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History, The Postwar Struggle for Independence

Sukarno, Madiun, RUSI, Hatta, cease-fire

On August 17, 1945, two days after Japan surrendered to the Allies, Sukarno and Hatta declared an independent Republic of Indonesia and were selected as its president and vice president. By the time British troops landed on the islands in late September, a functioning republican administration was already established in many parts of Java and Sumatra. The British withdrew in November 1946 and persuaded the Dutch and the young republic to sign the Linggajati Agreement, which recognized the authority of the republic in Java and Sumatra and specified plans for a federal Indonesia.

In July 1947, however, the Dutch launched attacks, claiming that Indonesians had violated the agreement. The attacks extended Dutch control to about two-thirds of Java and to many of the large estates and oil fields on Sumatra. Several members of the UN protested the Dutch attacks, prompting the creation of a UN Good Offices Commission. The commission oversaw the signing of the Renville Agreement between the two sides in 1948. The agreement recognized Dutch control of the areas it had taken in 1947 but promised those areas a vote to determine their future. Meanwhile, the Dutch had blockaded the republican territory, inflicting intense economic hardship and building support among Indonesians for fighting the Dutch instead of negotiating with them. The popular sentiment was one cause for a failed Communist-led uprising in September 1948 at Madiun against the republicís leadership.

In December 1948 the Dutch defied a UN cease-fire and again attacked the republic. The republicís capital, Yogyakarta, was captured and most of its top leaders, including Sukarno and Hatta, were arrested and exiled. The Dutch were initially successful, but guerrilla resistance and pressure from the international community gradually motivated the Dutch to accommodate the Indonesians. In 1949 at a conference in The Hague, The Netherlands agreed to transfer sovereignty over all of Indonesia, except West Irian (now Papua), to the federal Republic of the United States of Indonesia (RUSI) by the end of that year.



Article key phrases:

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