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Proclamation of Indonesian Independence

Sukarno, accompanied by Mohammad Hatta (right), proclaiming the independence of Indonesia
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The Proclamation of Indonesian Independence (Indonesian: Proklamasi Kemerdekaan Indonesia, or simply Proklamasi) was read at 10:00 in the morning of Friday, 17 August 1945.[1] The newborn sovereign state was de facto formed during a vacuum of power on the islands Java and Sumatra in the former Dutch East Indies following the surrender of Japan in World War II on 15 August.(The outer islands were already liberated by the Allies.) [2] The wording and declaration of the proclamation had to balance the interests of conflicting internal Indonesian and Japanese interests at the time.[3] The document was signed by Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta,[4] who were appointed president and vice-president respectively the following day.[5][6] It took months before the outside world took notice of the proclamation of Indonesian independence.[7][8] The proclamation did not gain international recognition due the fact Soekarno and Hatta had no means to spread the news. I took months before the outside world took notice of a proclamation done on Java by Indonesian nationalists.[9][10] The first countries to recognize Indonesian independence de jure were the Netherlands, United States, U.K, Australia and India.[11]

The proclamation marked the start of the diplomatic and armed resistance of the Indonesian National Revolution, fighting against the forces of the Netherlands and pro-Dutch civilians, until the latter officially acknowledged Indonesia's independence in 1949.[12] In 2005, the Netherlands declared that it had decided to accept de facto 17 August 1945 as Indonesia's independence date.[13] However, on 14 September 2011, a Dutch court ruled in the Rawagede massacre case that the Dutch state was responsible because it had the duty to defend its inhabitants, which also indicated that the area was part of the Dutch East Indies, in contradiction of the Indonesian claim of 17 August 1945 as its date of independence.[14] In 2010 a spokesman of the Indonesian president said the Netherlands would accept the date of 1945 as independence date. According to Dutch Foreign Affairs, that was "historically and internationally legally established and can't be changed.[15]" In a 2013 interview the Indonesian historian Sukotjo, among others, asked the Dutch government to formally acknowledge the date of independence as 17 August 1945.[16] The International community has officially accepted 27 december 1949 as it's Independence date. [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22][23] However, Indonesia and Egypt only accept the date of proclamation as the date of independence.[24] [25]

Background [ edit ]

The Dutch had colonised the Malay Archipelago in some parts for 300 years.[26] The Netherlands were investing in the archipelago, from where they obtained wealth through investments and also had a population of individuals there.[27] The Dutch colonial government was a centralist hierarchical system,[28] where Indonesian representation was limited in the government.[29] Resistance to Dutch rule was met with imprisonment and exile.[30]

The fight for independence from the Netherlands included numerous people and internal conflicts.[31] It involved an Indonesian youth movement, where the youth were from varying class and educational backgrounds.[32] It included figures such as Chaerul Saleh who was part of Menteng 31, which contained a diverse membership with different educational backgrounds.[33] It also included Kaigun (Wikana) another figure part of the youth movement, who was a student of Sukarno.[34] The fight for independence included a figure in the nationalist movement called Mohammad Hatta who worked to promote Indonesian interests.[35] Another figure in the nationalist movement in Indonesian history was Sukarno, who established the Indonesian National Party in 1927, which advocated for independence from the Dutch.[36] Hatta was educated at a Ditch university,[37] and Sukarno studied at the Bandung Institute of Technology where the study group he formed became the Indonesian National Party.[38] Sukarno is known for many famous speeches and advocated for political independence. A speech given in June 1945 by Sukarno ‘Pancasila’ sets out the five principles of the foundation of the nation of Indonesia.[39] In this speech, he discusses the importance of political independence, with the first principle being nationalism and also the importance of religion to Indonesia in the principle of a belief in God.[40]

