Merdeka - An Alternate History of Indonesia

As a Dutch national with strong ties to Indië, I hope this ATL will be fairer for all involved.

Btw, Wilhelmina was honest in her speech! Though she did want to get the deal for ourselves. Also remember that de jure the DEI did not excist, the Maluku islands and Papua were not part of it, de jure. De facto it was a centrally lead colony from Batavia. De jure tere were two Gouverneur-Generaals, one for the western bit: Java, Sumatra and Borneo; and one or the eastern bit: Sulawesi, Maluku Islands and Papua.

I do hope this Indonesis will not treat the Indos in the abominal fashion her OTL counterpart does!
Welcome, Vnix, finally a Dutchman. I will need help on potential Dutch butterflies! The East Indies were economically important, but no wars would benefit them, too. I do have a bias on keeping Queen Wilhelmina as head of state for as long as possible. As interesting as an Indonesian parliamentary monarchy can be, nevertheless the only goal of this TL is to avoid independence via armed revolution.

NickBana why did the White Rajah abdicate exactly? Can this be butterflied away?
Welcome, Vnix, finally a Dutchman. I will need help on potential Dutch butterflies! The East Indies were economically important, but no wars would benefit them, too. I do have a bias on keeping Queen Wilhelmina as head of state for as long as possible. As interesting as an Indonesian parliamentary monarchy can be, nevertheless the only goal of this TL is to avoid independence via armed revolution.

NickBana why did the White Rajah abdicate exactly? Can this be butterflied away?

Winston Churchill... Anthony Brooke reject Churchill's proposal on taking Sarawak as a Crown Colony(1941 Constitution was in effect but haven't yet enforced). So, Churchill went to Charles Vyner instead. Essentially, Charles double-dealing behind his own crown prince... Anthony had a majority of clan leader, government servant and businessmen stood behind him...
The only way to butterfly that was to double deal with Anthony, And offer him the same position like Soekarno did to Hamengkubuwono IX regarding Jogjakarta, Sri Paku Alam VIII (Kadipaten Pakualaman) & Pakubuwono XI (Surakarta Sunanate)... Now that's a slap in the face for Charles Vyner...
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This is interesting! Really interesting.
I wanna know what will be the development of broadcasting industry (radio, then television) in this TL, by the way
if Indonesia can gain independence peacefully, one must understand that a treaty such as Lingadjatti in its original form could never go past the Estates General, therefore it had to be adjusted (atleast from the Dutch point of view). This was done to safe face, because an independent indonesia is a hard pill to swallow, very hard to swallow indeed.

We didn't have the expression "Idië verloren rampspoed geboren!" (eng: The DEI lost, our economy will collapse.) without cause. Before the Netherlands lost INdonesia, Indonesia was the proverbial cork on which our economy floated.

One way for Indonesia to gain independence would be by butterflying a few things. I would suggest a British/German/French invasion of the Netherlands proper during WW1 with the Royal House of Orange fleeing and taking refuge in Indonesia to lead on the war from there. At this stage the Indonesian nationalists will have the opportunity to convince Wilhelmina to allow the Indonesians to fight allongside and try to retake the Motherland. I mean Indonesia had 60million souls living there, that is an enormous population and a vast army could be drafted from that.

The same could be done by WW2 but it would be far harder because the Indonesian nationalists had gone far far more bitter against Dutch rule. The Last chance or so most Dutch see for Indonesia to be retained was a week prior to the Pearl Harbour. The Nationalists wanted to join forces with the Netherlands remnant and fight off the Japanese. This was refused by pride of the Dutch Gouverneur-Generaal.
However as long as the new Indonesian leaders don't appear to be colaborators with the enemy of the Netherlands (in OTL the Japanese) then those leaders will be more easily accepted. Soekarno and Hatta were considered Devils and evil among the Dutch.

we have a few "nice" songs about Soekarno :winkytongue: "En wat doen we met Soekarno als die komt? En wat doen we met Soekarno als die komt? En wat doen we met Soekarno, wat doen we met Soekarno, wat doen we met Soekarno als die komt? Ja, we hakken hem in mootjes als die komt! Ja we hakken hem in mootjes als die komt! Ja, we hakken hem in mootjes, we hakken hem in mootjes, we hakken hem in mootjes ald die komt!"

Had the leaders not collaborated with the Japanese they would not have been considered as evil as the had in OTL.

As to the eventual form Indonesia should take up in my opinion would be to make the already autonomous parts of Indonesia to be independent countries with the Dutch King (officially the function Wilhelmina performed was the function of King while carrying the title of Queen) as their Suzerain. Then new countries can be formed from the remaining parts of Indonesia based on ethnicity. So a South Muluccan State, a Northern one (because of religion).

