Suharto Biography: 2nd President of Indonesia (New Order Era)

Biography of Soeharto – Suharto or as commonly known by the people of Indonesia is the second President of the Republic of Indonesia. Suharto is the longest serving President, namely 32 years.

At that time, the government led by Suharto had many irregularities or things that were not allowed to be done in various fields, such as lots of corruption, collusion and nepotism. Because of the deviations that occurred during the Suharto era, Indonesia experienced an economic crisis.

All the things that happened during the Suharto era can be used as a lesson for future governments. Suharto will be a character who has many stories to tell in his lifetime, be it about family, Indonesia, and many more.

Not only that, in the eyes of the world, Soeharto also has a phenomenal story. Check out the following review of Soeharto’s brief biography from childhood to becoming President.

1. Suharto’s Childhood

Suharto is someone who was born in Yogyakarta, more precisely in the village of Kemusuk, Argomulyo. Suharto was born on June 8, 1921. When he was born, Suharto could be said to be from a poor family.

Suharto was a child born to a father named Kertosudiro and a mother named Sukirah. Suharto’s father was a farmer in his village and an assistant to the lurah in irrigating the village’s rice fields.

When Suharto was not yet 40 days old, his mother entrusted his child to his grandfather or Mbah Kromo. Mbah Kromo’s real name is Kromodiryo, where he is a traditional midwife who helped Suharto’s birth.

Suharto lived at Mbah Kromo’s house for about four years. During those four years, Suharto was able to feel and receive love like a parent given by Mbah Kromo. From Mbah Kromo’s house too, Suharto learned to stand and even walked.

When he was still a child, Soeharto was often invited by Mbah Kromo to go to the rice fields. Suharto was very happy because when he was in the fields he could play flip and forth, giving orders to the buffalo when plowing the fields.

Suharto was good at giving instructions such as go forward, turn left, turn right, and he also really liked playing in the water and bathing in the mud. Apart from that, the thing he most enjoys doing is finding and catching eels or fish. Therefore, until his old age, Suharto was still very fond of fishing.

Suharto’s parents separated, then Suharto’s mother (Sukirah) remarried a man named Atmopawiro and had seven children. Meanwhile, Soeharto’s biological father (Kertosudiro) also remarried and had four children.

After living together for a long time or more or less four years at Mbah Kromo’s house, Soeharto’s mother (Sukirah) took her child and brought her back to the house of Suharto’s stepfather (Atmopawiro).

Sometimes several times, Soeharto’s biological father came to see the condition of his son. Until one day, Suharto was very happy with the arrival of his biological father because he brought a goat.

2. Suharto’s education

When he was eight years old, Suharto was just entering elementary school, but he changed schools several times. At the beginning of entering school, Suharto attended Puluhan Elementary School (SD), Godean. However, when his mother and stepfather moved to Kemusuk Kidul, Suharto also moved to Pedes Elementary School (SD).

Kertosudiro (Suharto’s biological father) was worried about his son’s future, so he entrusted Suharto to the Prawirowihardjo family who lived in Wuryantoro, Purwodadi, Central Java.

Prawirowiharjo is the husband of Kertosudiro’s younger brother or Kertosudiro’s brother-in-law. Prawirowiharjo is a farmer’s orderly and his father is a well-known businessman, Sudwikatmono.

While living with his aunt and uncle, Suharto was very happy because his uncle often took him to the rice fields so that he could slowly understand the ins and outs of the world of agriculture. To continue on to Junior High School (SMP), Suharto chose to return to his hometown in Kemusuk.

The Muhammadiyah Junior High School (SMP) in Yogyakarta was the educational institution chosen by Suharto after graduating from Elementary School (SD). To cover the distance to school, when going to and from school Soeharto used a bicycle that was almost damaged.

After graduating from junior high school, Suharto was eager to continue his education at the high school level (SMA). However, due to the family’s economic situation and the limited funds owned by his parents, Suharto had to discourage him from doing so.

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Suharto had received two summons from work which occurred around 1939, the first letter was a summons from a bank and the second letter was a summons from the army. And finally what Suharto chose was a career in the military world.

