*Photo: [Spaarnestad](https://www.nationaalarchief.nl/onderzoeken/fotocollectie/detail?limitstart=143&q_searchfield=indonesie&language=nl&imageType=Foto)*

After Indonesia's four-year war of independence, the Dutch were willing to leave Indonesia. However, there is still a problem left behind, namely the issue of West Irian. Because the negotiations reached a stalemate, it was finally agreed that the West Irian issue would be resolved at a later date.

In 1957 tensions rose, President Soekarno expelled the Dutch in Indonesia and took over Dutch companies in Indonesia because the West Irian issue was not resolved. The situation then developed further in 1960, President Soekarno wanted a military operation to seize West Irian. The Kingdom of the Netherlands did not have the good will to return West Irian to Indonesia, instead preparing for the formation of a free Irian state.

Indonesia then severed diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of the Netherlands and began preparing a military operation to seize West Irian, which was named Operation Mandala which started at the end of 1961.

The photo above shows when President Soekarno gave a speech to the masses in Makassar on January 4, 1962. Makassar is the largest city in Eastern Indonesia, which is adjacent to West Irian.

However, everyone knows that war costs a lot and drains the country's finances. Therefore, psychological war was played to avoid actual physical contact. Some clashes were unavoidable, but on a very small scale.

President Soekarno, who was close to the Eastern Bloc, asked the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia to sell war equipment. Diplomatic battles were also played at the UN forum, the international community urged the Dutch to leave West Irian. Seeing these developments, the United States finally withdrew its support for the Netherlands and asked to hand over the affairs of West Irian to the United Nations.

A few years later a referendum was held which resulted in the decision that the people of West Irian chose to join Indonesia.