Another form could be to use the Uni Belanda-Indonesia Have Indonesia be the Empire of Insulinde and the Dutch bit the Kingdom of the Netherlands (containing all the colonies that remained and a few Dutch Enclaves in Indonesia perhaps and the Netherlands proper.) Have this be a personal union but with an Imperial Parliament that rules the foreign affairs; economic affairs; monetary pollicy; defence; a court of audit; and a High Court.

Now as to the internal devision of Indonesia I would suggest all ethnicities to have their own independent realm within the Empire of Insulinde (somewhat similar to the Reich model for Germany, but without things as independent armies) then have the Union be similar to the KuK, as in two equal Countries in personal union with close (very close) ties working together.

As to how the Kingdom of the Netherlands should look, I think it should be the OTL Kingdom but with Suriname retained; with Papua and perhaps a few Dutch Enclaves. These Dutch Enclaves could also be an independent state within Insulinde.

Also why do I use Insulinde? I personally consider it a nicer term, it is also traditionally used when refering to the Dutch king as Emperor as in Emperor of Insulinde and never as Emperor of Indië.

I hope you understand my ideas and I hope I can assist you in your TL as you see fit to use my help.
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The only wayto butterfly that was to double deal with Anthony, And offer him the same position like Soekarno did to Hamengkubuwono IX regarding Jogjakarta, Sri Paku Alam VIII (Kadipaten Pakualaman) & Pakubuwono XI (Surakarta Sunanate)... Now that's a slap in the face for Charles Vyner...
Any ideas if it can even stay independent?

This is interesting! Really interesting.
I wanna know what will be the development of broadcasting industry (radio, then television) in this TL, by the way
Welcome! Yeah, considering much of early Indonesian films are nationalistic war films.

Thanks, but I would have to disagree on some points.
The term of Insulinde would be impossible to implement, no matter how collaborationist Indonesia gets. Indonesian organizations use the term Indonesia, and when they don't they use the term Indië. The Netherlands seem to be willing to accept that name, given it is printed in the latest edition of the Netherlands Indies Gulden. Heck, Queen Wilhelmina in her speech promised independence for Indonesia, using that exact term, Indonesia.
Two, I believe the leaders can be accepted by the Dutch if they collaborated, as IOTL van Mook sent Abdul Kadir to talk with the nationalist leaders.
Also, the idea of keeping New Guinea only arose after the Linggardjati agreement, as a consolation prize for losing the rest of Indonesia. With a friendly Indonesia, there is no reason not to include New Guinea. In the 1942 speech, the Queen called for a commonwealth of The Netherlands, Indonesia, Suriname, and Curacao. New Guinea was considered part of Indonesia.
Aside from that, I agree that a federal government with the Dutch Monarch as the head of state will be most likely, but the question is, can it last?

It's been more than a month since I last updated, and even now I find real life too demanding to write narratives. I will start updating again, but there will be more updates like this one in the future.
The Djakarta Uprising

The three years of Japanese Occupation in Indonesia was never a peaceful time. The Japanese try to garner local support by portraying themselves as liberators, but their policies in the end made them look even more villainous than the Europeans before them. Uprisings were common, especially in the later years of the occupation, all of them split between two perpetrators. The first, was among the santri, rebellions that had an Islamic cause. The rather insensitive policy of mandatory daily bows towards the sun didn't sit well with youths who had spent their lives under spiritual education. These rebellions were notoriously zealous, but always short-lived because the santri*always found themselves outnumbered and outgunned. The second were more social in nature, opposing the harsh treatment of locals by the occupiers. This group was rather ironic, because it was founded by the Japanese themselves to defend their homeland. The PETA, as this group was called, did just that. Their mutinies were not as often as the religious ones, but they were more organized and better equipped. The very last of these, threatened city of Djakarta itself, where the Japanese command is located, and changed the course of history forever.

Before the sun has risen in 16 September 1945, PETA militias and armed civilians from the Menteng 31 youth group took up arms in the Weltevreden district of Djakarta. Being staged just days after the Japanese formal surrender in World War 2, the rebels had expected to see token resistance from the demoralized Japanese armies. How wrong they were. The Japanese, while they were not the fighting force that they used too, could easily take on mobs of under-trained civilians any day. Officially, the Japanese were to surrender to the Allied Forces. Secretly they were to make it harder for the Allies to return to Indonesia. But with what little honor they had, they were never willing to surrender to militant ramblings.

