Contending and compromising: The formation of eastern Indonesian identity during the revolution (1945-1950)

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This study examines the process of shaping the political identity of Eastern Indonesia in 1945-1950, which was a dynamic change due to Eastern Indonesia's pluralistic character and different historical experiences. The dynamic aspects were spurred by the competition between new national identities promoted after the Proclamation of Independence on August 17, 1945, wherein pre-national identities were merged, both local and regional, that were deeply rooted in society. Interestingly, the identity issue during this period has been freely and transparently discussed in the public sphere. The issue to be addressed is to what extent local political figures played a role in establishing process of political identity in Eastern Indonesia, so that it could be incorporated into the country's historiography, which had lacked space in Indonesia's national history for more than fifty years. The sources used included the speeches of local political figures published in local newspapers and magazines during the revolution and archives of the State of East Indonesia. Using the historical method these primary sources would be examined along with secondary sources. This study argued that among the people of Eastern Indonesia, the multi-political identities - national and pre-national - could co-exist harmoniously without contesting one another. This is different from the political identity supported by the Republic of Indonesia after the Proclamation of Independence, as pre-national identity was to be eliminated since it was considered as countering Indonesian revolution. This leads to the lack of Eastern Indonesian perspectives in Indonesia national historiography, particularly in the historiography of the revolution era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3375-3389
Number of pages15
JournalPertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Dec 2020


  • Eastern Indonesia
  • Indonesian historiography
  • Political identity
  • Revolution period


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