Back to WHKMLA Main Index . WHKMLA, Students' Papers Main Page . WHKMLA, Students' Papers, 13th Wave Index Page

National Historiography : Heroes and Villains in the History of Indonesia

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Choi, Sang Hyun
Term Paper, AP World History Class, June 2010

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Period of Old Kingdoms (Ancient time ? 16th century A.D.)
II.1 Brief History
II.2 Heroes : Aji Saka, Airlangga, Raden Wijaya, Hayam Wuruk and Gajah Mada
II.3 Villains: Kublai Khan and Ike Messe
III. Period of Islamic Kingdoms before the Dutch East India Company (1200 - 1602)
III.1 Brief History
III.2 Hero: Sultan Khairun (Khairun Jamil)
III.3 Villain: Lopez de Mesquita
IV. Period under the Dutch East India Company (1602 - 1800)
IV.1 Brief History
IV.2 Heroes: Sultan Agung, Sultan Hasanuddin and Untung Surapati
IV.3 Villain: Jan Pieterszoon Coen
V. Period of Dutch East Indies (1800 - 1945)
V.1 Brief History
V.2 Heroes: Prince Diponegoro, Teuku Umar and Raden Ajeng Kartini, Eduard Douwes Dekker, Ernest Douwes Dekker
V.3 Villains: Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, Johannes Benedictus van Heutsz
VI. Period of Japanese Occupation (1942 - 1945)
VI.1 Brief History
VI.2 Japanese Power
VI.3 Amir Sjarifuddin
VI.4 Sukarno
VII. Period after Independence (1945 - 2010)
VII.1 Brief History
VII.2 Amir Sjarifuddin
VII.3 Sukarno
VII.4 Muhammad Hatta
VII.5 Suharto
VIII. Conclusion

I. Introduction
            One of the largest island nations in the world, Indonesia has been occupied by human beings for a long time; ancient hominids called Java man started to live in Indonesia more than half million years ago. Throughout the long history of Indonesians, there were numerous figures. Some of them were praised as heroes while others were blamed as villains. The standard to group people into heroes and villains differs according to diverse points of views because different views can judge the same figure in different ways. Although this paper will follow the view of Indonesians, historical interpretation or evaluation of certain figures can vary according to each region of Indonesia since the archipelago consists of diverse people with diverse culture, history and perspectives. Since historiography is the study of the history and methodology of the discipline of history (1), this paper focused on how Indonesians recorded and remember historical figures. However, this paper does not contain all of the view of Indonesians since they are too varied; it sorted heroes and villains according to the widely accepted view or the standard of the Indonesian government, but as for controversial figures of modern history, both positive and negative views are dealt. As a whole, this paper will discuss historical figures in each period of Indonesian history and the reason why they were viewed as heroes or villains.

II. Period of Old Kingdoms (Ancient time ? 1500)

II.1 Brief History
            About 5th century, missionary act by Brahmans spread out Hinduism in Indonesian archipelago. Trade with China contributed to the spread of Buddhism as well. As a result, many kingdoms based on Hinduism or Buddhism arose. One of the most famous Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesian history is Sailendra. (2) Although historical records of this period is scarce in Indonesia, many references to Indonesia are found in records from China, Arab regions, Persia, Greece and Rome, which indicates the fact that Indonesian kingdoms had active trades with countries from various parts of the world. (3)
            Prominent kingdoms before the spread of Islam were Srivijaya Empire (7th to 13th centuries) in Sumatra, and Sailendra Kingom (8th to 9th centuries), Mataram kingdom (752-1045) and Majapahit (1293-1500) in Java. Srivijaya Empire was the center of both maritime trade and religion; it monopolized lucrative trade with foreign countries such as India and China. Sailendra Kingdom was the center of religion as well and was agriculturally rich. Although Sailendra was dominant power in Java, Mataram later took the dominance and became the rival of Srivijaya. Majapahit could extend its power not only throughout Indonesian archipelago but also in foreign countries in Southeast Asia.

