian commander in South Sulawesi bans all political activity, organization of militias, etc. among the public under his control.

October 30 British Major General Hawthorn flies to Surabaya from Jakarta. Sukarno, Hatta, Mallaby, and Hawthorn sign a cease-fire. Five hours later Mallaby is killed.

British bombard Surabaya as punishment, thousands are left dead or homeless. British strafe civilian refugees on highway.

PKI is organized again.

Sjahrir was more inclined to negogiate with the Dutch; Sjarifuddin was not only a Communist, but a figure who had received covert support from the Dutch government-in-exile during the war.

There was friction between Sjarifuddin as Minister of Defense, who was secretly Communist and had accepted covert help from the Dutch to run his underground movement during World War II, and military officers who had served in PETA under the Japanese and had Islamic sympathies, especially Soedirman.

The Malay Nationalist Party would become the ancestor of several Malay socialist/communist organizations, many of which would advocate the union of Malaya with Indonesia. Figures in the MNP and its related organizations included Ishak bin Haji Mohammed, Boestamam, and Ibrahim Ya'acob. All of them would be involved in the "Konfrontasi" between Indonesia and the new nation of Malaysia in the mid-1960s; Ibrahim Ya'acob himself moved to Indonesia in protest in 1957, and had special ties to Sukarno.

Van Mook was never quite happy that he had been named "Lieutenant-Governor" instead of "Governor-General" of the Indies.

Dutch prisoners just after release from a Japanese concentration camp, 1945.

Provisional guards for President Sukarno, Jakarta, 1945.

November 1945


November 1 Republican government issues Manifesto Politik.

November 3 Hatta announces that the ban on political parties is lifted (Maklumat Pemerintah 10).

November 8 Masyumi declares itself to be a political party.

November 9 Sukarno asks Sjahrir to form a Cabinet.

British 5th Indian Division lands at Surabaya.

November 10 (Heroes' Day/Hari Pahlawan) Indonesian counterattack in Surabaya. Fighting continues for three weeks. 600 Indian troops defect from the British and join the Indonesians.

November 11 Sjahrir moves a proposal through KNIP to take powers away from the President and transfer them to a Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The effect is to make Sukarno's position less powerful for a while.

November 12 Sudirman becomes leader of army forces on Java.

November 14 Sjahrir is installed as first Prime Minister of Indonesia.

Some Japanese troops battle Republican forces on Java, Sumatra, Bali.

Dutch abandon Aceh forever.

Japanese-favored leaders removed from NU and Muhammadiyah.

Kongres Ummat Islam Indonesia meets, remakes the originally Japanese-organized Masyumi as an Indonesian and Islamic political party. Natsir is head of the new Masyumi party.

Partai Kristen Indonesia is founded.

Barisan Tani Indonesia (Indonesian Peasants Front) is organized by PKI to promote land reform and take actions against landowners.

November 23 British Foreign Secretary Bevin urges negotiations between the Dutch and the Republic.

PKI begins operating again through front organizations.

A British soldier fires at snipers in Surabaya, November 1945.

Many of the British occupying troops in Indonesia in 1945 were actually from India. Nehru strongly protested the use of Indian troops against Indonesians; this was an important reason that the British withdrew.

December 1945

12-15 December Battle of Ambarawa

15 December Soedirman installed as Panglima Besar (supreme commander) of the army.

Allies evacuate remaining Japanese from Aceh; a few Japanese remain to help Republic.

"Social War" breaks out in Aceh: the traditional aristocracy loses in a bloody conflict with Islamic leaders.

Sjahrir, Sjahrifuddin and their followers form Partai Sosialis.

Dutch forces begin to replace Australians as occupying power in eastern areas. Dutch forces increase their presence in the Jakarta area.

In the areas that were controlled by the new Republic of Indonesia, Angkatan Darat military forces carried out their mission to repatriate Japanese soldiers, Allied prisoners of war and former internees.

