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January 24, 1916 - January 29, 1950
General Sudirman
Place of birth Rembang, Indonesia
Place of death Magelang, Indonesia
Allegiance Indonesia
Years of service 1945-1950
Rank General, posthumously promoted to General of the Army
(five-star general) in 1997.
Commands held Battalion Commander in Kroya
Commander of Division V/Banyumas
Supreme Commander of TKR/TNI
Battles/wars Indonesian National Revolution
Awards Independence Defender Hero

General Sudirman (January 24, 1916 - January 29, 1950; also spelled Soedirman) was the military commander of Indonesian forces during the country's fight for independence from the Dutch in the 1940s.



Sudirman was born in Bodas Karangjati village, Rembang, Purbalingga, Central Java, 24 January 1916. He studied at the Dutch Native School in Purwokerto, and then at a Muhammadiyah teacher training college in Surakarta. He worked as a teacher at the Muhammadiyah school in Cilacap.

During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia during World War II, Sudirman trained to become a battalion commander in Peta, the "homeland defense" army promoted by the Japanese.[1] When Japan surrendered and Sukarno proclaimed Indonesian independence, he organized his Peta battalion into a Banyumas-based regiment of the Republican army to resist Dutch reoccupation of its former colony. The first major battle that he led was the Battle of Ambarawa against the British and the Dutch (November-December 1945).[2] On 12 December he led a "coordinated attack" against British positions in Ambarawa, driving the British all the way to Semarang. The battle ended on 16 December.[3]

On 12 November 1945 he was elected Commander-in-chief of the Army, a position he held until his death. During much of the next five years he was sick with tuberculosis, but led several guerrilla actions against the Dutch. He led the resistance to the Dutch attack on Yogyakarta, then the Republic of Indonesia's headquarters, in December 1948. Theodore Friend (2003) describes him as having "...a strangely blended samurai discipline, Marxist disposition, and raw courage."[1]

Sudirman died in Magelang, 29 January 1950 at the age of 35. He was buried in Heroes' Cemetery in Semaki, Yogyakarta. He received the title of National Hero of Indonesia as an Independence Defender Hero. Sudirman was the first and the youngest General in Indonesia

Cultural impact

General Sudirman monument in Surabaya
  • There are a considerable number of statues and memorials to Sudirman in Yogyakarta and other cities.
  • Most Indonesian cities have a major street named "Jalan Jenderal Sudirman" (General Sudirman Street).[4]
  • A university in Purwokerto, Central Java is named after him: University of General Soedirman (Unsoed) [1].



General references and further reading

  • Said, Salim,Genesis of power : General Sudirman and the Indonesian military in politics, 1945-49 / Salim Said. North Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1992. ISBN 1-86373-195-4 : First published: Singapore : Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1991.
  • Tjokropranolo Panglima Besar TNI Jenderal Soedirman pemimpin pendobrak terakhir penjajahan di Indonesia
English Translation - General Sudirman : the leader who finally destroyed colonialism in Indonesia translated by Libby Krahling, Bert Jordan & Steve Dawson ; edited by Ian MacFarling. Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian Defence Studies Centre, 1995. ISBN 0-7317-0322-7
  • Indonesia ministry of state. 30th independence of Indonesia. 1981


  1. ^ a b Friend, Theodore (2003). Indonesian Destinies. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 35. ISBN 0-674-01834-6.  
  2. ^ Jenderal Sudirman (1916-1950)
  3. ^ Peristiwa Perlawanan - Pertempuran Ambarawa
  4. ^ Monumen Jendral Sudirman, Surabaya city government.

External links


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