96 Facts About Sukarno


Sukarno or Soekarno was an Indonesian statesman, orator, revolutionary, and nationalist who was the first president of Indonesia, serving from 1945 to 1967.


Sukarno was the leader of the Indonesian struggle for independence from the Dutch colonialists.


Sukarno was a prominent leader of Indonesia's nationalist movement during the colonial period and spent over a decade under Dutch detention until released by the invading Japanese forces in World War II.


Sukarno led the Indonesian resistance to Dutch re-colonisation efforts via diplomatic and military means until the Dutch recognition of Indonesian independence in 1949.


In 1967, Suharto officially assumed the presidency, replacing Sukarno, who remained under house arrest until his death in 1970.


Sukarno is sometimes referred to in foreign accounts as "Achmed Sukarno", or some variation thereof.


Source from Ministry of Foreign Affairs later revealed, "Achmed" was coined by M Zein Hassan, an Indonesian student at Al-Azhar University and later a member of the staff at the Department of Foreign Affairs, to establish Soekarno's identity as a Muslim to the Egyptian press after a brief controversy at that time in Egypt alleging Sukarno's name was "not Muslim enough".


The son of a Javanese primary school teacher, an aristocrat named Raden Soekemi Sosrodihardjo, and his Hindu Balinese wife from the Brahmin family named Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai from Buleleng, Sukarno was born in Surabaya in the Dutch East Indies, where his father had been sent following an application for a transfer to Java.


Subsequently, in 1916, Sukarno went to a Hogere Burgerschool in Surabaya, where he met Tjokroaminoto, a nationalist and founder of Sarekat Islam.


In March 1923, Sukarno divorced Siti Oetari to marry Inggit.


Atypically even among the country's small educated elite, Sukarno was fluent in several languages.


Sukarno was quite comfortable in German, English, French, Arabic, and Japanese, all of which were taught at his HBS.


Sukarno was helped by his photographic memory and precocious mind.


Sukarno despised both the traditional Javanese feudalism, which he considered "backward" and to blame for the fall of the country under Dutch occupation and exploitation, and the imperialism practised by Western countries, which he termed as "exploitation of humans by other humans".


Sukarno blamed this for the deep poverty and low levels of education of Indonesian people under the Dutch.


For Sukarno, modernity was blind to race, neat and elegant in style, and anti-imperialist.


Sukarno designed many private houses on today's Jalan Gatot Subroto, Jalan Palasari, and Jalan Dewi Sartika in Bandung.


Later on, as president, Sukarno remained engaged in architecture, designing the Proclamation Monument and adjacent Gedung Pola in Jakarta; the Youth Monument in Semarang; the Alun-alun Monument in Malang; the Heroes' Monument in Surabaya; and the new city of Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan.


Sukarno began styling his ideas as Marhaenism, named after Marhaen, an Indonesian peasant he met in southern Bandung area, who owned his little plot of land and worked on it himself, producing sufficient income to support his family.


In university, Sukarno began organising a study club for Indonesian students, the Algemeene Studieclub, in opposition to the established student clubs dominated by Dutch students.


Sukarno hoped that Japan would commence a war against the western powers and that Java could then gain its independence with Japan's aid.


Sukarno himself was arrested while on a visit to Yogyakarta.


In December 1930, Sukarno was sentenced to four years in prison, which were served in Sukamiskin prison in Bandung.


Sukarno's speech received extensive coverage by the press, and due to strong pressure from the liberal elements in both Netherlands and Dutch East Indies, Sukarno was released early on 31 December 1931.


Hatta himself believed Indonesian independence would not occur within his lifetime, while Sukarno believed Hatta's strategy ignored the fact that politics can only make real changes through formation and utilisation of force.


In mid-1933, Sukarno published a series of writings titled Mentjapai Indonesia Merdeka.


In 1934, Sukarno was shipped, along with his family, to the remote town of Ende, on the island of Flores.


In Bengkulu, Sukarno became acquainted with Hassan Din, the local head of Muhammadiyah organisation, and he was allowed to teach religious teachings at a local school owned by the Muhammadiyah.


Sukarno became romantically involved with Fatmawati, which he justified by stating the inability of Inggit Garnasih to produce children during their almost 20-year marriage.


Sukarno was still in Bengkulu exile when the Japanese invaded the archipelago in 1942.