II.2 Heroes : Aji Saka, Airlangga, Raden Wijaya, Hayam Wuruk and Gajah Mada
            About 100 A.D., a legendary king on Java, Aji Saka, introduced writing system based on southern Indian. (4) The Javanese script is called Hanacaraka or Carakan script. His story of making the script remains as a legend of fighting with a monster king Dewata Cengkar and the conflict between his loyal servants. Nevertheless, the script was first used in legal document in 804 A.D. and is still taught in most elementary schools although it is no longer used in newspapers and magazines. Even though Aji Saka is a legendary figure, Indonesians still attribute the creation of Hanacaraka to Aji Saka and commemorate him as a hero in folk stories and puppet plays.
            In 1020, Airlangga, the only survivor of the calamity of the East Javanese kingdom of Isana, established Kahuripan after three or four years of hiding in forests. Not many historical recordings or archaeological remnants of his time remain, but Airlangga is known to have been a keen patron of the arts, especially literature. In around 1035, the court poet Mpu Kanwa composed the Arjuna Wiwaha, one of the most popular classical stories in Java. (5) Airlangga is often deified; in the Belahan temple, he is depicted as the incarnation of Vishnu, a Hindu god, on Garuda, a bird-like creature in Hinduism. Moreover, Airlangga University, one of the oldest universities in Indonesia, is named after him.
            In 1293, Raden Wijaya foundered Majapahit in Java. In the process, he protected Java from the Mongol conquest. The Mongol troop invaded Java to revenge Kertanagara, the king of Singhasari in Java who had refused to pay tribute to the Yuan dynasty and sent the envoy with his nose cut off and tattoo "No" on his forehead in 1289. (6) However, at that time, the king Kertanagara was already dead, and his throne was taken by Jayakatwang of Kediri. Wijaya, the king of Majapahit and a relative of Kertanagara, allied with Mongol in order to attack Kediri for revenge in return for official tribute. (7) However, after conquering Kediri, Wijaya suddenly attacked the Mongol army causing them to flee from Java.
            Under Hayam Wuruk (1350-1389), the fourth king of Majapahit, the kingdom reached the most glorious age in its history. Gajah Mada, the prime minister of Majapahit in the regime of Hayam Wuruk, is also remembered one of the greatest heroes in Indonesian history along with Hayam Wuruk. Gajah Mada was the actual power in the kingdom, and with his assistance, Hayam Wuruk could expand the power and influence of his kingdom throughout the archipelago, and even beyond the boundaries of the present day Republic of Indonesia. (8) Majapahit could grow as an Empire and enjoyed tributary relationships with territories as far away as Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines. (9) Today in Yogyakarta, there is a university named after Gajah Mada. (10)

II.3 Villains: Kublai Khan and Ike Messe
            Although there were many kingdoms which fought each other throughout the history, it is difficult to state which kingdom is hero and which is villain in the point of view of "Indonesian history" since all of them are Indonesian. Therefore, foreign invader Kublai Khan and his commander Ike Messe are stated here as the villains of old history of Indonesia.
            Kublai Khan was the emperor of Mongol Empire and the founder of Yuan dynasty in China. In 1289, he sent a messenger to require Singhasari kingdom in Java to pay tribute to the Mongol Empire. However, king Kertanagara refused it by cutting off the nose of the envoy and tattooing "No" on his forehead. At the end of 1292, Kublai Khan sent troop led by a commander Ike Messe to Java for the revenge of Kertanagara. However, the king was already dead, and Wijaya suggested alliance to attack Jayakatwang of Kediri. After the conquest of Kediri, Wijaya betrayed the Mongol troop and attacked it. Because of the sudden attack, 3000 Mongolian soldiers died. In addition, the Mongolians could no longer bear the tropical climate. The troop returned to Mongolia. Although the troop took gold and slaves from Java, Kublai Khan was mad at what happened in Java and imposed the commander punishment of 16 lashes and confiscating half of his wealth. (11)
III Period of Islamic Kingdoms before the Dutch East India Company (1200 - 1602)

III.1 Brief History
            In the 11th century, foreign traders started to introduce Islam in Indonesia. Thanks to the trade network throughout the archipelago, Islam could spread in Indonesia. However, the process of spreading was slow. Only after 16th century, Islam could be the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra. Islamic missionaries spread the religion most actively in 16th and 17th century along with Christian missionaries.
            During this period, Indonesian archipelago first was in contact with a European power which sought for dominance of the spice trade. The Portuguese started to dominate Indonesia both economically and politically.

III.2 Hero : Sultan Khairun
            Sultan Khairun (Khairun Jamil) ruled the Sultanate of Ternate in the period when the Portuguese, the first Europeans to come to Indonesia, came to Java and grew their political power there. Although Khairun was crowned in early age in 1534, he did not obey the Portuguese and tried his best to stop the Portuguese from interrupting the administration of the empire. Since the Sultan realized that the Portuguese influence in his land was too strong to get rid of, he did not break up the relation with Portugal. He was tolerant in religion, so he allowed Christian missionaries to act in Ternate. Using his tolerance, the Portuguese raised power and attacked and tried to attack Ternate in 1567 and 1569. However, the troop of the Sultan suppressed the Portuguese in both cases. In 1570, the Portuguese governor Lopez de Mesquita invited Khairun as if de Mesquita tried reconciliation; Khairun was murdered there. Death of the Sultan angered the Javanese, so they declared war against the Portuguese and succeeded to expel them from the Moluccas in 1575.

III.3 Villain : Lopez de Mesquita
            Lopez de Mesquita is the Portuguese governor in Maluku where the Portuguese stayed. When suppressed by the troop of Sultan Khairun in 1567, he pleaded to the Sultan for peace. Although their former privilege removed, the Portuguese could maintain their free trade with Indonesians. However, using this opportunity, de Mesquita raised the troop again in 1569. Suppressed again, he invited Khairun to his castle and killed the Sultan.