The invasion by the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies added a new dynamic for the fight for independence. The Japanese defeated the Dutch in 1942 and moved into Indonesia, and this helped push the Dutch out and assisted towards the proclamation of independence.[41] There were uprisings against the Japanese rule like the Dutch,[42] where farmers and other workers were being exploited by the Japanese. Furthermore, the Japanese had also tried to control Islam.[43] Sukarno discusses in his speeches during the war that he believed independence could be achieved with the assistance of Japan.[44] Hatta also worked with the Japanese, as he wanted to free Indonesian people from the Dutch. Hatta and Sjahrir, another figure in the nationalist movement, worked together towards independence for Indonesia. Where Hatta worked with the Japanese, Sjahrir focused on establishing an underground support network.[45] Many educated youths influenced by Sjahrir in Jakarta and Bandung started establishing underground support networks for plans of Indonesian independence following Japan's defeat.[46]

The end of the war on 15 August further expedited the process for independence.[47] Youth leaders supported by Sjahrir hoped for a declaration of independence separate from the Japanese, which initially was not supported by Hatta and Sukarno. However, with the assistance of a high ranking Japanese military officer Tadashi Maeda, the declaration of independence was drafted.[48] Sukarno and Hatta on 17 August 1945 proclaimed independence, along with the youth leaders.[49]

Declaration [ edit ]

Sukarno praying before proclaiming the independence of Indonesia

The draft was prepared only a few hours earlier on the night of 16 August 1945,[50] by Sukarno, Hatta, and Soebardjo, at the house of Rear-Admiral Tadashi Maeda, 1 Miyako-dōri (都通り). The house which is located in Jakarta is now the Formulation of Proclamation Text Museum situated at Jl. Imam Bonjol No. 1. Aside from the three Indonesian leaders and Admiral Maeda, three Japanese agents were also present at the drafting: Tomegoro Yoshizumi (of the Navy Communications Office Kaigun Bukanfu (海軍武官府)); Shigetada Nishijima and Shunkichiro Miyoshi (of the Imperial Japanese Army).[51][52] The original Indonesian Declaration of Independence was typed by Sayuti Melik.[53][54] Maeda himself was sleeping in his room upstairs. He was agreeable to the idea of Indonesia's independence,[55] and had lent his house for the drafting of the declaration. Marshal Terauchi, the highest-ranking Japanese leader in South East Asia and son of former Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake, was however against Indonesia's independence, scheduled for 24 August 1945.[56]

While the formal preparation of the declaration and the official independence itself for that matter had been carefully planned a few months earlier, the actual declaration date was brought forward almost inadvertently as a consequence of the Japanese unconditional surrender to the Allies on 15 August 1945.[57] The wording of the proclamation had been discussed at length and had to balance both conflicting internal Indonesian and Japanese interests. Sukarno drafted the final proclamation which balanced the interests of both the members of the youth movement and the Japanese. The term ‘TRANSFER OF POWER’ was used in Indonesian to satisfy Japanese interests to appear that it was an administrative transfer of power, although the term used ‘pemindahan kekuasaan’ could be perceived to mean political power. The wording ‘BY CAREFUL MEANS’ related to preventing conflict with members of the youth movement. The wording ‘IN THE SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME’ was used to meet the needs of all Indonesians for independence.[58][59]

The historic event was triggered by internal conflict between the youth movement and other individuals working towards independence, where Adam Malik suggests a meeting had taken place which discussed proclaiming independence outside of Japan’s framework due to Japan’s surrender.[60] It included figures from the youth movement such as Chaerul and Wikana,[61] where Wikana in Sukarno’s house had encouraged Sukarno to proclaim independence immediately.[62] The declaration was to be signed by the 27 members of the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence (PPKI) symbolically representing the new nation's diversity.[63] The particular act was apparently inspired by the similar spirit of the United States Declaration of Independence.[64] However, the idea was vehemently opposed down by the youth movement, who argued that the committee was too closely associated with the then soon to be defunct Japanese occupation rule, thus creating a potential credibility issue. Instead, members of the youth movement demanded that the signatures of six of them were to be put on the document. All parties involved in the historical moment finally agreed on a compromise solution which only included Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta as the co-signers, 'in the name of the people of Indonesia'.[65]

