Maha Pati Gajah Mada Berkata: "Jika saya telah mengalahkan pulau-pulau lain, saya (baru akan) melepaskan puasa. Jika saya telah mengalahkan Gurun, Seram, Tanjung Pura, Haru, Pahang, Dompo, Bali, Sunda, Palembang, Tumasik, demikianlah saya (baru akan) melepaskan puasa".
As a national leader he did not want to show even a slightest empathy for people’s struggle in Surabaya against the menacing British forces. His mind seemed to be deeply absorbed by his personal agenda for preparing a youth congress in Yogyakarta to establish which later was known as the Indonesian Socialist Youth (Pesindo).
After Japan occupied Indonesia in 1942, Amir Sjarifoedin was one of the under covered communists who was eager to cooperate with the exiled Dutch colonial administration. He received a quite handsome ransom from Dutch’s secret fund for him to establish intelligence activities. Amir Sjarifoedin had undoubtedly an intimate network with Dutch which might be secretly resumed later when he became Prime Minister in 1947.
When his activities were uncovered by Kempetai, the Japan secret agent, they gave him a death sentence. Under the request of Soekarno and Hatta the Japan occupation administration agreed to save his life. Later on, when people knew about his collaboration with Dutch, he defended himself by justifying that, as a communist, what he did was in line with the Dimitrov Doctrine b)
Obviously Amir Sjarifoedin’s justification uncovered his true identity which so far was zealously covered. Since then, no communist figures contributed to the Indonesian struggle against Dutch who liked to restore their authority. But in 1947, a sudden change happened at the communists’ attitude in line with the change of the Commintern strategy to readopt Zhdanov doctrine c).
Many of Indonesian communists abroad came back to Indonesia to implement the new strategy. Some openly joined Communist Party (PKI), others covertly joined non communist organizations. Amir Sjarifoedin, himself, who hitherto known as a socialist, succeeded to become the Vice Chairman of Sjahrir’s party.
When Sjahrir Cabinet was dissolved on July 3rd 1947, people opposed to Linggarjati Agreement he signed, Sjarifoedin established a new cabinet and became Prime Minister. Barely he completed his cabinet, President Soekarno announced without delay the refusal of the establishment of a Joint-Gendarmerie as the agreement required.
On July 21st, 1947 the Dutch heavily attacked RI position from all over directions. This action, which the Dutch called the [First] Police Action, drew the international community’s attention and through UN Security Council asking both side for cease fire. A Committee of Good Office was established representing the interest of the parties concerned whose members were Belgium, Australian and US.
But worse come worse. The Renville Agreement, which had been negotiated on the foredeck of USS Renville anchored in Jakarta Bay on January 17th, 1948, was signed by Amir Sjarifoedin. The agreement further reduced the RI territory to cover only Central Java, Yogyakarta and part of Sumatra. As a consequence the whole Indonesian troops in West Java, the Siliwangi Division territorial area, had to be withdrawn from the area.
Thousands of troops and their families made a dramatic long march crossing the “Van Mook” imaginary demarcation line to Yogyakarta. People were furious and blamed Sjarifoedin as a traitor for such a blunder decision. At everybody surprise, his Socialist Party also rejected the agreement which he didn’t consult to. Sjarifoedin cabinet had no choice but to be promptly dissolved.
Nobody would blame someone who accused Sjarifoedin as having a secret network with the Dutch as what he had during Japan occupation. Upon the question as why on earth he agreed with such a lose out condition, he replied airily: “Because Indonesian troops had been running out bullets.”
He rejected Hatta’s offer to hold the position of Youth Minister in the new cabinet. He opened his true identity as a communist member since 1935 and he joined Muso PKI leadership. The movements of PKI and its subsidiaries soon intensified spreading out throughout the Madiun surrounding areas.
Eventually on September 18th, Muso and Amir Sjarifoedin announced the establishment of Madiun-Soviet State in Madiun and challenged the leadership of Soekarno-Hatta. Without delay, Soekarno aired his speech condemning the coup d’État launched by PKI-Muso.
From Madiun Sjarifoedin, trying to appease the tension, counter stated that no coup d’État had occurred and the situation would be handled properly. During the movement, which popularly known as Madiun Affair, a total of 4000 regional officers and other targeted people were kidnapped and sadistically killed by PKI militants.
The Republican troops under the command of Colonel Gatot Soebroto, the military governor of the areas, counterattacked and on September 30th, Sjarifoedin was arrested by the Siliwangi battalion under Kemal Idris command. It was ironic that the troops he had forced to exod from their native territorial area, came to Central Java just happened to arrest him.
Sjarifoedin was captured in Purwodadi and put in jail in Kudus then moved to Yogyakarta where together with his two comrades he was brought walking around the city before public display. On December 18th, 1948 when the Dutch launched the 2nd Police Action, Colonel Gatot Subroto ordered his subordinates to execute Sjafroedin and other PKI leaders who were then detained in Solo, being afraid the PKI prisoners would escape under such chaotic war situation d).