3. Suharto’s marriage

When he was 26 years old, Suharto married 24 year old Siti Hartinah. Suharto’s wife is the daughter of Soemoharjomo, a wedana in Wuryantoro.

Soemoharjomo is also an employee of the Mangkunegaran Palace, Surakarta. Suharto and Siti Hartinah’s marriage took place on December 26, 1947 and was held in Solo.

In fact, Suharto and Siti Hartinah had known each other since they were children in Wuryantoro. Suharto was a brave person and he was even praised by Siti Hartinah for her courage.

The courage shown by Suharto was that he dared to enter the courtyard of the kewedanan house just to seduce Siti Hartinah. When he entered the yard, Suharto always picked flowers so that when a flower was damaged, Siti Hartinah would say that the perpetrator who damaged the flower was Suharto.

The marriage that took place between Suharto and Siti Hartinah gave six children consisting of three boys and three girls. The following are the names of Suharto’s children, Siti Hardijanti Hastuti, Sigit Harjojudanto, Bambang Trihatmodjo, Siti Hediati Hariyadi, Hutomo Mandala Putra, and Siti Hutami Endang Adiningsih.

Suharto’s wife has a very good relationship with journalists, so it can be said that Siti Hartinah (Tien’s mother) is very close to journalists.

Journalists will attend immediately if requested by Mrs. Tien at Jalan Cendana, Jakarta. Before writing the news, every journalist will be given a message by Ms. Tien “Don’t make a mistake… in covering Pak Harto’s event”. This was because at that time, most of the coverage and results of the interviews were handwritten or took direct notes.

Suharto’s wife and mother of six children died on April 28 1996. According to the family’s statement, Tien’s mother died due to heart disease. Tien’s mother is buried in Astana Giri Bangun, Karanganyar, Central Java.

4. Suharto’s Military Career

Before starting his political career, Suharto became a member of the military, namely the TNI (Indonesian National Army). Suharto was appointed a member of the TNI on October 5, 1945.

While a member of the TNI, Suharto was given the task of leading troops to fight the Dutch military actions that were trying to re-colonize Indonesia.

On March 1, 1949, Suharto’s name was increasingly recognized by many people because he played an important role in the attack to control the city of Yogyakarta.

His success in controlling Yogyakarta cannot be separated from the role and struggle of the Indonesian people against the Dutch. Even though the one who led this attack was Soeharto, the initiator of this attack was actually the King of Yogyakarta, the Governor, the Military, and the Minister of Defense Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX.

Suharto succeeded in becoming a soldier with the rank of Brigadier General and leading the Mandala Command tasked with reclaiming West Irian. The Mandala Command was implemented in 1961, and from this Mandala Command, Suharto gained invaluable experience, namely that he became acquainted with Major Ali Moertopo, Captain LB Moerdani, and Marine Colonel Sudomo. The three people are people who have important and strategic roles.

Suharto received a promotion after completing his assignment in West Irian and returning from East Indonesia. The rank that Suharto obtained was Major General and by General AH Nasution, he was drawn to the ABRI (Indonesian Armed Forces) headquarters. Not only that, in 1962, Suharto was promoted to Commander of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad).

ABRI especially the Army in 1965 experienced divisions or internal conflicts. This internal conflict was caused by the Nasakom (Nationalist, Religious, Communist) ideology initiated by Soekarno, causing the TNI AD to split into two camps, first, the left-wing camp, and second, the right-wing camp.

In the early hours of October 1, 1965, six generals were kidnapped and killed. The group that kidnapped and killed the six generals claimed to be the 30 September Movement (G30S).

All of these incidents happened so fast that a March 11 Order (Supersemar) appeared from President Soekarno which contained the granting of authority and a mandate to Suharto to take and determine all actions so that this problem could be resolved and could restore security and order.

Since the issuance of the March 11 Order (Supersemar) by Soekarno, the position of Commander of the Command of the Commander of the Command for the Restoration of Security and Order (Kopkamtib) has been held by Suharto.
On March 27, 1968, Suharto was appointed by the MPRS to become the President of the Republic of Indonesia. This inauguration marked the birth of the New Order government.

