Indonesian National Revolution

Indonesian National Revolution
Perang Kemerdekaan Indonesia
Part of the Decolonisation of Asia and Cold War
RI Transfer Signing.jpg
The Dutch Queen Juliana signs the document transferring sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia in The Hague, 27 December 1949
Date17 August 1945 – 27 December 1949
ResultDutch military victory[1][2]
Indonesian political victory[3]
Dutch recognition of the United States of Indonesia in the Dutch-Indonesian Round Table Conference


Japanese volunteers (from 1946)

 Indian defectors (from 1946)

 Netherlands (from 1946)

 British Empire /
 United Kingdom (until 1946)

 Japan (until 1946)
Commanders and leaders
Mohammad Hatta
Oerip Soemohardjo
Hamengkubuwana IX
Syafruddin Prawiranegara
Sutan Sjahrir
Ignatius Slamet Riyadi
Abdul Haris Nasution
Alexander Evert Kawilarang
John Lie Tjeng Tjoan
Johannes Latuharhary
I Gusti Ngurah Rai
Tjilik Riwut
Achmad Tahir
Hubertus van Mook
Ludolph Hendrik van Oyen
Simon Spoor
Dirk Cornelis Buurman van Vreeden
Willem Franken
Louis Mountbatten
Clement Attlee
Sir Philip Christison
T.E.D. Kelly
Tjokorda Sukawati
Sultan Hamid II
Raymond Westerling
Republican Army:
Youth volunteers:
Estimated 100,000+
Former Imperial Japanese Army volunteers:
British Indian Army defectors: 600
Royal Dutch Army:
20,000 (initial) – 180,000 (peak)
Royal Dutch East Indies Army:
30,000+ (peak)[4]
Casualties and losses
45,000 to 100,000 armed Indonesian casualties1,200 British military deaths[5]
6,125 Dutch military deaths[6]
97,421 civilian deaths by the hands of Indonesian and Dutch troops[7]
Part of a series on the
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The Indonesian National Revolution, or Indonesian War of Independence (Indonesian: Perang Kemerdekaan Indonesia; Dutch: Indonesische Onafhankelijkheidsoorlog), was an armed conflict and diplomatic struggle between the Republic of Indonesia and the Dutch Empire and an internal social revolution during postwar and postcolonial Indonesia. It took place between Indonesia's declaration of independence in 1945 and the Netherlands' recognition of Indonesia's independence at the end of 1949.

The four-year struggle involved sporadic but bloody armed conflict, internal Indonesian political and communal upheavals, and two major international diplomatic interventions. Dutch military forces (and, for a while, the forces of the World War II Allies) were able to control the major towns, cities and industrial assets in Republican heartlands on Java and Sumatra but could not control the countryside. By 1949, international pressure on the Netherlands and the partial military stalemate became such that it recognised Indonesian independence.[8]

The revolution marked the end of the colonial administration of the Dutch East Indies, except for Netherlands New Guinea. It also significantly changed ethnic castes as well as reducing the power of many of the local rulers (raja). It did not significantly improve the economic or political fortune of the majority of the population, although a few Indonesians were able to gain a larger role in commerce.


The Indonesian independence movement began in May 1908, which is commemorated as the "Day of National Awakening" (Indonesian: Hari Kebangkitan Nasional). Indonesian nationalism and movements supporting independence from Dutch colonialism, such as Budi Utomo, the Indonesian National Party (PNI), Sarekat Islam and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), grew rapidly in the first half of the 20th century. Budi Utomo, Sarekat Islam and others pursued strategies of co-operation by joining the Dutch initiated Volksraad ("People's Council") in the hope that Indonesia would be granted self-rule.[9] Others chose a non-cooperative strategy demanding the freedom of self-government from the Dutch East Indies colony.[10] The most notable of these leaders were Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, two students and nationalist leaders who had benefited from the educational reforms of the Dutch Ethical Policy.

The occupation of Indonesia by Japan for three and a half years during World War II was a crucial factor in the subsequent revolution. The Netherlands had little ability to defend its colony against the Japanese army, and within only three months of their initial attacks, the Japanese had occupied the Dutch East Indies. In Java, and to a lesser extent in Sumatra (Indonesia's two dominant islands), the Japanese spread and encouraged nationalist sentiment. Although this was done more for Japanese political advantage than from altruistic support of Indonesian independence, this support created new Indonesian institutions (including local neighbourhood organisations) and elevated political leaders such as Sukarno. Just as significantly for the subsequent revolution, the Japanese destroyed and replaced much of the Dutch-created economic, administrative, and political infrastructure.[11]

On 7 September 1944, with the war going badly for the Japanese, Prime Minister Koiso promised independence for Indonesia, but no date was set.[12] For supporters of Sukarno, this announcement was seen as vindication for his collaboration with the Japanese.[13]