Amir Sjarifoedin died at the age of 41 years old.
a. The first visit was on October 29th 1945, when he accompanied Soekarno and Hatta to call for a ceasefire under the demand of British side as their troops in Surabaya were in a distress and vulnerable position.
b. The doctrine was established by the International Communist Movement (Commintern) to justify the Soviet’s policy allowing communist to cooperate with capitalist camps to jointly face their common enemy i.e. the nazisme and fasisme. In fact, in 1940 when Nazi-German attacked Soviet Union, the latter received a massive military aid from US under the “Lend Lease” program.
c. Under Stalin leadership, Commintern turned back to Zhdanov doctrine dividing the world into two camps i.e. anti democratic imperialist camp and democratic anti imperialist camp under the leader of Soviet Union.
d. Later, on several occasions in 1950s PKI asked for the government accountability for killing without trial the PKI leaders and partisans detained in Madiun affair.
students and youths’ demonstrations under the flags of Joint Action of Indonesian Students (KAMI) and Joint Action Youth and Student Indonesia (KAPPI) intensified. They had put forward three people demands popularized as Tritura, namely the disband of Communist Party (PKI), reduction of the price of goods and the change of the Cabinet’s structure.
When President Soekarno (Bung Karno) asked General Soeharto, the then Commander of Security and Order Recovery (Pangkopkamtib) to disband student demonstrations he politely refused it. He said that the students would stop their actions if Bung Karno realized the political settlement on PKI /G30S as he promised and officially dissolved the Communist Party.
In spite of the harsh criticism against the government, nobody yet dared to direct it to Bung Karno. In many occasions, the student leaders even pointed out that their actions were always in line with the teachings of Bung Karno, the Great Revolutionary Leader.
However, Bung Karno failed to see the dynamic movement of his own people and blindly accused neo-colonialism and imperialism (Nekolim) as the mastermind of the riots occurred recently including those of the students whom he accused wanting to topple him down.
He angrily exclaimed, “Here I am, Soekarno, the great revolutionary leader. Anyone who likes me let’s establish forces. Do not act wildly. Wait for my command.” Subandrio, the Vice Prime Minister, invited people to form Soekarno Forces (Barisan Sukarno). Because of his leaning attitude to China, Subandrio was dubbed sometimes as “Peking Dog” or “Hajj Peking” sometimes as Durno, a popular wicked character in Javanese shadow-puppet.
On February 24, 1966, the day of the new Cabinet’s inauguration a), since the dawn students moved and deflated the tires of cars they met on the main streets causing a total traffic jam. Some ministers had to be picked up by helicopter in order to avoid the barricade put in place by demonstrators who encircled the palace.
By noon the students had packed around the palace confronted face to face with Cakrabirawa Forces b), yelling Tritura. Suddenly there heard a series of gunfire. Several demonstrators fell down, and one of them, Arief Rachman Hakim, was killed. On the next day, hundreds of thousand people thronged in the streets to honor Arief’s funeral procession. Arief had become a martyr. Student anger soon was spreading out and protests intensified throughout the country.
In the afternoon, there were rumors that Cakrabirawa troops would attack Indonesian University (UI) campus, which was used as the headquarters of student movements. Kostrad immediately sent their armored cars to UI to guard the campus. Suharto was firmed on that and ordered his subordinates, mainly RPKAD and KOSTRAD b), to keep guarding the students while they demonstrated.
On February 26 Soekarno disbanded KAMI. But the students saw a loophole and continued their struggle under the flag of KAPPI, their sister-association.
March 11, 1966. As Bung Karno stubbornly maintain his PKI protection, Kemal Idris, the Kostrad Chief of Staff, deployed 200 of his soldiers to maneuver around the Palace wearing no badges with the purpose to deter Soekarno’s entourage inside the Palace.
Bung Karno, who apparently panicked by the presence of “unidentified forces” around the palace, gave the chairmanship of the cabinet meeting to Leimena, the Deputy Premier. He walked out to the yard where a chop standing by ready to take him to Bogor Palace anytime. Soebandrio pursued Soekarno in a hurry that he left one of his shoes behind. The meeting situation was no longer conducive that Leimena had no choice but to adjourn the meeting.
Going out of the palace, General M. Jusuf invited Basoeki Rahmat and Amir Machmud, to see Bung Karno in Bogor to convince that the Army did not abandon him. Before leaving they reported to General Soeharto who was absent from the cabinet meeting because of illness. Soeharto asked them to convey his message that Bung Karno had not to worry too much as they were able to maintain security and order as far as they were entrusted to do so.
