INDONESIA 1965 - THE CRISIS, THE COUP D'ETAT AND THE VICTORY OF GENERAL SUHARTO (Indonezja 1965 - kryzys, zamach stanu i zwyciestwo generala Suharto)
General Suharto, who has ruled Indonesia for 33 years with an iron fist, remains a highly controversial figure and pertinent debates have not died down up to this day. They are caused by the events, which enabled the dictator to initiate his regime, known as the New Order. Until recently, the developments in question have been insufficiently studied and gave rise to incessant scientific discussions. On the other hand, the topic has been inadequately popularised and the ensuing disagreement was limited to a narrow circle. In the mid-1960s growing rivalry for power, which involved the army and the Communist Party of Indonesia, was resolved in a violent confrontation, whose characteristic features included an enormous escalation of violence. The victorious army deprived President Sukarno of power, and led to the physical extermination of the opponents. About half a million supporters of the Communist Party of Indonesia were annihilated, and an undetermined group was imprisoned without court trial, tortured and dispossessed. A pretext for dealing with the communists was supplied by an unsuccessful coup d'etat carried out on 1 October 1956 in Djakarta by a group of conspirators associated with Aidit, the leader of the Communist Party of Indonesia, and members of the so-called 30 September Movement. The conspirators abducted and murdered six generals from the armed forces staff. Quite possibly, the originally planned objectives of this initiative were quite different, but due to the astonishing incompetence of the organisers and the errors committed at the stage of planning, the conspirators suffered a defeat. General Suharto, who in a charismatic manner assumed command of the armed forces, benefited from assorted favourable circumstances, including the death of his superiors, and conducted a shattering counteroffensive. Its outcome made it possible not only to liquidate the movement but also in two years to eliminate, for all practical purposes, all other forms of political opposition and to carry out an actual coup d'etat, which established military rule. The United States, which for long had been secretly supporting the Indonesian army, enthusiastically welcomed the rightist general, who destroyed the third largest communist party in the world and assumed rule in a strategically located territory. This reaction was obvious in the face of the overall political and military situation in South-East Asia and the growing involvement of the USA in Vietnam. Nonetheless, the greatest emotions of the commentators were incited by the suspicions that American diplomats and special forces actively assisted the emergent regime in the mass-scale murders of the communists. The most recent sources, including documents made available in the last years, fully confirm these assumptions.
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