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The Killing SeasonA History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66$
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Geoffrey B. Robinson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196497

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196497.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

The Army’s Role

The Army’s Role

Chapter:
(p.148) Chapter Six The Army’s Role
Source:
The Killing Season
Author(s):

Geoffrey B. Robinson

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691196497.003.0006

This chapter argues that the mass killings of 1965–66 were neither inevitable nor spontaneous. It shows first how the temporal and geographic variations in the pattern of mass killing corresponded closely to the varied political postures and capacities of army commanders in a given locale, and how the army's logistical assets facilitated the killings. Next, it outlines how the army encouraged and carried out mass killings by mobilizing civilian youth groups and death squads, and encouraging them to identify, detain, and kill members of the PKI and their allies. Third, the chapter describes how the army provoked and legitimized mass killings by launching a sophisticated media and propaganda campaign that blamed the PKI for the kidnap and murder of the generals, and called for the party and its affiliates to be physically annihilated. Fourth, it shows how a variety of religious and political leaders embraced and replicated the army's polarizing and retributive language and propaganda, adding their considerable authority to the campaign of violence. Finally, it draws on this evidence to address the critical question of responsibility.

Keywords:   army, PKI, civilian youth groups, death squads, mass killings, media campaign, propaganda, campaign of violence, responsibility

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