Initially the proclamation was to be announced at Batavia central square, but the military had been sent to monitor the area, so the venue was changed to Sukarno's house at Pegangsaan Timur 56. The declaration of independence passed without a hitch.The proclamation was prevented from being broadcast on the radio to the outside world by Yamamoto and Nishimura from the Japanese military, and was also initially prevented from being reported in the newspapers. However Shigetada Nishijima and Tadashi Maeda enabled the proclamation to be dispersed via telephone and telegraph.[66].The Dōmei Tsushin news agency was used to send the text of the proclamation to reach Bandung and Jogjakarta. Members of the youth movement in Bandung facilitated broadcasts of the proclamation in Indonesian and English from radio Bandung. Moreover Sukarno’s speech that he gave on the day of the proclamation was not fully published.[67] During his speech he discusses the perseverance for the independence of Indonesia under Dutch and Japanese rule, and he states Indonesia being free from any other country.[68]

Draft [ edit ]

Draft of the proclamation

Indonesian [ edit ]

Proklamasi

Kami, bangsa Indonesia, dengan ini menjatakan kemerdekaan Indonesia.

Hal2 jang mengenai pemindahan kekoeasaan d.l.l., diselenggarakan dengan tjara saksama dan dalam tempoh jang sesingkat-singkatnja

Djakarta, 17-8-'05

Wakil2 Bangsa Indonesia

Initial drafts [ edit ]

Numerous figures who had been involved in the fight for independence had been working on a draft for the proclamation. Hatta had been working on a draft for the proclamation.[69] Furthermore the youth movement had worked on and prepared a draft, however it was the final draft prepared by Sukarno that was used which balanced the interests of both the Indonesian and Japanese individuals that had been involved.[70]

Final text [ edit ]

The original Indonesian proclamation of Independence
Sukarno reading the proclamation. According to Rushdy Hussein, Indonesian historian, this record was made in 1951, not 1945.[71]
The monument commemorating the Indonesian proclamation of Independence
P R O K L A M A S I

Kami, bangsa Indonesia, dengan ini menjatakan kemerdekaan Indonesia.

Hal-hal jang mengenai pemindahan kekoeasaan d.l.l., diselenggarakan dengan tjara saksama dan dalam tempo jang sesingkat-singkatnja.

Djakarta, hari 17 boelan 8 tahoen 05

Atas nama bangsa Indonesia,

Soekarno/Hatta.

Sukarno Signature.svg

Mohammad Hatta signature.svg

English translation [ edit ]

An English translation published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as of October 1948 included the entire speech as read by Sukarno. It incorporated remarks made immediately prior to and after the actual proclamation. George McTurnan Kahin, a historian on Indonesia, believed that they were omitted from publication in Indonesia either due to Japanese control of media outlets or fear of provoking a harsh Japanese response.[72]

PROCLAMATION

WE THE PEOPLE OF INDONESIA HEREBY DECLARE THE INDEPENDENCE OF

INDONESIA. MATTERS WHICH CONCERN THE TRANSFER OF POWER AND

OTHER THINGS WILL BE EXECUTED BY CAREFUL MEANS AND IN THE

SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME.

DJAKARTA, 17 AUGUST 1945

IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF INDONESIA

SOEKARNO/HATTA

Banknote [ edit ]

A 100,000 Rupiah banknote, containing the Proclamation of Independence

This proclamation is printed on the front of the Rp.100,000 Indonesian banknote of the year 1999 and 2004 series.

Ramifications of the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence [ edit ]

The ramifications of the proclamation included moving ahead with the constitution. The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia was approved on 18 August 1945 which had been drafted earlier by the Investigating Committee.[73][74] Due to the change in the political situation with Japan, they removed segments related to Japan’s ideology. Furthermore, the constitution promoted national unity due to Indonesia being a culturally diverse country. Islam was a popular religion, and it also had a history that included numerous other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.[75] Some individuals also practiced Christianity. The constitution emphasized religious tolerance of religious minorities to prevent conflict.[76] However, this would lead to conflict with individuals, including Sekar Madji Kartosuwiryo from Darul Islam located in West Java who believed it did not comply with Islam.[77] Transitional regulations were added which permitted the PPKI to elect a president and vice president. A regulation also gave the president control and power over the constitution after the war for six months. Sukarno was elected as president and Hatta as vice-president.[78] The constitution has since been substantially amended.[79]

