Sejarah Indonesia

The Sukarno years: 1950 to 1965



September Natsir and the Masyumi party lead first government of fully independent Indonesia.

September 26 Indonesia is admitted to the United Nations.

Sumatra is reorganized into North Sumatra, Central Sumatra, and South Sumatra provinces. Aceh, which had been made into a separate province by the PRDI government of Prawiranegara in 1949, is incorporated into North Sumatra province.

Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta is created with provincial status, in recognition of the service to the Republic given by Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX.

November Ambon, center of Republic of South Maluku, falls to Indonesian forces.

December 4 Unsuccessful conference meets to discuss the future of West Irian.

Beginning of transmigrasi (resettlement) from Java and Bali to less-populated islands, notably Kalimantan, now sponsored by the Indonesian government.


The Assembly that was seated directly after the adoption of the August 1950 constitution was not elected. It remained seated until the 1955 elections, during the rise and fall of many parliamentary governments.



January Shakeup in the leadership of the PKI; the new leadership is Aidit, Lukman, Njoto, and Sudisman. The new leadership directs the party to work within the system. The new party line is nationalist, anti-Dutch, anti-Western and anti-capitalist.

Prawiranegara is the first governor of Bank Indonesia.

Some colonial soldiers from Ambon refuse to join the Indonesian armed forces and are relocated to the Netherlands.

March 3 Friendship treaty with India signed.

April Natsir government falls due to its economic austerity programs. New government is formed under a Masyumi-PNI coalition: Sukiman Wirjosandjojo of the Masyumi party is Prime Minister.

AugustLt. Col. Kahar Muzakkar leads a rebellion by disgruntled soldiers in South Sulawesi.

August Strikes and unrest break out, provoked by the PKI. Over 15,000 arrests are made of PKI members, particularly in Medan and Jakarta. PKI leadership hides briefly.

Sweep of arrests of PUSA (Persatuan Ulama Seluruh Aceh) activists in Aceh.

Sukarno was an activist for independence under the Dutch in the 1930s, and under the Japanese in the 1940s. He was the first President of Indonesia, he described the national ideology of Pancasila and is still a popular historical figure today. However, his presidency ended in economic and political disorder.

The transfer of leadership in the PKI in January marked a strong change of direction for the Communists. Instead of trying to work with other left-wing groups or even trying to infiltrate them, the PKI would instead appeal directly to the masses and represent itself openly. In 1951, party membership was only a few thousand; by 1958, it was 1.5 million.

The crackdown on PKI activities in August further led the PKI leadership to pursue a policy of finding allies in government--which would eventually lead to their pursuit of Sukarno himself as an ally. The PKI would frequently claim to have close ties with Sukarno in order to protect themselves; Sukarno in turn would manipulate the PKI to serve his own ends or to counterbalance other political forces (the military or Muslim parties) so that no one force could become too powerful.



January Rebels led by Lt. Col. Kahar Muzakkar in South Sulawesi declare allegiance to the Darul Islam movement (Negara Islam Indonesia) led by Kartosuwirjo.

February 23 Sukiman cabinet falls over the issue of accepting military aid from the USA.

April 4 PNI-Masyumi coalition government takes power. Wilopo is Prime Minister. Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX of Yogya is defense minister.

August Wahid Hasyim and Nahdlatul Ulama withdraw from Masyumi Party, feeling that it had become dominated by "modernists". NU becomes its own political party.

April 28 PELNI shipping service is created out of several smaller government-run services to compete with the Dutch-owned KPM.

Wilopo releases many political prisoners, cuts budget expenditures, plans for demobilization of army units with Sultan of Yogya, General Simatupang, and Colonel A. H. Nasution, among others.

July Discontent builds among some military factions over possible demobilizations.

Netherlands states that it will not give up West Irian.

October 17 Army personnel, equipment, and demonstrators in front of Presidential Palace demand that plans for demobilization of armed forces be cancelled. Sukarno speaks to crowd and disperses them. Sukarno, Hatta, and Wilopo hold talks with Simatupang, Nasution, and other top armed forces officers.

Government of "Republic of South Maluku" captured, taken to Jakarta for trial.

November Col. Gatot Subroto, head of military in East Indonesia, is forced out of his headquarters in Ujung Pandang by Col. Warouw.

December 18 Nasution is dismissed. Sultan of Yogya resigns as defense minister.

Mohammed Hatta
Hatta had been a tireless supporter of Indonesian independence since his days as a student in the Netherlands in the 1920s. He was a Minangkabau from Sumatra and a faithful Muslim. During the 1940s and 1950s, he was seen as an advocate for the interests of Muslims and people from outside of Java. He resigned as Vice-President just before the PRRI rebellion, and while he did not support the rebellion, he was sympathetic to the rebels' concerns. He continued to play a role in public life into the 1970s.

5 Rupiah note from 1952, with portrait of Raden Kartini.



January Sukarno gives a speech at Amuntai on Kalimantan which includes a statement against proposals for an Islamic state, that Indonesia should include both Muslims and non-Muslims. Masyumi members are unhappy with the statement.

May Indonesia sends ambassador to P.R. China.

June 3 Wilopo resigns as Prime Minister.

August 1 PNI-led government takes power. Ali Sastroamidjojo is Prime Minister.

September 20 Daud Beureu'eh declares rebellion in Aceh against central government; makes contact with Darul Islam rebels in West Java.

East Timor is made a province of Portugal.

Borneo is renamed Kalimantan Province.

Tin industry on Bangka is nationalized.

S. M. Kartosuwirjo was the head of the Darul Islam rebellion, and at one point was the focus of several Islamic movements to overthrow the central government under Sukarno. He was captured and executed in 1962.



Military officers are banned from campaigning in uniform.

April Sastroamidjojo takes part in a meeting of Asian Prime Ministers from India, Burma, Pakistan, and Ceylon at Colombo.

Talks begin on dissolving the Netherlands-Indonesia constitutional union.

Indonesia unsuccessfully tries to have the UN pass a resolution against Dutch possession of Irian Jaya.



February 17 Conference of army officers at Yogya; factions within army reconcile.

April Asia-Afrika conference held in Bandung; delegates from 24 nations attend, including Chou En-Lai, Nehru and Nasser. Important beginning for non-aligned movement. Indonesia signs agreement with China giving Chinese in Indonesia dual citizenship. Conference issues statement supporting Indonesia's claim to West Irian.

August 12 Masyumi-led government takes power just before elections. Harahap is Prime Minister.

September 29 Elections show big gains for NU and PKI, but disappointment for Masyumi; many small parties win seats.

October 27 Nasution, returned to active service, becomes major general and army chief of staff.

Harahap tries to restart talks with the Dutch regarding the status of West Irian; the talks fail due to lack of Dutch cooperation.

December Elections are held for the "Konstituante" assembly: an assembly to draw up a new constitution.

The elections of September 1955 are sometimes called "the only free elections that Indonesia has ever had". However, they did not succeed in making a government that the people could trust. The government that emerged was split into tiny factions, and none of the groups competing for power (Islamic politicians, the military, the Communists) were satisfied. Islamic parties together received nearly 45% of the vote, but they could not come together in cooperation.

President Sukarno casts his vote in the 1955 elections.


March 20 Assembly (DPR) convenes. PNI-Masyumi-NU coalition forms government. Ali Sastroamidjojo is Prime Minister.

