Indonesian History: Communist PKI Coup Attempt (September-October 1965)

Figure 1.--This unidentified image appears to be some kind of celelebration of the end of Communism in Indonesia, perhaps in fomt of a school. It looks to have been taken in 1965-66. A reader tells us, "I am able to read the word Rakjat on the board for the school children. Rakjat means people (volk), The other word on the left of the star seems to be an abbreviation of something relating to rakjat, but I cannot read it, the same goes for the other words that are not clear enough."

Gradually the Communists (PKI) grew in importance, unbalancing the tiad that Sukarno had crafted. Sukarno appears to have decided to ally himself with the PKI and help launch a Communist coup to destoy the power of the conservative, Muslim influenced Army (1965). The PKI had plans to kill Army commanders and non-Communist leaders. They struck (September 30, 1965). A definitive history of the coup has not yet been written, im part because the Army has not allowed an open discussion and the PKI was destroyed. The official Army version lays the responsibility for the attempted coup entirely on the PKI. PKI survivors claim that it was an internal Army action. We know that members of PKI's central bureau were involved as well as PKI supporters in the Army. The complete story of Sukarno's role has never been fully revealed presumably as a esult of Sukarno's popularity and internationalm prestige. The coup plotters suceeded in killing seven high-ranking Army generals and in some cases their families. They did not suceed, however, in destroying the Army's high comand. General Soeharto launched a bloody campaign to eliminate the PKI and its suporters, a modern day pogrom of communists. The death toll will never be known. A conservative estimate is that 0.3-0.5 million PKI members and supporters were killed. The ctual number may be much greater. In many instances this meant destroying whole villages that were sympthtic to the PKI. General Soeharto, was a major general and commander of the Army Strategic Reserves Command. He took over leadership of the Army. He deposed Sukarno, but did not have him executed.

President Sukarno (1957-65)

President Sukarno, backed by the Army, declared the 1950 Provisional Constitution void and reintroduced the 1945 Constitution (1957). This provided a blueprint as originally intended for Sukarno, popularly known as Bung Karno (Comrade Sukarno), to increase his power. He at first carefully balanced power among three contending forces-- the PKI, the Army with Muslim sentiment, and himself. Sukarmo not only maintained close relations with the PKI, but also appointed others to the cabinet that had strong leftist orienttions. One of the most important was Subandrio who Sukarno and his associates considered to be a brilliant inteklctual, in part because the way he lauded Sukarno. ( Subandrio was found guilty of involvement in the PKI coup attempt and sentenced to death.) President Sukarno managed to dominated Indonesia in this way for two decades becoming a spokesman for the Third World. Like many Third World politicans, he wa a gifted speaker able to impress Indonesians with nationalist rhetoric. And like most Third World politicans at the tgime, he knew nothing avout economics except for a tinge of Socialist thought. In his case, he did not even interested in economics. He referred to it as 'bean counting'." And in Sukarno's case the situation was even worse. He did notwant to delegate authority to any one that did know about economics. The result, not suprisinly was the nation's economic failure. The Indonesian economy had been seriously damaged by the Japanese occupation abnd then the War for Independence. Not only had the infrastructure been damaged, but what existed was not bing adequately maintained. There was also a need for imported spare parts and equipment. Such matters did not unteret Sukarno as he built monuments abnd fkew to international events where he was lauded as an imkportat ruler. These matters did make a difference to yjr Infonesian people. The country with its rich gricultural land was reporting decling hrvests. Food shortages were becoming serious, something tht had not occurred during Dutch colonial rule. The Sukarno Government's approach to finAnce was to simply print money. Inflation which had been a continuong problem began to approach hyperinflation. It is probably accurate to say that Sukarno was not a Communist. That is not to say that he saw anything particularly wrong with Communism. Not only did economics not interest him, but ideological contraints limited his governing approach which was essentially government by whim and to butress his personal image. He approved major expenditure from a still relatively poor country for public monuments and buildings. And he used public funds for for elaborate private luxuries for both himself and his four wives. He presented himself on the international stage as a leader of a new world, free from Cold War antagonism. He was active in the Non-Aligned Movement. This often meant coming down on the Soviet/Socialist side as opposed to democracy and free-market capitalism. He was not a dictator, although Indonesia was hardly a democracy. He did, however, mnage to dominate Indonesia. And he began to lose comtrol (early-1960s). Sukarno like many third-world nationalists (Asad, Castro, Nasser, Nehru, Tito, and others) leaned left. Many were impressed with the Soviet Union and what looked like their growing dominance over the democratic-West. He was finding increasingly difficult to balance the PKI and the Army and he began to see the future more with the PKI. His Socialist-oriented policies and coruption led inevitably to economic decline and mounting conflicts beyween the PKI and the non-Communists backed by the military. Sukarno saw himself losing control over the situation. And the PKI emboldened by the apparent success of Commumist China wanted control so they could solve the economic problems by collectivist Marxist policies.

