Enhancing Students’ Understanding of Bi-Polarity in the History Classroom , pp. 7 of 13

Group 2: Developments in Post-WWII Indonesia

Indonesian Independence

Sukarno unilaterally declared the independence of the Republic of Indonesia on 17 August 1945 based on the favourable circumstances of the power vacuum and the impending return of the Dutch colonial authorities to Indonesia. The declaration of independence was not well-received by the Dutch who eventually attempted to re-assert its political control and dominance in Indonesia.

Dutch Police Action

The Dutch attempted to regain control of Indonesia through firm measures such as the First Police Action from 21 July to August 1947. The outbreak of a communist revolt in East Java in 1948 convinced Dutch officials that further police action was required and this led to the Second Police Action in December 1948 which saw the Dutch taking political and military control over the city of Yogyakarta and all the major Republican-controlled cities in Java and Sumatra, and exiling key Republican leaders such as Sukarno.     

Purge of Communist Leaders

The Republican leaders of the Indonesian government was able to effectively suppress the Madiun Revolt of 1948 by catching and executing Musso, killing other Indonesian communist leaders and generated mass support for the Republican government. As a result, the USA supported the Republic of Indonesia and its struggle for independence against the Dutch.

Acceptance of Independence

The extent of American support could be seen from how in January 1949 the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for the reinstatement of the Republican government, and the USA exerted implicit pressure on the Dutch through the UN and the threat of withholding the Marshall Plan to return to the negotiating table with the Republican government. This eventually led to the formal acceptance of Indonesia’s independence by the Dutch government in December 1949.    

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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