History of Heroes' Day 10 November 1945

General / 13 October 2019

Heroes' Day 10 November 1945 is an annual commemoration to commemorate the Battle of Surabaya, where pro-independence Indonesian forces along with militias fought against British and Dutch forces as part of the Indonesian National Revolution. The battle of Surabaya, which is the historical background of Heroes' Day on November 10, 1945, reached its peak in that month, where a battle which was considered the heaviest battle of revolutions and then became a symbol of resistance for the Indonesian army. The battle which is considered a heroic action helped galvanize the Indonesian people and support from the international side for Indonesia. The Surabaya battle took place from 27 October to 20 November 1945 with an army of 20,000 infantry and 100,000 militia troops on the Indonesian side, while the British attacked with 30,000 troops plus tanks, planes and warships.



Background Regarding the Surabaya War
The commemoration of National Heroes' Day on November 10, 1945 will not begin if on August 17, 1945, Soekarno and Hatta did not declare Indonesian independence in Jakarta 2 days after the surrender of the Japanese empire to the Pacific war. News of this independence then spread throughout the islands, making Indonesian people feel a freedom where they later became pro-republicans. Within a few weeks after that, there was a vacuum of strength both from outside and inside Indonesia, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and opportunity for some parties. Sure enough, this was used by a group of Dutch troops assisted by several Japanese troops to raise the Dutch flag outside the Yamato Hotel on September 19, 1945. This angered Indonesian militia soldiers, where they killed small Dutch and Japanese combined forces to tear up the blue part of the Dutch flag. Because of this chaos, one of the leaders of a Dutch group called Mr Ploegman was killed.

The Surabaya War, which would later write the history of National Heroes' Day on November 10, 1945, had ignited a small fire when a senior Japanese commander in Surabaya named Shibata Yaichiro decided to support the Republic and stated that he was ready to help Indonesia with arms supplies. Unfortunately on October 3 Shibata surrendered to the Dutch Navy captain, where he then ordered his troops to give their remaining weapons to the people of Indonesia. The Indonesian people should have given their weapons to the allies, but they refused to do so.

The battle of Surabaya, which underlies the history of National Heroes' Day on November 10, 1945, entered a new phase on October 26, 1945 when A.W.S. Mallaby reached an agreement with Mr Suryo, then governor of East Java, that the British army would not order the Indonesian army or militia to surrender their weapons.

The Battle of Surabaya
The beginning of the Battle of Surabaya which will be commemorated as the history of National Heroes' Day on November 10, 1945 was on October 27, 1945 where a British aircraft from Jakarta distributed leaflets over Surabaya which forced Indonesian soldiers and militias to surrender their weapons. This angered Indonesian army and militia leaders because it was considered a violation of the agreement made by Mallaby. On October 28, an attack on British troops was launched in Surabaya and killed around 200 soldiers. Because of this, the British flew Sukarno, Hatta and Amir Syarifuddin Harahap to negotiate a ceasefire. Even after the ceasefire was agreed by the two parties, the fighting resumed because of communication problems and the two parties who did not trust each other.


On October 30, 1945, A.W.S Mallaby was traveling to Surabaya with the aim of spreading the word about the ceasefire agreement to his army. When his car started approaching the British army post in the International building near Jembatan Merah, suddenly a group of Indonesian Republican militia surrounded him and shot Mallaby. R.C. Smith who saw this incident threw a grenade from his car in the direction he thought the shooter was hiding. Although he did not know whether the grenade had hit the target, the grenade explosion caused the rear seat of the car to be burned. Some sources even claim that this explosion killed Mallaby. Apart from all that, Mallaby's death became a very significant starting point because it was the event that recorded the Early History of National Heroes' Day on November 10, 1945.

Philip Christison, who was then serving as Lieutenant General, was furious when he heard that Mallaby had died in Surabaya. Because of this, the British sent additional troops led by Major General Robert Masergh with Sherman and Stuart's tanks, 2 cruisers and 3 destroyers as supporters. On November 10, British troops began methodically advancing throughout the city using sea and air bombardments as their protectors. Despite the extraordinary struggle of the Indonesian people, almost all of the city of Surabaya was successfully occupied and the fighting ended after three weeks on 29 November. The fighting took the lives of 6,300 to 15,000 Indonesian troops and an estimated 200,000 people fled the city while Britain had only 600 lives.

Because of the Surabaya battle, the international side saw that Indonesian militias and military groups should not be underestimated, because the most frightening soldiers were soldiers who were no longer afraid of death, just like Indonesian soldiers who fought. Considering this huge battle, in 2013 there was an Indonesian film titled Sang Kiai which showed the early part of the war that led to the history of National Heroes Day on November 10, 1945.

A few short articles about the History of Heroes' Day on November 10, 1945, may be additional useful knowledge for all of you. Thank you for taking the time to visit our page Collection of History.


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