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Tahi Bonar Simatupang
Kolonel Simatoepang Chef-staf van de TNI, uitgever van de order "staakt het vure…, Bestanddeelnr 344030 010.jpg
Born(1920-01-28)28 January 1920
Sidikalang, Dairi, North Sumatra, Dutch East Indies
Died1 January 1990(1990-01-01) (aged 69)
Jakarta, Indonesia
Allegiance Indonesia
Service/branch KNIL
 Indonesian Army
Years of service1942–1959
21-TNI Army-LG.svg
Lieutenant General
Commands heldChief of Staff of Indonesian National Armed Forces
Battles/warsIndonesian National Revolution
Other workMinistry of Defense, Army Staff College

Tahi Bonar Simatupang (28 January 1920 – 1 January 1990) was a soldier who served in the Indonesian National Revolution and went on to become chief of staff of the Indonesian Armed Forces.

Early life

Simatupang was born in Dairi, North Sumatra, then part of Dutch East Indies to a Batak Protestant family.[1] Simatupang attended a Dutch colonial school, and then moved to Jakarta in 1937 for further study. Among his friends in the Batak youth in Batavia during that time were Oloan Hutapea and Josef Simanjutak, future high-ranking Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members Lintong Mulia Sitorus, future Indonesian Socialist Party secretary general.[2] In 1942, he gained entry to the Dutch Military Academy, but his studies were interrupted by the Japanese invasion.[3] During the Japanese occupation, Simatupang rented a house with Sitorus and Hutapea in the Tanah Tinggi district of Batavia.[4] He notes that other Batak youth called them De Drie Musketiers, that they were often together attending lectures by people such as Sutan Sjahrir and collecting books about independence movements in other countries.[4]

Military career

During the Indonesian National Revolution, Simatupang, now a colonel, joined the Siliwangi Division in Central Java, and by January 1950, following the death of General Sudirman, he was acting chief of staff of the Indonesian Armed Forces (Angkatan Perang).[5] Like army chief of staff General Nasution, he was an "administrator", committed to the reduction in size of the armed forces after independence had been won in order to bring about a professional military. He opposed efforts by a disgruntled rival, Colonel Bambang Supemo, to replace Nasution, but was himself criticized for apparent political bias after articles he wrote in 1952 were perceived as favoring the Socialist Party of Indonesia (PSI). After the incident on 17 October 1952, in which the army brought demonstrators and troops to the Merdeka Palace in an effort to persuade President Sukarno to dissolve parliament, Simatupang's days were numbered, and on 4 November 1953, his post as chief of staff was abolished, effectively dismissing him.[6] He then took a position as an adviser to the Ministry of Defense, and then became a lecturer at the Army Staff College and the Military Legal Academy before resigning from the military altogether in 1959.[3]

Post-military life

After his resignation, Simatupang devoted his life to religious duties and writing. He died in Jakarta on the first day of 1990.[3] In November 2013 Simatupang, together with Rajiman Wediodiningrat and Lambertus Nicodemus Palar, was declared a National Hero of Indonesia.[7]


T.B. Simatupang is now used as street name in Cilandak, South Jakarta, and in 2016, his face depicted in the IDR 500 coins.[8]

Selected works


  1. ^
  2. ^ Simatupang, T.B. (1996). The fallacy of a myth. Jakarta: Pustaka Sinar Harapan. pp. 53–4. ISBN 9794163589.
  3. ^ a b c Jakarta Encyclopedia
  4. ^ a b Simatupang, T.B. (1996). The fallacy of a myth. Jakarta: Pustaka Sinar Harapan. pp. 96–9. ISBN 9794163589.
  5. ^ Kahin (1952) pp 185, 455
  6. ^ Feith (2007) pp 171–396
  7. ^ Parlina, Ina (9 November 2013). "Govt names three new national heroes". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  8. ^ "17 AGUSTUS - Serial Pahlawan Nasional: TB Simatupang". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2020-08-30.