Late 1945 saw the rise of "laskar", or local militias, irregular forces that did not answer to outside authority. Some had ties to various political parties or factions. By 1947, many "laskar" had been absorbed into the Republican army. Sukarno took steps to disband them, even if they claimed nominal allegiance to the Republic.

January 1946


January 3 Department of Religion is founded.

January 4 Sukarno and Hatta remove by night to Yogya, leaving Sjahrir and the more pro-negotiations faction in Jakarta.

PNI party is reestablished.

Persatuan Perjuangan (Union of Struggle) formed by Tan Malaka to oppose the Sjahrir government and negotiations with the Dutch. Soedirman speaks against negotiations and Sjahrir.

Barisan Banteng radicals kidnap Pakubuwono XII of Surakarta.

Gajah Mada University founded in Yogya; Sultan offers front portion of Kraton to house it.

Dutch forces occupy Bangka and Belitung.

Indonesia issue is raised in the United Nations for the first time.

January 31 Gen. Spoor takes command of Dutch forces in the Indies.

Gen. S. H. Spoor, commander of Dutch forces in Indonesia, 1946-1949.

At the beginning of 1946, Dutch forces in Indonesia numbered about 20,000.

February 1946


February 10 Van Mook sends proposal to Sjahrir for "democratic partnership" between the Netherlands and Indonesia, but which still does not provide for real independence.

Sjahrir reshuffles cabinet under pressure.


March 1946


"Social War" breaks out in Batak areas of Sumatra. Local rulers are accused of collaborating with the Dutch.

Tan Malaka and Persatuan Perjuangan increase criticism of Sjahrir.

March 12 Sjahrir publicly replies to Van Mook's offer of February, demanding immediate recognition of Indonesia's sovereignty without delay.

March 17 Sjahrir and Sjarifuddin pull their followers out of Persatuan Perjuangan, arrest Tan Malaka and others. Tan Malaka is held in jail until September 1948.

Sjahrir secretly agrees with Dutch to negotiate for Republican control of Java, Madura and Sumatra only, in a political union with the Netherlands, CuraÁao and Surinam.

Amir Sjarifuddin had been involved in the movements for Indonesian independence since the late 1930s. During World War II, he led a small underground resistance against the Japanese occupation. He served with Sutan Sjahrir in several early governments of the Republic. Just before the "Madiun incident" of September 1948, he revealed that he had been a secret member of the PKI for some time. After the failed Communist revolt at Madiun, he was captured and executed by the military.

Amphibious landing by Dutch (KNIL) troops at Sanur beach, Bali, March 1946.

April 1946


April 9 Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) is founded, with limited former Japanese small aircraft.

King of Bone and the local Republican government are arrested by Dutch forces on Sulawesi.

Dutch forces replace the British in Bandung. "Bandung Lautan Api": Indonesians start to burn down the city rather than surrender it to the Dutch. Much of the southern part of Bandung is burned.

Barisan Banteng rules Surakarta in defiance of the Sjahrir government.

April 14 Dutch and Indonesian representatives begin talks at Hoge Veluwe in the Netherlands. The talks are unsuccessful.

Sutan Sjahrir
Sjahrir had been a leading figure in the independence movement in the 1930s, and had spent time in the Boven Digul concentration camp. He organized the governments of the new Republic in 1945-1947, and spent a great deal of energy in negotiations with the Dutch.

To some, Sjahrir was a respectable voice of moderation with an educated, Western outlook on things. In his time, he was criticized both by Communists and by Army nationalists for being allegedly "pro-Dutch". (Among other things, Sjahrir had married a Dutch woman when he was a young student in the Netherlands.) Conversely, Sjahrir was a critic of those who he felt had worked too closely with the Japanese, implicitly criticizing Sukarno as well.

May 1946


Violence between Toba and Karo Bataks in Sumatra.

Nasution takes command of the new Siliwangi division of Angkatan Darat (the army), named after the first king of Pajajaran.

Soedirman gives speech with Sukarno present: government must work for the principles of the Constitution (UUD 45) and independence.

