Abdul Haris Nasution

As an Indonesian military and political figure in Indonesia, he was one of the Great Army Generals with five stars, an author of military history, and a thinker in the military. He was also often called the territorial system conceptualist and a dual function of the Indonesian army. During the rise of the New Order, Nasution played an important role. He was born in Kotanopan, North Sumatera, 3 December 1918.

During his childhood, Nasution attended the Hollands Inlandse School (HIS) in Kotanopan. In the evenings, Nasution would continue his studies at a Muslim school led by his own father, H. Abdul Halim Nasution. In 1931, when he was in grade 7, Nasution resided in Kotanopan. Once he graduated from HIS, Nasution was accepted in Holland Inlandse Kweekschool (HIK) located in Bukit Tinggi, which was training college that the locals referred to as “the School of Kings”. In truth, Nasution’s parents struggled to pay for his tuition because that year saw the start of the Malaise period or the period of economic difficulty as a result of the decline in the prices of rubber and coffee. For three years, Nasution studied at this school and he was the last batch because this school had to close due to the Dutch government running on saving politics.     

In his opinion, his tenure as the commander of Siliwangi was his milestone in his personal life. He proposed to Sunarti, the daughter of Oondokusumo who he already knew when he was a cadet at the Military Academy in 1940. He married Sunarti on 30 May 1947 and had two daughters with her. The first daughter was born in 1952 and the second in 1960. His second daughter, Ade Irma Suryani Nasution, passed away at the age of five when troops involved with the G30S Event ransacked his home on 30 September 1965.  

After the transfer of sovereignty by the Dutch to the Republic of Indonesia, Nasution was appointed as the RIS Army Chief of Staff (ACS) with a colonel ranking. When Nasution was in Jakarta as the RIS ACS, it was the first time he got the chance to go overseas by following President Soekarno’s entourage to India to deliver the gratitude of the Indonesian government and its people to the Indian nation for its support and help during the struggle for independence.   

From 1950 to 1960s, the nation faced a period of revolts from Darul Islam (DI), APRA, RMS, PRRI to Permesta. He named this period the “anti guerrilla” period. As a result of military centralization and demobilization efforts during Wilopo’s Cabinet period, TNI AD split up. He was siding the party that supported central government policies. These demobilization efforts actually did not   involveAbdul Halim Perdanakusuma.  The pilots and founders of the Indonesian Air Force were supported by the military in the region, mostly originating from PETA. However, because President Soekarno at the time was more inclined to military faction, which was pro demobilization, there were demonstrations in the garden of the presidential palace demanding for immediate crisis management. Following the event on 17 October 1952, President Soekarno replaced several AD leaders. One of them was Nasution. For three years, Nasution remained inactive in the AD leadership. Then in 1955, he was re-appointed as the ACS for that year.

In 1961, during the fight to return West Irian to Indonesia, the highest Operations Commando was formed (KOTI). Soekarno was the highest commander in KOTI and Nasution was his deputy. Ahmad Yani was appointed as ACS. As a result of PKI influence and the support of pro-PKI military figures such as Omar Dhani, President Soekarno tried to limit Nasution’s influence, which was popular in the Indonesian army. Nasution was posted in a department as the Minister of Defence and Security – a position that was not directly involved with military commands.   

On 16 September 1965, Oemar Dhani secretly headed to China on the instructions of Soekarno to discuss the possibility of military aid from the Chinese without the awareness of Nasution who was the Minister of Defence. On 27 September 1965, the Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ahmad Yani firmly rejected the proposal for the establishment of the fifth force and the NASAKOM (Nationalism, Islam, and Communism) of the entire military structure. Then on the nigh of 30 September – 1 October 1965, there was an assassination of several military generals under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Untung. During this assassination, General Ahmad Yani was killed together with five other generals, but Nasution managed to escape.   

As a retiree, Nasution filled his time writing history, particularly the history of the Indonesian military. In the writing world, Nasution has illustrated his talents since 1948, and during his busy times as the leader of the Indonesian Army, Nasution still had the time to write several books. Among all his works, the most important is Pokok-pokok Gerilya, Catatan-catatan Sekitar Politik Militer Indonesia, Tentara Nasional Indonesia, Kearyaan ABRI, Sekitar Perang Kemerdekaan (11 volumes). He also wrote a memoir titled Memenuhi Panggilan Tugas (7 volumes). In the field of education, Nasution was active as the Chairman of the Cikini Education Foundation. He passed away in Jakarta on 6 September 2000 and was buried in TMP Kalibata, Jakarta.