IV. The Period under the Dutch East India Company (V.O.C., 1602 - 1800)

IV.1 Brief History
            The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie; V.O.C.) was established in order to hold monopoly for trade east of the Cape of Good Hope in 1602. (12) V.O.C. extended its influence over not only Indonesian archipelago but also many countries beyond Southeast Asia such as Taiwan, Ceylon and Mauritius. Although V.O.C. started as a trading company, it became more and more powerful so that it established a colony in Indonesia and ruled it.

IV.2 Heroes : Sultan Agung, Sultan Hasanuddin, Untung Surapati
            Sultan Agung (Sultan Agung Adi King Hanyakrakusuma) was the third Sultan of Mataram Sultanate from 1613 to 1645. (13) He expanded the territory by conquering neighboring country called Surabaya. Although at first he refused to cooperate with V.O.C., he reconsidered his position as the influence of V.O.C. increased. At last, the Sultanate of Mataram and V.O.C. allied, but V.O.C. did not help Mataram in the war with Surabaya breaking the diplomatic relationship between the two. Although Sultan Agung sent an envoy to V.O.C. for peace in 1628, the effort was rejected. Following war between the Sultanate of Mataram and V.O.C. ended up as the victory of the latter, but Sultan Agung succeeded in polluting a river, killing the governor of the V.O.C. by plague. (14) In this period, all of Java was under the Sultanate of Mataram except Batavia where the Dutch militarily occupied. Sultan Agung is remembered as fostering the culture of Mataram such as agriculture system, the Saka calendar, plays and bagongan language, common language used in palace in order to reduce gap between members of palace. Because of such achievement, Sultan Agung was included in National Heroes of Indonesia based on the Decree of the President of No. 106/TK/1975 dated November 6, 1975. (15)
            Sultan Hasanuddin was the king of Gowa. He is remembered for fighting bravely against the V.O.C. (16); his exceptional courage led the Dutch to nicknaming him De Haantjes van Het Oosten, which means the Rooster or Jago of the Eastern Continent. (17) In 1667, V.O.C. tried to subordinate small kingdoms in Indonesia, but the kingdom of Gowa under Sultan Hasanuddin resisted harshly. The Sultan combined the power of small kingdoms in eastern part of Indonesia in order to effectively fight the company. However, the victory was for the V.O.C. In 1670, Sultan Hasanuddin resigned from his throne and died. He was titled the National Hero of Indonesia with Presidential Decree No. 087/TK/1973 dated November 6, 1973. (18)
            Untung Surapati was originally a slave of a V.O.C. officer named Moor but was sent to prison because Untung wanted to marry his daughter. Untung, however, escaped from the prison. (19) He afterwards formed a group, robbed the V.O.C. and became a big enemy of the company. (20) In one battle against the V.O.C., Untung's group killed Captain Francois Tack, a V.O.C. officer who was in charge of the troop. In other battles against the V.O.C., Untung damaged the Dutch. Also, the help from Amangkurat II who pretended to help the company was advantageous for Untung. Untung Surapati was designated as the National Hero of Indonesia based on Presidential Decree No. 106/TK/1975 dated November 3, 1975. (21)

IV.3 Villain : Jan Pieterszoon Coen
            Although all of the people in the V.O.C. would be the villains for Indonesians in this period, only Jan Pieterszoon Coen was selected as the villain; it would be impossible to list all the governors of the V.O.C. in this paper. The reason why Coen was picked is that he is remembered for his massacre in Banda Islands.
            Jan Pieterszoon Coen is remembered as the most aggressive Governor-General of the V.O.C. (22) In 1618, he was appointed as the Governor-General of the V.O.C. in Batavia. For Coen, the V.O.C. was more than just a company, so he wanted to make the company to a real empire actually ruling Indonesia. He also tried very hard to get rid of rivals in trade so that the Dutch could monopolize trade with Indonesia. When people in Banda islands refused to accept the treaty that allows the V.O.C. to monopolize the trade, Coen executed thousands of them and sent their families as slaves to Batavia in 1621. (23) Therefore, a few hundred survivors had to escape to the Kei Islands. (25)

V. The Period of Dutch East Indies (1800 - 1945)

V.1 Brief History
            As the V.O.C. went bankrupted, the government of the Netherlands nationalized the colonies in Indonesia in 1800. As a result, the influence of the Dutch on the archipelago increased. During this period, conflicts between the Dutch and the Indonesians were numerous since Indonesians resisted against the Dutch rule. (26) However, Indonesia could be industrialized in the period under the Dutch rule.