May Sukarno visits U.S.

May 8 Constitutional union between Indonesia and the Netherlands is dissolved.

PT Bank Kopra Indonesia (later Bank Danamon) is founded.

Aidit visits Soviet Union.

Nahdlatul Ulama issues a ruling that Sukarno and the Indonesian government are the legitimate government for Muslims, and should be obeyed, at least until an Islamic state can be established.

Borneo is divided into East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and West Kalimantan provinces.

May Sukarno visits the United States.

June Government clamps down on smuggling in Minahasa.

July 26 Hatta announces that he will resign as Vice-President on December 1.

August 4 Indonesian government repudiates 85% of its debt to the Netherlands.

August 13 Foreign Minister Abdulgani is arrested on trumped-up charges of corruption just before leaving for talks on the Suez crisis in London. P.M. Sastroamidjojo manages his release; a later inquiry found him innocent.

October Attempted coup while Sukarno visits the Soviet Union and China.

October 28 Sukarno gives a speech calling on the nation to "bury political parties"--first suggestion of "guided democracy".

November 10 "Konstituante" convenes to consider a new constitution. Sessions become deadlocked on the question of whether Islam or the Pancasila should be the guiding philosophy of the nation.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer starts supporting PKI.

First family planning clinic in Jakarta.

November Second failed coup attempt by disgruntled army officers in Siliwangi division.

December 1 Hatta resigns as vice-president. (No vice-presidents again until 1973.)

December 16 48 Army officers from Sumatra sign a manifesto critical of the central government in Jakarta.

December 20 Col. Hussein seizes administration in Padang. Col. Simbolon seizes administration in Medan, then retreats into the hills.

Dutch establish first post at Wamena in Baliem Valley on West Irian.

Suharto becomes commander of Diponegoro division in Central Java.

Soumokil, former leader of Republik Maluku Selatan, is captured.

The Sastroamidjojo government pursued policies of "Indonesianization", but these policies increased corruption and inflation, and discouraged investment. Many military officers opposed this government.

In 1956, Sukarno sent some local military commanders who had been building power bases in their districts to diplomatic postings overseas.

In the mid-1950s, it cost the Dutch over Fl. 100 million per year to administer West Irian.

Much of the foreign debt that was repudiated in 1956 was actually left over from the original Netherlands Indies government, and was transferred to the Republic of Indonesia as part of the final settlements with the Dutch.



Central Sumatra province is divided into Jambi, Riau, and West Sumatra provinces.

January 9 Masjumi withdraws from the government, causing the governing coalition to collapse.

Nasution meets Hussein and Simbolon for talks at Palembang.

February 20 PT Astra International (later known as Astra Group) is founded.

February 21 Sukarno formally proposes "guided democracy" in a speech.

February 21 Bank Central Asia is founded.

March 2 Lt.-Col. Sumual takes control of government functions in eastern Indonesia from Ujung Pandang: beginning of "Permesta" rebellion. Sumual demands more power for Sukarno, less for the Assembly and Cabinet, and expresses dissatisfaction in Ali Sastroamidjojo.

March 14 Ali Sastroamidjojo resigns. Sukarno proclaims martial law, and flies to Medan to give speeches in spite of the rebellion.

Press censorship is reintroduced.

Nasution orders arrest of many politicians due to corruption.

April 9 Sukarno appoints "working cabinet" (Kabinet Karya), with Djuanda as P.M., including Chaerul Saleh, Subandrio as foreign minister.

Rebels in Aceh agree to ceasefire.

Jakarta area is reorganized as DKI Jakarta (Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta--Jakarta Special District).

Maluku is restored as a province.

Aceh is separated from North Sumatra and made a province again.

May Sukarno appoints 41 leaders of "functional groups" to an advisory Dewan Nasional.

June Rebel army officers in Manado declare autonomous state of North Sulawesi (beginning of Piagam Perjuangan Semesta, or Permesta, rebellion).

Ibrahim Ya'acob renounces Malayan citizenship and moves to Jakarta.

July Grenade attack on PKI offices in Jakarta.

PKI makes gains in local elections; becomes the leading party in Central Java.

September Various rebellious officers from Sumatra and Sulawesi meet in Padang to coordinate forces.

September 10 "Musjawarah Nasional" conference, led by Djuanda, is held with informal representatives from all parts of the county, including some Permesta and other rebel representatives, to discuss reconciliation. The conference has little effect.

Masyumi meets in Palembang; declares that good Muslims cannot also be Communists, demands that PKI be outlawed.

October Government promotes and coordinates an anti-Dutch boycott.

November 29 UN resolution calling for transfer of West Irian to Indonesia fails.

November 30 Grenade attack on Sukarno at Cikini School in Jakarta. Six children are killed, over a hundred wounded. Sukarno escapes almost unharmed.

December 1 Sukarno announces that the holdings of 246 Dutch businesses will be nationalized.

December 3 PKI- and PNI-led unions begin seizing Dutch properties.

Many Dutch-owned ships sail into international waters to avoid nationalization.

December 5 Government orders 46,000 Dutch citizens to be expelled.

December 10 Permina (later Pertamina), the state-owned oil company, is founded.

December 13 Gen. Nasution orders the army to manage the seized Dutch enterprises. Nasution puts Ibnu Sutowo in charge of the Permina oil company.

Natsir, Harahap, Sjafruddin and other Masyumi figures move to rebel-held areas after receiving threats and insults from Communists and others.

"Guided Democracy" was Sukarno's idea to unify the Cabinet by including members of all political parties, and to create a new National Council to counterbalance the unstable Assembly. From the beginning, Sukarno had been unhappy with the the chaos of party politics. Critics of Sukarno and his new concept saw it as a step towards a more Communist-friendly government. Guided Democracy in practice did not lead to more power for Communists, rather it led to more power for Sukarno himself.

Sukarno's nationalization of Dutch businesses hurt the economy more than it helped it. Civil servants and military officers who ran the companies in the name of the government found it difficult to compete on the world's markets, and found themselves tempted by corruption--especially as their salaries became smaller and smaller due to inflation. Sukarno did not nationalize the entire oil industry, however, leaving critical operations in the hands of Caltex, Stanvac and Shell.

In the mid-1950s, the most powerful labor organization was the SOBSI federation of trade unions, which was closely aligned with the PKI. In 1957, it claimed to have 2.7 million members. Since most large businesses and heavy industries were still foreign-owned, the PKI and SOBSI were able to include nationalist appeals in their organization campaigns. However, this also meant that the nationalization of businesses turned labor organizations from opponents of foreign interests into opponents of the government--which caused problems for the PKI.

In 1957, Gen. Nasution went to Washington to ask for a US$650 million loan for military aid. The United States turned him down; he then went to Moscow and received US$250 million in credit from the Soviet Union. In 1958, Indonesia asked the United States for military aid again and received it. This playing of one side against the other was typical of Sukarno's presidency.



January 6 Sukarno leaves on foreign tour to Japan, India, and other Asian countries.

Nasution gives speech at Magelang suggesting a dual role for the military: both a military force and an organization for social development. Beginning of "dwifungsi" doctrine.

February Rebellious officers meet in Padang while Sukarno is in Thailand. Masyumi leaders join in, including Natsir.

February 10 Hussein demands that the Djuanda goverment step down in five days.

