The Indonesian National Revolution or Indonesian War of Independence was an armed conflict and diplomatic struggle between Indonesia and the Dutch Empire, and an internal social revolution. It took place between Indonesia’s declaration of independence in 1945 and the Netherlands’ recognition of Indonesia’s independence at the end of 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. 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 control villages and the countryside. Thus, the Republic of Indonesia ultimately prevailed as much through international diplomacy as it did through Indonesian determination in the armed conflicts on Java and other islands.
The revolution destroyed the colonial administration of the Dutch East Indies which had ruled from the other side of the world. It also significantly changed racial castes, as well as reducing the power of many of the local rulers (raja). It did not significantly improve the economic or political fortune of the majority of the population, though a few Indonesians were able to gain a larger role in commerce.
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