The General Raden Soedirman’s Profile and Background

The Army General Raden Soedirman (read: Sudirman) was born on 24 January 1916 in Purbalingga, Central Java. He was a high ranking of Indonesian military officer during the Indonesia revolution time. He was the first commander-in-chief in Indonesian Armed Forces, then he continued to more respect with the country revolution. He was born in Purbalingga, and then he moved into Cilacap in 1916, and was raised by his uncle. He was a diligent student in Muhammadiyah School and became respected with the community for the devotion to Islam. After he dropped out from teacher’s college, he became a teacher in 1936 and later he became a headmaster in Muhammadiyah elementary school. After the Japanese occupied Indonesia in 1942, Soedirman still continued to teach before he joined the Homeland Japanese-sponsored Defenders in 1944 as a battalion commander in Banyumas. Having this position made him to put down the rebellion by his soldier substitutes, but was interned in Bogor.

On 12 November 1945, General Raden Soedirman was chosen to become a military’s commander-in-chief in Yogyakarta over Oerip Soemohardjo in a close vote election. While waiting to be announced officially, Soedirman ordered the assault on Dutch and British forces in Ambarawa. The British withdrawal and ensuing battle strengthened popular support for him. Then later on, he was officially confirmed on 18 December. On 19 December 1948, several days after he was released from hospital because of the right lung collapse, the Dutch launched the assault to the capital. He and his small contingents escaped the Dutch forces from the city and made their headquarters at Sobo, near from Mount Lawu. In July 1949, Soedirman should be back in Yogyakarta and was not permitted to fight further more.

In the late of 1949, General Raden Soedirman illness of tuberculosis relapsed and he retired to Magelang, the place where he died at the time more than a month after the Dutch recognized the independence of Indonesia. He is buried in Semaki Heroes’ Cemetery, Yogyakarta. Indonesian people were deeply aggrieved when he died. He died with flags flown in half-mast and thousand people gathered to see his funeral procession and convoy. He always becomes a highly respected figure in Indonesia. The feature of Soedirman prominently in the series of 1968 rupiah banknotes, and has numerous museums, monuments, and streets named after him. He was declared as one of the Indonesia National Heroes on 10 December 1964.


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