5 Gulden Netherlands Indies banknote, 1946.

June 1946


Government revokes the privileges of Pakubuwono and Mangkunegara houses in Surakarta, under pressure from Soedirman.

June 27 Army units under General Sudarsono open the jail in Surakarta and release Tan Malaka and his followers. Sjahrir is arrested in Surakarta while on an overnight stay the same night, and is taken to the Kraton (Sultan's Palace) with other notable figures. General Sudarsono's troops occupy Yogya.

Sukarno declares martial law and demands Sjahrir's release. Troops loyal to Sukarno advance on Surakarta from Surabaya; the loyal Siliwangi division sends troops to Yogya.

Adam Malik and other young radicals are arrested.

Soldiers in the Siliwangi Division, 1946.

July 1946


Allies officially turn over all of Indonesia except Java and Sumatra to Dutch.

July 2 General Sudarsono and Mohamed Yamin visit Sukarno in person, and demand that Sjahrir be replaced by Tan Malaka. Sjahrir, supposedly still a captive, surprises everyone by walking into the room. Sukarno orders that Sudarsono and Yamin be arrested.

July 3 "July 3rd Affair": army units release Adam Malik from jail and demand that Soedirman be put in charge of security. Sukarno takes control of the situation.

Sjahrir reorganizes government to include Natsir, Sjarifuddin, the Sultan of Yogya, Haji Agus Salim, and Djuanda.

July 15 Van Mook calls conference at Malino, Sulawesi, to plan for new Dutch-sponsored state in eastern Indonesia.

The Philippines became independent from the United States on July 4, 1946. The British government annexed the territory of Sarawak on July 1, ending the rule of the Brooke family there, and made North Borneo a crown colony on July 15.

September 1946


Talks are reopened between the Sjahrir government and the Dutch at Linggajati, near Cirebon.

September 22-24 Violent anti-war protests in Amsterdam.

Ngurah Rai was a leader in the Indonesian independence struggle on Bali. Today, the major airport at Denpasar is named for him.

October 1946


October 14 Preliminary military truce signed at Linggajati.


November 1946


First rupiah banknotes are issued by the Republic.

SOBSI umbrella group of labor organizations is organized with PKI support.

November 15 Linggajati agreement: Dutch recognize Republic of Indonesia authority in Java, Sumatra and Madura. Both sides agree to form United States of Indonesia with Netherlands crown as symbolic head.

November 20 Battle of Marga: resistance on Bali led by Ngurah Rai is defeated by Dutch forces.

November 29 Last British troops leave Indonesia.

Dutch Capt. Raymond Westerling begins campaign in South Sulawesi against Republican youths. Westerling and his men commit many war crimes against citizens, including atrocities against children and hospital patients.

Capt. Raymond Westerling was a notorious rogue officer for the Dutch during Indonesia's war of independence. He headed a KNIL detachment called the Depot Speciale Troepen, which was implicated in war crimes which took as many as 5000 civilian lives. Most of the DST troops were actually Indonesians from Maluku. He returned to the Netherlands in 1950, and lived there until 1987.

December 1946


December 18-24 Dutch create state of East Indonesia/Negara Indonesia Timur at a conference in Denpasar, Bali. Capital of the new NIT is Makassar, and it includes the entire eastern half of Indonesia. Sjahrir protests.

"Left Wing/Sayap Kiri" coalition packs KNIP with pro-Linggajati members.

The Dutch delayed signing the Linggajati agreement for months. Many of their actions over the following six months appeared to be aimed at undermining it.

January 1947


January 11 Waspada newspaper publishes first issue in Medan.


February 1947


February 5 Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam student organizatino is founded at Yogya.

Sukarno and Hatta threaten to resign if the Linggajati agreement is not ratified.

Between December 1946 and February 1947, the Dutch forces (KNIL) executed nearly 3000 people without trial.

March 1947


March 25 Netherlands government finally ratifies Linggajati agreement.


