19 September 1945. The CCP central committee releases its strategic directive, which emphasizes its intention to ‘develop into the north and defend against the south’. In so doing, it hopes to deter southern Nationalist forces from advancing northwards and for the CCP to take sole control of Jehol, Chahar and Manchuria.
19 September 1945. The arrival of a RAPWI team in Surabaya to prepare for the arrival of released internees from Central Java causes local disquiet. When a group of freed Dutch internees with Japanese support then raise the Dutch tricolour outside a central hotel, an angry local crowd attacks them and kills their Dutch leader. The blue stripe is torn from the tricolour, changing it into the red and white Republican flag.
19 September 1945. Determined to push the Republican cabinet into fully separating itself from the Japanese authorities, who still largely control the city and are now treating with the British, radical pemuda call a mass pro-independence rally in Jakarta’s Ikada Square in the government’s name. They take this action in defiance of Japanese orders and despite the opposition of Sukarno and Hatta, who threaten to resign. With Japanese machine-gunners ringing the square, Sukarno takes the stage and makes a brief public speech appealing to the 200,000-strong crowd to disperse. He succeeds. Involved in events but not appearing in public is the communist leader, Tan Malaka.
19 September 1945. Once a guerrilla fighter with Chinese communists in Manchuria and now a major in the Red Army, North Korea’s future leader arrives home, landing at the east coast port of Wonsan. The Soviets are dissatisfied with the current leadership of Korea’s communist party and suspicious of Cho Mansik, the powerful Christian conservative in their midst. Kim is thus an alternative future leader worth considering.
19 September 1945. Having already ordered the occupation of key positions in Saigon, including the governor-general’s palace from which the Southern Provisional Administrative Committee is expelled, General Gracey now declares martial law and forbids the printing of all newspapers. He is strengthened in this move after a meeting with Field Marshal Terauchi days earlier secured a Japanese commitment not to take sides but to obey British orders instead. As well as generally sidelining the Viet Minh, the British free all French internees and permit French ‘instigators’ to stage a show of strength. Unable to respond militarily, the Administrative Committee escalates its earlier anti-French sanctions into a general strike, calling on everyone to refuse to collaborate with the French in any way, whether militarily, administratively or economically.