This week in 1965

Suharto is Indonesia's new army chief of staff

Major-General Suharto would later become president of Indonesia.
Major-General Suharto would later become president of Indonesia. ST FILE PHOTO

Indonesia's man of the moment this week in October 1965 was its new army chief of staff, Major-General Suharto, who was said to look tough but speak with a soft voice.

Then 44, he took over the top army post after his predecessor, General Achmad Yani, was killed in a coup attempt allegedly carried out by the Indonesian Communist Party on the night of Sept 30, 1965.

Gen Suharto, who was serving as commander of the army strategic command when the rebels struck, had rallied loyal forces of the army, navy and police and crushed the rebellion within 20 hours. He gradually acquired the levers of power behind the scenes, ousting then President Sukarno by 1967.

Gen Suharto officially became president of Indonesia in 1968, a post he held until he resigned in 1998.

He died in 2008 at age 86.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'Suharto is Indonesia's new army chief of staff'. Print Edition | Subscribe