Repoebliek Maluku Selatan and the Korean War

When the DUTCH EAST INDIES in 1949 became independent under the name of REPUBLIC INDONESIA, many of the inhabitants of the Southern Moluccas, who had supported the Dutch in the Indonesian struggle for independence, feared the new government's retribution and left the country together with the departing Dutch troops. They settled in the Netherlands, where they still form a community ca. 50.000 strong. Immediately, an exile government, REPUBLIK MALUKU SELATAN, was formed.
When the Korean War broke out, the Moluccan exile government contacted General McArthur, offering to send 2.000 combattants if the U.S. in return would recognize their claim of Moluccan independence. Needless to say, the U.S. government did not respond to the offer, and the Moluccan troop contingent for the Korean War never materialized. A major activity of the exile government was issuing stamps which never were used; some of them feature General Douglas McArthur, on whom their political hopes rested for a while.

Stamp issued by the Exile Government of the Republic of the Southern Moluccas featuring the country's map and their flag's colours

Stamps issued by the Exile Government of the Republic of the Southern Moluccas featuring the UN Emblem and General Douglas McArthur

From Indonesian perspective, the exile government representatives were collaborators and potential insurgents. The Moluccans, many of whom are christian, feared that the new Republic of Indonesia would be dominated by Muslim Javanese, and that their region would lose it's cultural identity. These days, the Moluccas are one of the regions where violent clashes between different ethnic groups take place. It is to be hoped, that newly democratic Indonesia can overcome the tension and establish a multicultural society.

Republic of the South Moluccas from the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO)
Moluk Historic Museum

This page is part of World History at KMLA
Last revised on May 26th 2001


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