Growing PKI Importance

The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) grew in importance after independence. Sukarno had beaten the PKI in an election (1948). The PKI had an impressive showing in 1948 and did even better in 1955. We do not know how with surity how this affected Sukarno. He may have thought that politically communism was the wave of the future for Indonesia. This may have been butressed by preceived Communist successes in other countris. The Communists built their influence through trade unions and peasant organizations. The growing importAnce of the PKI was unbalancing the triad that Sukarno had crafted and upon which his power stood. Indonesia developed the largest Communist Pary outside the Communist Bloc. It claimed to have a membership of 3 million people. This would have made it the third largest Communist Party in the world, after the Soviet and Chinese Communist parties. The PKI as part of Sukarno's favorable treatment and anti-estern rhetoric supported Sukarno politically. Sukarno was, howevr, was not a PKI member. He might havebeen called at the time a 'fellow traveler'. He in essence wanted to hold power and the PKI was an important powe that had to be appeased. What the PKI leadership intended for Sukarno is an open question. Sukarno for his part appears to have decided to ally himself with the PKI and help launch a Communist coup to destoy the power of the conservative, Muslim influenced Army (1965).


President Sukarmo saw himself as a brilliant political theorist. His central idea was Nasakom, which was a composit of nationalism, religion and communism. Such a combination is of course absurd, but he required government employees to study his Nasakom principles as well as Marxist theory. Sukarno met with Chinese Communist leader Zhou En-lai. After this he decided to create a militia, what he called a Fifth Force. This would be a force he controlled outside of Indonesia's the military (army, navy, air force and police). He ordered 100,000 rifles from China to be used to equip this Fifth Force. He delivered a speech he declared that he favored revolutionary groups whether they were nationalist, religious or communist stating "I am a friend of the Communists, because the Communists are revolutionary peple (August 1964)." Sukarno said at an anniversary ceremony of the PKI, "I love the PKI as my brother, and if it dies I shall feel it as the loss of a dear relative (April 1965)." Sukarno's international policies increasingly reflected his rhetoric. He conocted a military confrontation with Malaysia over imagined territorial claims. He dispatched guerilla fighters to instigate n uprising. He began to denounce the United States (1964). American in response cut economic assistance. Sukarno then withdrew Indonesia from the United Nation to protest the seating of Malaysia on the U.N. Security Council (Januaryv 1965). Sukarno then publically announced his intentions of creating his Fifth Force perportedly to be deploye in Malaysia (August 1965).

Muslim Clerics

One inteesting aspect of the literature on the PKI Coup Plot is the virtual complete silence about Islmic clerics. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. Most of the country's population was Muslim with a small Christian and Hindu (mostly on Bali) minority. The majority were Sunni Moslems practing a relatively moderate form of Islam. The Communist PKI ascribed to an atheist creed. We rarely, however seen any reference to Islamic clerics. Political Islam was, howevr active in Indonesia.

PKI Plan

The PKI had plans to kill senior Army commanders and non-Communist leaders. They struck (September 30, 1965). A definitive history of the coup has not yet been written, im part because the Army has not allowed an open discussion and the PKI was destroyed. The official Army version lays the responsibility for the attempted coup entirely on the PKI. PKI survivors claim that it was an internal Army action. We know that members of PKI's central bureau were involved as well as PKI supporters in the Army. President Sukarno also seems to have been inolved. The curious aspect is that while the the PKI leadership was involved, there appears thave been no attempt to organize a mass rising using the KPI membership, only a relatively small number of PKI members in the Army. Why PKI leader D.N. Aidit would have staked everything on PKI loyalists in the Army, especialy before Sukarno had formed his Fifth Force, is a question that has never been answered.