When receiving the three generals, Bung Karno was in a bad mood. He openly accused them of wanting to fall him down which obviously they denied. He then asked about the possibility to find a way out, upon which Jusuf suggested Bung Karno to issue an order to General Soeharto to settle up the situation.
“What order? Bung Karno retorted, “Isn’t he the Commander of Kopkamtib who had enough power to settle up the messy that we currently experience? What’s wrong with him?” He glared at the generals and Sabur his assistant who stood close to him.
“What General Soeharto needed was a written order for him to take all necessary measures to guarantee security and peace, the stability of the running of the government and ensure the personal safety and authority of the president,” Yusuf explained.
After being hesitated for a while finally Bung Karno agreed to issue the order. As Subandrio objected the concept prepared by Basoeki Rahmat, and no unanimous agreement was reached, Bung Karno entered to his room to correct the original concept himself. It was an evening pray time, and after for about an hour he returned to the entourage and asked the new concept to be typed c), .
After he signed the order, which later became famous as Supersemar d), Bung Karno handed it over to the generals. On the way home to Jakarta, the three generals had a chance to read it. They were surprised having realized that the letter they held was nothing but the transfer of power from Soekarno to General Soeharto.
On the next day, General Soeharto, on behalf of the President, issued a presidential decree containing the dissolution of the Communist Party, and all its subsidiaries from central to regional areas. Bung Karno was furious as Soeharto acted far beyond what he intended him to proceed. No slight idea rose in his mind that Soeharto, using his order, would blow down PKI that he had protected so dearly.
But it was too late. People throughout the country welcomed the decision they were longing for with full of joy and enthusiastically celebrating the victory.
a. The Cabinet was named the Enhanced “Dwikora” Cabinet which people cynically called 100 Ministers Cabinet, some of whose members were from PKI or its proponents.
b. Cakrabirawa, the President and Palace Guardian Regiment. RPKAD, the Army Para Commando Regiment. KOSTRAD, the Army Strategic Command.
c. In August 1998, a former Cakrabirawa member namely Sublieutenant Soekardjo Wilardjito claimed before press that Major Generals Basuki Rachmat and Maradean Panggabean pointed their pistol to President Soekarno forcing him to sign the order. He obviously fabricated the story as Panggabean was never there and Soekarno definitely would never surrender under such threat.
d. Supersemar was the acronym of Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret literally means the Letter of Order of March the Eleventh. Semar is a unique humble character in Javanese shadow-puppet having divine power that nobody is aware of. The Super-Semar was happened to be very powerful for Soeharto who holds it.
Sumarkidjo, A.: “Jenderal M. Jusuf” , Kata, Jakarta, 2006
Anwar, R. et al.: “Kemal Idris”, Pustaka Sinar Harapan, Jakarta, 1996.
Soerojo S.’: ” Siapa Menabur Angin akan Menuai Badai”, Soegiarso Soerojo, Jakarta, 1988
At 03.30 early in the morning of October 1st, 1965 a small convoy consisting of 4 personnel carrier trucks escorted by a Russian jeep and a power wagon brought in a company from Cakrabirawa Regiment a), headed into the house of General Nasution, the Defense Minister / Armed Forces Chief of Staff.
It was the largest among the troops having the task to kidnap seven Army generals in various locations in Jakarta. In the darkness, the troop under the command of Second Assistant Lieutenant Djahurub rushed in into the yard of Nasution’s house. Mrs. Nasution who had been awaken by noise saw many uniformed soldiers outside the house arrested the guards and some tried to break open the main door.
Being aware of the danger that threatened his husband, she begged him to run away through the backyard. After hesitating for a while Nasution finally jumped over the wall and hid in the Iraqi Embassy yard next door. The soldiers who happened to see someone run away jumping over the wall opened fires but missed the target.
They were about to pursue him but suddenly someone shouted: “Nasution, Nasution”, followed by a whistle blown inside the house. They aborted the pursue and came back to the house thinking they had caught the main target.
Prior to that very moment, the house-maid who was frighten and worried about the safety of Ade Irma, the five-year old Nasution’s daughter, carried her to be handed over to her mother. But the troop who broke in the house opened fire indiscriminately hitting Ade Irma on her head.
Hearing the commotion First Lieutenant Pierre Tendean, adjutant General Nasution, got out from his room carrying his riffle but he was easily caught in the ambush before he was able to use it.
“Are you Nasution?” one of the soldiers shouted on him.
“I am the adjutant of Nasution,” Pierre replied coolly.
In the middle of the commotion they hardly heard the full answer but the word Nasution. Under the dim light of the house the troop wrongly recognized Pierre as General Nasution due to their resemblance albeit their significant age difference. Later on when they arrived at Lubang Buaya and realized that they had kidnapped the wrong person, still they tortured and killed Pierre together with the kidnapped generals b).