February 15 Rebels set up rival PRRI government (Pemerintah Revolusioner Republik Indonesia) at Bukittingi. Prawiranegara is PRRI President. Natsir and Harahap of Masyumi support the PRRI, as odes Djojohadikusumo of the PSI party. Permesta rebels in Sulawesi join forces with PRRI. The USA promises secret aid to the rebels. Sukarno demands a hard response.

February 16 Sukarno returns from abroad.

February 21 Air Force bombs Padang, Bukittingi, and Manado.

March Army units from Diponegoro and Siliwangi divisions land in Sumatra and take Medan.

April Padang falls to central government forces.

May Bukittingi falls to central government forces, as does Gorontalo on Sulawesi.

May 18 US pilot Alan Pope is shot down over Ambon while secretly helping PRRI rebels.

June Manado falls to central government forces.

July Nasution suggests bringing back 1945 constitution with addition of "Jakarta Charter".

Publication Licenses (Surat Ijin Terbit) are introduced: newspapers and magazines may not publish without one, and they can be revoked by the government.

August Army takes over businesses in Indonesia that are owned by residents with Taiwanese (Republic of China) citizenship.

September Nasution declares a ban on Masyumi and other political parties in areas that had supported PRRI or Permesta.

Ibnu Sutowo begins working with American and Japanese businessmen to build Permina as a state oil company.

Indonesia and China ratify a 1954 treaty stating that resident Chinese with dual nationality must choose one citizenship or the other by December 1962.

Anak Agung Bagus Suteja becomes governor of Bali (until 1965). He is partial to the PKI, and increases the number of PKI members in administration and civil service on Bali.

Perhimpunan Buddhis Indonesia is founded.

OctoberAnti-Chinese campaign targets shops, newspapers, and other institutions with ties to Nationalist China (Taiwan).

Sunda Kecil province is divided into Bali, Nusa Tenggara Barat, and Nusa Tenggara Timur provinces.

Central Kalimantan (Kalimantan Tengah) is made a separate province, after tensions between Dayaks in rural areas and Muslims in Banjarmasin.

November 22 PKI asks Sukarno to soften the growing anti-Chinese campaigns.

The rebellions of 1957-58 were not so much attempts to break away from Indonesia as they were attempts to get more local control over local affairs and resources within Indonesia.

The Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, and the new country of Malaya were sympathetic to the PRRI rebellion.

During 1958, Sukarno advanced the idea of giving "functional groups" or "golongan karya" seats in the government. These "functional groups" included professional, labor, agricultural, and student organizations, but also the military.

Djuanda held several high positions in government while Sukarno was President. He was generally considered to be a moderate, practical voice in government.



January Britain signs a new treaty with Brunei: Britain will be responsible for defense and foreign affairs; otherwise Brunei will be self-governing. Sultan of Brunei promises elections in two years.

April Sukarno leaves on world tour.

May 14 Decree is issued that foreigners will be banned from doing business in rural areas in six months. ("Foreigners" included ethnic Chinese who still held citizenship in the People's Republic of China or Republic of China/Taiwan.)

May 29 "Konstituante", meeting in Bandung, considers bringing back the 1945 constitution. It rejects the Jakarta Charter, without which the Nahdlatul Ulama would not support the 1945 constitution. The final vote is just short of the two-thirds needed to bring back the original constitution. Further votes are taken through June 2 with almost identical results.

Followers of Daud Beureu'eh in Aceh abandon him, and make a separate peace with the Indonesian government.

July 5 Sukarno reestablishes the 1945 constitution by decree.

July 5 Sukarno dissolves the Assembly, then reseats it under the 1945 constitution: the "MPR Sementara" or provisional MPR. Sukarno adds 94 extra members to represent the provinces, and another 200 to represent "functional groups"--plus the original 281, making a new total of 575, most of them now selected by Sukarno.

New "Kabinet Kerja" is announced; Sukarno starts reorganizing government through appointments; decrees that civil servants cannot belong to political parties; starts to replace local elected officials with appointed ones. Dewan Nasional is dismissed. Sukarno makes himself Prime Minister, leaves Djuanda as "First Minister", and names Subandrio as deputy Prime Minister. Subandrio resigns from the PNI.

August 17 Sukarno calls his new system of government-by-decree "Manifesto Politik" or Manipol. The ideology is not well-defined, but newspapers that do not support it are closed down.

August 28 Rupiah is devalued: Rp 1000 are now Rp 100; banknotes over Rp 25,000 are demonetized.

Army begins moving ethnic Chinese from rural areas to cities. As many as 100,000 leave Indonesia for the People's Republic of China over the next year; another 17,000 for Taiwan.

Parisada Dharma Hindu Bali is founded to promote the interests of Hinduism as a religion (later Parisada Hindu Dharma).

Army attempts to withhold permission from the PKI to hold its party congress. Sukarno intervenes to allow the PKI congress to be held, although under restrictions, and addresses the congress himself.

Uprising in East Timor gains Indonesian backing, but is suppressed by Portugal.

Nasution combines all veteran's organizations into one group under army control.

October Nasution dismisses Suharto as commander of the Diponegoro division, after Suharto is found to be using his military office to demand money from Central Java businesses. Suharto is reassigned to the military staff college in Bandung.

December 7 Aceh is made a Propinsi Daerah Istimewa (Province and Special Area).

Gen. A. H. Nasution
Nasution had a long career in and out of leadership in Indonesia. He was a major military leader during the struggle for independence, commanding the Siliwangi division in West Java. In 1952, he was dismissed from his command during a period of conflict between the army and Sukarno. By 1955, he was back in favor. In 1958, during the time of the PRRI and Permesta rebellions, Nasution first suggested the idea that would later be called "dwifungsi", the "dual function" of the military, the idea that the military should have social and even political obligations as well as defense duties.

In the early 1960s, Nasution was an opponent of the growing power of the PKI. He barely escaped the coup attempt of September 30, 1965 with his life, jumping over the wall to the Iraqi ambassador's residence next door. Nasution had investigated Suharto for corruption in the 1950s; later, in 1980, Nasution was a signer of the "Petition of Fifty" that criticized Suharto as President.

The "dwifungsi" concept was Nasution's idea to find a middle way between democracy, which some people in the late 1950s felt had failed, and outright military dictatorship, which Nasution wanted to avoid. But in practice, military units began to skim money from companies that Sukarno had nationalized, to collect customs and tolls, even to engage in smuggling--especially since Sukarno's government was able to pay them less every year. While some military men built roads, schools and mosques in their civil service, for others used their position as a military man in civil service to engage in corruption.

In the 1950s, "dwifungsi" was seen as a way to avoid giving total power to the military. By the 1990s, the "dwifungsi" concept was criticized by some as giving far too much influence to the military.



Sukarno begins using new slogan: "Nasakom", for Nasionalisme, Agama (religion), Komunisme.

January Khrushchev visits Jakarta.

Soviets begin a large-scale program of military aid to Indonesia, including advanced bombers and submarines.

March The elected Assembly (DPR) rejects Sukarno's budget. Both PKI representatives and members of Muslim parties (normally strong opponents) criticize Sukarno's disregard for parliamentary procedures.

March 5 Sukarno dissolves the Assembly, and replaces it with an appointed Assembly: the "DPR-Gotong Royong". Military officers are appointed to the DPR for the first time.

