Sukarno (born Kusno Sosrodihardjo) was born on June 6th, 1901. Sukarno was the son of a school teacher and was renamed after surviving a childhood illness.
Sukarno graduated school with a degree in engineering. In 1927, Sukarno joined and became the leader of a nationalist group. Due to his outspoken personality and his urge for change, Sukarno was jailed for two years by the Dutch.
When the Japanese occupied Indonesia Sukarno cooperated with the Japanese leaders while still pushing for independence. After the Japanese were defeated in World War II Sukarno and fellow nationalist leader Mohammed Hatta declared Indonesia a free country.
When Indonesia was finally declared an independent country by the Dutch in 1949, Sukarno established himself as President of Indonesia.
Sukarno was President of Indonesia from August 17th, 1945 (after the Japanese left and before the Dutch retook control) to March 12th, 1967. Sukarno fell from power when he became ill and he denied medical the treatment for a mild stroke. Sukarno's cabinet saw him as inadequate for the job and performed a coop and removed him from power.
Sukarno died on June 21st, 1970 at the age of 69.
After World War II and after almost 400 years of colonization the Indonesians felt they were ready to govern themselves and refused to remain under Dutch rule. Indonesia declared itself an independent country in 1945, under the leadership of the self-appointed President Sukarno.
However, it would not be as simple as stating independence. The Dutch felt that Indonesians were able to govern themselves and retook control of the island colonies of Indonesia.
The Dutch felt threatened due to the rising numbers of nationalist groups forming around the country. In response the Dutch imprisoned and exiled the leaders and members of many nationalist groups, one being Partei Nasional Indonesia or Indonesian Nationalist Party lead by Sukarno and Hatta.
With the Dutch having to maintain the Indonesian colonies it was a large burden on the country. After four years of unrest, political meetings and negotiations, and losing the support of the United Nations, the Dutch were finally forced to acknowledge Indonesia as an independent country on December 27th, 1949.
After the Dutch released him, Indonesia's President Sukarno led the nation for the four years leading up to the election. In 1955, the first and only democratic election was held. But due to the previous years of unstability, President Sukarno threw out the 1950 Provisional Constitution and reintroduced the 1945 Constitution. The 1945 Constitution balanced the three political powers in the government. The powers were given to the Indonesian Communist Party, the Indonesian Army, and President Sukarno, himself.
In a speech made on April 18th 1955 at the opening of the Bandung Conference, President Sukarno said this about colonialism, "Colonialism has also its modern dress, in the form of economic control, intellectual control, actual physical control by a small but alien community within a nation. It is a skilful and determined enemy, and it appears in many guises. It does not give up its loot easily. Wherever, whenever and however it appears, colonialism is an evil thing, and one which must be eradicated from the earth." (9)
In 2005, the Dutch finally acknowledged that the Indonesian Independence Day is August 17th, 1945.