In that day Indonesia lose six generals, the biggest casualty in the history as never before a nation had lost so many generals within a single day, even during the war. They were Lieutenant General Achmad Yani, Major General Soeprapto, Major General S. Parman, Major General Harjono M.T., Brigadier General Soetojo S. and Brigadier General D.I. Pandjaitan whom Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) accused as the member of the General Council and considered as hampering their actions.
The whole nation watched with horror as TV broadcast the lifting of their rotten bodies full of torture marks from an old abandoned well. Later on, it was discovered that Pemuda Rakyat and Gerwani, the youth movements of PKI, who tortured and killed those generals who were still alive when they were brought in to Lubang Buaya area.
This event immediately reminded people to the cruelness of the Madiun Affair, the days when PKI stabbed back the Indonesian struggle against Dutch colonial 17 years before. But this time the reactions of the people in many places were far beyond any PKI imagination. The PKI’s barbaric acts and their brute provocations everywhere in the country prior to the September 30 Movement (G30S) were now countered and revenged fiercely.
For most of the Muslims who had been so long tired and suffered from the PKI’s agitations and provocations, the struggle against PKI was then considered as a holy war against infidels and all their militants should be eliminated.
The assassination of the generals and the courage of Pierre Tendean had turned G30S into a bad luck for PKI and fatally ruined down their already bright destiny.
a. Presidential and Palace Guard Regiment whose majority had been influenced by PKI.
b. He had planned to marry his fiancé by the next month. He had handed over his position to another adjutant the day before, as in this very morning of October 1st he would go to Semarang to celebrate his mother’s birthday. That morning the bad luck befell on him and he never went to see his beloved mother. On October 5th, 1965, the Armed Forces Day, through a presidential decree Pierre Tendean, together with the six murdered generals, was awarded as a national revolutionary hero.
On Friday night, September 30th, 1965, Air Force Major Soedjono picked up Aidit from his house in Pegangsaan, Central Jakarta, and brought him to the house of Sjam Kamaruzaman, the head of PKI special bureau. There, he met Major General Pranoto, a high rank officer, who was close to President Soekarno. Aidit offered him the position of Army Commander in Chief to replace General Achmad Yani a) and gave him the concept of the Revolution Council decree which would be broadcast in the next morning October 1st, 1965.
From there, Aidit went to Halim, an airbase just outside Jakarta and planned to meet Soekarno in Commodore Soesanto’s house. However, the plan was changed and he sent instead Brigadier General Soepardjo b) to meet Soekarno to report the latest development of the movement.
Having learned that the Halim air base would be attacked by the Army Para Commando Regiment (RPKAD) led by Colonel Sarwo Edhie, all prominent people who gathered in there decided to leave the air base.
By the dawn on the next day, a Dakota Air Force plane had landed in Adisoetjipto Airbase, Yogyakarta. In the darkness appeared at the door a silhouette who was found to be nothing but Aidit. In the VIP room, Commodore Dono Indarto, the governor of Air Force Academy in Yogyakarta, met Aidit apparently in his capacity as Coordinating Minister.
“Your Excellency, what is the purpose of your visit to Yogyakarta?” asked he. “The Jakarta situation is getting hotter and I was ordered by Bung Karno to prepare his possible arrival here,” Aidit responded briefly. The sudden visit of Aidit to Central Java, the strongest basis area of PKI, evidently raised many questions.
Just prior to the coup d’état, Aidit felt he was at the crossroads. For him the revolution should be launched as soon as possible otherwise the Army would crush PKI in the first place. Sjam Kamaruzaman objected to this option saying that the PKI mass were not yet ready. Aidit refuted such complaint and came with a premise that the revolution could be started as far as 30 percent of the Army supported PKI.
He considered that the time was reap to launch a revolution action. He seemed so confidence that he completely forgot the history.
Back in 1948 soon after the Madiun Affair was cracked down, while in jail Suripno, one of the communist prisoners, wrote the reasons why PKI failed to take over the power:
“The important factor leading to our failure is the lack of public support. People inside or outside Madiun just give us very small assistance. Besides, we don’t have any strong political basis, under which we can step forward. The last thing is we don’t estimate properly the superiority of military power.”
L’histoire se répète. Aidit expectation that 30 percent of the Army supported PKI movement was a hallucination. Only within couple days the PKI movement was crushed. In Yogyakarta Aidit met several local PKI leaders and discussed the possible establishment of armed groups to support the Revolution Council. As such plan was impossible to materialize within a short time, they decided instead to launch a political action to support and defend Soekarno.
Aidit then went to Semarang holding an emergency meeting with Lukman, the Vice Chairman of PKI Central Committee, and PKI leaders of Central Java. They agreed to make a statement and announce that G30S movement was the Army’s internal affair and nothing to do with PKI.