By dawn, the many groups had been forced to disperse, the ones that managed to escape regrouped at Karawang in the East. However, most of them had been killed. Many of the dead, were students, driven by nationalistic fervor. Among them were Chaerul Saleh, the co-chairman of the Menteng 31, and Shodanco Singgih, the commander of the rebellious PETA forces, leaving Soekarni as the only surviving leader of the rebels.

But in the end leadership, or lack of, is the main cause of this tragedy. It is understood that the Menteng Pemuda had tried to gain the support of Soekarno, the main figurehead of Indonesia's Independence movement. Later accounts reveal that this uprising was a vain attempt to convince the Soekarno that the people would not wait any longer for independence. Instead, this achieved the opposite effect. The older generation of activists, already collaborationist in nature, were given a glimpse of how much blood will be spilled if the nation chose the path of war. The surviving members of the rebels, including many PETA members would live in hiding, recruiting members and continuing the fight as guerrila fighters even after Indonesia's proclamation of independence. The damage was done, independence will have to wait.
The time after the Japanese surrender sure was messy in OTL, do let's hope that the locals will avoid the worst of it in TTL.
The Father



Soekarno (born June 6, 1901 -- died August 21, 1945) was a political theorist, architect and leader of the Indonesian independence movement. He was the first person, although controversially, to be awarded as a National Hero of Indonesia. His political thinking, post-humously named Soekarnoism[1], is a popular ideology in independent Indonesia.


Soekarno was born in Soerabaja, to Raden Soekemi Sosrodihardjo, a Muslim Javanese aristocrat and Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai, a Hindu Balinese woman of Brahman lineage. He was born with the name Koesno Sosrodihardjo. As he was a frail child who often fell very sick, Javanese customs and traditional belief dictated that his name should be changed. At the age of five, his name was changed to Soekarno, from a character in the Hindu Bharatayuda epic, Karna.

After graduating from a native primary school in 1912, he attended junior secondary education in an Europeesche Lagere School in Modjokerto, East Java. He became politically concious when he attended Hogere Burger School in Soerabaja in 1916, where he lived in a boarding house owned by nationalist and Sarekat Islam[2] founder, Tjokroaminoto. He pursued higher education in Engineering at the Technische Hogeschool of Bandoeng where he graduated in 1926. After graduation, along with his friend Anwari he established an architectural firm, building a number of houses in Bandoeng and notably the Preanger Hotel as assistant to Dutch architect Wolff Schoemaker.

Throughout his studies, he showed himself as a bright individual. He had photographic memory and a child prodigy, a speaker of a staggering ten languages[3]. Although he never attended education abroad, he was a modern thinker, critical to both local feudalistic traditions and Western imperialism.


A young Soekarno in 1916

Indonesian National Awakening

Soekarno's introduction to Indonesian Nationalism happened in the watchful guidance of the Islamist[4] Tjokroaminoto. His first taste of politics were in the Jong Java, a Javanese youth organization, where he proved himself a rebel. He caused outrage when he delivered a fiery speech in informal Javanese[5], later he started a debate advocating that the Jong Java newspaper should be published in the lingua franca Malay, instead of Dutch or Javanese. Soekarno found the pre-Youth Pledge Jong Java too Javanese-centric, and helped steer the organization towards a more Indonesian course.

During his higher education in Bandoeng, he immersed himself in works of Western, Communist and Islamic authors, which helped him in discovering his one political view. Here he established a study club he named Algemeene Studieclub, which in 1927 became the Indonesian National Party (Indonesian: Partij Nasional Indonesia | Dutch: Indonesische Nationale Partij). His earlier political activities sent him at odds with the colonial government, and he was captured in Djogdjakarta. In his trial, he delivered a speech criticizing the Colonial Government, titled Indonesia Menggoegat (Dutch: Indonesië Beschuldigt | English: Indonesia Accuses), which after independence became a bestseller in Indonesia and The Netherlands. At the time it also received wide media coverage in the Netherlands, prompting the Liberals to pressure the Dutch government to release Soekarno. This turn of events made him a popular hero and the face of the Independence Movement.

When he returned however, the political scene of the East Indies has changed. The PNI had split into two, with the more moderate nationalists led by Dutch-educated politicans Mohammad Hatta and Soetan Sjahrir advocating education instead of separation. Soekarno went on to head the more militant Partindo, and wrote against the Colonial Government in newspapers. This lead to his second arrest, this time without trial, and he was sent to exile first to Flores, and then to Bencoolen.

