History of Southeast Asia

History of Southeast Asia

Episode 97: Indonesia Under Sukarno

September 16, 2020

Today's episode begins a series of episodes on the recent history of Southeast Asia. We will start by looking at Indonesia from 1950 to 1967, when Sukarno was the country's first president.

Kennedy and Sukarno riding.

In 1961, Indonesia's President Sukarno visited Washington, D.C., to meet with John F. Kennedy. Both presidents were notorious womanizers, but while Sukarno was proud of it, in Kennedy's case the girl-chasing was kept secret until several years after his death.

Nehru, Nkrumah, Nasser, Sukarno and Tito.

Under Sukarno, Indonesia helped get the Nonaligned Movement started, by hosting a conference of leaders from 29 neutral Asian and African countries, at Bandung on Java in 1955. Today we usually call the countries in the Nonaligned Movement the "Third World." This photo shows five leaders of the Nonaligned Movement. From left to right: India's Jawaharlal Nehru, Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, Indonesia's Sukarno, Yugoslavia's Josip Broz Tito.

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