May 1947

May 11 Dutch create state of West Kalimantan with Sultan of Pontianak at head; Sjahrir protests.

Dutch vehicle in flames after a guerilla ambush at Puncak, April 1947.

June 1947


Dutch complain that Indonesia is stopping shipments of rice to Dutch-controlled areas.

Egypt and Syria recognize the Republic of Indonesia.

June 3 Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (Indonesian Army) is renamed Tentara Nasional Indonesia or TNI.

June 26 Dutch forces mobilize for an invasion of Madura, and eventually Java. William Foote, a USA diplomat, intervenes and offers to mediate between Dutch and Indonesians. The invasion is postponed.

June 27 Amir Sjarifuddin and the "Left Wing" withdraw support of Sjahrir. Sjahrir leaves the government and becomes Indonesia's representative at the United Nations. Amir Sjarifuddin becomes Prime Minister.

Dutch soldiers in Batavia, 1947. By the start of the first Dutch "police action", there were 92,000 Dutch forces in Indonesia.

July 1947


July 8 Sjarifuddin government makes conciliatory offer to Dutch: Republic of Indonesia will stop seeking international recognition; Netherlands officials can take government positions in the Republic.

July 20 first Dutch "police action": Dutch troops occupy West Java, East Java, Madura, Semarang, Medan, Palembang, Padang, bomb many cities.

July 24 20,000 march in anti-war demonstration in Amsterdam.

July 29 Indonesian forces launch bombing raids on Semarang, Ambarawa and Salatiga with three surviving planes. The Dutch had previously claimed to have destroyed the entire Air Force.

July 30 Young students blow up a bridge at Bumiayu, preventing Dutch forces from taking Purwokerto.

USA and Britain are unhappy with the "police action"; India, Australia, and the Soviet Union support the Republic of Indonesia in the UN. Refugees pour into Central Java. Australia boycotts Dutch shipping.

A Dutch vehicle fords a stream on Java, after the bridge has been blown up by Indonesian forces.

Republik Indonesia 100 Rupiah note, 1947.

August 1947


August 1 UN Security Council calls for cease-fire in Indonesia.

August 4 Ceasefire agreed to by Dutch and Sukarno, but is ignored in the field. Dutch declare "Van Mook line" at the edge of their military advances in Java and Sumatra.

Daud Beureu'eh is military governor of Aceh for the Republic.

Sultan Hamid II of Pontianak governed the "Daerah Istimewa Kalimantan Barat" in cooperation with the Dutch (corresponding to today's Kalimantan Barat province). He was arrested in 1950 for involvement in a plot against the Indonesian government.

October 1947


Dutch military tries to consolidate control of areas within the "Van Mook line". Dutch take control of all of Madura.

United Nations "Good Offices Commission" is organized, with the goal of finding a settlement in Indonesia. Australia, Belgium, and the United States take part.


December 1947


December 8 Dutch and Indonesian representatives meet on board the U.S.S. Renville, a U.S. Navy transport stationed in the Philippines, which was moved Jakarta harbor for the talks.

December 25 Dutch create state of East Sumatra.

Indonesian representatives aboard the U.S.S. Renville, December 1947.

January 1948


January 17 Renville agreement under UN auspices draws a ceasefire line favorable to Dutch.

January 21 Dutch found "Negara Madura" government on Madura.

January 23 Sjarifuddin resigns as Prime Minister; the "Left Wing/Sayap Kiri" parties go into opposition.

Sukarno appoints Hatta to head an emergency cabinet answerable to President.

Dutch organize "Daerah Banjar" government on Kalimantan. Republican forces under Hasan Basry continue fighting from the countryside.

The Renville agreement called for a truce along the so-called "Van Mook line". The original draft did not even mention the Republic. Amendments were added that included mention of the Republic of Indonesia after the United States applied pressure on the Dutch, and it was only then that the Indonesians agreed.

The PNI, Masyumi, and Tan Malaka all opposed the Renville agreement.