In October 5th, the day before cabinet meeting held in Bogor Palace, Air Force Major Sugiantoro flew from Yogyakarta using his Mentor plane to Panasan Airbase, Solo, with a mission to pick up and bring a yet unnamed high officer to an airbase in Bogor. Knowing from Colonel Sunjoto, the Commander of the airbase, that the mysterious person whom he should pick up was Aidit, he categorically refused the instruction.
“This is an order,” shouted Colonel Sunjoto.
“I take order from nobody but my direct commander in the Air Force Academy,” retorted Major Sugiantoro.
Both officers stuck to their own position and no plane ever flew to Bogor. When the RPKAD under the command of Colonel Sarwo Edhie was approaching Solo, Aidit went to Surabaya. But the situation there was worse than what he expected. The non-communists every where in East Java mainly the Muslims with their youth movements, such as Ansor, aggressively attacked PKI and its subsidiaries.
He returned to Solo after staying in Blitar for a while where he wrote his political testament letter c). On November 22nd, he was arrested in his hiding place near the railway station in Solo by the troops of Colonel Yasir Hadibroto, the 4th Infantry Brigade Commander of Diponegoro Division.
This ended the Aidit story and so the days of PKI were counted.
a. Later on, when President Soekarno installed Major General Pranoto as the Army Commander-in-Chief to replace the late General Achmad Yani, Major General Soeharto just simply ignored it and maintained his command as the care-taker of the Army Commander-in-Chief.
b. Brigadier General Soepardjo, who sided with PKI was the commander of West Kalimantan Combat Division. He came to Jakarta to attend the ceremony of the Army Day, but the underlying purpose of his coming was to command the G30S movement.
c. Aidit told his version on the G30S movement and gave instructions to PKI followers what to do next.
Zulkifli, A. et al.:”Aidit, Dua Wajah Dipa Nusantara”, Seri Buku Tempo, Jakarta, 2010.
Soerojo, S.:”Siapa Menabur Angin Akan Menuai Badai”, Soegiarso Soerojo, Jakarta, 1988.
In 1951, when D.N. Aidit took over the leadership of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), the whole members of the party were only several thousand but he increased them significantly up to 3 million in 1964.
PKI launched a radical and aggressive strategy attracting more followers and sympathizers in a relatively short time. PKI changed tactics of armed struggle into a united front. At the philosophical level, ingenuity and flexibility were the main features of PKI ideology in the period of 1959-1965. This tactic was required by PKI to survive and get ahead politically.
In 1954, PKI decided to implement a strategy called Working among the Enemy, namely guerrilla war in the villages by farm laborers and poor peasants, revolutionary action by the workers in cities and intensive work inside the armed forces.
The Indonesian condition was significantly different from that in the capitalistic countries such as in Europe at the moment of communist revolutions in the beginning of the 20th century. There, the aristocrat and bourgeois-capitalists as well as landlords were dominant over poor industrial workers and farmers. For that reason, the communism arose there and was intensified in Russia where the feudalism still strongly prevailed.
Here in Indonesia, on the contrary, there was no such dominance of feudal landlords and bourgeois-capitalists but mostly the Chinese descendant merchant capitalists and state-own enterprise. Indigenous big capitalists and landlords were far less in number. Many poor workers and farmers were religious or not interested in and event against communism.
PKI, therefore, simplified the Marxism and communism terms conforming to the local situation which could be easier understood by the lay people. They popularized three simple reasons that made people miserable, namely:
First, the imperialist, It was the main enemy of the revolutionary people around the world, mainly the USA a).
Second, the seven village devils: (1) landlords, (2) officials who defend the interests of landlords (3) middlemen who squeeze farmers (4) the bureaucrat capitalists who enrich themselves by exploiting farmers, (5) villagers who collaborate with landlords, (6) money lenders, (7) profiteers who ensnare the peasants in debt throughout their entire life.
Third, the three city devils both military and civil servants: (1) the bureaucrat-capitalists, (2) the cheaters and manipulators, (3) corrupt people.
In its implementation most of PKI actions were found to be counterproductive. Their categorization of people into conflicting classes spread hatred across the country. They attacked religion in line with their communist ideology. They used the Land Reform Act to attack the landowners who mostly were clerics having a lot of fanatic followers. However, a big question raised as PKI were not consistent in implementing its ideology as they exempted the Chinese descendant capitalists and merchants from the target of their attacks.
In addition, PKI also launched terror and sabotage against the state-owned enterprises often accompanied by sadistic and barbaric actions.
One of the events which was widely reported in the newspaper was the death of Soedjono, the Army Second Lieutenant, who served in a state-owned plantation company in Bandar Betsi, North Sumatra, sadistically killed with cool blood by PKI band using hoes, crowbars and rocks. PKI mass also frequently damaged public utilities and transportation such as removing the nails of the rails which caused many trains rolled off the tracks.
