12 November 1945. Despite the creation of a formal army, the TKR, on 5 October, defence of the new Indonesian Republic is still highly decentralized. Local commanders are negotiating with Japanese forces and assessing local vulnerabilities and opportunities without reference to any central authority. Finally, regional commanders meet in Yogyakarta and elect the commander from Banyumas Regency, a former auxiliary commander under the Japanese called Sudirman, choosing him in preference to Oerip Sumohardjo (see p. 138). The election marks a shift in Republican policy towards more forceful military resistance, as Sudirman immediately orders an assault on British and Dutch forces in Ambarawa that leads to their withdrawal.
11 November 1945. Finding himself increasingly marginalized within the People’s Republic and tacitly accepting General Hodge’s demand that the KPR reorganize itself as a political party, Yŏ Unhyŏng resigns his KPR positions. He then establishes the People’s Party, a moderate but short-lived left-wing political party. Yŏ’s departure effectively leaves the communists in control of the KPR but sidelined by the U.S. military government, which rejects its leftist agenda.
11 November 1945. Ho Chi Minh has been under growing pressure from Chinese generals to accept members of the Nationalist Party and Revolutionary League into his government, and an accord in late October between the Viet Minh and two northern nationalist parties has not been enough; nationalist criticism remains intense. In a move designed to allay American, Chinese and also domestic fears of a communist takeover in Vietnam, Ho calls together a meeting of the ICP and instructs its leaders to announce voluntary dissolution of the party. Vietnam’s opportunity to gain complete independence should not be jeopardized by differences of class or political party, the closing resolution declares. In reality, the ICP returns to operate in the shadows, though now protected rather than hounded by the police. The dissolution of the party nonetheless raises doubts among French, Chinese and especially Soviet communists as to the ideological commitment of the ICP in general and the ideological mettle of Ho Chi Minh in particular.
10 November 1945. With local leaders rejecting the previous day’s British ultimatum, British forces attack early next morning, their troops backed by tanks and by aerial and naval bombardment. Three weeks of savage fighting pass before the city falls. Though a crushing military defeat for Republican forces, it is a strategic and political victory as the British realize they are unable to repeat such feats across the entire country.
9 November 1945. During a week of relative quiet in Surabaya following Sukarno’s peace broadcast, up to 8,000 internees are successfully evacuated. Once completed, the British seek revenge for Mallaby’s killing. All women and children are warned to leave the city by evening and an impossible ultimatum in leaflets dropped from the air demands all arms are handed in by dawn and Mallaby’s killers handed over. With the Republican government dithering, the local authorities reject the ultimatum.