February 1948


Sjahrir forms PSI (Partai Sosialis Indonesia), supports Sukarno.

"Left Wing" under Amir Sjarifuddin renames itself People's Democratic Front (Front Demokrasi Rakyat). Sjarifuddin criticizes the Renville agreement.

Col. Nasution leads Siliwangi division out of West Java to Central Java.

The Dutch blockaded the areas under control of the Republic of Indonesia around this time, causing shortages of food and medicine.

Provisional 50 Rupiah note for "Daerah Banten", Republik Indonesia, 1948.

March 1948


March 9 Van Mook creates a provisional government for federated Indonesia: the "Voorlopige Federale Regering". The name "Nederlands-IndiŽ" is changed to "IndonesiŽ" in the Netherlands constitution.

By this time, Van Mook saw that Indonesia would not remain a colony of the Netherlands forever. His actions became not so much efforts to keep the Netherlands Indies, as ways to manage a slow transition to self-rule.

April 1948


April 24 Dutch create state of Pasundan in western Java.


May 1948


Kartosuwirjo proclaims himself Imam of Negara Islam Indonesia, or "Darul Islam", an Islamic state rebelling against both Dutch and the Republic. His followers begin setting up local administrations in West Java.


July 1948


July 8 Representatives of 13 Dutch-controlled states created by Van Mook convene at Bandung, to begin process of creating United States of Indonesia.


August 1948


August 11 Musso, former PKI leader from the 1920s, arrives in Yogya after spending twelve years in the Soviet Union. Sjarifuddin announces that he has been an underground member of PKI. PKI sponsors strikes and demonstrations.

Hatta, with little money to pay troops, begins demobilizing some TNI (army) units.


September 1948


PKI gains recruits from PDF; new Politburo includes Aidit, Lukman and Njoto.

Republican Government releases Tan Malaka from custody as a counter to PKI influence.

September 5 Musso gives speech advocating that Indonesia align itself with the Soviet Union.

September 17 Siliwangi division drives PKI out of Surakarta; PKI retreats to Madiun.

September 18 PKI attempts a coup in Madiun; kills pro-government officers there.

September 19 PKI figures in Yogya arrested; Sukarno denounces the Madiun coup; Musso replies that he will fight; popular opinion sides with Sukarno.

September 30 Siliwangi division recaptures Madiun. PKI abandons Madiun, pursued by army. Aidit and Lukman leave for China.

The "Madiun incident" was the second time the PKI made an unsuccessful, poorly-planned revolt. The first was against the Dutch in 1926-7; the last was in 1965.

The events at Madiun changed the opinion of United States diplomats toward the new Republic. Formerly suspicious, the USA now saw Indonesia as a potential ally against Communism.

October 1948


Pro-government Tan Malaka followers create Murba Party. Tan Malaka is arrested again.

October 11 Van Mook resigns as Lt.-Governor of the Indies.

October 31 Musso killed while attempting to escape arrest.


November 1948


November 26 Dutch create state of Jawa Timur in occupied areas of East Java.

Dutch abolish post of Governor-General, replacing it with a "High Representative of the Crown".

(Map: December 1948)

December 1948


December 1 Amir Sjarifudddin captured.

December 11 Dutch inform UN representatives that further talks with the Republic are "futile".

December 18 Dutch organize Negara Sumatra Selatan state, with capital at Palembang.

December 18 Dutch officials tell representatives of the United States and the Republic of Indonesia in Jakarta that they are cancelling the Renville agreement. The news does not reach Yogya, as the Dutch have already cut the phone lines there.

December 19 Second Dutch "police action" begins at 5:30 A.M. without warning. Yogya falls to the Dutch.

Emergency government for Indonesia is declared (PDRI) at Payakumbuh nearby under Sjafruddin Prawiranegara. Soedirman radios his immediate support for the emergency government.

