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Sukarno (1901–1970)

Andrew J. Waskey


Sukarno (Soekarno) is the only name of the first president of Indonesia. He was an active member of the struggle for independence from Dutch colonial rule. Sukarno was born in the city of Surabaya in East Java, the Dutch East Indies. His father was a schoolteacher and his mother was from the Buleleng regency. In 1916 he went to Surabaya to attend secondary school, and studied engineering and architecture five years later at the Technische Hogeschool in Bandung. In 1927 Sukarno and others formed the Partai Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian Nationalist Party, PNI). The party operated on a pro-independence platform. It was also anti-capitalist as well as anti-imperialist. His involvement in politics led to his arrest in 1929 by the Dutch colonial government, and he was sentenced to two years in prison. When released he found that he had become a folk hero to the Indonesians, although the PNI fell apart during his incarceration. During the 1930s Sukarno was arrested several times by the Dutch. When the Japanese invaded Indonesia in 1942, they freed him from jail and used him to organize resistance against the Dutch. From Sukarno's point of view, however, he was using the Japanese to free Indonesia from the Dutch. He was able to encourage non-cooperation with the Dutch and limited cooperation with the Japanese. When the Japanese needed aviation fuel, labor conscripts, and other supplies, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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