Book Description

For the past half century, the Indonesian military has depicted the 1965-66 killings, which resulted in the murder of approximately one million unarmed civilians, as the outcome of a spontaneous uprising. This formulation not only denied military agency behind the killings, it also denied that the killings could ever be understood as a centralised, nation-wide campaign.

Using documents from the former Indonesian Intelligence Agency’s archives in Banda Aceh this book shatters the Indonesian government’s official propaganda account of the mass killings and proves the military’s agency behind those events. This book tells the story of the 3,000 pages of top-secret documents that comprise the Indonesian genocide files. Drawing upon these orders and records, along with the previously unheard stories of 70 survivors, perpetrators, and other eyewitness of the genocide in Aceh province it reconstructs, for the first time, a detailed narrative of the killings using the military’s own accounts of these events. This book makes the case that the 1965-66 killings can be understood as a case of genocide, as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The first book to reconstruct a detailed narrative of the genocide using the army’s own records of these events, it will be of interest to students and academics in the field of Southeast Asian Studies, History, Politics, the Cold War, Political Violence and Comparative Genocide.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Indonesian Genocide Files

1. Why Genocide?

2. The Struggle for the Indonesian State

3. The Order to Annihilate, 1- 6 October 1965

4. Djuarsa’s Co-ordination Tour, 1- 11 October 1965

5. Pogrom and Public Killings, 7 October- November 1965

6. Killing to Destroy, 14 October- December 1965

7. Consolidation of the New Regime: Anti-Chinese Violence, January - August 1966, and the Purge of Aceh’s Civil Service, October 1965 – March 1967

Conclusion: Anatomy of a Genocide



Jess Melvin is Rice Faculty Fellow in Southeast Asia Studies and Postdoctoral Associate in Genocide Studies at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.