V.2 Heroes : Prince Diponegoro, Teuku Umar and Raden Ajeng Kartini, Eduard Douwes Dekker, Ernest Douwes Dekker
            Diponegoro, a prince of the kingdom of Yogyakarta, was a leader of Diponegoro War, a guerilla war against the Dutch from 1825 to 1830, which the Dutch historians recorded as Java War. (27) The war started as the Dutch trespassed the land of the prince without permission; hatred among people in Yogyakarta toward the Dutch was already being formed because of the exploitation of the land and high taxation. Prince Diponegoro's rebellion was highly supported by people. The prince imposed religious meaning to the war so that religious leaders joined the war as well. More than thousand Dutch soldiers died in this war. (28) In 1830, the prince was arrested and died in prison in 1855. He is one of the National Hero of Indonesia. (29)
            Teuku Umar led guerilla wars in Aceh from 1873 to 1899. When Aceh War, a war between the Indonesian resistances and the Dutch in Aceh, broke out in 1873, he was only 19 years old but served as keuchik or head of village and participated in the war. From 1893 to 1896, Teuku Umar pretended to cooperate with the Dutch attacking the Acehnese in order to get the full and advanced weapons from the Dutch. Because of his ability as a commander, the Dutch trusted him and gave him weapons and troops. Then Teuku Umar attacked the Dutch. In 1899, during a battle against the Dutch troop led by van Heutsz, Teuku Umar was killed. (30) He is one of the National Heroes of Indonesia. (31)
            Raden Ajeng Kartini is a female who made much effort for the freedom of women in Indonesia. Born in a noble family, she could go to school when she was young. After school, she read as many books as she could so that she could suppress the feeling of seclusion in her house. As she read books and newspapers from the Netherlands and exchanging letters with Dutch friends, she could learn about the lives of European women. She sent her article to a woman's magazine in the Netherlands called De Hollandsche Lelie and got attention. (32) In addition to expressing her opinion about the society, she succeeded to support and even to establish schools for girls. After her death, she was appointed as a National Hero of Indonesia, is commemorated in May 2 which is called Kartini Day and is portrayed on the 5 Rupiah coin. (33)
            Eduard Douwes Dekker was a Dutchman who opposed colonialism in Indonesia. Dekker worked as an officer in the government of the Dutch East Indies, and in 1856 at Banten, he saw the worse living condition of native Indonesians than he had heard of. (34) He accused the officers of exceeding exploitation of local people and their economy by sending mails to superior officers such as van Kempen and van Twist Duymaer. However, nothing improved; rather, he got warning from his surroundings. He resigned and returned to Europe. (35) There he wrote his famous novel Max Havelaar; in the novel, he criticized the system of colonialism in which the native people were exploited by the white. (36) Dekker published other works of criticizing as well. His works inspired not only literature in Indonesia but also national spirit of Indonesia against colonialism and feudalism of endless exploitation of the commoners. (37)
            Ernest Douwes Dekker is grandson of Eduard Douwes Dekker's brother. During his participation in Second Boer War, he realized the harsh treatment of the government of the Dutch East Indies toward Indonesians. (38) He wrote newspaper articles accusing such bad conditions, which made the government of the Dutch East Indies to establish ethical policy which allowed the natives to have positions of certain level in jobs. (39) In 1912, Dekker founded anti-colonialism party Indische Partiji, or Party of the Indies, for the native Indonesians. After Indische Partiji was abolished by the government, he established Nationaal Indische Partiji for the Indonesians again and continued his activities for the natives. In 1919, he was arrested for involvement in a riot of farmers and farm workers. Although he was released then, he was constantly watched by the government. (40) In 1923, he provided education for indigenous students in a school named Preanger Instituut van de Vereeninging Volksonderwijis later named Instituut Ksatrian. (41) Because of his efforts for the independence of Indonesia, Ernest Douwes Dekker was titled as a National Hero of Indonesia.

V.3 Villains : Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, Johannes Benedictus van Heutsz
            In 1889, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje went to Java as a scholar researching institutions of Islam in Indonesia, especially Aceh. In addition, during the time he spent in Aceh, he tried to establish policies regarding the interests of Muslims in Indonesia. However, at the same time, he learned how to influence people in Indonesia and make them feel comfortable for him. In 1906, he returned to the Netherlands and until his death, he performed as a principal advisor in the conquest of Aceh, providing the information he gained from the region. (42) Therefore, although he is remembered as a great professor in the field of study of Islam in both the Netherlands and the world, he is remembered as a traitor in Indonesia, especially in Aceh.
            In 1904, van Heutsz, a Dutch military commander, was appointed as a Governor-General of Dutch East Indies. By introducing small mobile forces which were successful against guerilla attacks by the Acehenese, he ended the Aceh War; he cooperated with Hurgronje to come up with the idea. In the process, he killed at least 2,900 Acehenese including 1,150 women and children. (43)

VI. The Period of Japanese Occupation (1942 - 1945)
            From this period, it is hard to define heroes and villains with a unified perspective since the views toward historical figures and their influence differ from each other; it is hard to infer unified view on figures since this period. Therefore, from this period, heroes and villains are not distinctly sorted. Rather, each individual is dealt and their heroic and evil feats are discussed. For figures whose evaluation differs from period to period, only the evaluation of this period was dealt.