"Liga Demokrasi" group is founded by individuals from Muslim parties and the military sharing an anti-communist outlook. The group is later banned by Sukarno.

July 8 PKI criticizes the cabinet in an article in Harian Rakyat. Army detains the entire PKI Politburo for questioning; Sukarno has them released.

July 21 The Supreme Advisory Council meets, including Sukarno, Nasution and Aidit. Among other things, the various parties agree to "confrontation" with the Dutch over West Irian.

August 17 Indonesia breaks off diplomatic relations with the Netherlands over West Irian.

August 17 Masyumi and PSI parties are banned. Some local army commanders ban the PKI in their areas.

September Sukarno flies to New York with Nasution and Aidit to speak to the U.N. General Assembly. Nasution makes a side trip to Washington to seek military aid.

Sulawesi is divided into North Sulawesi and South Sulawesi provinces.

Last traces of "Zelfbesturen" or autonomy for local rulers are removed from the law. (The D.I. Yogyakarta is not included in this.)

Nasution visits Moscow, seeking military aid from the Soviet Union.

Sukarno with his daughter and future president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, at a state reception in January, 1960.

By 1960, the Nahdlatul Ulama organization had become an important supporter of Sukarno (the "agama" in "NASAKOM"). NU head Kyai Wahab Chasbullah was an old acquaintance of Sukarno going back to the 1920s, when they had both known H.O.S. Cokroaminoto in Surabaya. However, support for Sukarno by Chasbullah and other top figures led to deep divisions in the organization, so much so that by mid-1965, rival pro- and anti-Sukarno leaders of NU were conducting the organization's business from their separate living rooms in Jakarta.



January Soviet Union gives Indonesia US$400 million in arms credits following Nasution's visit.

Construction begins on MONAS, the National Monument, in Jakarta.

Indonesia begins to fall behind on its foreign debt payments.

January Nasution visits Washington. The U.S. declines to give military aid.

February Remnants of "Permesta" guerillas in Sulawesi begin surrendering after offer of amnesty.

March KOSTRAD special forces unit is founded, with Suharto as commander.

April Sukarno visits United States and meets with President Kennedy. Sukarno tells Kennedy that if the United States supports him, he will oppose communism.

April 20 Work begins on a proposed nuclear research facility at Bandung, with U.S. support.

May Tengku Abdul Rahman, Prime Minister of Malaya, proposed a federation of Malaya, Singapore, and the British territories on Borneo.

May 29 Last of Permesta rebels in Sulawesi surrender.

June Remnants of PRRI and Darul Islam movements in Sumatra and Java begin surrendering.

Rebels in Aceh divide into factions, weaken.

Dutch begin organizing "Nieuw-Guinea Raad", a council to prepare for independence for West Irian.

September Indonesia introduces the West Irian issue into the U.N. General Assembly again, and is again unsuccessful.

Sukarno reaffirms his right to send people into internal exile (a holdover from colonial times).

September 26 Netherlands foreign minister Luns tells the U.N. General Assembly that the Netherlands would be willing to yield West Irian to U.N. administration.

October 9 Subandrio addresses the U.N. General Assembly, suggesting that Indonesia would be willing to use force to take West Irian if peaceful means are exhausted.

All scouting groups are merged by Sukarno into Pramuka (Praja Muda Karana).

November Ishak bin Haji Mohammed and Boestamam, leaders of the Socialist Front in Malaya, fly to Jakarta for meetings with Ibrahim Ya'acob and PKI chairman Aidit.

November 20 Malaya officially informs the Indonesian government of the plans for the new Malaysia. Subandrio states that Indonesia has no objection.

Sukarno signs treaty of friendship and cooperation with the People's Republic of China.

PKI members have violent clashes with local officials in Kediri.

Army removes several new village leaders in West Java who are also PKI members.

December 16 Lembaga Persiapan Industri Penerbangan (LAPIP) is founded to lead efforts to build an Indonesian aircraft manufacturing industry. An agreement is signed with a Polish state-run aircraft manufacturer which leads to the production of 44 light aircraft ("Gelatik") in Bandung.

December 19 Sukarno announces that he will take over West Irian by force if necessary. Sukarno declares Trikora or "three commands": stop a Dutch-created state in West Irian, mobilize, and raise the merah-putih flag. Gens. Nasution and Ahmad Yani are in charge of military actions in West Irian; the Mandala command is headed by Maj.-Gen. Suharto.

PKI declares its opposition to the planned creation of the new nation of Malaysia.

Sukarno and U.S. President Kennedy
Sukarno made friendly advances to the USA, the Soviet Union and later, China. He tried to play one against another, but by the mid-1960s, seemed to be closest to the China of Mao.

A later photo of Suharto in Kostrad gear.



January Assassination attempt on Sukarno while visiting Sulawesi; many former rebels and critics are imprisoned.

Two Dutch warships engage four Indonesian torpedo boats off West Irian. One Indonesian boat is sunk; another damaged.

January 12 Army confirms to the press that operations have begun in West Irian.

Sjahrir is jailed without trial (until 1965).

Opsus covert operations force is founded under Suharto's Mandala command.

Sultan of Brunei names A. M. Azahari to the Brunei Legislative Council. Azahari defies the Sultan and introduces resolutions against the formation of Malaysia and for the return of Sarawak and Sabah to Brunei.

Elections in Brunei: Azahari's People's Party (Party Ra'ayat) captures all the elected seats in the Legislative Council.

Armed forces are consolidated as ABRI. Police forces are included as a branch of ABRI.

February 1 Dutch charter flight with 110 soldiers bound for West Irian stops to refuel in Alaska. A riot attacks the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta in retaliation. The U.S. bans further Dutch charter flights through U.S. airspace as a result.

February 11 U.S. Atty. Gen. Robert F Kennedy arrives in Jakarta to lead negotiations on West Irian.

February 25 Robert Kennedy continues to the Netherlands; informs the Netherlands government that the U.S. will not support the Dutch should the conflict escalate.

March Sukarno appoints Aidit and Njoto of PKI as advisory ministers.

March 12 Netherlands government announces that it will negotiate with Indonesia regarding the transfer of West Irian to Indonesia.

April Kartosuwirjo, leader of the Darul Islam rebellion, is captured.

April 2 "Bunker Plan" (after U.S. diplomat Ellsworth Bunker) is released, a proposal to end the dispute over West Irian. The Netherlands would give up West Irian to U.N. administration, and a plebiscite would be held to determine the future of the territory.

April PKI party congress discusses methods by which the PKI could take a greater role in running the government, particularly sectors of the bureaucracy.

Hinduism is recognized as an official religion.

Indonesia joins OPEC.

Indonesian military pressure on West Irian increases, including air and sea attacks.

June Dutch agree to follow the general line of the "Bunker Plan".

July Nasution is "promoted" to Armed Forces Chief of Staff by Sukarno; the effect is to distance Nasution from his power base in the Army.

August 15 Dutch agree to transfer West Irian to United Nations on October 1. UN is to transfer West Irian to Indonesia on May 1, 1963. Elections are to decide the ultimate fate of the territory.

August 17 First official television broadcast in Indonesia by TVRI.

September 5 Kartosuwirjo is executed. The Darul Islam movement begins falling apart.

September 21 U.N. General Assembly ratifies the West Irian agreement.

