History in Uniform: Military Ideology and the Construction of Indonesia’s Past

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University of Hawaii Press, May 31, 2007 - History - 228 pages
A thoughtful, stimulating piece of scholarship which significantly deepens our knowledge of Indonesia’s New Order. —R. E. Elson, University of Queensland

Under the New Order regime (1967-1998), the Indonesian military sought to monopolize the production of official history and control its contents. The goal was to validate the political role of the armed forces, condemn communism, and promote military values.

In this detailed examination of the Indonesian military’s image-making efforts, Katherine E. McGregor explores the formulation of nationalist history under Suharto, and shows how this effort affected the Indonesian people. The study highlights the role of the Armed Forces History Centre and its chief historian, Nugroho Notosusanto, in promoting controversial images of the military as a self-sacrificing people’s force guarding the spirit of independence and protecting the official national philosophy, the Pancasila. The extraordinary attention paid to image-making calls into question views of the military as an all-powerful institution.

Based on interviews, museum records, guidebooks, military manuals, films, textbooks, historical re-enactments, and commemorative volumes, History in Uniform offers fresh insights into the significance of history to Indonesia’s politicized military and to this relatively new nation.For sale in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand by NUS Press (Singapore)

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About the author (2007)

Katharine McGregor is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne.

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