Sukarno was willing to support the Japanese, in exchange for a platform for himself to spread nationalist ideas to the mass population.


Sukarno coined the term, Amerika kita setrika, Inggris kita linggis to promote anti-Allied sentiments.


In later years, Sukarno was lastingly ashamed of his role with the romusha.


Sukarno was involved with the formation of Defenders of the Homeland and Heiho via speeches broadcast on the Japanese radio and loudspeaker networks across Java and Sumatra.


Sukarno was provided with a house in Bandung and a pension for the rest of her life.


Sukarno was appointed as head of the BPUPK and was tasked to lead discussions to prepare the basis of a future Indonesian state.


Sukarno feared bloodbath due to hostile response from the Japanese to such a move and was concerned with prospects of future Allied retribution.


Sukarno argued that all of the principles of the nation could be summarised in the phrase gotong royong.


However, due to the relative weakness of the military of the Republic of Indonesia, Sukarno sought independence by gaining international recognition for his new country rather than engage in battle with British and Dutch military forces.


Sukarno was aware that his history as a Japanese collaborator and his leadership in the Japanese-approved PUTERA during the occupation would make the Western countries distrustful of him.


On 14 November 1945, Sukarno appointed Sutan Sjahrir as first prime minister; he was a European-educated politician who was never involved with the Japanese occupation authorities.


Sukarno ordered the armed forces under Sudirman to launch a guerrilla campaign in the countryside, while he and other key leaders such as Hatta and Sjahrir allowed themselves to be taken prisoner by the Dutch.


On that day, Sukarno flew from Yogyakarta to Jakarta, making a triumphant speech at the steps of the governor-general's palace, immediately renamed the Merdeka Palace.


Sukarno came out of the palace and convinced both the soldiers and the civilians to go home.


Sukarno came to resent his figurehead position and the increasing disorder of the country's political life.


Sukarno argued that at the village level, important questions were decided by lengthy deliberation designed to achieve a consensus, under the guidance of village elders.


Sukarno believed it should be the model for the entire nation, with the president taking the role assumed by village elders.


Sukarno proposed a government based not only on political parties but on "functional groups" composed of the nation's essential elements, which would together form a National Council, through which a national consensus could express itself under presidential guidance.


Vice President Mohammad Hatta was strongly opposed to Sukarno's guided democracy concept.


Sukarno's retirement sent a shockwave across Indonesia, particularly among the non-Javanese, who viewed Hatta as their representative in a Javanese-dominated government.


Sukarno appointed a non-partisan prime minister Djuanda Kartawidjaja, while the military was in the hands of his loyal General Nasution.


Six children were killed, but Sukarno did not suffer any serious wounds.


On 5 July 1959, Sukarno reinstated the 1945 constitution by presidential decree.


Sukarno envisioned an Indonesian-style socialist society, adherent to the principle of USDEK:.


In March 1960, Sukarno disbanded parliament and replaced it with a new parliament where half the members were appointed by the president.


Accordingly, Sukarno started admitting more communists into his government, while developing a strong relationship with the PKI chairman Dipa Nusantara Aidit.


Sukarno embarked on a series of aggressive and assertive policies based on anti-imperialism to increase Indonesia's international prestige.


Sukarno began to accept increasing amounts of Soviet-bloc military aid.


Sukarno was feted during his visit to the United States in 1956, where he addressed a joint session of the United States Congress.


In 1961, Sukarno established another political alliance, called the Non-Aligned Movement with Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser, India's Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Yugoslavia's President Josip Broz Tito, and Ghana's President Kwame Nkrumah, in an action called The Initiative of Five.


Sukarno is still fondly remembered for his role in promoting the influence of newly independent countries.


Sukarno's name is used as a street name in Cairo, Egypt and Rabat, Morocco, and as a major square in Peshawar, Pakistan.


In 1960 Sukarno began an aggressive foreign policy to secure Indonesian territorial claims.


Sukarno declared a state of military confrontation in his Tri Komando Rakjat speech in Yogyakarta, on 19 December 1961.


Sukarno then directed military incursions into the half-island, which he referred to as West Irian.


Sukarno's proclaimed objective was not, as some alleged, to annex Sabah and Sarawak into Indonesia, but to establish a "State of North Kalimantan" under the control of North Kalimantan Communist Party.


