17 August, 2012

17 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
17 August, 1945      0930

My dearest sweetheart –

Today is an official E.T.O. holiday for VJ day, but sick-call goes on just the same. I have a few details to look after this morning and then I ought to be able to take it easy for the rest of the day. As yet – our group of officers haven’t celebrated the end of the war, but truth to tell, darling, there isn’t much heart in it over here. Our first reaction was that of exhilaration, but then the last two days – the broadcasts from London, Scotland, New York, San Francisco – etc. dampened us a bit because it made us realize that after all – a celebration like this one needs those you love to make it real. Well, damn it, we’ll celebrate when I get back – oh! we have so much to celebrate, dear! If I have one drink only for each reason, I’ll be loopy in no time. Say, have you ever seen me really high? I can’t remember.

Well I got a letter from Dad A in Ohio and one from you too, darling – both written 8 August and both mentioning the Russian Entry. I’m just waiting for your letters of the end of the war – I bet they’ll be good. It all ended so suddenly – it still doesn’t seem possible that it’s truly over.

You mention the coming of Billy’s Bar Mitzvah in October; wish I were back to be included in that list of a hundred people. I kind of doubt that the Army is able to work that swiftly, though. Gee – I can still remember mine. I was scared of the synagogue services; I guess every kid was and still is.

By the way – that clipping you sent me of Rodman winning the tennis matches in Paris – refers to Sonny Rodman all right. I see he got his captaincy since I saw him last. And yes – Pete got his Captaincy some time ago. I thought I had mentioned it to you, dear. Oh – and in answer to your question about all the Madames and their husbands – most of the husbands are here with them. You don’t think I’d be going around visiting lonely French madames, do you? Don’t answer! The only French woman sans husband is a Mme Pellet, a woman whom our colonel was seeing a lot of. She’s about 40 and the wife of a French two star General. The latter is sick and has just been operated upon. She’s having a little fun, I guess. But on the whole – French people who are respectable – are tremendously so – more than we are at home. A girl from such a family never goes out with a strange or new acquaintance (male) without her mother – not until she knows the fellow for a long time – and I’m referring to a French man. The kind we hear about – are not from the best class.

But why bother about the French, darling? It’s you I’m interested in and no one else. It’s you I love and no one else and it’s you I’m coming home to, soon, I hope. Until then – sit tight, sweetheart, and I’ll make up for all this waiting. I know I can do it.

And for a while longer – so long, dear, love to the folks – and

All me deepest love and affection –


about Indonesia's Independence Day
Map of Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago with approximately 17,508 islands.
Today It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country.
Islam is the religion of about 86% of its people.

Friday, 17 August 1945, is the greatest day in history for all Indonesian people because Sukarno proclaimed the Independence of Indonesia on that day. After being under Dutch colonialism for more than three and half century and Japanese colonialism for three and half years, the people of Indonesia finally achieved their aspiration to become an independence nation. From the Bali Directory web site come these highlights of Indonesia’s long historical journey, from Dutch colonialism until the proclamation of Indonesia’s independence.
In their search for spices, the Portuguese arrived in Indonesia in 1511, followed by the Spaniards. Later, the Dutch also started their search for spices in Indonesia, which they sold in European markets with big profits, and established the Dutch East India Company in 1602. In 1605, Dutch colonialism began to have a foothold over Indonesian territories. The capital of Sunda Kelapa was named "Batavia" by the Dutch.

Sultan Hasanuddin of Goa fought a war against the Dutch in 1666, but he was defeated. Prince Trunojoyo of Madura also fought the Dutch. He was defeated and killed in 1680. In 1740, the Dutch suppressed a rebellion in Jakarta that was sparked by dissatisfied Chinese, who were later joined by Indonesians. Ten thousand Chinese were killed.

In 1714, the British came to Indonesia and built Fort York in Bengkulu on the west coast of Sumatera which was later renamed Fort Marlborough. The British stayed in Bengkulu until 1825. During the Napoleonic wars in Europe when Holland was occupied by France, Indonesia fell under the rule of the British East India Company (1811-1816). After the fall of Napoleon, and the end of the French occupation of Holland, the British and Dutch signed a convention in London on 13 August 1814, in which it was agreed that Dutch colonial possessions dating from 1803 onwards should be returned to the Dutch Administration in Batavia. Thus, the Batavian Republic reclaimed the Indonesian archipelago from the British in 1815.

