Pretext For Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement And Suharto's Coup D'etat In Indonesia

Paperback | August 3, 2006

byJohn Roosa

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In the early morning hours of October 1, 1965, a group calling itself the September 30th Movement kidnapped and executed six generals of the Indonesian army, including its highest commander. The group claimed that it was attempting to preempt a coup, but it was quickly defeated as the senior surviving general, Haji Mohammad Suharto, drove the movement’s partisans out of Jakarta. Riding the crest of mass violence, Suharto blamed the Communist Party of Indonesia for masterminding the movement and used the emergency as a pretext for gradually eroding President Sukarno’s powers and installing himself as a ruler. Imprisoning and killing hundreds of thousands of alleged communists over the next year, Suharto remade the events of October 1, 1965 into the central event of modern Indonesian history and the cornerstone of his thirty-two-year dictatorship.

Despite its importance as a trigger for one of the twentieth century’s worst cases of mass violence, the September 30th Movement has remained shrouded in uncertainty. Who actually masterminded it? What did they hope to achieve? Why did they fail so miserably? And what was the movement’s connection to international Cold War politics? In Pretext for Mass Murder, John Roosa draws on a wealth of new primary source material to suggest a solution to the mystery behind the movement and the enabling myth of Suharto’s repressive regime. His book is a remarkable feat of historical investigation.

 

Finalist, Social Sciences Book Award, the International Convention of Asian Scholars

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In the early morning hours of October 1, 1965, a group calling itself the September 30th Movement kidnapped and executed six generals of the Indonesian army, including its highest commander. The group claimed that it was attempting to preempt a coup, but it was quickly defeated as the senior surviving general, Haji Mohammad Suharto, d...

John Roosa is assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and coeditor of the Indonesian-language book Tahun yang Tak Pernah Berakhir: Pengalaman Korban 1965: Esai-Esai Sejarah Lisan ("The Year That Never Ended: Understanding the Experiences of the Victims of 1965: Oral History Essays"). 

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:August 3, 2006Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299220346

ISBN - 13:9780299220341

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"Well-written and absorbing, this is the first scholarly attempt in more than two decades to examine seriously the evidence concerning the single most important puzzle in Indonesian history, the 30 September 1965 coup."—Robert Cribb, Australian National University "Roosa takes readers into that fascinating hyper-heated political atmosphere of Sukarno's Indonesia when the society was rife with rumors and tensions.  By moving carefully through this darkened past, his account shows how the bloody denouement of October 1965 was the sum of these tensions—rival military factions, maneuvers by special units within the Communist Party, and the efforts of foreign intelligence agencies to manipulate these divisions.  Lucid, thoughtful, and engaging, this is a brilliant, strikingly original analysis."—Alfred W. McCoy, Series Editor, University of Wisconsin–Madison