Once Sukarno could no longer protect PKI because of their sadistic acts done in what they called the September 30th Movement (G30S) b), people began to openly attack PKI. The clergies considered PKI and their actions as identical to atheist on whom they declared holy-war (jihad). Exterminations of PKI cadres and militants were manifested in spontaneous revenge which had been so long smoldering like a fire in the chaff.
a. For PKI the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was excluded in this category as they sided with revolutionary people such as PKI. PKI even supported the willingness of PRC to arm the Fifth Colon which members were supposed to be dominated by PKI subsidiaries.
b. which people called instead by its acronym as Getapu to equalize this PKI movement with Gestapo, the German’s Nazi Secret Service, for their cruelty.
In the middle of the people’s struggle against Dutch offensive, in September 18th, 1948, an obscured person named Muso, who just came back from Moscow a), assumed the leadership of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and proclaimed the establishment of the Republic of Soviet-Indonesia. The proclamation was broadcast from Madiun located.200 kilometers eastward of Yogyakarta, the then capital of the Republic, He added that Soekarno and Hatta were traitors; the slaves of Japan and US and should, therefore, be eliminated.
Muso must be dreaming. How come that a person like him who was absent for so long time from his country dared to confront face to face with Soekarno-Hatta who had gained support from the majority of the people? His head was certainly full of romanticism that made him fail to see the reality developed in his own country.
Challenged rudely by Muso, Soekarno who had considered communist as one of the poles of Indonesia strength, however, was very determined and without hesitation launched a counterattack. He called for Indonesian people with his thundering voice full of anger: “People of Indonesia, I let you now to choose Muso and his communist party or Soekarno-Hatta who with the blessings of God Almighty will guide the Republic towards its freedom”.
Within weeks, Siliwangi and Brawijaya b)Companies smashed PKI and its followers. As the Dutch launched what so called the [First] Police Action on December 19th, 1948, the Military Governor of the Solo area, Colonel Gatot Subroto, instructed his men to get rid of all the captured communist leaders and shoot them death c).
Muso’s proclamation was preceded by the take-over of the Madiun local government led by Sumarsono, the Indonesian Socialist Fighters (Pesindo) Commander. He declared that time was reap to launch People’s Revolution to take over foreign factories and distribute land for those who worked for the communist party.
They called their movement as a non-parliamentary phase of communist struggle and by shooting three gun fires as a mark of the beginning of their movement, they encircled and captured the local regent and entourages, local Army commanders and their other targeted enemies.
At that time the acts of kidnapping, torture and sadistic killing were common. PKI and his opponents accused each other as the doer of the barbaric actions. Many military and police officers, religious leaders, the boarding school students in Madiun and surrounding areas were kidnapped and murdered by PKI, and this time definitely not by their opponents.
Among the victims was Col. Marhadi d), the local military commander in Madiun. The tragic murder of RM Suryo, the East Java Governor, one of the November 10thSurabaya prominent heroes. The cars of Suryo and his police officers were intercepted by a band of PKI followers near Ngawi, closed to Madiun. They were sadistically assassinated and their bodies dumped in the woods. Those and other innumerable killings shocked people who ever since considered PKI as a traitor.
When the communist forces were wiped out and their coup d’etat plan was aborted, PKI seemed not to know how to proceed. They had no grand strategy whatsoever to sustain their movement. Suripno, one of the communist prisoners while in jail wrote the reasons why PKI failed to to take over the power:
“The important factor leading to our failure is the lack of public support. People inside or outside Madiun just give us very small assistance. Besides, we don’t have any strong political basis, under which we can step forward. The last thing is we don’t estimate properly the superiority of military power.” He added that mass murders done cruelly by PKI gave insight to public that the communist members were dangerous and therefore they should be eliminated once the chance gave them to do so.
The communist movement totally ended when Muso was killed while he ran away out of Madiun disguising as the horse cart driver. However, 17 years later the blunder was repeated again by PKI but this time in a much bigger scale, and so were the death tolls. The lesson was, indeed, never learnt.
a. Muso returned from exile on May 1948. Arriving in Yogyakarta he soon assumed PKI leader and intensified the PKI agitation. Many socialist politicians and Army commanders joined Muso, among others Amir Syarifuddin, the ex-Prime Minister of the Republic, forming a People Democratic Front (FDR).
b. Brawijaya was the East Java Army division, while Siliwangi was the West Java Army division which happened to be around. They had been forced to make long march from their base to Central Java to comply with Renville Agreement.
c. including Amir Sjarifudin, ex Prime Minister who openly allied himself with PKI leaders Muso and Alimin recently return from the exile.
d. His name is now immortalized with a monument that stands in the middle of the square city of Madiun and the main street in Madiun.
September 30th, 1965 Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) launched a premature coup d’état which drastically reversed their fate. The moment became an anticlimax and PKI with their used to be revolutionary actions collapsed overnight to a point of no return.