Gen. Omar Dhani, a leftist officer, becomes head of the Air Force.

September 27 Subandrio visits Singapore; states that he cannot guarantee that Indonesia will not make claims on Malaysian territory.

October 23 Skirmishes are reported between Indonesian vessels and Portuguese soldiers on shore in East Timor.

November IMF puts conditions on economic aid to Indonesia.

Sukarno visits Manila. President Macapagal of the Philippines assures Sukarno that the Philippines would not be used as a U.S. base against Indonesia, and Sukarno assures Macapagal that he will not solicit communist military assistance while confronting Malaysia.

December Rebellion in Aceh (allied with the former Darul Islam rebellion in West Java) subsides.

December 5 First meeting of Brunei's Legislative Council after the elections is scheduled to meet: Azahari states that he will enter resolutions against Malaysia, for incorporating Sarawak and Sabah into Brunei, and for a complete break with Britain. The Sultan of Brunei postpones the meeting until December 19. Azahari leaves for Manila.

December 8 Rebellion breaks out in Brunei and nearby areas of Sarawak and Sabah, with covert support from Indonesia. The rebels do not take over the radio station, and the police force remains loyal to the Sultan. British emergency troops from Singapore land in the evening.

December 9 Sultan of Brunei asks rebels to put down their weapons; rebellion breaks up. About 80 are killed in all, mostly rebels. Legislative Council is replaced by an Emergency Council. Brunei does not join Malaysia.

December 16 British Far Eastern Command announces that major centers in Brunei have been cleared of rebels.

December 23 Public rally in Jakarta in favor of Azahari and the "liberation of North Borneo".

December 28 Philippine diplomats arrive in London for talks on the future of North Borneo/Sabah (to which the Philippines also had a claim) and the plans for Malaysia. The talks fail, and the Philippines declares its opposition to the Malaysia plan.

The National Monument or MONAS is only one of many monuments that Sukarno built in the 1960s (although it was not finished until 1965).

The U.S. put heavy pressure on both the Netherlands and Indonesia to negotiate for West Irian, fearing that if the dispute became a war, Indonesia would turn completely to the Communist side. Meanwhile, Suharto and other military figures decided from the experience that the armed forces were not prepared for action against Sukarno's next target: Malaysia.

East Timor was never a serious target of Sukarno during the controversies around West Irian and Malaysia. One theory is that Sukarno was trying to get better relations with China, and a move against Portuguese Timor in the name of fighting colonialism would have embarrassed China, which was tolerating the continued presence of Hong Kong and Macau.

Women on Bali demonstrate in favor of Indonesian rule of West Irian, 1963.


January 21 Subandrio, just returned from meetings with Mao Zedong in Beijing, declares that plans for the new Malaysia are unacceptable, and will be met with "Konfrontasi".

Sukarno issues a presidential decree requiring publishers to submit a copy of every new book to the government within 48 hours of publication. Prosecutors gain broad power to ban books and press charges against publishers.

Azahari leaves Manila and receives asylum in Jakarta.

February 13 Malayan socialist leader Bustamam is arrested on charges of collaborating with Indonesia.

February 14 Sukarno publicly states Indonesia's opposition to the creation of Malaysia.

February 18 Gunung Agung on Bali begins erupting ask and smoke.

February 28 President Macapagal of the Philippines calls for talks to be held regarding a possible peaceful federation of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia--the "Maphilindo" concept.

March 12 Major lava flows from Gunung Agung on Bali.

April 12 Armed raid on Tebedu, a border town in Sarawak. The raiders call themselves the "Army of North Borneo", but are supplied by Indonesia.

May Indonesia, Malaya, and the Philippines begins talks on future of disputed territories including Sabah, and a possible "Maphilindo" confederation. PKI strongly opposes the "Malaysia" concept, but is also opposed to "Maphilindo". Talks continue through August.

May 1 UN hands over control of West Irian to Indonesia.

Liu Shao Chi, president of the P.R. of China, arrives in Jakarta from Beijing for meetings with Sukarno. Anti-Chinese rioting results.

May 26 Budget cuts, price increases, and a devalued rupiah are instituted in order to receive IMF aid.

June Foreign oil companies in Indonesia are made contractors under Permina. Refineries, distribution and retailing are to be sold to Permina.

June 7-11 Continuing talks between Malaya, Indonesia, and the Philippines in Manila produce the Manila Accord: future of Sabah will be handled by peaceful means, each nation will retain its own sovereignty as talks on federation continue.

Cross-border raids from Indonesia into Sarawak continue.

Anti-Chinese riots in Bandung.

June 28 Kompas newspaper publishes first issue.

July 9 Malaya and Britain sign final agreements in London to have the nation of Malaysia founded on August 31. Sukarno is furious.

July 10 Sukarno declares the slogan "ganyang Malaysia" ("crush Malaysia") in a speech.

Prime Minister Djuanda passes away, is replaced by three "Deputy Prime Ministers": Chaerul Saleh, Subandrio, and Leimena. Economic policy suffers in Djuanda's absence.

Assembly makes Sukarno President-for-Life.

Suharto is made chief of Kostrad (Strategic Reserve Command).

Gunung Agung erupts a second time.

High-yield rice strains begin to be cultivated around Karawang, West Java (part of the "green revolution" in agriculture).

July 30 Week of talks begins between Sukarno, Macapagal, and Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaya. Sukarno dominates the talks. Documents from the talks emphasize "struggles against colonialism and imperialism" parallel to Sukarno's positions. The U.N. is asked to determine the wishes of the people of Sarawak and Sabah.

August Manifesto Kebudajaan or Manikebu group of intellectuals begin to be harassed by PKI for failure to support Sukarno explicitly.

Sukarno asks to public to be patient during rice shortages.

Indonesian-based raids into Sarawak continue. Britain sends Gurkhas into Sarawak and Sabah; begins to organize groups of native Dayaks and Ibans for defense.

August 16 U.N. mission arrives in Sarawak and Sabah to survey the wishes of the citizens regarding their future.

August 25 "Malaysia Day" is postponed until September 16.

September 14 Results of the U.N. survey are released: according to the survey, a majority of citizens of Sarawak and Sabah preferred to join Malaysia.

September 16 Malaysia is founded. Mob attacks the British and Malayan embassies in Jakarta. Indonesia breaks off relations with Kuala Lumpur. Philippines downgrades its embassy in Kuala Lumpur to a consulate.

September 17 Malaysia recalls its ambassadors from both Indonesia and the Philippines. Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur is attacked; Sukarno is burned in effigy. A PKI-sponsored demonstration burns down the British embassy in Jakarta and 48 British residences.

British properties in Indonesia valued at US$400 million are nationalized.

U.S. President Kennedy cuts off remaining military aid to Indonesia.

The Kesatuan Melayu Muda/Young Malay Union, a prewar nationalist party in Malaya, is revived under Ibrahim Ya'acob to oppose the Malaysian government (and the concept of Malaysia).

September 28 An Indonesian-sponsored guerilla raid strikes over 35 miles into Sarawak and takes the outpost at Long Jawai. The guerillas advance too far from their bases, and are decimated by British Gurkha troops while trying to return to camp.

September 29 Aidit and a PKI delegation return from a long tour of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, East Germany and North Korea.

November Sukarno issues antisubversion law.

December PKI begins enforcing land reform laws, confiscating land from rural landowners, resulting in rural violence, often against Islamic organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama.