Civil government of republic, including Sukarno, Hatta, Sjahrir, allows itself to be captured, hoping to outrage world opinion; Sukarno and Sjahrir are taken into Dutch custody, and eventually flown to Bangka. Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya remains in his palace, and does not leave during the entire Dutch occupation.

Dutch occupy Bukittinggi.

Tan Malaka escapes again during the confusion.

December 20 Army executes Sjarifuddin, withdraws from Yogya.

All of Indonesia except for Aceh and parts of Sumatra are under Dutch control. Guerilla warfare heats up; Soedirman leads guerilla war from sickbed.

Many American newspapers publish editorials against the Dutch.

December 22 Nasution declares military government for Java.

UN is outraged at Dutch; Dutch attack while UN observers are at Kaliurang.

19 Asian countries boycott Dutch.

Dutch-chosen members of East Indonesia state government vote to condemn the "police action".

USA suspends postwar aid to the Netherlands (Marshall Plan money) that is budgeted for military use in Indonesia.

December 24 UN Security Council calls for end to hostilities.

December 31 Dutch accept UN call for ceasefire in Java.

Panglima Besar Soedirman
Soedirman is warmly remembered today as perhaps the greatest hero of the revolution. Towards the end of the fighting, he fell ill and directed troops from his sickbed.

Soedirman was another complex character in the revolutionary era. He had been impressed by Japanese military traditions and the spirit of bushido; yet he was also thought to be sympathetic to the leftist movement of Tan Malaka. He was one of the military figures who was not completely trusting of the political leadership (such as Sjahrir), as to them the political leadership seemed more interested in compromise than victory. This feeling was certainly strengthened when the entire political leadership allowed itself to be taken captive by the Dutch on December 19, 1948.

January 1949


January 5 Dutch accept UN call for ceasefire in Sumatra

Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya refuses Dutch offer to head new Javanese state, resigns as head of Yogya government, and gives help to Republic guerilla fighters.

January 28 UN Security Council demands release of the Republican government, and independence for Indonesia by July 1, 1950.

There was significant guerilla activity against the Dutch during this period, led by Nasution and Sudirman. At the height of Dutch activity in the 1940s, there were around 150,000 Dutch forces in Indonesia.

February 1949


February 7 Resolution is introduced in United States Senate to stop all Marshall Plan aid to the Netherlands. Resolution is defeated on March 8.


March 1949


March 1 Guerillas retake Yogya for six hours under Suharto. (Later, this event would be called the "serangan umum" or "public offensive".)

March 31 U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson privately tells Dutch that their Marshall Plan aid is still in jeopardy.


April 1949


April 6 United States Senate passes resolution to stop Marshall Plan aid to the Netherlands, but only if the UN Security Council votes sanctions against the Netherlands.

April 16 Tan Malaka is captured and executed by a TNI commander after a Dutch contingent attacks the town where he was staying.

April 22 Dutch announce that they will return the Republican government to Yogya if the guerilla war stops.

Sjarifudin Prawiranegara headed the emergency PDRI government while Sukarno, Hatta, and the rest of the regular Republican government were being held by the Dutch. He would be involved in Indonesian politics for many years to come, as part of the rebel PRRI government in 1958, and yet again as a signer of the "Petition of 50" criticizing the government in 1980.

May 1949


Sukarno and Hatta remain in custody on Bangka.

May 7 "Roem-Royem" agreement: Dutch agree to restore the Republic of Indonesia government, to hold talks according to the UN Security Council resolution of January 28, and to work towards a settlement based on the Renville agreement.

General Spoor, commander of the Dutch in Indonesia, resigns. He dies of a heart attack on May 25.


June 1949


June 24 Dutch troops begin evacuating Yogya.

June 29 Indonesian troops enter Yogya.


July 1949


July 1 Jawa Pos (Djawa Post) newspaper publishes first issue in Surabaya.

July 6 Republican government returns to Yogya. Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX receives Sukarno and Hatta at the Kraton.

July 13 Power is transferred back from the emergency PDRI government under Prawiranegara to the Republican government in Yogya under Sukarno.