Sukarno's Power Postion

The complete story of Sukarno's role has never been fully revealed presumably as a result of Sukarno's popularity and international prestige. Sukarno was President for Life. He was not, however, a dictator. The army and the political elite also had substantial power. The Army held a virtual monopoly on the forces of state coersion. This was complicated by the fact that some in the army secretly supported the PKI. The extent of his penetration was largely unknown. As it played out, the religious afiliation of the Army, especially the Muslim faith of much of the military would prove more important. As a result, Sukarno was a leader with limited power. The Army could could take a wide range of security actions beyond Sukarno's control. The Army on its own authority could and did on several occasions ban strikes, limitg demonstrations, close newspapers and interrogate political leaders, including the head of the PKI. All of these actions increasingly brought the Army in conflict with the PKI.

Sukarno's Leftward Drift

Sukarno's position was further complicated by the fact that while popular, was not the head of an important political party. He depended largely on the PKI for political support and action. Sukarno delivered empassioned speches to the Indonesian public. He often revealed that independence from the Dutch would not be the end of the revolutionary struggle. He would refer to the need to move the Indesian revolution to the next stage. He never, however, clearly stated what that next stage would be. He soke ambiguously aboyt this future step. As aesult, various listeners envisioned very different end results. PKI loyalists certainly thought he was talking about socialism.

Sukarno and the PKI

Sukarmo does not appart to have been a Communist. It is clar, however, tht he was sympathetic toward the Communists. The seems to have seen the PKI as the road to ditarorial power that neither parlimentarian demicocracy or NASAKOM offered. Thus gradually Sukarno as the manager of NASAKOM drifted increasingly toward the PKI. The PKI had been Sukarno's most loyal supporter. They supported all of Sukarno's important policies. Sukarno saw the PKI as solving his party problem, he had no organized a politiucal party of his own. The PKI on the other hand was the best-organised and ideologically coherent party in the country. He also saw the PKI as useful in gaining more military and financial aid from the Communist Bloc. Sukarno also apparently sympathised with the PKI's revolutionary ethos. Sukarno's opronlem as that the other legs of the NASAKOM triad (political Islam and the military saw the PKI as a real threat and were disturbed with Sukarno's support for them. The PKI had 3 million members, and were particularly strong in Central Java and Bali. They had become the strongest party in Indonesia (1965). Sukarno in his traditional Independence Day sppech declared his intention to commit Indonesia to an anti-imperialist alliance with China and other communist countries (August 17, 1965). He warned the Army generals not to not to interfere. He also reafirmed his intentioned to establish a 'fifth force' of armed peasants and workers. [Dake] Sukarno even disvowed politicans who used his earlier statements to attack the Communists and withdrew support from them.

Fifth Armed Force

The NASAKOM sysytem began to fray as Sukarmo shifted toward the Communists. Tensions reached an impasse over a PKI demand to arm (April 1965). PKI chairman Aidit called for the formation of a 'Fifth Armed Force'to be composed of armed peasants and workers. Sukarno approved the proposal publicly and called for the immediate mobilization of this fifth force (May 17, 1965). The Army was totally opposed. Army Chief Ahmad Yani and Defence Minister Nasution rejected the idea because it essentially would allow the OKI to form its own army. Soon after, Subandrio, a close Sukarno loyalist, produced the 'Gilchrist Letter' (May 29). Subandrino and Sukarno claimed that this was evidence of a joint American-British plot to overthrow the Sukarno Government. The British ambassador was Andrew Gilchrist and Sukarno claimed he has acquired a ketter that Gilchrust had written to the Foreign Office in London. Sukarno claimed that Britain and America with 'local army friends'. The Czechoslovakian agent Ladislav Bittman who defected in 1968 claimed that his agency (StB) had forged the letter as a result of a PKI request forwarded by the Soviet Union. The goal was to destroy the nationalist credentials of anti-communist Army generals. We do not know if Sukarno knew it was a forgery, but coming from Subandrio, this is likekly. Sukarno would constantly refer to the Gilchrist letter in the following months.