U.S. President Johnson withdraws economic aid. Covert military aid to pro-U.S. figures in ABRI continues.

December 19 Australian government agrees to help British forces respond to "Konfrontasi".

Bappenas economic planning body is founded.

December 24 Sukarno forms "Mahkamah Militer Luar Biasa" or Mahmillub, special military tribunals.

December 29 Guerilla raid from Indonesia attacks Kalabakan, 30 miles inside Sabah. British, Malay and Gurkha troops kill or capture all but six of the guerillas.

Subandrio was a prominent member of Sukarno's cabinets in the "guided democracy" period. Originally a nationalist, he began to move in favor of the PKI in the mid-1960s. It is thought that he was positioning himself to be the successor to Sukarno.

Konfrontasi was the slogan for Sukarno's anti-Malaysia campaign. The PKI supported Konfrontasi, but ABRI quietly opposed it. Among major figures, Muhammad Yamin, Ali Sastroamidjojo, and Subandrio were in favor of Konfrontasi; Nasution and Djuanda were not opposed to the creation of Malaysia; Hatta was not publicly opposed to Malaysia, but may have had private misgivings.

On a lower level, Konfrontasi appealed to anti-Chinese feelings in Indonesia, and Sukarno may have described Konfrontasi to Soviet diplomats in this way (by this time, the Soviet Union and China were not friendly to each other). Another side factor in Konfrontasi is that government figures in Jakarta may not have liked the idea of a federal, decentralized Malaysia--they may have seen it as a threat to the central control that the Jakarta government long held over the provinces. The rebellions of 1957-58 were over just such issues.

A few Communist volunteers actually landed in Malaya itself, but were quickly captured. Most low-level fighting happened in the jungle along the Kalimantan border, from about April 1963 until mid-1964. British and Australian troops were active on the Malaysian side, and may have outnumbered the Indonesian guerillas by as much as four to one. ABRI officers who were opposed to Konfrontasi actually maintained secret contact with military officials in Kuala Lumpur throughout this period. Gen. Yani had assigned Brig. Gen. Kemal Idris to head a proposed invasion of Malaysia, but Kemal Idris was not on good terms with Sukarno, and delayed actions against Malaysia as much as he could. The anti-Konfrontasi covert actions by the military were the beginning of the Opsus special forces outfit, which would include Ali Murtopo and Humardani and would become a political tool during the first ten years of Suharto's presidency.

Konfrontasi cost money that Sukarno's government did not have, and it damaged the economy badly by interrupting traffic with Singapore.

D.N. Aidit
Aidit was the head of the PKI from 1951 until its downfall in 1965.

By the mid-1960s, the PKI was increasingly involved in intercommunal violence in rural Java. In the 1950s, the PKI had been mostly an urban phenomenon, one reason being that the village structures of Java did not match Communist ideology, there being no clear division between landowners and peasants. In the 1960s, land reform laws created resentments and divisions in communities which had not known strong divisions before. The PKI, by taking sides in land reform disputes, also created more opponents for itself. The PKI also had an ideological opposition to religion, which placed it in direct opposition to members of Nahdlatul Ulama and other Muslim groups. All these conflicts led to an increase in "taking sides", and eventually violence, in the 1960s.

Yet another problem for the PKI was its strength on Java. Politicians outside of Java who were critical of the prominence of Java and the central government found it easy to make the PKI a target of criticism.

Gunung Agung erupting on Bali, 1963, with Pura Besakih in the foreground. The eruption of Gunung Agung caused a great deal of hardship and suffering on Bali during and after 1963. The volcano had not previously erupted during recorded history. The eruption occured during the performance of the once-a-century Eka Dasa Rudra religious ceremonies, which President Sukarno had ordered to be held earlier than normal to fit his calendar. The eruption was seen by some as a bad omen in response.


January 25 A ceasefire between Malaysia and Indonesia, arranged after several diplomatic trips by Robert F. Kennedy of the United States, goes into effect.

PKI confiscates British-owned properties.

February 6 "Maphilindo" meeting in Bangkok between representatives of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Subandrio flies to Bangkok, but snubs the main dinner hosted by the Thai foreign minister.

February 13 Lampung is made a province.

Central Sulawesi is separated from North Sulawesi and made a province; Southeast Sulawesi is separated from South Sulawesi and made a province.

March 3 Second round of "Maphilindo" talks in Bangkok fall apart.

March 7 Gurkhas clash with Indonesian regular troops along the border in Sarawak.

March 25 Sukarno, at a public rally, tells the U.S. ambassador in attendance to "go to hell with your aid".

April Violence related to land reform spreads in Central Java.

May Sukarno puts air force chief Omar Dhani in charge of Konfrontasi.

May 30 Volunteer fighters recruited on Java for "Konfrontasi" leave for border areas of Kalimantan.

June 1 Indonesia agrees to withdraw forces from border areas with Malaysia in exchange for continued negotiations.

June 13 Major clash between Indonesia-based guerillas and Malaysian forces in Sarawak.

June 17 British forces defeat a group of Indonesian-based guerillas in Sarawak.

June 18 Three-day summit in Tokyo between Sukarno, Macapagal of the Philippines, and Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia. The three leaders agree to call together an "Afro-Asian Conciliation Commission" to settle their differences.

TVRI, government-run television station, begins broadcasting.

July 21 Rioting between Malays and Chinese in Singapore kills 21.

August 17 Unsuccessful rogue landings, led by Indonesian paratroopers, on the shore of Malaya in Johore. 49 are killed, the rest are captured. Australia sends troops to help defend Malaya.

August 17 Sukarno gives his "Year of Living Dangerously" speech ("vivere pericoloso").

August 27 Sukarno reshuffles his cabinet, passing over Aidit for top posts.

September 2 Second wave of unsuccessful Indonesian paratroop landings in Johore, near Singapore. All are killed or captured.

September 2 Rioting breaks out again in Singapore.

September Group of pro-Sukarno intellectuals led by Adam Malik (Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme) criticizes the PKI.

September 9 Indonesian raids into Malaya are brought before the United Nations Security Council.

September 17 U.N. Security Council votes 9-2 to condemn the Indonesian raids, but the Soviet Union vetoes the resolution.

October Sekretariat Bersama Golongan Karya or Sekber Golkar (Secretariat of Functional Groups) is founded by army interests.

Sukarno requests and receives from the Soviets a promise of new military equipment to help with the Konfrontasi campaign against Malaysia.

October 17 Nuclear research reactor at Bandung produces its first chain reaction.

Army shakeup reduces prestige of Omar Dhani, transfers best troops to Suharto.

November PKI establishes secret bureau to coordinate infiltration of army units.

Sukarno travels to China for secret meetings.

Australian troops have skirmishes with Malay communists along the Thai-Malaysian border.

November Australia starts military conscription as a hedge against possible war.

People's Republic of China offers 100,000 small arms to Indonesia to arm a peasant militia, if Indonesia wants.

Bank of China assets in Indonesia given to Indonesian government.

December Chaerul Saleh claims to have evidence that the PKI is planning a coup.

December 4 Mobs attack and burn the U.S. Information Service libraries in Jakarta and Surabaya.

December 17 Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme--a movement to counter PKI influence by invoking Sukarno's own pancasila principles--is banned by Sukarno as a "CIA plot".