L’histoire se répète. The big blunder that PKI had done in Madiun 1948 was again repeated in 1965. Surprisingly, in both cases they had no grand strategy to consecutively conduct their revolution after attempting to take over the power.
The first thing that they had in mind was to quickly eliminate their targeted enemies. As in any communist revolution elsewhere, they did it in a brutal and sadistic way which seemed to become an inherent characteristic of the communist revolutions.
Early in the morning on the next tragic day, several companies of troops who sided with PKI kidnapped six top Army generals. The troops handed over them to gangs of PKI’s youths and women movements a), who underwent military training in Lubang Buaya, a remote rubber plantation close to the Air Force’s airbase in the outskirt of Jakarta. They sadistically tortured before killed the kidnapped generals and threw their cadavers into an abandoned well.
When the bodies were finally discovered, the Indonesian people who watched TV were horrified seeing the rotten generals’ bodies full of tortured marks were lifted from the bottom of the well. Soekarno immediately lost his charismatic leadership. The deeds of PKI which were considered by people as cruel, barbaric and devilish made Soekarno voices to protect PKI were received by his people on deaf ears.
His backup to PKI survival was counterproductive. The situation became worse as he made a statement that in a grand revolution like ours the death of several generals was only like “a ripple on the ocean”. While the nation mournedSoekarno failed to attend the burial ceremony of those generals which naturally raised a big question among the people.
The conscience of people was injured as such that the charisma of flamboyant Soekarno was no longer able to attract the public sympathy. The devilish murder at Lubang Buaya had undermined the image of the PKI at the nadir point.
The anger of Indonesian people amplified when Ade Irma Nasution, the 5 years old daughter of Nasution, the then Indonesia Military High Commander in Chief, died b). Later on, Arief Rachman Hakim became a martyr c) which increased the militancy of all student movements (KAMI and KAPPI) in Indonesia.
What more surprising to PKI movements was that they had no comprehensive alternative plans to anticipate the possible failure of their revolutionary actions. Even in executing their plans, they had no clear idea on how they could defend their positiond), not mention to make an offensive attack. General Soeharto who took the military command against PKI movement didn’t meet any significant resistance from their subsidiary forces.
When it was clear that the PKI coup d’état failed, the troops who sided with them simply withdrew to Lubang Buaya area near the Air Force base which indicated the Air Force leaders involvement in facilitating the PKI movement. President Soekarno and Aidit, the PKI chairman, at anybody surprise happened to be there. But the PKI leaders seemed to have no clear plans on how to sustain their revolutionary movement and lost the initiative on how to proceed next.
Now, after their days were counted, PKI could only relied the “Plan B” on one person, Soekarno. PKI hoped that Soekarno would support them as what he used to be. Soekarno was, indeed, the ardent supporter of the communist development in Indonesia. It was part of his grand strategy that in order to strengthen the nation he had to embrace and unite the nationalism, religious and communism into one single force.
But the efforts of Soekarno to defend PKI hit the wall. The silent majority which previously was passive now actively participated against the communist. The public antipathy toward PKI and all what they had done in imposing the land reform, bad actions toward religious people, inconsistency in implementing their ideology by taking side with the Chinese descendant capitalist, now came into surface.
Everywhere people spontaneously took revenge and in some cases they ran amok massacring their old enemies, the PKI militants. Aidit who ran away to Solo, using Air Force plane, was captured and killed there in an ambush. Soekarno was deeply depressed as his dream to unite, build and develop his nation came into ruin. Until the death met him, he never wanted to give a command to his innumerable fanatic nationalist followers to counterattack people and demonstrators who were against him and his policy.
Soekarno never wanted to see the bloodshed of his own people whom he had struggled for so long against Dutch colonial which had taken almost his entire life. He never wanted to be the cause of the split and disintegration of his beloved country. It’s sad to see the old man, who nevertheless was a prominent hero the country ever had, eventually died in solitary.
a. These PKI subsidiary organizations were called Pemuda Rakyat and Gerwani respectively.
b. When the troops entered into General Nasution’s house to kidnap him, he managed to escape from the kidnap but her daughter was hit by gunfire aimed at him.
c. He was hit by the President Palace guard’s gunfire while he joined student demonstration asking for the disband of PKI.
d. A simple example was when PKI took over the Indonesian Radio Broadcast (RRI) which held a strategic role for their movements. They could use it to broadcast their commands, guidance and policies nationwide, control and stir mass actions and public opinions. However, the army easily recaptured such a vital object. When Colonel Sarwo Edhie, the Commander in Chief of the para commandos (RPKAD), attacked the building, he needed only a couple of minutes to subdue the guards who were found to be Pemuda Rakyat without even firing a single shot.
