Sukarno (1901-1970) was the first president of Indonesia (1949-66), a nationalist leader and a demagogue. Born Kusno Sosrodihardjo, he took on the single name Sukarno later in life. He was the founder of the Republic of Indonesia and a dominant figure throughout its history until his death. He was a brilliant orator endowed with command of 10 languages, had a hugely charismatic personality, a photographic memory, and supreme self-confidence. Sukarno was instrumental in the ending 300 years of Dutch Colonial rule and achieving independence for his country. In the process, Sukarno was infamous for his responsibility in supporting the invasion of Indonesia by the Japanese in the early months of World War II with the aim of gaining Japanese support of Indonesia's independence movement. Indonesians were pressed into service to support the Japanese war effort. The war brought great hardship to Indonesians. Pro-Western supporters of the Dutch colonial empire were imprisoned in internment camps, and many Indonesians suffered from forced labor, disease and famine.
At the end of the war, liberation of the internment camps holding western prisoners was not swift. Sukarno, who had Japanese political sponsorship starting in 1929 and continuing into Japanese occupation, convinced his countrymen that these prisoners were a threat to Indonesia's independence movement. Primarily because they were political bargaining chips with which to deal with the Dutch, but also essentially to humiliate them, Sukarno forced Westerners back into Japanese concentration camps, still run by armed Japanese soldiers. While there certainly was enough labor to garrison these camps with Indonesian soldiers, Sukarno chose to allow his former ally to maintain authority. A United Nations report stated that four million people died in Indonesia as a result of Sukarno’s dictatorship and the harsh wartime and post-war conditions, including 30,000 European civilian internee deaths.
Finally, in 1949, the Dutch relinquished control and Indonesia became a republic. As president, despite his popularity, Sukarno manipulated public opinion, the military and his political enemies and allies, squandered his countries resources and achieved little in the way of promised reforms. He supported the communists as he suppressed the country's original parliamentary democratic system in favor of an authoritarian "Guided Democracy". He was deposed in 1966 by the army under Sukarno.
DATA: Coins issued by the Republic of Indonesia: KM10.1, 50 sen; copper-nickel; 3.24 g; 20 mm; issued 1954-55 KM11, 25 sen; aluminum; 2.2 g; 26.08 mm; issued 1955, 57 KM14, 50 sen; aluminum; 3.02 g., 29 mm, issued 1959, 61
Banknotes issued by the Republic of Indonesia in 1964:
P-90, 1 sen, 104 x 53 mm P-91, 5 sen, 105 x 53 mm P-92, 10 sen, 105 x 53 mm P-93, 25 sen, 112 x 57 mm P-94, 50 sen, 112 x 57 mm
Album open measures: 11” x 7.5” Album folded measures: 5.5” x 7.5”
Coins issued by the Indonesian Province of Irian Barat - featured a portrait of Sukarno. These two coins were part of a special set of coins that were dated 1962, issued in 1964, but recalled in December 1971 and are no longer considered legal tender: KM8.2, 25 sen, aluminum; 2.3 g; 26 mm KM9, 50 sen, aluminum; 3.1 g; 29 mm
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