Japanese Occupation

Soekarno's exile was cut short in 1942, by courtesy of Japanese invasion of the Netherlands East Indies. The three year occupation was a difficult time for Indonesians. The Japanese introduced themselves as liberators, although later proved themselves as oppressors. Rice and foodstuff were collected to provision the war effort, often leaving farmers starving. Javanese men were enslaved by the thousands as forced labor, being sent to places as far away as Burma to construct military buildings and roads.

They aim was total exploitation, and to pacify the people they needed a figurehead. While Soekarno believed that he could use the Japanese as a stepping stone towards independence of his people. Soekarno became involved in many projects, including the PETA militia army, POETERA organization, and even the romusha forced labor. He gave speeches which were broadcasted around the Indies, and travelled to deliver orations in front of massive crowds. While he kept his masquerade at all times, personal memoirs and testimonials by people close to him described him falling to tears because of his people's suffering. He believed that these were necessary sacrifices for the sake of independence. However, his allegiance to the people was a well-known secret.

Soekarno, along with all the figurehead appointed by the Japanese, used the projects more for nationalistic agendas than to incite popular support of the Japanese war effort. This sent him at odds with the Japanese, which led to the POETERA organization being disbanded. Away from the eyes of the public he conspirated with Mohammad Hatta and Soetan Sjahrir to spread nationalism among the youth. At the same time he approached the Japanese, which led to independence being promised, and an organization being set up for its preparation, the BPUPKI. It was within this organization he put forth his political views, and where the pancasila, or five points, of Soekarnoism, was formulated.


Archives photo of a BPUPKI meeting

Later Life and Death

The promise of independence was one that the Japanese could not keep, as they already lost the war. Knews of the Japanese surrender was kept secret by the Japanese, but many underground movements found out soon enough. Among them were the Menteng 31 and the PETA, which lead the ill-fated Djakarta Uprising. Through interrogation of PETA commander Singgih, the Japanese became aware of Soekarno's links with the Menteng 31. In turn, the Japanese brought Soekarno and Hatta for questioning. Prior to said turn of events, Soekarno had caught Malaria and his condition was deteriorating. The questioning in 17 August was the last time he left his house, and he spent his last days in his room, writing the famous Kepada Hatta letters, as a reminder for Hatta to continue the struggle after his death. Four days later, at the age of 44, the father of Indonesia died, leaving behind his third wife, his two year old son, and his people.

Soekarno was forever remembered in Indonesia as the last martyr. His legacy lasted in the minds of the Indonesian people, and his political philosophy helped shaped the Indonesian nation. His former adversary, Mohammad Hatta became the foremost supporter of Soekarnoism, and in 1951[6] proclaimed the late Soekarno the first national hero as one of his first acts as Prime Minister. One of his first acts after Soekarno's death however was in accordance to Soekarno's letters. Hatta contacted the NICA, beginning the next phase of the independence movement.

[1] The idea here is that in order to salvage the Pancasila and the results of the BPUPKI meeting, nationalists attributed it to Soekarno, whom they made a martyr. More on this later.
[2] Islamic Trade Union, an Islamist and Nationalist organization among merchants.
[3] Javanese as a mother tongue, fluent Indonesian, Dutch, Balinese and Sundanese, excellent English, French, German, Arabic and Japanese
[4] The Indonesian version of Islamism in this era was very moderate. This topic deserves a chapter for its own.
[5] The Javanese language comes in two forms, Kromo, the polite version used to talk with people who are older or with higher status, andNgoko, the rough version used to talk with friends and younger people. According to Javanese norm at the time, this is like swearing while giving a toast at someone's wedding.
[6] Retcon-prone

So basically I'm trying to write Soekarno's ITTL life and legacy using ITTL Indonesia's historiography.
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Wow! Another great update.
However, I wonder why you used the older spelling (Soekarno) instead of the modern (Sukarno)?
And since Malay is considered as the lingua franca of the whole Indonesian archipelago, will it be named Bahasa Indonesia, as in OTL?
I wonder if Suharto/Soeharto passed the Sosrodihardjo/Sosrodiharjo name to his children.
Wow! Another great update.
However, I wonder why you used the older spelling (Soekarno) instead of the modern (Sukarno)?
And since Malay is considered as the lingua franca of the whole Indonesian archipelago, will it be named Bahasa Indonesia, as in OTL?
I wonder if Suharto/Soeharto passed the Sosrodihardjo/Sosrodiharjo name to his children.

