Saturday, April 4, 2009

Indonesian Declaration of Independence

Indonesian Declaration of Independence
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Soekarno reading the declaration of
Soekarno reading the declaration of
This article is part of
the History of Indonesia series

Pre-colonial Indonesia (before 1602)
Srivijaya (3rd century14th century)
Sailendra (8th Century 832)
Kingdom of Mataram (7521045)
Kediri (10451221)
The spread of Islam (12001600)
Singhasari (12221292)
Majapahit Empire (12931500)
Malacca Sultanate (14001511)
Aceh Sultanate
Sultanate of Demak (14751518)
Mataram Sultanate (1500s to 1700s)
Dutch East Indies (16021945)
Anglo-Dutch Java War (18101811)
Padri War (18211837)
Java War (18251830)
Aceh War (18731904)
National Revival (18991942)
World War II battles (19411942)
Japanese Occupation (19421945)
Independence (19451965)
Declaration of Independence (1945)
National Revolution (19451950)
Asian-African Conference (1955)
Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation (19621965)
New Order (19651998)
Overthrow of Sukarno (19651966)
Act of Free Choice (1969)
Reformasi (1998present)
Revolution of 1998 (19961998)
2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake (2004present)

The Indonesian Declaration of
Independence was officially proclaimed
at 10.00 a.m. sharp on Friday, August
17, 1945. The declaration marked the
start of the five year diplomatic and
armed-resistance of the Indonesian
National Revolution, fighting against
the forces of the Netherlands until the
latter officially acknowledged
Indonesia's independence in 1949.

The Declaration Event

The draft was prepared only a few hours
earlier, on the night of August 16, by
Soekarno, Hatta, and Soebardjo, at
Rear-Admiral Maeda (Minoru) Tadashi's
house, Miyako-Doori 1, Jakarta (now the
"Museum of the Declaration of
Independence", JL. Imam Bonjol I,
Jakarta). Maeda himself was sleeping in
his room upstairs. He was agreeable to
the idea of Indonesia's independence,
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 Prime
Minister Terauchi Masatake, was however
against Indonesia's independence,
scheduled for August 24.

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
August 15 following the Nagasaki atomic
bombing. The historic event was
triggered by a plot, led by a few more
radical youth activists such as Adam
Malik and Chairul Saleh, that put
pressure on Soekarno and Hatta to
proclaim independence immediately. 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. The particular act
was apparently inspired by a similar
spirit of the United States Declaration
of Independence. However, the idea was
heavily turned down by the radical
activists mentioned earlier, arguing
that the committee was too closely
associated with then soon to be
dysfunctional Japanese occupation rule,
thus creating a potential credibility
issue. Instead, the radical activists
demanded that the signatures of six of
them were to be put on the document_ All
party involved in the historical moment
finally agreed on a compromise solution
which only included Soekarno and
Mohammad Hatta as the co-signers 'in the
name of the nation of Indonesia'

Soekarno had initially wanted the
declaration to be read at Ikada Plain,
the large open field in the centre of
Jakarta, but due to unfounded widespread
apprehension over the possibility of
Japanese sabotage, the venue was changed
to Soekarno's house at Pegangsaan Timur
56. In fact there was no concrete
evidence for the growing suspicions, as
the Japanese had already surrender.

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