After the proclamation, there was an internal conflict with social revolutions with individuals challenging the social structure that the Dutch established.[80] There was also a fight for independence against the Dutch until 1949, known as the Indonesian National Revolution.[81] Support for the proclamation was observed internationally by different countries, with the boycotting of Dutch shipping in Australian waters from September 1945.[82]

Youth played an vital role in the proclamation, and the youth played a central role in the Indonesian National Revolution.[83] One of the other changes that had also taken place during the Japanese occupation included the population in Indonesia undertaking military training, where the majority of the population supported independence.[84] Conflict occurred not only with the Dutch, but also when the Japanese tried to re-establish control in October 1945 in Bandung,[85] and furthermore when the British tried to establish control.[86] The Dutch wanted to obtain some control again as it still had political and economic interests in Indonesia.[87] After a long struggle for independence, the freedom of Indonesia from the Dutch in 1949 was part of a period of decolonization in Asia.[88]

Rewriting Indonesian history [ edit ]

Indonesian historians have rewritten the Indonesian history many times; 1951, 1955 and 1970. In 1998 the new president B. J. Habibie asked for a new revision.[89] Indonesian historians have often asked the Dutch government to reverse the date of recognition from 1949 to 1945.[90] This adjustment would legally be impossible due the fact the Japanese Instrument of Surrender would no longer be valid. Also would it imply that the Allied forces (US, UK, Australia and the Netherlands) invaded a free country during WWII New Guinea campaign. In 2005, the Netherlands declared that it had decided to accept de facto 17 August 1945 as Indonesia's independence date.[13] However, on 14 September 2011, a Dutch court ruled in the Rawagede massacre case that the Dutch state was responsible because it had the duty to defend its inhabitants, which also indicated that the area was part of the Dutch East Indies, in contradiction of the Indonesian claim of 17 August 1945 as its date of independence.[91] In 2010 a spokesman of the Indonesian president said the Netherlands would accept the date of 1945 as the independence date. According to Dutch Foreign Affairs, that was "historically and internationally legally established and can't be changed."[92] In a 2013 interview the Indonesian historian Sukotjo, among others, asked the Dutch government to formally acknowledge the date of independence as 17 August 1945.[93]The International community has officially accepted 27 december 1949 as it's Independence date. [94] [95]  [96] [97] [98] [99][100] However, only Indonesia only accept the date of proclamation as the date of independence.[101] [102]

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  96. ^ https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/99070277?searchTerm=tDutch%20rule%20ends%20in%20N.E.I%3A%20Birth%20of%20a%20new%20nation.&searchLimits=
  97. ^ https://www.un.org/dppa/decolonization/en/history/former-trust-and-nsgts
  98. ^ https://id.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/policy-history/io/
  99. ^ http://www.indonesia-ottawa.org/bilateral_relations/
  100. ^ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283174583_REVISITING_SELF-DETERMINATION_CONFLICTS_IN_INDONESIA_AN_INTERNATIONAL_LAW_PERSPECTIVE
  101. ^ https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/2/30111/EXCLUSIVE-Indonesian-President%E2%80%99s-Advisor-%E2%80%98We-have-a-long-history-with
  102. ^ https://www.mfa.gov.eg/English/ForeignPolicy/EgyptandtheWorld/Asia/Pages/Indonesia.aspx

Further reading [ edit ]

  • Anderson, Ben (1972). Java in a Time of Revolution: Occupation and Resistance, 1944–1946. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-0687-0.
  • Raliby, Osman (1953). Documenta Historica: Sedjarah Dokumenter Dari Pertumbuhan dan Perdjuangan Negara Republik Indonesia (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Bulain-Bintag.
  • Ricklefs, M.C. (2008) [1981]. A History of Modern Indonesia Since c.1300 (4th ed.). London: MacMillan. ISBN 978-0-230-54685-1.
  • Lembaga Soekarno-Hatta, 1984 Sejarah Lahirnya Undang Undang Dasar 1945 dan Pancasila, Inti Idayu Press, Jakarta, p19
  • Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan,1991:52–53.
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