The hidden story of the wanton slaughter in Indonesia – and Latin America, and around the world – that was a fundamental part of the Cold War “victory” we all now live with.
In the 20th century, the U.S. government’s effort to contain communism resulted in several disastrous conflicts: Vietnam, Cuba, Korea. Violence in Indonesia, and then interconnected slaughters across Latin America, arguably had a bigger hand in shaping today’s world, but have been widely overlooked for one important reason: the secret CIA interventions were successful.
In 1965, nearly one million unarmed civilians were killed in Indonesia with active U.S. assistance. This was the end of a decade-long attempt to stop the rise of the largest communist party outside the USSR and China. The resulting dictatorship buried the truth until this day, but the massacre shook the world. Left-wing movements radicalized, afraid of suffering the same fate as the unarmed Indonesians, and the world’s committed anticommunists – especially in Brazil and Chile – learned from the mass murder, creating terror campaigns named after the Indonesian capital.
In this bold and comprehensive new history, building on his reporting for the Washington Post in Southeast Asia, Vincent Bevins uses recently declassified documents, archival research, and countless of hours of interviews to reconstruct this chapter in world history and reveal a hidden legacy that spans the globe. For decades, it’s been portrayed that much of the developing world passed naturally, and peacefully, into the US-led capitalist world system. But those who suffered through this process have long known differently.