Dutch-created states hold conference, support joining the Republic.


August 1949


Republic troops retake Surakarta.

August 7 Darul Islam movement formally breaks with the Republic of Indonesia.

August 11 Ceasefire on Java.

August 15 Ceasefire on Sumatra.

Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya coordinates handovers from Dutch to Republic.

Dutch begin releasing 12,000 prisoners.

August 23 Round Table conference begins in the Hague. Hatta head delegation for the Republic of Indonesia, Sultan of Pontianak heads delegation from the Dutch-created states.


November 1949

November 2 The Hague Agreement is the result of the Round Table Conference: "Republik Indonesia Serikat" is supposed to have the crown of the Netherlands as a symbolic head, Sukarno as President, and Hatta as Vice-President. It consists of 15 Dutch-created states plus the original Republic. Sovereigny is to be transferred by December 30. Dutch investments are protected, and the new government is responsible for the billion-dollar Netherlands Indies government debt. The Dutch keep Irian Jaya.  

December 1949


December 19 Universitas Gadjah Mada founded at Yogya.

December 27 Dutch formally transfer sovereignty to "Republik Indonesia Serikat" (Republic of United States of Indonesia).

December 28 Sukarno is returned to Jakarta.

The Dutch finally signed their defeat at this table, preserved still in the Kraton Yogyakarta.

As part of the transfer of sovereignty, Chinese residents of the new Indonesia were given a choice to accept Indonesian citizenship or maintain Chinese citizenship. The government of China, unlike Indonesia, recognized dual citizenship.

Late in 1949, the PKI began a campaign to restore its public image, which had been damaged by the attempted coup in Madiun in 1948. The center of this strategy was to stop criticizing Sukarno and the new Republic and to declare the PKI as supporters of Sukarno.

Sukarno returns to Jakarta, December 1949.

Raising the Indonesian flag at Semarang, 1949.

January 1950


January 23 Dutch Capt. Westerling attempts assassination and coup in Bandung; some members of Dutch-created Pasundan government are involved.

January 29 Soedirman dies.


February 1950


February 9 Pasundan government dissolves itself.

February 22 Westerling leaves Indonesia via Singapore using a forged Netherlands passport.


March 1950


March 9 Negara Sumatra Selatan, Negara Madura, and Jawa Timur dissolve themselves into the Republic.

March 13 Rupiah is devalued by one-half.

March 31 Garuda Airlines is founded (originally as a joint venture with KLM).


April 1950


April 4 Sultan of Pontianak is arrested for connections with the Westerling plot. RUSI takes over West Kalimantan state.

April 5 Capt. Andi Aziz, formerly of KNIL, takes control of Makassar. Republic and pro-Dutch forces clash; East Indonesia government is shaken.

Minahasa region separates itself from Negara Indonesia Timur and joins the Republic.

April 18 RUSI forces retake control of Ujung Pandang.

"Benteng" program is started to support "pribumi" (native, meaning non-Chinese) businesses. Program lasts until 1957.

April 25 Republic of South Maluku proclaimed at Ambon.


May 1950


East Indonesia/Negara Indonesia Timur agress to dissolve itself into the Republic of Indonesia on August 17, 1950.


June 1950


June 4 Gerakan Wanita Indonesia Sedar or GERWIS is founded, a leftist organization for women (later GERWANI).


July 1950


Republic of Indonesia troops begin putting down Republic of South Maluku. Fighting continues on Ambon and Buru until November.

July 20 The Netherlands Indies armed forces (KNIL) are officially disbanded.

As many as 300,000 Dutch citizens left Indonesia for the Netherlands during the early 1950s.

August 1950

17 August New constitution; the new Republic of Indonesia is made out of the original (now expanded) Republic, Sumatra Timur and East Indonesia/Negara Indonesia Timur. There is no more RUSI. Jakarta is the capital of the Republic. The Netherlands and Indonesia remain in a theoretical constitutional union, but Indonesia is fully independent.  
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