The Revolution by which independence was won is not only a central episode of Indonesian history but a powerful element in the Indonesian nation’s perception of itself All the uncertain gropings for new identities, for unity in the face of foreign rule, for a juster social order, seemed to come to fruition in the years after World War II. For the first time in the lives of most Indonesians, the artificial restraints of foreign rule were suddenly lifted. It is not surprising that the result was not the appearance of a harmonious new nation, but a bitter struggle among contending individuals and social forces. Yet behind these often violent struggles lay a commitment to independence. The subsequent national myth that Indonesians stood shoulder-to-shoulder during the Revolution has little historical foundation. But the conviction that it was the nation’s most triumphant hour, that Indonesia’s right to independence was demonstrated by the sacrifices made in the name of the Revolution, has much to support it.
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