Alternate History

1988: The Austro-Indonesian War

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In 1975, Australia gave Papua New Guinea independence. In 1988, a war broke out over Bougainville that left 15,000 dead and Bougainville a Papuan territory. What if, however, Australia never gave Papua New Guinea independence, and Indonesia invaded the island?


December 1st

The Bougainville Civil War begins with violence between Bougainville separatists and Australian military authorities.

December 2nd

Indonesia and the Solomon Islands declare their support for Bougainville. Indonesian leaders plan to use it as an excuse for the invasion of Bougainville.

December 3rd

Indonesia orders Australia to give Bougainville independence. Australia refuses, so Indonesian forces invade via Irian Jaya Province.

December 4th

Australia sends its military to defend East Papua from Indonesia. Meanwhile, it sends helicopters and ships of men to the Lower Sunda Islands.

December 5th

New Zealand joins the war on the Australian side. 

December 7th

Australian troops occupy Timor and liberate the nation of East Timor, illegally declared a province of Indonesia.

December 8th

The Australian Army begins an offensive to the north of the Maoke Mountains, separating Irian Jaya between north and south.

December 9th

Australian forces enter Jayapura, the capital of Irian Jaya. Meanwhile, Australian forces begin to overrun the poorly defended Lesser Sunda Islands. Flores and Sumba fall that same day.

December 10th

The former colonizers of New Guinea the Netherlands and Germany declare their support for Australia.

December 11th

Jayapura falls to Australian forces who have already made their way to the West Coast of Irian Jaya. The UN cites human rights abuses in Bougainville by separatists and condemns Indonesia, calling their casus belli illegitimate.

December 12th

The Southern Offensive begins. Muting falls quickly. Sumbawa is overwhelmed on Indonesian territory. The Solomon Islands, fearing for their independence, pull out of the war.

December 13th

The UN places embargoes on Indonesia. Many Indonesian soldiers begin to surrender.

December 14th

New Zealand bombs Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. As Australian forces are predicted to reach Java by the 20th, many are calling for Suharto to step down as President.

December 15th

Australian push forward to far-West Papua while Bali is being occupied.

December 16th

Suharto agrees to a peace treaty, pressured by the UN. It is determined to be signed in Manila on February 1st. However, fighting in Bougainville does not cease.


February 1st

The peace terms are agreed on. Irian Jaya, Sumba, Flores, The Maluku Islands, and West Timor are ceded to Australia. Bougainville will become an autonomous self-governing region of Australia. East Timor will become an independent nation.

Indonesia is humiliated by the treaty as it loses the entire eastern portion of its country. At the same time, Australia is confirmed as the dominant power in the South West Pacific.

The war is colloquially known as the Two-Week War in Australia and Indonesia.

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