Domestically, Sukarno fomented anti-British sentiment, and the British Embassy was burned down.


The confrontation came to a climax during August 1964, when Sukarno authorised landings of Indonesian troops at Pontian and Labis on the Malaysian mainland, and all-out war seemed inevitable as tensions escalated.


In 1964, Sukarno commenced an anti-American campaign, which was motivated by his shift towards the communist bloc and less friendly relations with the Lyndon Johnson administration.


Sukarno withdrew Indonesia from the United Nations on 7 January 1965 when, with US backing, Malaysia took a seat on UN Security Council.


Sukarno formed a new alliance with China, North Korea, North Vietnam, and Cambodia which he called the "Beijing-Pyongyang-Hanoi-Phnom Penh-Jakarta Axis".


Sukarno spoke increasingly of a Beijing-Jakarta axis, which would be the core of a new anti-imperialist world organisation, the CONEFO.


Sukarno was made president for life by the MPRS in 1963.


Sukarno developed a personality cult, with the capital of newly acquired West Irian renamed to Sukarnapura and the highest peak in the country was renamed from Carstensz Pyramid to Puntjak Sukarno.


Meanwhile, Sukarno saw the PKI as the best-organised and ideologically solid party in Indonesia, and a useful conduit to gain more military and financial aid from Communist Bloc countries.


Sukarno sympathised with the communists' revolutionary ideals, which were similar to his own.


In May 1964, Sukarno banned activities of Manifesto Kebudajaan, an association of artists and writers which included prominent Indonesian writers such as Hans Bague Jassin and Wiratmo Soekito, who were dismissed from their jobs.


Sukarno approved this idea and publicly called for the immediate formation of such a force on 17 May 1965.


On his independence day speech of 17 August 1965, Sukarno declared his intention to commit Indonesia to an anti-imperialist alliance with China and other communist regimes and warned the Army not to interfere.


Sukarno stated his support for the establishment of a "fifth force" of armed peasants and labour.


Sukarno advocated Indonesians "standing on their own feet" and achieving economic self-sufficiency, free from foreign influence.


Sukarno tried to maintain his influence appealing in a January 1966 broadcast for the country to follow him.


On 1 October 1965, Sukarno appointed General Pranoto Reksosamudro as Army Chief to replace the dead Ahmad Yani, but he was forced to give this position to Suharto two weeks later.


In February 1966, Sukarno reshuffled his cabinet, sacking Nasution as Defence Minister and abolishing his position of armed forces chief of staff, but Nasution refused to step down.


Three pro-Suharto generals were dispatched to the Bogor palace, and they met with Sukarno who signed for them a Presidential Order known as Supersemar.


The authorship of the document, and whether Sukarno was forced to sign, perhaps even at gunpoint, is a point of historical debate.


On 22 June 1966, Sukarno made his Nawaksara speech in front of the MPRS, now purged of communist and pro-Sukarno elements, in an unsuccessful last-ditch attempt to defend himself and his guided democracy system.


Sukarno was finally stripped of his president-for-life title by MPRS on 12 March 1967, in a session chaired by his former ally, Nasution.


Sukarno was put under house arrest in Wisma Yaso, where his health deteriorated due to denial of adequate medical care.


Sukarno died of kidney failure in Jakarta Army Hospital on 21 June 1970, at the age of 69.


Sukarno married Siti Oetari in 1921, and divorced her in 1923 to marry Inggit Garnasih, whom he divorced c 1943 to marry Fatmawati.


In 1954, Sukarno married Hartini, a 30-year-old widow from Salatiga, whom he met during a reception.


Sukarno had four other spouses: Haryati ; Kartini Manoppo ; Yurike Sanger ; Heldy Djafar.


In 2006 Kartika Sukarno married Frits Seegers, the Netherlands-born chief executive officer of the Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Bank.


Sukarno was awarded twenty-six honorary doctorates from various international universities including Columbia University, the University of Michigan, the University of Berlin, the Al-Azhar University, the University of Belgrade, the Lomonosov University and many more, and from domestic universities including Gadjah Mada University, the University of Indonesia, the Bandung Institute of Technology, Hasanuddin University, and Padjadjaran University.


Sukarno was often referred to by the Indonesian government at the time as 'Dr Ir.