Street scene, Jakarta, 1965. The banner says "45 TAHUN PKI" (45 Years of the PKI) and displays famous communists in history, including Marx, Stalin, and Mao. Sukarno is also added in for political expediency.

By 1964 and 1965, the economy was in terrible shape. Shortages of food and clothing were common. Prices during 1965 increased by 700 percent, and the price of rice increased even more. The government's budget deficit was running at 300 percent. Millions of people collected a government salary, but it was worth less and less each month. ABRI personnel in particular found themselves unable to support themselves without engaging in smuggling or other corrupt activities. The 1957-58 rebellions, the West Irian campaign, and the preparations for Konfrontasi had all been expensive for both the government as a whole and for ABRI.

One Rupiah note with a portrait of Sukarno, 1964. At the time, this note was almost worthless.



January 1 Malaysia is seated in the U.N. Security Council.

January 6 Twenty-one publications that had supported the Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme are closed down.

January 7 Indonesia walks out of the United Nations (effective March 1), in protest of Malaysia's admission.

January 17 Aidit gives a speech calling for millions of workers and peasants to be armed to carry out Konfrontasi against Malaysia.

January 29 British Gurkha troops execute secret counterstrike into Indonesian territory on Kalimantan.

Buddhism is recognized as an official religion.

January 31 Three leaders of the Socialist Front in Malaysia are arrested on charges that they were planning to found a "government-in-exile" in Indonesia.

Sukarno, under pressure from PKI, declares ban on the activities of the Murba Party, whose members included Chaerul Saleh and Adam Malik.

February Anti-PKI newspapers are closed down.

February 3 Australia sends combat troops to Sarawak and Sabah.

February Kahar Muzakkar is killed in Sulawesi.

March Leftist naval officers mutiny in Surabaya.

April China repeats its offer of small arms from the previous November.

April 24 Sukarno orders all foreign-owned enterprises to be nationalized.

April 25 Indonesian Army troops attack British camp at Plaman Mapu.

May Gen. Ahmad Yani suggests that "Nasakom" be promoted in the Army.

May 25 Indonesian raiders make an unsuccessful landing in Johore east of Singapore.

May 17 Aidit calls for elections.

Sukarno calls for a "Fifth Force" of armed peasantry to be organized.

Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) is formed by former members of the Dutch-organized colonial militia.

May 29 The "Gilchrist letter": Sukarno accuses Army elements of plotting against him, with cooperation from the British Embassy. (Letter itself generally considered to be a forgery.)

June Discussions on "arming the people" along Maoist lines take place; army sidesteps, air force and navy support it.

June 17 Gen. Ahmad Yani gives a speech at Manado stating that "arming the people" according to the PKI's concept is "unnecessary".

Indonesian-based raiders strike near Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. 5000 Chinese squatters in the area are resettled further away from the border by the Malaysian government.

PKI supporter becomes police commander in Jakarta.

July 19 Gen. Nasution gives a speech rejecting the PKI's concept of "arming the people".

July 20 Sukarno declares that if British raids occur against Indonesian territory, "Singapore will be destroyed".

July 2000 PKI supporters begin receiving military training from Air Force officers at Halim Air Base near Jakarta.

July 30 Demonstration attack the U.S. Consulate in Medan.

August Anti-PKI elements in PNI are purged.

August 5 Sukarno collapses during a public reception.

August 7 Demonstrators occupy the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya for five days.

August 7 Malaysia and Singapore sign papers agreeing to separate into two nations, after several weeks of harsh talk between Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Malay members of parliament, including Dr. Mahathir (later president of Malaysia).

August 9 The separation of Malaysia and Singapore is ratified in the Malaysian parliament.

A court in Surabaya issues a death sentence to a Chinese shopkeeper accused of hoarding.

Violence between PNI and NU supporters on one side and PKI supporters on the other heats up in Central and East Java.

Sukarno cuts off ties with IMF, World Bank, Interpol.

August 17 Sukarno gives a speech in Merdeka Square promoting an anti-imperialist alliance with Beijing and other Asian Communist regimes, and warning the Army not to interfere. He also states that he will take the PKI's idea of "arming the people" under consideration, and make the final decision on the matter.

Aidit returns from trip to China, makes August 17 speech calling for millions of workers and peasants to be armed.

August 26 Government of Singapore announces that it has foiled a plot backed by Indonesia and local communists to assassinate Lee Kuan Yew.

September 8 U.S. Consulate in Surabaya is barricaded by PKI demonstrators for two days.

September 11 Embassy of India is attacked and burned by a mob.

September 14 Subandrio and Aidit speak to a PKI rally, urging in sharp language that "thieves and corruptors" be removed from high offices, and that PKI members should be alert for possible trouble.

September 16-19 Air Force Gen. Omar Dhani makes a secret trip to China.

A Chinese doctor examines Sukarno secretly; Sukarno is diagnosed with a serious and worsening kidney disease. The diagnosis is kept secret, but is made known to Aidit, Subandrio, and possibly others, including the Chinese government in Beijing.

Inflation begins to skyrocket; prices for some items increase nearly 50 percent in a week's time.

September 22 Army takes control of the distribution of rice in Jakarta.

September 22 Aidit, in a public speech, states that Sukarno has surrounded himself with men who "have no political support".

September 23 Sukarno declares the total dissolution of the Murba party.

September 25 Sukarno gives a speech stating that Indonesia was entering the "second phase of the revolution", which would be the "implementation of socialism".

September 27 Gen. Ahmad Yani speaks against Nasakom in the army and "arming the people".

September 28 Anti-Communist student leaders ask Gen. Nasution for paramilitary training comparable to what PKI supporters would receive.

September 28 The PKI Minister of Agriculture states that "subversive elements" who were supposedly responsible for the economic crisis should be shot.

September 30 PKI organizations Pemuda Rakyat and Gerwani hold mass demonstrations against the runaway inflation in Jakarta.

September 30 In the evening, Lt.-Col. Untung, head of the Cakrabirawa Regiment (Presidential Guards), other Diponegoro and Brawijaya Division soldiers, and PKI supporters gather at Halim Air Base, with Gen. Omar Dhani and Aidit present. The forces are under the tactical command of Brigadier-General Supardjo, who had recently been commanding guerilla forces in the Konfrontasi against Malaysia. They leave and attempt to take seven top army generals. Nasution escapes by leaping over the wall of his house, his young daughter is shot and Lt. Tendean, his aide, is taken away. Gen. Ahmad Yani is killed at his house, as are two others. Three other generals are taken alive with Lt. Tendean and the bodies of the dead to Halim, where the remaining live captives are murdered and thrown in the well called Lubang Buaya.

Rebel soldiers take Merdeka Square in Jakarta by the Presidential Palace, the radio and TV stations.

October 1 Suharto arrives at Kostrad Headquarters overlooking Merdeka Square, takes emergency control of loyal troops after consulting with available generals.

October 1 At 7:00 A.M., the radio announces that "Movement 30 September" (Gerakan 30 September, or G30S) is pro-Sukarno, anti-corruption, anti-United States and anti-CIA.

Gen. Omar Dhani issues a statement supporting the rebels.

Mutinies in five of seven Diponegoro Division battalions support the rebels, as do Naval officers in Surabaya.

Sukarno goes to Halim, consults with Omar Dhani but not with Aidit.

