The Battle of Surabaya was fought between pro-independence Indonesian soldiers and militia against British and Dutch troops as a part of the Indonesian National Revolution. The peak of the battle was in November 1945. Despite fierce resistance, British Indian troops managed to conquer Surabaya, the second-largest city in Indonesia, on behalf of the Netherlands. The battle was the heaviest single battle of the revolution and became a national symbol of Indonesian resistance. Considered a heroic effort by Indonesians, the battle helped galvanise Indonesian and international support for Indonesian independence. 10 November is celebrated annually as Heroes' Day (Hari Pahlawan).
By the time the Allied forces arrived at the end of October 1945, the pemuda ('youth') foothold in Surabaya City was described as "a strong unified fortress". Ferocious fighting erupted when 6,000 Indian troops landed in the city to evacuate European internees. Following the killing on 30 October of the British commander, Brigadier A. W. S. Mallaby, the British retaliated with a punitive sweep that began on 10 November, under the cover of air attacks. Although the European forces largely captured the city in three days, the poorly armed Republicans fought for three weeks, and thousands died as the population fled to the countryside.
Despite the military defeat suffered by the Republicans and a loss of manpower and weaponry that would severely hamper Republican forces for the rest of the revolution, the battle and defence mounted by the Indonesians galvanised the nation in support of independence and helped garner international attention. For the Dutch, it removed any doubt that the Republic was not simply a gang of collaborators without popular support. It also had the effect of convincing Britain that wisdom lay on the side of neutrality in the revolution; within a few years, in fact, Britain would support the Republican cause in the United Nations
Death of Brigadier Mallaby
On 30 October 1945, Brigadier A. W. S. Mallaby, the British brigade commander in Surabaya, was travelling about Surabaya to spread the news about the new agreement to his troops. When his car approached the British troops' post in the International building near the Jembatan Merah ("Red Bridge"), his car was surrounded by Indonesian Republican militia. Shortly after, Mallaby was shot and killed by the militia under confused circumstances.
Captain R.C. Smith, who was in the stationary car, reported that a young Republican shot and killed Mallaby after a short conversation. Smith then reported throwing a grenade from the car in the direction of where he thought the shooter had hidden. Although he was not sure whether or not it hit its target, the explosion caused the back seat of the car to ignite. Other accounts, according to the same source, stated that it was the explosion and not a shooter that killed Mallaby. Regardless of its exact details, Mallaby's death was a significant turning point for the hostilities in Surabaya, and a catalyst for the battle to come. The British ordered an Indonesian surrender, and on 10 November they rolled out a large retaliatory attack
The Linggadjati Agreement, brokered by the British and concluded in November 1946, saw the Netherlands recognise the Republic as the de facto authority over Java, Madura, and Sumatra. Both parties agreed to the formation of the United States of Indonesia by 1 January 1949, a semi-autonomous federal state with the monarch of the Netherlands at its head. The Republican-controlled Java and Sumatra would be one of its states, alongside areas that were generally under stronger Dutch influence, including southern Kalimantan, and the "Great East", which consisted of Sulawesi, Maluku, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and Western New Guinea. The Central National Committee of Indonesia (KNIP) did not ratify the agreement until February 1947, and neither the Republic nor the Dutch were satisfied with it. On 25 March 1947 the Lower House of the Dutch parliament ratified a stripped down version of the treaty, which was not accepted by the Republic. Both sides soon accused the other of violating the agreement
 Renville Agreement
The United Nations Security Council brokered the Renville Agreement in an attempt to rectify the collapsed Linggarjati Agreement. The agreement was ratified in January 1948 and recognised a cease-fire along the so-called 'Van Mook line'; an artificial line which connected the most advanced Dutch positions. Many Republican positions, however, were still held behind the Dutch lines. The agreement also required referenda to be held on the political future of the Dutch held areas. The apparent reasonableness of Republicans garnered much important American goodwill.
Diplomatic efforts between the Netherlands and the Republic continued throughout 1948 and 1949. Political pressures, both domestic and international, hindered Dutch attempts at goal formulation. Similarly Republican leaders faced great difficulty in persuading their people to accept diplomatic concessions. By July 1948 negotiations were in deadlock and the Netherlands pushed unilaterally towards Van Mook’s federal Indonesia concept. The new federal states of South Sumatra and East Java were created, although neither had a viable support base. The Netherlands set up the Bijeenkomst voor Federaal Overleg (BFO) (or Federal Consultative Assembly), a body comprising the leadership of the federal states, and charged with the formation of a United States of Indonesia and an interim government by the end of 1948. The Dutch plans, however, had no place for the Republic unless it accepted a minor role already defined for it. Later plans included Java and Sumatra but dropped all mention of the Republic. The main sticking point in the negotiations was the balance of power between the Netherlands High Representative and the Republican forces.
