This chapter reconstructs the details of the campaign of violence against the PKI through a careful excavation of a variety of accounts, including the testimonies and memoirs of both witnesses and perpetrators, declassified documents of foreign governments, and internal reports and official statements by military officials. It draws on such sources to address two related sets of questions. First, with a view to clarifying what happened and dispelling at least some of the more persistent misconceptions, the chapter asks, how many people were killed? Who were the victims? How, where, and when did they die? And who killed them? It then examines some of the arguments that have been advanced to explain the killings, focusing on those that stress underlying cultural, religious, and socioeconomic tensions. The chapter concludes with reflections on the merits of those explanations while posing a number of questions that they leave unanswered.
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