Suharto offers water to hot soldiers in Merdeka Square, they come to his side. He ignores messages from Sukarno.

Suharo offers the army leadership to Nasution. Nasution refuses.

Suharto announces on radio that six generals are dead, he is in control of the army, and he will suppress the coup attempt and protect Sukarno.

Senior leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama go into hiding. Ansor, the Islamic youth organization associated with Nahdlatul Ulama, releases a statement that it and NU have nothing to do with the coup attempt (despite claims by the rebels that four NU leaders are part of G30S).

October 1 Sukarno leaves for Bogor, Aidit leaves for Yogya, Omar Dhani leaves for Madiun.

October 2 Loyal army units retake Halim Air Base.

Mayor of Surakarta supports the coup.

PKI supporters march in Yogya.

PKI newspaper Harian Rakyat publishes issue in favor of coup.

Military rebels in Central Java retreat to countryside.

Suharto agrees to Sukarno order taking presidential control of army, but only if Suharto has emergency powers to restore order.

Omar Dhani retracts his earlier statement supporting the coup.

October 3 Bodies discovered in Lubang Buaya. Sukarno, in a radio broadcast, claims the Air Force was not involved, and that he went to Halim Air Base of his own free will, simply to have a means of leaving the area if necessary.

October 3 Ansor releases a statement urging its members to help the Army restore order.

October 4 Bodies are removed from Lubang Buaya in the presence of print and TV reporters. Suharto is also present.

Nahdlatul Ulama issues a statement calling for the PKI to be banned, possibly under pressure from Ansor activists. Senior NU leaders do not sign it until the day after or later.

October 5 Public funeral in Jakarta for dead generals.

October 6 Sukarno meets with his cabinet in Bogor, including Subandrio and PKI members Lukman and Njoto, then finally issues a statement denouncing the attempted coup. Njoto is detained by Army officers after the meeting.

October 6 The newspaper "Djalan Rakyat" in Surabaya publishes a letter from Aidit describing the September 30 events as an "internal army affair".

October 8 Mass demonstration in Jakarta (possibly of more than 100,000) demands the dissolution of the PKI. PKI headquarters in Jakarta are burned.

October 13 Ansor holds anti-Communist rallies across Java.

October 14 Suharto begins moving loyal troops into Central Java.

October 14 Antara news agency offices reopen under new, non-PKI management.

October 16 Sukarno dismisses Omar Dhani as head of Air Force. Suharto is appointed commander of the army.

October 18 Nearly a hundred Communists killed in battle with Ansor youths. Beginning of general massacre of PKI supporters in Central and East Java.

October 27 KAMI student activists group is founded.

Inflation runs wild in the general uncertainty.

November 1 Kopkamtib security force established with Suharto at head.

November 11 Fighting between PNI and PKI supporters on Bali begins massacre of Communists on Bali.

November 22 Aidit is captured and executed.

The Assembly (DPR), consisting entirely of members appointed by Sukarno, is purged of PKI members.

Sukarno's 1963 decree is used to ban all books written by members of the PKI and associated organizations.

Muhammadiyah declares jihad against PKI. Sukarno pleads with Muslims to give dead proper burial. Anti-Communist movement spreads throughout Java.

December 10000 PKI supporters have been arrested, many thousand more killed. Anti-Communist massacres are heavy on Bali. The ABRI commander for Aceh announces that Aceh is now free of Communists.

December 13 Major currency adjustment due to inflation: 1000 old rupiah are converted to 1 new rupiah.

Special Military Courts begin holding trials of PKI members.

December 18 Sukarno, in a meeting with Suharto and Nasution, orders them to give him assurances that they will carry out his commands as President. Suharto replies that the Army will carry out Sukarno's orders that are consistent with their mission of protecting national security.

December 31 Shell signs a contract to sell its remaining Indonesian holdings to the government.

Gen. Nasution gives the eulogy at the funeral for the officers killed on September 30, 1965.

The officers killed in the G30S events:
Gen. Ahmad Yani
Lt.-Gen. Haryono
Lt.-Gen. Parman
Lt.-Gen. Suprapto
Maj.-Gen. Panjaitan
Maj.-Gen. Siswamohardjo
Captain Tendean (aide to Nasution)
Brigadier-Gen. Katamso
Colonel Inf. Mangunwijoto

What really happened in 1965? Nobody knows. There are dozens of theories, some of them with little evidence in their favor. Many of the participants are now dead; from some of them, we only have the confessions they made after being arrested. Under Suharto, the government routinely banned most books and publications about the 1965 events, which makes the situation even more difficult.

Was the army behind it? Certainly not as an organization. Rebel officers such as Untung probably acted without broad support.

Was Sukarno behind it? There is interesting evidence, but answers to this question remain somewhat inconclusive. If Sukarno intended to rid himself of opponents, he failed: the eventual losers were his political allies.

What about Suharto? There is no direct evidence against him. However, rumors persist that Suharto may have heard of the coup plans before September 30th, and so was ready to take advantage of the disorder beforehand.

Was the PKI behind it? The PKI had made two hopeless attempts to take power before, in 1926 and again at Madiun in 1948. Is it possible that rebellious, undisciplined officers planned the coup, and then the PKI announced its support?

The coup plotters may have been motivated by President Sukarno's illnesses--assuming that a weaker president meant that the government could be taken more easily. This sort of thinking may have led them to overestimate their own strength. It might also be possible that Sukarno's worsening health caused the coup plotters to act too soon.

Were foreign powers involved? There was heavy involvement by China in Indonesian politics in 1965. The Chinese government in Beijing seemed to already know the names of the generals who had been targeted before the announcements on the middle of October 1--and the Chinese list of names included Nasution as a victim, even though he had escaped. Long after the coup in Jakarta was suppressed, on October 19, Chinese news stories expressed support for it.

Both the United States and the Soviet Union were supplying aid either directly to the government or to their friends in ABRI. Some official Soviet news stories were critical of the coup events, however. The West German goverment supplied secret aid to anti-communists. We know today, too, that the CIA gave lists of Indonesian communists to the Indonesian military during the purges that came after. But did foreign powers help plan G30S? Probably not, but again, we do not know.

It is perhaps most possible that whatever secret plans had been made did not go exactly as the planners intended.

By the end of 1965, a huge wave of popular violence against the PKI had started. In West and Central Java, the army began rounding up Communists, but in many villages, people took the law into their own hands. In some areas, such as East Java or Aceh, Islamic groups (such as the Nahdlatul Ulama youth group Ansor) fought to wipe out communists. However, there was a heavy anti-communist purge on Bali as well. Thousands were sent to prison, and over a year's time, perhaps more than 250,000 were dead. ABRI did not commit all of the killings, but ABRI officers did arm and train the student groups that committed killings, and also did not act to stop the violence until the PKI had been wiped out.

Suharto's main supporters in ABRI were Brig. Gen. Kemal Idris, Col. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, and Maj. Gen. Dharsono.

A suspected communist is questioned by soldiers, late 1965.

Beginnings to 1500  1500 to 1670  1670 to 1800  1800 to 1830  1830 to 1910  1910 to 1940  1940 to 1945  1945 to 1950  1950 to 1965  1965 to 1998  1998 to 2001  2001 to Today

Sejarah Indonesia · · Indonesia Pages · Bookstore · Sejarah Indonesia Store