Coup Attempt (September 30-October 1)

The PKI coup attempt became known as the September 30 Movement (G30S). The rebels suceeded in killing six high-ranking Army generals, a leiutenant, and a daughter of one of the generals (late-September 30/early moning October 1) The PKI did not, however, succeed, in destroying the Army's high comand. And the Army was largely Muslim and anti-Communist. One of the targeted generals escaped and spread the alert. And inexplicably they failed to target the Army's Strategic Reserve Command (KOSTRAD) commanded by Gen. Soeharto. The PKI claimed that the September 30 coup plotters acted without their knowledge an approval. They did not criticise the coup plotters, however until after the coup failed. Sukarno's movements and presence at the Coup command post (Halim Air Force Base) suggest the the Coup plotters were acting on their own. This all suggests a degree of complicity. The full extent of ghat complicity will never be known to any degree of certainty/

Rebel Base: Halim Air Force Base (Late September 30)

The Coup Plotters set up a base at Halim Air Force Base near Jakarta (late night September 30). The coup commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Untung who commanded one of the three battalions of Sukarno's personal palace guard. The choice of Halin probably reflected the involvement of Air Vice-Marshal Omar Dhani.

Rebel death squads (Midnight October 1)

Col. Untung dispatched seven squads in trucks and busesto capture seven top generals. They achieved a degree of success. They shot and killed three generals who resisted the attempt to take them prisoner. Three other generals were captured and taken back to rebel headquates at the Halim air base. General Nasution, was perhaps the most important target of the rebels, but managed to escaped capture. General Nasution had been the Army commander, but President Sukarno promoted him to a cabinet-level post of minister of defense. There he had prestige but no direct command over the army or any army units. General Nasution had been replaced by General Yani. One of Untung's rebel squads had come to General Yani's home after midnight and told him that President Sukarno had summoned him. Yani said he would have to put on his uniform to appear before the President. The rebel squad leader relied that there was no time. Yani struck the squad leader in the face for speaking so insolently to him. He turned to go back to his bedroom and dress, The squad shot him in the back and threw his body in the waiting vehicle.

General Nasution

General Nasution, perhaps the most important, managed to escaped capture. The General had been a Sukarno loyalist. This was a disaterous development for the rebels. The exact details are fuzzy. Nasution's wife apparently suspected the motives of the squad that appeared unexpecteldly in the middle of the night. She slammed the door closed. While the squad breaking the door open she persuaded her husband to escape out a window. He clambered over the back fence and fell into his neighbor's back, breaking his ankle in the process. An aide of Nasution, a mere lieutenant, put on the General's uniform and cap to confuse he rebels. They mistook the lieutenant for Nasution and took him away. On the way back to their Halim base they discovered the ruse and shot the lieutenant. They returned to Gen. Nasution's home and ransaked it looking for the General. In the chaos that followed they shot the General's young daughter who died a few days later.

Developments at Halim (Early morning October 1)

The rebels took their three prisoners back to their Halim base. There they were sumarily shot. Their bodies were mutilated by members of a women's Communist group that had assembled there. The bodies of the thrre generals shot there along with the three shot at their homes as well as Gen. Naustion's aide were tossed unceremoniously into a well near the base. At some time during the night, PKI leader D.N. Aidit and and Air Vice-Marshal Omar Dhani, the Air Force commander both went to Halim. Sukarno and Bandrio were also at the Halim air base during the early morning hours as the coup plot unfolded. Their involvement in the coup is unclear, but their presence at Halim and the central role of Sukarno's palace guard is strong evidence that they were deeply involved. Sukarno claimed that he went to Halim after learning that there were troops near the Palace on the north side of Lapangan Merdeka and he wanted to be near an aircraft should he need to leave Jakarta for safety.

General Soeharto

Soeharto (also spelled Suharto) was born had been born in Yogyakarta (June 8, 1921). After finishing school he worked as bank clerk. He then entered a Dutch cadet program for officers in the colonial army. When the Japanese invaded (February 1942), like many Indonesians, he colobarated with them. He served in the Japanese-sponsored home defense force. This meant that Indonesians were armed by the Japanese. After the Japanese surrender (August 1945), Suharto played an important role as a commander of the Indonesian rebels fighting the Dutch. After independence he made a career in the new Indonesian Army. He developed a reputation as a higly competent, non-political offucer. He was given command of the Army's Strategic Reserve Command (KOSTRAD). This was a unit maintained in constant readiness as a emergency reponse force. As such it should have been an obvious force for the rebels to neutralize. They probably overlooked Gen. Soeharto because of his quient, non-political stance. What ever the reason, he was not on the hit list.

Initial KOSTRAD Reaction

A neighbor woke Gen. Soeharto up at 5:30 am. He was informed of the disappearances of the generals and the shootings at some of their homes. He immediately went to KOSTRAD HQ and began contacting other senior commanders. He reached the Naval and Police commanders, but was unable to reach the Air Force Commander. He proceeded to assume command of the Army and issued orders confining troops to their barracks.