Mutual distrust between the Netherlands and the Republic hindered negotiations. The Republic feared a second major Dutch offensive, while the Dutch objected to continued Republican activity on the Dutch side of the Renville line. In February 1948 the Siliwangi Battalion of the Republican Army, led by Nasution, marched from West Java to Central Java; the relocation was intended to ease internal Republican tensions involving the Battalion in the Surakarta area. The Battalion, however, clashed with Dutch troops while crossing Mount Slamet, and the Dutch believed it was part of a systematic troop movement across the Renville Line. The fear of such incursions actually succeeding, along with apparent Republican undermining of the Dutch-established Pasundan state and negative reports, led to the Dutch leadership increasingly seeing itself as losing control.
The so-called 'social revolutions' following the independence proclamation were challenges to the Dutch-established Indonesian social order, and to some extent a result of the resentment against Japanese-imposed policies. Across the country, people rose up against traditional aristocrats and village heads and attempted to exert popular ownership of land and otr resources. The majority of the social revolutions ended quickly; in most cases the challenges to the social order were quashed]
A culture of violence rooted in the deep conflicts that split the countryside under Dutch rule would repeatedly erupt throughout the whole second half of the twentieth century. The term 'social revolution' has been applied to a range of mostly violent activities of the left that included both altruistic attempts to organise real revolution and simple expressions of revenge, resentment and assertions of power. Violence was one of the many lessons learned during the Japanese occupation, and figures identified as 'feudal', including kings, regents, or simply the wealthy, were often attacked, sometimes beheaded, and rape became a weapon against 'feudal' women. In the coastal sultanates of Sumatra and Kalimantan, for example, sultans and others whose authority had been shored-up by the Dutch, were attacked as soon as Japanese authority left. The secular local lords of Aceh, who had been the foundation of Dutch rule, were executed, although most of Indonesia's sultanates fell back into Dutch hands.
Most Indonesians lived in fear and uncertainty, particularly a significant proportion of the population who supported the Dutch or who remained under Dutch control. The popular revolutionary cry 'Freedom or Death' was often interpreted to justify killings under claimed Republican authority. Traders were often in particularly difficult positions. On the one hand, they were pressured by Republicans to boycott all sales to the Dutch; on the other hand, Dutch police could be merciless in their efforts to stamp out smugglers on which the Republican economy depended. In some areas, the term kedaulatan rakyat ('exercising the sovereignty of the people') – which is mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution and used by pemuda to demand pro-active policies from leaders – came to be used not only in the demanding of free goods, but also to justify extortion and robbery. Chinese merchants, in particular, were often forced to keep their goods at artificially low prices under threat of death.
Communist and Islamist insurgencies
On 18 September 1948 an 'Indonesian Soviet Republic' was declared in Madiun, east of Yogyakarta, by members of the PKI and the Indonesian Socialist Party (PSI). Judging the times as right for a proletarian uprising, they intended it to be a rallying centre for revolt against "Sukarno-Hatta, the slaves of the Japanese and America". Madiun however was won back by Republican forces within a few weeks and the insurgency leader, Musso, killed. RM Suryo, the governor of East Java, several police officers and religious leaders were killed by the rebels. This ended a distraction for the revolution, and it turned vague American sympathies based on anti-colonial sentiments into diplomatic support. Internationally, the Republic was now seen as being staunchly anti-communist and a potential ally in the emerging global Cold War between the American-led 'free world' and the Soviet-led bloc.
Members of the Republican Army who had come from Indonesian Hizbullah felt betrayed by Indonesian Government. In May 1948, they declared a break-away regime, the Negara Islam Indonesia (Indonesian Islamic State), better known as Darul Islam. Led by an Islamic mystic, Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosuwirjo, Darul Islam sought to establish Indonesia as an Islamic theocracy. At the time, the Republican Government did not respond as they were focused on the threat from the Dutch. Some leaders of Masjumi sympathised with the rebellion. After the Republic regained all territories in 1950, the government took the Darul Islam threat seriously, especially after some provinces declared their joining of Darul Islam. The rebellion was put down in 1962.
Transfer of sovereignty
Millions upon millions flooded the sidewalks, the roads. They were crying, cheering, screaming "...Long live Bung Karno..." They clung to the sides of the car, the hood, the running boards. They grabbed at me to kiss my fingers. Soldiers beat a path for me to the topmost step of the big white palace. There I raised both hands high. A stillness swept over the millions. "Alhamdulillah – Thank God," I cried. "We are free"
—Sukarno's recollections of independence achieved.