5. Suharto’s Political Career as President of the New Order

Actually, Suharto began serving as President of the Republic of Indonesia since 1966, but was only appointed by the MPRS in 1968. In other words, Suharto only legally became the second President of the Republic of Indonesia in 1968. At the beginning of becoming President of the Republic of Indonesia, Suharto did not have a vice president Republic of Indonesia.

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From 1973 to 1998, Suharto had his deputy. Check out the following review about the Vice President during the New Order government or the period when the government was led by Suharto.

The first Vice President under Soeharto’s leadership was Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX. During this reign, Suharto formed the Development Cabinet I. The working period in the Development Cabinet I was from 6 June 1968 to 28 March 1973.

During this administration, the Commander of the Security and Order Operations Command was held by General Maraden Panggabean. General Maraden Panggabean, at that time also served as Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security.

a. President Soeharto and Vice President Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX

After serving as President of the Republic of Indonesia for five years, it was only in his second term that Suharto had a Vice President of Indonesia, namely Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono. During this leadership, Suharto formed the II Development Cabinet and the working period of the Cabinet was 28 March 1973 – 29 March 1978.

In the Development Cabinet II, the position of foreign minister was held by H. Adam Malik, where he would become Vice President in the third period of Suharto’s leadership. However, in 1977 H.

Adam Malik was replaced by Syarif Thayeb. The replacement of the Minister was carried out because in 1977, H. Adam Malik was appointed chairman of the MPR (People’s Consultative Assembly) / DPR (People’s Representative Council) of the Republic of Indonesia.

b. President Soeharto and Vice President H. Adam Malik

After serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the MPR/DPR RI, in 1978, H. Adam Malik was entrusted by Suharto to assume the position of Vice President of Indonesia. During this reign, Suharto formed the Development Cabinet III with a working period from 19 March 1978 to 19 March 1983.

The Commander of the Security and Order Operations Command is held by Sudomo. In this cabinet there is a name that is quite famous to date, namely BJ Habibie. In the Development Cabinet II, he served as the Minister of Research and Technology.

c. President Suharto and Deputy President Umar Wirahadikusumah

In the two previous periods, the vice president chosen by Suharto was a former minister in the previous cabinet. However, in the IV Development Cabinet, Suharto chose a vice president instead of a former minister, namely Umar Wirahadikusumah. The IV Development Cabinet had a working period starting from 19 March 1983 to 22 March 1988.

General Sudharmono, who in Development Cabinet IV served as Minister/state secretary. In the following period, he was trusted by Suharto to become Vice President. In this cabinet, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia (ABRI) Commander was General LB Moerdani.

d. President Suharto and Vice President Sudharmono

Sudharmono served as the fourth Vice President of Indonesia during Suharto’s presidency. Suharto and Sudharmono formed Development Cabinet V. This cabinet had a term of office from 23 March 1988 to 17 March 1993.

In the Development Cabinet, BJ Habibie served again as Minister of State for Research and Technology/Chairman of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology. Attorney General Sukarton Marmosudjono was replaced by Singgih, SH after he died.

e. President Suharto and Vice President Try Sutrisno

The fifth Vice President during Suharto’s leadership was Try Sutrisno. During this administration, the name of the cabinet used was “Development Cabinet VI”. This cabinet had a term of office from 17 March 1993 to 14 March 1998.

In the previous cabinet, Attorney General was held by Singgih and in the next cabinet (Development Cabinet VI), Singgih was trusted by President Soeharto to return to become Attorney General.

f. President Suharto and Vice President BJ Habibie

In the VII Development Cabinet, his working period was only a matter of months, namely March 14 1998 to May 21 1998. This was because Suharto resigned as President of the Republic of Indonesia and was replaced by BJ Habibie.


Suharto was born into an underprivileged family so he had to be entrusted several times with his parents’ relatives. Even though he was born into an underprivileged family, Suharto remained enthusiastic in living his life. He was a hard worker so that after pursuing a military career he was appointed as the second President of Indonesia.

During his tenure as President of the Republic of Indonesia, Soeharto had the same cabinet name and was distinguished only by the volume of his cabinet. Nearly every vice president Suharto chose was a former minister in a previous cabinet.

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