Why did Kartosuwiryo start shooting? An account of Dutch-Republican-Islamic forces interaction in West Java, 1945-49

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • R. E. Elson
  • Chiara Formichi


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-486
Journal / PublicationJournal of Southeast Asian Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


S.M. Kartosuwiryo, famed leader of the long and bloody Darul Islam rebellion which began in West Java in 1948, was a strong supporter of the Indonesian independence struggle and a champion of the Indonesian Republic proclaimed in 1945. This article seeks to understand how it was that Kartosuwiryo came to oppose that very Republic with such violence in 1948-49. Many scholars have sought to explain the origins of the Darul Islam movement in terms of Kartosuwiryo's fanatic Islamist ambition. However, a detailed examination of the circumstances of the revolt's gestation and outbreak indicates that it was a consequence of a complex interplay of historically contingent circumstances rather than any ideological fixity. © 2011 The National University of Singapore.