VI.1 Brief History
            At the Battle of Java Sea and the Battle of the Sunda Straits in February - March 1942 the Japanese navy pulverized a combined British, Dutch, Australian and the United States fleet. (44) As a result, when the Japanese invaded Java, the Dutch colonial army in Indonesia quickly surrendered. In fact, native Indonesians welcomed the Japanese soldiers as liberators from the Dutch rule. (45) The period of Japanese occupation is remembered as a terrible time for both the Indonesians and the Dutch living in Indonesia because people living in Indonesia had to serve in prisons and suffer from labors. However, some people have positive views on Japanese occupation since Indonesian nationalism could be fostered under Japanese rule thanks to the Japanese strategy to use the nationalist leaders as their cooperators.

VI.2 Japanese Power
            Although "Japanese power" is not a person, thus hard to be defined as a hero or a villain, the influence of the Japanese rule over Indonesia was tremendous. Therefore, here it is dealt as a "figure" of importance in this period of Indonesian history.
            From 1942, Japanese occupation starts. When Japanese troops first invaded Indonesia, local people welcomed the troops since they viewed the Japanese as liberators. The slogan of Japan "Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere" enthralled Indonesians who had suffered under the Dutch rule; the Dutch regarded the white as superior and Indonesians or Asians as inferior. Therefore, the Japanese propaganda fostered the pride of Asian supremacy inside Indonesians which they had never thought of during the Dutch colonialism. (46) Furthermore, Japanese policy toward Indonesian nationalists paved the way of political power of the nationalists among Indonesians. Unlike the Dutch who blocked the nationalists from getting power by preventing their movements and exiling them, the Japanese tried to use them as cooperators to act as a bridge between the Japanese and Indonesians by announcing the policies. (47) Such policy of utilizing nationalist leaders gave power to them and consequently helped them to gather power to lead to Indonesian independence.
            Despite such unintended advantages the Japanese provided, Japan is blamed for its war crimes in Indonesia. The Japanese soldiers are blamed for their cruel deeds toward the people living in Indonesia; for example, some Dutch soldiers captured by the Japanese were put into bamboo pig baskets and thrown into the sea to become food for sharks. (48) Many people, both Indonesians and the Dutch, suffered from forced labors. Severe labor, torture and punishment disabled many people. As for women, the Japanese made some of them sex slaves called "comfort women". (49) Such war crimes make the Japanese no longer be remembered as "liberators" as they initially had been perceived.

VI.3 Amir Sjarifuddin
            Amir Sjarifuddin Harahap was an Indonesian leader who resisted against the Japanese rule. Even before the Japanese invasion of Indonesia, Sjarifuddin set fascism as the primary enemy; what made him opposed against Japan was the fascist system of Japan. He tried to get rid of it by combining the forces of both communism and capitalism in Indonesia, and he also worked with the Dutch secret service against the Japanese power (50); because he opposed Japan, the Dutch provided him troop of 2,500 for the underground resistance against Japan. (51) Herbertus van Mook, the last Dutch head of government for the Dutch East Indies, remembered Sjarifuddin as a fearless hero. (52)

VI.4 Sukarno
            Sukarno or Soekarno was a nationalist leader for the independence of Indonesia. When Japan invaded Indonesia, he thought that he might use Japan to bring about the independence. (53) Therefore, different from Amir Sjarifuddin, Sukarno cooperated with Japan. When local Indonesians did not cooperate with the Japanese to support their aviation fuel, Sukarno was there to obtain it for the Japanese. Furthermore, Sukarno forced labor conscripts called kerja paksa in Indonesian or romusha in Japanese, the role which ashamed Sukarno in later days. (54)) Through radio broadcasting, Sukarno advertised Japanese propaganda as well.
            The role of Sukarno in this period is controversial; while some people claim that Sukarno was a Japanese collaborator, others claim that he helped the Japanese only for the sake of the independence of Indonesia. Those who view Sukarno as a villain say that he is responsible for the death and suffering of Indonesians due to his labor conscript. However, the others who view Sukarno as a hero say that he was not in the side of Japan; they say that although he somewhat helped Japanese and is responsible for the death of Indonesians under Japanese violence, Sukarno fostered nationalism via his radio broadcasting, which paved a way to the independence of Indonesia. (56)

VII. The Period after Independence (1945 - 2010)

VII.1 Brief History
            In 1945, Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta declared the independence of Indonesia. Although the Netherlands approved the independence in 1949, the independence is thought to be achieved in 1945 in this paper. After independence, the Republic of Indonesia underwent the period of dictators. Even though Indonesia experienced economic crises, it overcame them and has developed to today. The history of Indonesia can be divided into three periods : Sukarno years (Old Order), Suharto years (New Order), Post-Suharto years (Reformasi). Both Sukarno years and Suharto years are characterized as the period of dictators while Post-Suharto years are characterized as the period of implementation of democracy.