Soon the Dutch strengthened their colonial rule. But this only sparked rebellions to seize freedom. Thomas Matulessy (Pattimura) staged a revolt against the Dutch in the Moluccas (1816-1818). Prince Diponegoro of Mataram led a fierce struggle for freedom which was known as the Java War from 1825-1830. Tuanku Imam Bonjol led the Padri War in West Sumatera, while Teuku Umar headed the Aceh War in North Sumatera (1873-1903). King Sisingamangaraja of the Bataks revolted against the Dutch in 1907. An attempt by the Dutch troops to occupy Bali in 1908 was repelled by King Udayana. Revolts were also erupting in Goa, South Sulawesi, and in South Kalimantan.

When all those regional wars of independence failed, Indonesian nationalists began thinking of a more organized struggle against Dutch colonialism. The move began with the founding of Boedi Oetomo by Dr. Soetomo on 20 May 1908. This organization of Indonesian intellectuals was initially set up for educational purposes but later turned into politics. In 1911, Sarekat Dagang Islam (the Society of Moslem Entrepreneurs) was formed by Haji Samanhudi and others. Its objective was at first to motivate and to promote Indonesian business in the Dutch East Indies. However, in 1912, this organization turned into a political party and was renamed Sarekat Islam.

In December 1912, Partai Indonesia was founded by Douwes Dekker with Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusumo and Ki Hajar Dewantoro (Suwardi Suryaningrat). The aim of the party was to strive for complete independence of Indonesia. All three leaders of the party were exiled by the colonial government in 1913. In 1924, Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Indonesia (the Indonesian Students Association) was formed by Drs. Mohammad Hatta, Dr. Sukiman and others. This organization became a driving force of the nationalist movement to gain independence. On 28 October 1928, delegates to Indonesian Youth Congress in Jakarta pledged commitment to One Nation, One Motherland and One Language. The "Indonesia Raya" song was introduced for the first time at the 2nd Indonesian Youth Congress by its composer, Wage Rudolf Supratman.

In December 1929, the Dutch colonial authorities arrested Sukarno which touched off widespread protests by Indonesians. In 1934, Drs. Mohammad Hatta, Sutan Syahrir and other nationalist leaders were arrested by the Dutch and sent into exile.

After the Japanese attacks of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Japanese Armed Forces occupied several Southeast Asian countries. After the fall of Singapore, Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies and the Dutch colonial army surrendered in March 1942. Sukarno and Hatta were released from their detention.

Due to the hardships suffered by the Japanese caused by Indonesian rebellions, the Japanese occupation forces in Indonesia finally gave in to recognize the Indonesian Red and White colored flag as the Indonesian national flag, which was followed by the recognition of "Indonesia Raya" as the national anthem and Bahasa Indonesia as the national language.

Flag of Indonesia

The final defeat of Japan after the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the 6th and 9th of August 1945 prompted the Japanese to surrender unconditionally to the Allies. This constituted an ample opportunity for Sukarno and Drs. Mohammad Hatta to proclaim Indonesia's independence on 17 August 1945. The draft was prepared on the night of August 16, by Sukarno, Hatta, and a student named Subarjo. The Proclamation of Indonesian Independence was read at 10.00 a.m. on Friday, 17 August 1945. The document was signed by Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, who were appointed President and Vice-president respectively the following day. Here is what the Proclamation said:




Sukarno ("Soekarno" was the Dutch spelling until 1947) and Mohammad Hatta were appointed President and Vice-president respectively the following day.

The declaration marked the start of the diplomatic and armed-resistance of the Indonesian National Revolution, fighting against first the British and then the forces of the Netherlands. On November 29, 1946, the last of Britain's troops left Indonesia. The Dutch were increasing their strength there, reaching 110,000 troops by May 1947. The Dutch considered themselves the legitimate power in a new state they had created, consisting of the eastern half of Indonesia.

On July 20, the Dutch launched an effort to overpower the Republic of Indonesia's armed forces. The U.S. expressed its disapproval. India's leader, Nehru, was outraged. People in the Netherlands began demonstrating against the war. The Russians sided with the Indonesians, and Australian labor began boycotting shipments of supplies to the Dutch war effort. A war was taking place, a guerrilla war by Indonesians and a police action described by the Dutch. On August 1, the U.N. Security Council called for a cease fire, but the fighting continued in 1949. On March 31, the U.S. told the Dutch that their Marshall Plan aid was in jeopardy. The Dutch finally agreed to a cease fire in August 1949, and on November 2 they signed what amounted to cessation of their hold on Indonesian territory. The Netherlands "unconditionally and irrevocably" recognized Indonesia as a federation of autonomous states. The conflicts between the Dutch and Indonesians brought about the deaths of over 150,000 Indonesians and 6,000 Dutch nationals. In 2005, the Netherlands declared that they had decided to accept 17 August 1945 as Indonesia's independence date.

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