Profession: 1st President of IndonesiaNationality:Indonesian
Why Famous: Sukarno was a prominent leader of Indonesia’s nationalist movement during the Dutch colonial period and spent over a decade under Dutch detention.
Released by invading Japanese forces, Sukarno and his fellow nationalists collaborated to garner support for the Japanese war effort from the population in exchange for Japanese aid in spreading nationalist ideas.
Upon Japanese surrender, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declared Indonesian independence on 17th August 1945, Sukarno was appointed the fledgling state’s first president.
He led Indonesians in resisting Dutch re-colonization efforts via diplomatic and military means until the Dutch acknowledgment of Indonesian independence in 1949.
After a chaotic period of parliamentary democracy, Sukarno established an autocratic system called “Guided Democracy” in 1957 that successfully ended the instability and rebellions which were threatening the survival of the diverse and fractious country.
During the early 1960s Sukarno moved leftwards, providing support and protection to the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) at the expense of the military and Islamic elements.
During this period he also used the guise of anti-imperialism and aid from the Soviet Union and China to embark on a series of aggressive foreign policies, notably the confrontation with Malaysia.
This lost Sukarno western support and combined with the 30 September Movement (G30S) in 1965 led to the destruction of the PKI and Sukarno’s eventual downfall and replacement in 1967 by Suharto, one of his generals.
Suharto place Sukarno under house arrest until his death in 1970.