VII.2 Amir Sjarifuddin
            After independence, Amir Sjarifuddin became the prime minister of the Republic of Indonesia. However, in late 1940s, the tension between the Communists and Capitalists was very high, so the leader of PKI or Indonesian Communist Party could not help but be the enemy of the opponents of communism. In September 1948, there was a revolt of Communists called "Madiun incident", the affair that made Sjarifuddin resign from his position for possible relation with the revolt after revealing that he had been a secret member of the PKI for some time (57). In December 1948, a lieutenant in the Military Police shot the head of Sjarifuddin killing him at last. (59) Being the political victim of the era, Amir Sjarifuddin was a villain for the rest of the government although he was remembered as a hero in the process of the independence movement.

VII.3 Sukarno
            In 1945, Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta declared the independence of Indonesia. After independence, Sukarno served as the first president of the Republic of Indonesia. The evaluation of Sukarno as a president varies into two: a dictator and a democratic leader
            Sukarno is frequently regarded as a despot because of his policy, Guided Democracy. Sukarno did not like the state of president only by name; he thought that Western political system was not fitted to the circumstance of Indonesia. Therefore, he introduced Guided Democracy (1957-1965) in which a president can interfere much on the process of constitution and other decision makings. (60) Not only the Guided Democracy violates the widely accepted concept of "democracy" by ensuring dictatorship but also it damaged the economy of Indonesia; production was slowed drastically, exports and imports stopped, and hyperinflation of more than 600 percent disabled the nation. (61) Such economic collapse resulted in the power struggle between the army and the Indonesian Communist Party; the consequent political chaos was followed by the Army coup d'etat in 1966, which made President Sukarno give up both Guided Democracy and his position of president. (62) Therefore, people who view Sukarno as a failed dictator blame his dictatorship and failure to manage national economy, attributing the current unstable political condition of Indonesia to Sukarno.
            However, advocates of Sukarno claim that Sukarno's rule was much milder than that of Third World authoritarian governments. Executions or other cruel punishments on political opponents did not exist under the rule of Sukarno; he even maintained personal friendship with his political enemies. (63) Some people assert that Guided Democracy was necessary in order to implement democracy in Indonesia. In the period of Sukarno's rule, the political system of Indonesia was very unstable; there were more than 60 political parties and the members of the government changed every few months. Therefore, with Guided Democracy policy, Sukarno reorganized the 60 political parties to 11 parties. (64) In other political aspects as well, Sukarno had to reorganize. Considering the political chaos of that time, people who view Sukarno as a national hero say that Sukarno was not necessarily a despot since his interference in constitution was necessary to implement democracy in the chaotic political system of Indonesia.

VII.4 Muhammad Hatta
            Muhammad Hatta introduced the name Indonesia in 1926 in the Democratic Congress for International Peace in Bierville, France. He fought against Dutch Imperialism; in the process, he got acquainted with nationalist leaders such as Sukarno. Since he abhorred imperialism, he did not hold much speech during the period of Japanese occupation. In December 1942, Hatta held a speech that he did not want Indonesia to be a colony again. (65) In 1945, he and Sukarno declared the independence of Indonesia. After the independence, he served as the first Vice-President of Indonesia. He is remembered as a hero to Indonesians today for his developing Indonesia in the fields of economy, politics and education. (66) For example, in early 1950s, he tried to establish cooperation between economy and science. (67)

VII.5 Suharto
            Suharto, who was the commander of the Army's strategic reserves, takes the position of president by coup d'etat in 1966, abdicating Sukarno. (68) The ruling style of Suharto was quite different from that of Sukarno. While Sukarno tried to settle democracy in the political system of Indonesia, Suharto maintained authoritarian military government from the beginning. However, he was successful in his political skill. (69)
            Suharto is blamed for his dictatorship more than Sukarno; advocates of Sukarno also criticize Suharto for being a military dictator. (70) Suharto suppressed opponents against him by using military power. Also, in order to be elected as the president of Indonesia for many times, Suharto transformed Golkar or Functional Groups (Golongan Karya) from the union of Non-government Organizations to a political party of his own. Since it was advertised as if voting for Golkar meant the loyalty toward the government, Golkar could enjoy its dominance for a long time; Suharto could pass bills easily as well. (71) Suharto's regime is portrayed as not only the period of dictatorship but also that of conflicts such as ethnic conflicts, religious conflicts and conflicts between resistance power and government army. Remarkably serious ones were battles between the Free Aech Movement and the national army in Aceh, attacks on Chinese in Jakarta in 1998, clashes between local people and Madurese immigrants in West and Central Kalimantan, witch hunts in East Java and fighting between Muslims and Christians in Central Sulawesi and the Moluccas. (72) Suharto oppressed his opponents with military power, which brought about more resistance. However, as the interest of Suharto and the Army became different, the balance of security and political and economic interest broke apart, which along with economic collapse in 1997 made Suharto resign. (73)
            Despite his harsh dictatorship, Suharto's political skill is still acknowledged. This skill to manage the security and political and economic interest between Suharto himself and the Army can be said to be successful since he maintained the balance for 32 years. (74) As for economy, the hyper-inflation decreased. In order to encourage foreigners to invest in Indonesia, Suharto privatized natural resources in Indonesia, made labor laws favorable to multinational corporations and confirmed funds for development from institutions such as World Bank, Western Banks and friendly governments. (75) As a result, Indonesian economy could be revived from near collapse although it was destroyed again in 1997 and 1998 in Asian financial crisis; the revived economy was followed by increase in welfare such as a basic education to almost all citizens and a successful family planning program. (76)