The resilience of Indonesian Republican resistance and active international diplomacy set world opinion against the Dutch efforts to re-establish their colony. The second 'police action' was a diplomatic disaster for the Dutch cause. The newly appointed United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson pushed the Netherlands government into negotiations earlier recommended by the United Nations but until then defied by the Netherlands. The Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference was held in The Hague from 23 August 1949 to 2 November 1949 between the Republic, the Netherlands, and the Dutch-created federal states. The Netherlands agreed to recognise Indonesian sovereignty over a new federal state known as the 'United States of Indonesia' (RUSI). It would include all the territory of the former Dutch East Indies with the exception of Netherlands New Guinea; sovereignty over which it was agreed would be retained by the Netherlands until further negotiations with Indonesia. The other difficult issue to which Indonesia gave concessions was Netherlands East Indies debt. Indonesia agreed to responsibility for this sum of £4.3 billion, much of which was directly attributable to Dutch attempts to crush the revolution. Sovereignty was formally transferred on 27 December 1949, and the new state was immediately recognised by the United States of America.
Republican-controlled Java and Sumatra together formed a single state in the sixteen-state RUSI federation, but accounted for almost half its population. The other fifteen 'federal' states had been created by the Netherlands since 1945. These states were dissolved into the Republic over the first half of 1950. An abortive anti-Republic coup in Bandung and Jakarta by Westerling's Legion of Ratu Adil (APRA) on 23 January 1950 resulted in the dissolution of the populous Pasundan state in West Java, thus quickening the dissolution of the federal structure. Colonial soldiers, who were largely Ambonese, clashed with Republican troops in Makassar during the Makassar Uprising in April 1950. The predominantly Christian Ambonese were from one of the few regions with pro-Dutch sentiments and they were suspicious of the Javanese Muslim-dominated Republic, whom they unfavourably regarded as leftists. On 25 April 1950, an independent Republic of South Maluku (RMS) was proclaimed in Ambon but this was suppressed by Republican troops during a campaign from July to November. With the state of East Sumatra now being the only federal state remaining, it too folded and fell in line with the unitary Republic. On 17 August 1950, the fifth anniversary of his declaration of Indonesian independence, Sukarno proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia as a unitary state.
Although there is no accurate account of how many Indonesians died, they died in far greater numbers than their enemies, and many died at the hands of other Indonesians. Estimates of Indonesian deaths in fighting range from 45,000 to 100,000 and civilian casualties exceeded 25,000 and may have been as high as 100,000. A total of 1,200 British soldiers were killed or went missing in Java and Sumatra in 1945 and 1946, most of them Indian soldiers. More than 5,000 Dutch soldiers lost their lives in Indonesia between 1945 and 1949. Many more Japanese died; in Bandung alone, 1,057 died, only half of whom died in actual combat, the rest killed in rampages by Indonesians. Tens of thousands of Chinese and Eurasians were killed or left homeless, despite the fact that many Chinese supported the revolution. Seven million people were displaced on Java and Sumatra.
The revolution had direct effects on economic conditions; shortages were common, particularly food, clothing and fuel. There were in effect two economies – the Dutch and the Republican – both of which had to simultaneously rebuild after World War II and survive the disruptions of the revolution. The Republic had to set up all necessities of life, ranging from 'postage stamps, army badges, and train tickets' whilst subject to Dutch trade blockades. Confusion and ruinous inflationary surges resulted from competing currencies; Japanese, new Dutch money, and Republican currencies were all used, often concurrently.
Indonesian independence was secured through a blend of both diplomacy and force. Despite their ill-discipline raising the prospect of anarchy, without pemuda confronting foreign and Indonesian colonial forces, Republican diplomatic efforts would have been futile. The revolution is the turning point of modern Indonesian history, and it has provided the reference point and validation for the country’s major political trends that continue to the present day. It gave impetus to communism in the country, to militant nationalism, to Sukarno's 'guided democracy', to political Islam, the origins of the Indonesian army and its role in Indonesian power, the country's constitutional arrangements, and the centralism of power in Indonesia.
The revolution destroyed a colonial administration ruled from the other side of the world, and dismantled with it the raja, seen by many as obsolete and powerless. Also, it relaxed the rigid racial and social categorisations of colonial Indonesia. Tremendous energies and aspirations were created amongst Indonesians; a new creative surge was seen in writing and art, as was a great demand for education and modernisation. It did not, however, significantly improve the economic or political fortune of the population’s poverty-stricken peasant majority; only a few Indonesians were able to gain a larger role in commerce, and hopes for democracy were dashed within a decade