Thanks! It is because I'm trying to use TTL Indonesian historiography. ITTL with Indonesia achieving independence via peaceful means, we will avoid the OTL Bersiap period, where the Republic launched a crusade to eliminate traces of Dutch culture. Here I use Dutch spelling, and even straightforward Dutch counterparts for names of everything. I will write about language when we get there. :D
The Collaborationist


The HMS Cumberland arriving in Tandjoeng Priok Harbor, Djakarta

The smell of the sea reminded Mohammad Hatta of the year 1932. It was the year he crossed the sea to return home after eleven years in Europe. There he made a name for himself, achieving a doctorandus*degree in economics, becoming the chairman of the Indonesian Union (Indonesian: Perhimpoenan Indonesia | Dutch: Indonesische Vereniging), openly advocating Indonesian Independence, getting jailed for it. Good times indeed. It was when he was tried before court, he delivered his Free Indonesia speech. He explained the conflicts of interest between the Indonesians and the Dutch, and expressed desire for cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands, but only on equal grounds as independent nations. Today, as he walked into the deck of the HMS Cumberland, that dream is getting one step closer.

Hatta had chosen to come to the Cumberland by himself, as a token of good will, he thought. Along with Achmad Soebardjo, the two were chosen by fellow BPUPKI members to meet the NICA officials. Just yesterday, the Japanese High Command had signed the terms of surrender aboard this ship. Hatta, however, has gone to great lengths to ensure the government and the populace that this was not an act of surrender. They entered an office of some sort and were told to wait, it was clean and tidy, as if it was on land and not aboard a ship.

"Assalammualaikum," Raden Abdul Kadir Widjojoatmodjo greeted them, to which the two men replied. The fourth person in the room was a Dutchman, Charles van der Plas, the leader of the advance team to Java and as liberal as a Dutch official in the East Indies can be. The four men shake hands and sat down.

"I believe everyone in the Netherlands East Indies command is aware of our willingness to cooperate?" Hatta asked in fluent Dutch.

"Yes, I personally believe that it is a wise decision," Abdul Kadir replied, "The Governor General is still in Brisbane, but he will be with us within a month"

"He will come after we have finished the release of allied internees," added van der Plas, "something which would be easier if the conditions are stable."

"The situation is stable, you can say," Hatta replied, "although it's more of a silence. In Djakarta people are still mourning for Soekarno's death after a few weeks."

"We are also sorry to hear that," van der Plas replied, almost passing for sincerity if he had not continued immediately, "are the Japanese doing a good job at maintaining order?"

"No, not at all," Soebardjo replied, "it is our own people, the militia policemen. The Japanese are demoralized."

"Are the people aware of the outcome of the war?" Abdul Kadir was curious."No, they are not"

"They are rather confused on why the Japanese had been opressing them less for the past few weeks, but no they do not know," Hatta added, "our people believe that it is for the best"

"Haven't your people been collaborating with the Japanese?"van der Plas asked with suspicion.

"We prefer 'under protection', but our meetings are entirely out of their hands. The only Japanese man attending them couldn't even understand Indonesian," Hatta laughed, he had to avert the tension, "the agendas and results of the meetings are our own, not the Japanese."

"Still, you are well aware how the world will see it?" Abdul Kadir had been supporting the winning side from the start and personally glad for it.

"Yes, we are," Hatta calmly replied, " that's why we contacted you."

Then there was silence. The NICA side had expected a debate on this matter. It took a while before van der Plas conceded, "very well."

"I believe the Governor General will be interested to hear the results of our meetings," Achmad Soebardjo lobbied, "we believe we can make ends meet."

"Yes, but the world would not like the idea of us dealing with a creation of fascist Japan." Abdul Kadir challenged the idea.

"We will dissolve the BPUPKI, we are aware that it is a necessary step," Hatta said, "personally I think we need a shuffle in our composition. The BPUPKI was too... Javanese-centric."

Hatta was born and raised Minang. Achmad Soebardjo inherited the Javanese aristocratic title Raden from his mother, but he was half Atjehnese. The only full-blooded Javanese man in the room was Abdul Kadir.

"What do you propose?" van der Plas inquired.

"A voice, in the upcoming preparations. We want natives who had suffered and fought the Japanese occupation be involved in the process of Indonesian Independence," Hatta confidently laid out the terms, "in return we offer our full cooperation. Including appealing to the masses."

The two NICA exchanged looks. It was hard to refuse this proposition. Mohammad Hatta had become a household name throught the East Indies, it would be great to have him on their side. Van der Plas nodded his approval. Abdul Kadir sealed the deal, "we will notify the Governor General. I believe he will find it a pleasure to work with you.
So Sukarno is dead, the nationalists are chastened by their battles with the Japanese, and the Dutch seem willing to compromise. It looks good, but hopefully the Dutch will make better proposals than they made in 1945-46 OTL - I doubt the nationalists would find those proposals acceptable even if they're committed to a cooperative path.