VIII. Conclusion
            Indonesia consists of diverse people; there are so many perspectives and different history for each region of Indonesia. Therefore, it is very hard to come up with unified view of the whole nation. It is the same for the discussion of heroes and villains in the history of Indonesia. A hero for certain group of people can be viewed as a villain for other group of people. As for figures in the ancient time, their evaluation is common to some extent. However, as for figures of 20th century, their evaluation tends to vary much. Such tendency is thought to be due to the extent of the remaining influence; the influence of ancient people is limited and in many aspects similar for most people, but that of near-current people is still crucial and different for each group of people. This shows the subjectivity of the topic of heroes and villains; depending on interpretation of descendents, the same person can be sorted as a hero or a villain. It shows that there is not any absolute hero or villain in history. Rather, according to the stands of historians and the current situation of the nation, figures in the past are judged and sorted.


1.      "Historiography". Wikipedia
2.      "Buddhist and Hindu Kingdoms reaches Sumatra". Ancient Indonesia
3.      "Buddhist and Hindu Kingdoms reaches Sumatra". Ancient Indonesia
4.      Sejarah Indonesia
5.      Mojopahiht Kings: Airlangga Story
6.      "Central Javanese Kingdoms". Ancient Indonesia
7.      Mojopahiht Kings: Raden Wijaya Story
8.      Majapahit Story: The History of Gajah Mada
9.      "The Hindu Kingdom of Mataram". Ancient Indonesia
10.      Sejarah Indonesia
11.      "Kublai Khan". Wikipedia
12.      World History KMLA
13.      "Sultan Agung". Wikipedia
14.      "Sultan Agung". Wikipedia
15.      "Sultan Agung". Wikipedia
16.      Sejarah Indonesia
17.      "Sultan Hasanuddin". Wikipedia
18.      "Sultan Hasanuddin". Wikipedia
19.      WhandiDotNet
20.      illuminationis
21.      WhandiDotNet
22.      Sejarah Indonesia
23.      Enotes ;
25.      Indonesia Tourism
26.      "Dutch East Indies". Wikipedia
27.      Central Java Tourism
28.      "Pangeran Diponegoro". Wikipedia
29.      "Pangeran Diponegoro". Wikipedia
30.      "Teuku Umar". Melayu Online
31.      "Teuku Umar". Wikipedia
32.      My Hero Project
33.      "Kartini". Wikipedia
34.      "Eduard Douwes Dekker". Wikipedia
35.      "Eduard Douwes Dekker". Wikipedia
36.      "Max Havelaar". Wikipedia
37.      "Eduard Douwes Dekker". Wikipedia
38.      "Ernest Douwes Dekker". Wikipedia
39.      "Ernest Douwes Dekker". Wikipedia
40.      "Ernest Douwes Dekker". Wikipedia
41.      KabarIndonesia
42.      "Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje". Wikipedia
43.      "J.B. Heutsz". Wikipedia
44.      Indonesia Matters
45.      Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Ottawa
46.      Modern Japan and Indonesia
47.      Modern Japan and Indonesia
48.      "Pig Basket Affair": General State Archive, Second Section, General Secretary 1942-1950, Archive of the Office of Japanese Affairs 1945-1948, Inventory number: 5284 cited from Dutch East Indies
49.      Sejarah Relasi Indonesia-Jepang
50.      "Amir Sjarifuddin". Wikipedia
51.      "Amir Sjarifuddin". Wikipedia
52.      "Amir Sjarifuddin". Wikipedia
53.      "Sukarno". Wikipedia
54.      "Sukarno". Wikipedia ; Sukarno (1965). Sukarno: An Autobiography. Bobbs-Merrill. pp.?192. cited in Friend, Theodore (2003). Indonesian Destinies. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp.?29.; Adams, Cindy (1967). My Friend the Dictator. Bobbs-Merrill. pp.?184?186
56.      Indonesia Monitor
57. ; Sejarah Indonesia
59.      "Amir Sjarifuddin". Wikipedia
60.      Encyclopedia Britannica
61.      The Transition to Democracy in Indonesia
62.      The Transition to Democracy in Indonesia
63.      New World Encyclopedia
64.      Indonesia Monitor
65.      Mohammad Hatta - The Proclaimers
66.      "Mohammad Hatta". Wikipedia
67.      Mohammad Hatta - The Proclaimers
68.      New World Encyclopedia
69.      "Suharto". Wikipedia
70.      Indonesia Monitor
71.      "Golkar". Wikipedia
72.      Explaining the Violent Solution in Indonesia
73.      The Transition to Democracy in Indonesia
74.      The Transition to Democracy in Indonesia
75.      "Suharto". Wikipedia
76.      "Suharto". Wikipedia