Downtown Jakarta (Morning October 1)

Some 2,000 troops from two Java-based divisions (Battalion 454 from the Diponegoro Division and Battalion 530 from the Siliwangi Division) occupied what is now Lapangan Merdeka, the park around the National Monument in central Jakarta and three sides of the square. This included Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) building. They did not occupy the east side of the square where the Armed Forces Strategic Reserve (KOSTRAD) headquarters was located. Col. Untung and his G30s assocites announced after the morning &PM news that the Army G30S were in control of Jakarta and that President Sukarno was safe and under their protection. They claimed that this was to prevent a coup attempt by a reputed General's Council aided by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to remove President Sukarno on 5 October, Army Day. Later that day 45 members of the G30S Movement were announced as well as plans to abolish all army ranks above Lieutenant Colonel.

Central Java

The coup was generally confined to the Jararta area. There was an attempt in central Java to take control of an army division and several cities. This was an area where the PKI was particularrly strong. Two plotters killed two more senior Army officers. This rebellion was quickly supressed.

Failure (Afternoon-Evening October 1)

Col. Untung and his fellow rebels were surprised with the very rapid Army response. Gen. Nasution's esape was crucil as he raised the alarm. The response was organized by General Suharto. Nasution was in pain, suffering from his broken ankle as well as grieving over his daughter. He thus did not take control of the Army. Gen. Soeharto did. He had not been one of the generals targeted by the the rebels, probanly because he had not been a politically active general. He soon demontrated, however, that he was a talented commander. He reacted with great energy and dispatch. He was perfectly placed to do so as the commander of a ready strike force. The September 30th Movement proved to be a disorganized, small-scale affair. The coup began to breakdown almost at once when because of poor planning the coup leaders neglected to provide provisions for the troops in downtown Jakarta at Lapangan Merdeka. The men began to become both hot and thirsty. And they had no idea that they were involved in a coup attempt. They had been led to believe that they were protecting President Sukarno in his palace. General Soeharto in the afternoon persuaded both battalions to retire without a fight. The Brawijaya troops went to KOSTRAND HQ. The Diponegoro troops withdrew to Halim. Gen Soeharto's troops then gave the rebel forces inside the radio station who did know what they were doing an ultimatum. They also withdrew. Gen. Soeharto was left in control of the critial installations seized by G30S. Gen. Soeharto joined by Gen Nasution announced over the radio that he was now in command of the Army and that he would destroy the counter-revolutionary G30S forces and save President Sukarno (9 pm). He issued another ultimatum diected at the troops at Halim. Subsequentky President Sukarno left Halim and went to Bogor, another presidential palace. Most of the rebel troops at Halim fled. Aidit fled to Yogyakarta and Dani to Madiun and went into hidingb before Soeharto's men reached Halim. The Army after a short battle seized Halim (early morning October 2). Gen. Soeharto had quickly and efficently supressed the rebellion, although resistance sputtered on for another day. In all It lasted about 48 hours. They rebels had managed to kill about 12, mostly high ranking people. There was no general rising by the PKI.

Army Reaction

General Soeharto launched a bloody campaign to eliminate not only the coup perpetrators, but the entire PKI and its suporters, a modern day pogrom of communists. Some estimates are close to 1.0 million people. The death toll will never be known. A conservative estimate is that 0.3-0.5 million PKI members and supporters were killed. The actual number may be much greater. In many instances this meant destroying whole villages that were sympthtic to the PKI. General Soeharto, was a major general and commander of the Army Strategic Reserves Command. He took over leadership of the Army. He proceeded tp depose Sukarno, but did not have him executed.

British/CIA Role

Left-wing authors tend to blame the British and Americans for Sukarno's overthrow. This was Sukarn's mantra even before he lost power. They certainly were involved, but it is difficult to blame them for the economic failure of the Sukarno Gvernment or the clear alliabce he was forging with the Communists against the the nationalists, political Islam, and the Army. The British do seem to have put the prioverbial nail in Sukarno's coffin. Sukarno's relations with the the PKI continued even during the Army's bloody supression, following the coup. One historian writes, "The communist leader, Aidit, went on the run and Sukarno, being a great politician, went to the front of the palace and said that the communist leader Aidit must be hunted down and brought to justice. From the side door of the palace, he was dealing with him every day by courier." This was picked up by Britain's GCHQ which radio listening stations in Hong Kong. And they passed the signal information to the Indonesian Army.