In July 5th, 1965 a so called Gilchrist Document was made known to public by Foreign Affairs Minister, Subandrio. The document was said to be found at the British Embassy in Jakarta after it was ransacked by demonstrators and sent anonymously to Subandrio by post. Andrew Gilchrist was the British Ambassador to Indonesia from 1962 to 1965.
The following was the full text of the said letter dated March 24th, 1965, from Gilchrist to Harold Cassia, the Vice Secretary of the British Foreign Office in London a) mentioning the support of “their local army”:
“I discussed with the American Ambassador the questions set out in your No.:67786/65. The Ambassador agreed in principal [sic] with our position but asked for time to investigate certain aspects of the matter.
To my question on the possible influence of Bunker’s visit, to Jakarta, the Ambassador state [sic] that he saw no reason for changing our joint plans. On the contrary, the visit of the US. President’s personal envoy would give us more time to prepare the operation the utmost detail [sic]. The Ambassador felt that further measures were necessary to bring our efforts into closer alignment. In this connection, he said that it would be useful to impress again on our local army friends that extreme care discipline [sic] and coordination of action were essential for the success of our enterprise.
I promised to take all necessarymeasures. I will report my own views personally in due course”.
Subandrio, whose concurrent position was the head of the Central Bureau of Intelligence (BPI), asked Police Brigadier General Sutarko to check the authenticity of the letter which he confirmed. Subandrio then brought the letter to President Soekarno who believed that some generals indeed had sided with imperialist power to topple down the government.
Subandrio and Communist sympathizers used the document to put Indonesia Army into the corner. They launched the issues saying that the Army cooperated with imperialist powers and hampered the struggle of Communist Party; that Board of Generals was not loyal to President Soekarno and wanted to take over the power from the latter.
Soekarno openly supported Subandrio’s move and together with Subandrio they decided to world widely disseminate the issue during their visit to Cairo. Subandrio let a journalist from Al Ahram to interview him and soon after this controversial story was published altogether with the copy of the Gilchrist letter.
After having the copy of such document, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo declared that the document was counterfeited. The US administration internally considered that Subandrio-controlled intelligence agency was behind the forgery. John Grandy, the Chief Commander of the British Army in the Far East stated that the Indonesian accusation was a big nonsense.
Everybody was wrong including Subandrio intelligence b) and the US administration. Hardly anybody was aware that it was a distant little country such as Czechoslovakia which had played behind the scene. Under Soviet supervisory, Department of Counterfeited Information of the Czech Intelligence Bureau had launched a black campaign to make US as a scapegoat to what happened in Indonesia and made them as the big enemy of Indonesia.
Later on some of the Czech secret service, among others, Vladislav Bittman c), who deserted in 1968, stated that it was the Czech bureau agency who had falsified documents. He claimed that he was personally responsible for the campaign against Bill Palmer, a U.S. citizen and film distributor in Indonesia, who had close relationship with Soekarno.
“Palmer Operation” was launched by Czech Intelligence in 1964 as part of the anti-American campaign in Indonesia and dismantling the Indonesia-American diplomatic relationship. Bittman told that it was Major Louda, his superior, who gave the Gilchrist Document to Indonesian Ambassador in Praha who personally seemed to have an underground link with Louda entourage.
The ambassador was not the only person used by Czech secret service. Some Indonesian journalists were also used by Czech-Soviet secret agents as important channels for the anti-American campaign. The Czech intelligence was surprised to see the result they made where an extraordinary and terrifying anti American was rapidly developed among the Indonesian people.
But an anticlimax took place which was far beyond everybody expectation. PKI who were continuously instigated by Peking tried to take the opportunity to launch a premature coup d’état in September 30th, 1965 (G30S) which led to their own massacre.
Up to date, it is still unclear why PKI committed such a political suicide. The International Communist Movements are still discussing the causes of the PKI catastrophic bloody destruction. The pro-Soviet Communist groups accused Peking as the wrong doer as it was them who instigated PKI to launch the abortive coup d’état.
Just before the coup, the Palmer Operation was still applauded as a brilliant tour de force among the Czech-Soviet intelligence, and Major Louda who initiated the operation was highly praised as a hero. In October nobody wanted to talk about it as they were horrified on what they had done with their dirty forgery.
a. Later on in 2000, Denis Healey, the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense in 1965, officially declared that Britain was not involved. However, as some collections of letters from Andrew Gilchrist stored at Churchill archives at Cambridge University are still classified as secret, the speculation about the British involvement continues.
b. Subandrio and his intelligence probably knew and were indifferent about the falsity of the document as they were in line with the PKI strategy and used it intentionally to discredit the Army generals. By doing so, they certainly dishonored and humiliated the Indonesian Intelligence capability as though the latter was not capable to identify such a simple forgery and put their own reputation into nadir.
c. He wrote his experience while in his duty as a Czechoslovakia intelligence in his book entitled The Deception Game.