Note : websites quoted below were visited in June 2010.
Sources written from an Indonesian Perspective :
1.      Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Ottawa : History - Nationalist Movements,
2.      Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Berlin : History,
3.      "Hanacaraka". Wikipedia (Indonesian version),
4.      "Raden Wijaya". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
5.      "Hayam Wuruk". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
6.      "Kublai Khan". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
7.      "Khairun Jamil dari Ternate". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
8.      "Sultan Agung dari Mataram". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
9.      "Sultan Hasanuddin". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
10.      "Untung Suropati". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
11.      "Pangeran Diponegoro". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
12.      "Teuku Umar". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
13.      "Raden Ajeng Kartini". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
14.      "Mohammad Hatta". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
15.      "Amir Sjarifoeddin". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
16.      "Soekarno". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
17.      "Eduard Douwes Dekker". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
18.      "Max Havelaar". Wikipedia (Indonesian version)
19.      "Ernest Douwes Dekker". Wikipedia (Indonesian version),
20.      "EFE Douwes Dekker, Berjuang Melalui Ksatrian Institut". Fandy Hutari, Kabar Indonesia,
21.      "Teuku Umar". Melayu Online
22.      "Untung Surapati". WhandiDotNet, April 18, 2009
23.      "Banda Neira dan Sail Banda 2010".
24.      A Historical Glimpse, BALI & INDONESIA ON THE NET
25.      Sejarah Indonesia
26.      "The Legend of Aji Saka", Bbudoyono, HubPages
27.      Memory of Majapahit
28.      Kepulauan Banda (Banda Islands), Indonesia Tourism,
29.      "The Tomb of Sultan Hasanuddin". Indonesian Tourism,
30.      "Untung Surapati: the robber made hero". Illuminationis, Gnothi Se Auton, Maret 6, 2005
31.      Central Java Tourism, Disbudpar Prov. Jawa Tengah,
32.      Dutch East Indies
33.      "Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje", Wikipedia (Indonesian version),
34.      "Teacher Hero: Raden Ajeng Kartini". Ines from Jakarta, My Hero Project, June 6, 2006
35.      Hillen, Ernest The Way of a Boy ? A Memoir of Java, Penguin Books, August 3, 1994
36.      "Japanese Occupation" Indonesia Matters,
37.      Indonesia Monitor : The Sukarno Years,
38.      Ken'ichi, Goto Modern Japan and Indonesia-the dynamics and legacy of wartime rule, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, Japan, Indonesia and the WarMyths and realities 152 (1996), no: 4, Leiden, 536-552
39.      "Sejarah Relasi Indonesia-Jepang". Endang Suryadinata, June 9, 2008,
40.      Bhakti, Ikrar Nusa The Transition to Democracy in Indonesia: Some Outstanding Problems,
41.      Arfianto, Danang Dwi Persepti Siswa Terhadap Penokohan Mohammad Hatta Sebagai Pahlawan Nasional (Studi Kasus di SMA Negeri 1 Pecangaan Kabupaten Jepara) (Student Perception of Mohammad Hatta as a National Hero (Case Study di SMA Negeri 1 Pecangaan District Jepara)), Department of History, Faculty of Social Science, Semarang State University
43.      "Mohammad Hatta-The Proclaimers". Encyclopedia figure INDONESIA,
44.      Sudisman People of Indonesia, Unite and Fight to Overthrow the Fascist Regime, the Foreign Languages Press in Peking, 1968

Other Sources
45.      Cribb, Robert and Kahn, Audrey Historical Dictionary of Indonesia, The Scare crow Press, Inc., 2004
46.      World History KMLA: History of Indonesia,
47.      Theo Janssen, History of Dutch Imperialism in Indonesia,
48.      "Indonesia's History and Background", Asian Info
49.      Ganse, Alexander KMLA Handbook World History Third Edition Fall 2006.
50.      "Historiography". Wikipedia
51.      "History of Indonesia". Wikipedia
52.      "Javanese script". Wikipedia
53.      "Dutch East Indies". Wikipedia
54.      "Johannes van Heutsz". Wikipedia
55.      "Suharto". Wikipedia
56.      "Golkar". Wikipedia
57.      "Sukarno". Wikipedia
58.      AsiaRecipe.Com,
59.      Ancient Indonesia, Ancient Web
60.      The Indonesian Culture Center,
61.      "Ethnocide", Enotes
62.      De VOC Site : J.P. Coen
63. : Amir Sjarifuddin,
64.      Colombijn, Freek Explaining the Violent Solution in Indonesia, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Spring 2002 ? Volume IX, Issue 1
65.      "Sukarno". New World Encyclopedia
66.      Encyclopaedia Britannica : Introduction of Guided Democracy,

Back to WHKMLA Main Index . WHKMLA, Students' Papers Main Page . WHKMLA, Students' Papers, 12th Wave Index Page

Impressum · Datenschutz