Indonesian Memorial Day – History – Tradition – Celebration

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In this article we will tell you about Indonesian memorial day, an Indonesian public holiday to commemorate the Battle of Surabaya which took place in 1945, where Indonesian independence soldiers and militias fought against the British and Dutch armies who tried to colonized Indonesian again. Do you want to know more about it?

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Before Indonesian Independence

Indonesia is the largest archipelago country in Southeast Asia. Being the biggest archipelago, Indonesia has a lot of wealth that is stored and scarce in the western world. Starting from spices, marine, tropical goods to rare mining materials such as gold, oil and coal.

This is a big catch for western countries which tried to search a new resource thus they come to Indonesia, by realizing Indonesian wealth, they came to colonized Indonesia, because they need a lot of materials to meet their needs during world war.

Portuguese and Spanish were the first nations to colonize Indonesia in the 15th century. Seeing their profits in Indonesia, other countries feels delighted  to come to Indonesia as well. In the 16th century the Dutch entered Indonesia and built trade unions in Indonesia. Because of the trade unions (VOC), it succeed in getting rid of Portugal and got a big role in the political and trade arena in Indonesia.

Duchess also seeing good opportunity in Indonesia thus they wanted more from Indonesia and colonized it. The implementation of the Dutch colonial political system since the VOC, the adoption of the Culturstelsel and continued the liberal system with the free entry of foreign private capital into Indonesia has had a negative impact on the people, resulting in the people becoming poor and suffering. Indonesia was colonized by the Netherlands for almost 300 years.

Indonesian realized that they are being colonized thus there are many resistances from Indonesian people, Dutch began to struggle to maintain their power in Indonesia. There are ups and downs moments for Dutch while colonizing Indonesia, it even  replaced by Britain for moments.

During world war,the success of the Japanese attack on pearl harbor signaled a new era of victory for the Japanese state. Thus it began a military invasion movement to control Asia and Southeast Asia. Starting from the Philippines in January 1942 and Indonesia in March 1942.

To captivate the hearts of the people of Indonesia, Japan convinced the Indonesian people that they were friends in arms in the war against the west. Indonesian believes them and Duchess successfully move from Indonesia. After that, Indonesian people were forced to work “Romusha” as Japan wished to replaced Duchess as colonizer. Because  of that, there are lots of chaos happened, even the suffering experienced by Indonesians more than when they were colonized by the Dutch.

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The Independence of Indonesia

Seeing the endless suffering of the Indonesian people, Indonesia think tank and freedom fighters began to do diplomacy and resistance. The peak of Japan and American war lead to nuclear bombing attack by American on Hiroshima (August 6 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9 1945) made Japan paralyzed in War.

This is a good opportunity for Indonesia to proclaim the independence. Indonesian youth urged founding fathers and they succeed. Finally, Indonesia proclaimed the independence on August 17, 1945 represented by Ir. Soekarno and Drs. Moh Hatta. You may also learn about How to Write A Phrase in Bahasa Indonesia

Indonesian Memorial day

After the independence of Indonesia, Japan began to weaken and this resulted in the Dutch and English countries wanting to take over Indonesia again. The struggle for Indonesia’s movement began after that time called war to maintain independence

The most recognizable post-independence war is Surabaya’s war that occurred on November 10, 2018 or better known as Memorial day. This war happened due to several events in Indonesia. First, incident of Yamato Hotel Surabaya. Dutch people under the leadership of Mr. Ploegman raised the Red and White Blue flag, which led Indonesian anger toward Dutch because this matter is considered to have insulted the sovereignty of the Indonesian people and also the independence of Indonesia which was proclaimed in August the 17th a few months ago. This incident made some young people act decisively by taking over Yamato hotel and tearing the Dutch color blue so that the remaining colors of the Indonesian Red and White Indonesian flag keep remain.

Second, after the proclamation, Indonesian become more nationalist, Vice Admiral Shibata Yaichiro a senior Japanese commander in Surabaya, gave his support for the Republicans and gave Indonesians access to arms. While, British forces brought in a small Dutch military contingent which it termed the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) in Indonesia.  This make The British worried of their position because Indonesian didn’t afraid again of ultimatum that given by them.

The peak that lead this battle is the death of Brigadier A.W.S Mallaby, the British brigade commander in Surabaya because of under confused circumstances. This led . The British ordered an Indonesian surrender, and on 10 November they launched a large retaliatory attack,

On 10 November, British troops clearing buildings room by room and consolidating their gains. Estimates of Indonesian deaths range between 6,300 and 15,000, and perhaps 200,000 fled the devastated city. British Indian casualties totaled approximately 600-2000 killed. The battle for Surabaya was the bloodiest single engagement of the war. This war became a symbol and rallying cry for the revolution and struggling to maintain the independence. Finally in November 1946, the last British troops left Indonesia and 10 November is commemorating as Indonesian memorial day.

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Tradition on Memorial Day

In Indonesia, the day of the hero is marked by the flag raising half-mast and holding a ceremony, performing a moment of silence at 8.15. President of Indonesia will held a ceremony at “Taman Makan Pahlawan” Tomb of  Heroes) to commemorate the Battle of Surabaya. You may also learn about List of Indonesian Words Similar to English