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Merdeka: Dutch military operations in Indonesia (1945-1950)

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Indonesian National Revolution or Indonesian War of Independence was an armed conflict and diplomatic struggle between Indonesia and the Dutch Empire, and simultaneously an internal social revolution. It took place between Indonesias declaration of independence in 1945 and the Netherlands recognition of Indonesias independence in 1949. One of the largest revolutions of the twentieth century, the struggle lasted for over four years and involved sporadic but bloody armed conflict, internal Indonesian political and communal upheavals, and two major international diplomatic interventions. Incorrect Dutch assessment at the political-strategic level led to simplistic and fatally flawed military-strategic decisions. The spearhead-strategy advocated by the army leaders from 1946 to 1949 was determined in part by the Dutch governments political and economic wishes the view of the enemy held by the Dutch Dutch military capabilities and the training and experience of the army leaders both in colonial and regular European warfare. Dutch forces were not able to prevail over the Indonesians, but were strong enough to resist being expelled. Although Dutch forces could control the towns and cities in Republican heartlands on Java and Sumatra, they could not the control villages and countryside. Given this stalemate, the Republic of Indonesia ultimately prevailed in the conflict, as much through international diplomacy as through Indonesian determination in the military actions on Java and Sumatra. The revolution destroyed the colonial administration of the Netherlands East Indies, and the Dutch, which had ruled from the other side of the world, found itself with a result that it had not wanted rapid and total independence for Indonesia in 1949.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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