Sukarno's Final Years (1966-70)

Sukarno's was a popular independence leader. He took a great interest in international affairs and nuch less interest in economics. And what little interest he did take was to promote socialism which did not work any better in Indonesia than it did in any other newly ndeoendent post-War countries where it was tried. The resulting economic decline in Indonesia adversely affected Sukarno's once formidable popularity. In addition, students began demonstrating against him, not only for his economic failure, but his repressive policies. As a result, Suharto and the other Army general at fist moved cautiously against him. Prefering a campaign of discrediting him before moving openly. As a result there was no great public reaction as the Army began to seize control from Sukrno after the failed PKI coup. The end came as a meeting of Sukarno's full cabinet was held at the Merdeka Palace (March 11, 1966). Students were demonstrating against the Sukarno Government. The students were not controlled by the Army, but the Army encouraged their anti-Sukarno demonstrations. Troops began to assemble outside. Sukarno, Subandrio and another minister still fearing the Army was going to arrest them for participating in the PKI Coup left by helicopter for the Bogor Palace which they believed was more secure. Given the blood-letting assocuated with the supression of the PKI, this was not an unreasonable concern. Gen. Suharto promptly ordered three generals (Basuki Rahmat, Amirmachmud, and Mohammad Jusuf) to the Bogor palace. Their assigment was to arrange a transfer of power. They convinced Sukarno to sign a Presidential Order -- the Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret (Order of March the Eleventh--the Supersemar). By this order Sukarno empowered Gen. Suharto to "take all measures considered necessary to guarantee security, calm and stability of the government and the revolution and to guarantee the personal safety and authority [of Sukarno]". It seems likely that Sukarno was forced to sign the document, but there is no definitive knnowledge as to precisely just what occurred. The impact was to formally tranbsfer policy to the Army abd Suharto. With the authority in hand, Suharto proceded to declare the PKI illegal and abolish the Party. He then ordered the arrest of numerous high-ranking Sukarno loyalists charged with being PKI members and/or sympathizers. This further reduced Sukarno's tebuous hold on power. Sukarno made his Nawaksara (Accountability) speech to the Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat Sementara (Provisional People's Consultative Congress--MPRS) (June 22). The military had purged it of PKI and pro-Sukarno members. Sukarbo was attemtting to defend himself and his Guided Dmocracy system. Few members believed him. Next Gen. Suharto ended Indonesia's confrontion with neighboring Malaysia, ignoring Sukarno's objections. Suharto also rejoined the United Nations. Sukarno attempted another accountability speech (Nawaksara Addendum) (January 10, 1967). The speech was broadcast to the nation. It was no more sucessdul than the first. It was his final attempt to maintain his hold on power. The principal impact was anti-Sukarno student demonstraions. When a student was shot dead, he was turned into a martyr and the student demostrations became massive. Suharto ordered initiated impeachment proceedings against Sukarno. He was charged with communism, economic negligence, and 'moral degradation' referring to his womanizing. The MPRS stripped Sukarno of his president-for-life title (March 12, 1967). The MPRS session was chaired by his former ally, Gen. Nasution. The MPR immediateky named Suharto acting president. [Ricklefs, p. 295.] Suharto placed Sukarno under house arrest in Bogor Palace. Very little was heard about him in the press from that time. He was essentially powerless. His health began to decline. Suharto ordered that he not be provided adequate medical care for his high blood pressure. Suharto kept Sukarno at Bogor Palace where he was unable to contact potential allies or make statements to ghe press. He remained their until he was near death. Finally he was transfrred to the Jakarta Army Hospital where a few days later he passed away. He died of kidney failure (June 21, 1970). He was 69 years old. The father of his country slipped away from the international stage with little fanfare. He was denied a place in the Heroes' Cemetery in Djakarta. He was quietly buried next to his mother in Blitar, East Java. Indonesian historians today tend to honor him for achieving independence, but that his govening role was one of slogans rather than performance.


Dake, Antonie. Sukarno Files (Yayasan Obor: 2006).

Reddaway, Norman.

Ricklefs, M.C. A History of Modern Indonesia since c. 1300 (MacMillan: 1991).


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Created: 5:36 AM 10/13/2012
Last updated: 3:17 AM 4/24/2017