Indonesian War of Independence

Decolonization of the Pacific

Australasia 1947.1125

Indonesian War of Independence

Decolonization of the Pacific (25 November 1947)

Historical Map of Australia, New Zealand & the Southwest Pacific

Just days after the Japanese surrender, Indonesian nationalists proclaimed independence, beginning a war to liberate the East Indies from Dutch colonial rule. The Netherlands, only recently freed from German occupation, took over a year to send troops south in an attempt to crush the revolution.

Main Events

British Commonwealth Occupation Force

The British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF), consisting of Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand troops, assists the United States in the occupation of Japan. The BCOF is headquartered at Kure and is responsible for supervising demilitarization and the disposal of Japan's war industries. From 1947 on, it winds down its presence in Japan, eventually merging with the British Commonwealth Forces Korea after the Korean War breaks out.

Operation Product

The Netherlands conducts Operation Product, a major military offensive against the Republic of Indonesia, after the breakdown of negotiations between the Dutch and the Indonesian nationalists. The offensive recaptures large parts of Java and Sumatra, before international pressure on the Dutch leads to a ceasefire.

Partition of India

Under the direction of Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma, the last Viceroy of the British Indian Empire, British India is partitioned into the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India. As Pakistan is designated as a Muslim homeland, the religiously mixed provinces of Punjab and Bengal are also divided between the two new states. The princely states are advised to choose between Pakistan and India, rather than retain independence.

Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947

The Parliament of New Zealand, under Prime Minister Peter Fraser and his First Labour Government, passes the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947, making New Zealand the last dominion to adopt the Statute of Westminster 1931. The Act allows New Zealand to amend its 1852 Constitution and creates a separate New Zealand Crown.

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