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Mohammad Hatta

Mohammad Hatta . Biography


Dari Wikipedia bahasa Indonesia, ensiklopedia bebas

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Dr. (HC) Drs. H. Mohammad Hatta (lahir dengan nama Mohammad Athar, populer sebagai Bung Hatta; lahir di Fort de Kock (sekarang Bukittinggi, Sumatera Barat), Hindia Belanda, 12 Agustus 1902 – meninggal di Jakarta, 14 Maret 1980 pada umur 77 tahun) adalah tokoh pejuang, negarawan, ekonom, dan juga Wakil Presiden Indonesia yang pertama. Ia bersama Soekarno memainkan peranan penting untuk memerdekakan bangsa Indonesia dari penjajahan Belanda sekaligus memproklamirkannya pada 17 Agustus 1945. Ia juga pernah menjabat sebagai Perdana Menteri dalam Kabinet Hatta I, Hatta II, dan RIS. Ia mundur dari jabatan wakil presiden pada tahun 1956, karena berselisih dengan Presiden Soekarno. Hatta juga dikenal sebagai Bapak Koperasi Indonesia.

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Bandar udara internasional Tangerang Banten, Bandar Udara Soekarno-Hatta, menggunakan namanya sebagai penghormatan terhadap jasa-jasanya. Selain diabadikan di Indonesia, nama Mohammad Hatta juga diabadikan di Belanda yaitu sebagai nama jalan di kawasan perumahan Zuiderpolder, Haarlem dengan nama Mohammed Hattastraat. Pada tahun 1980, ia meninggal dan dimakamkan di Tanah Kusir, Jakarta. Bung Hatta ditetapkan sebagai salah satu Pahlawan Nasional Indonesia pada tanggal 23 Oktober 1986 melalui Keppres nomor 081/TK/1986.

Daftar isi

  1. Kehidupan awal
    1. Latar belakang
    2. Pendidikan dan pergaulan
    3. Keluarga
  2. Perjuangan dan Pergerakan
    1. 1921-1932: Sewaktu di Belanda
    2. 1932-1941: Pengasingan
    3. 1942-1945: Penjajahan Jepang
    4. 1945: Mempersiapkan kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia
    5. 1945-1956: Menjadi Wakil Presiden pertama di Indonesia
    6. 1956-1980: Setelah pensiun
  3. Wafat
  4. Mendapat Gelar Pahlawan
  5. Bung Hatta Award
  6. Bacaan lanjutan
  7. Pranala luar

Kehidupan awal


Latar belakang

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Rumah Kelahiran Bung Hatta yang sekarang terletak di Jalan Sukarno-Hatta, Kota Bukittinggi

Mohammad Hatta lahir dari pasangan Muhammad Djamil dan Siti Saleha yang berasal dari Minangkabau. Ayahnya merupakan seorang keturunan ulama tarekat di Batuhampar, dekat Payakumbuh, Sumatera Barat. Sedangkan ibunya berasal dari keluarga pedagang di Bukittinggi. Ia lahir dengan nama Muhammad Athar pada tanggal 12 Agustus 1902. Namanya, Athar berasal dari Bahasa Arab, yang berarti “harum”. Ia merupakan anak kedua, setelah Rafiah yang lahir pada tahun 1900. Sejak kecil, ia telah dididik dan dibesarkan dalam lingkungan keluarga yang taat melaksanakan ajaran agama Islam. Kakeknya dari pihak ayah, Abdurahman Batuhampar dikenal sebagai ulama pendiri Surau Batuhampar, sedikit dari surau yang bertahan pasca-Perang Padri. Sementara itu, ibunya berasal dari keturunan pedagang. Beberapa orang mamaknya adalah pengusaha besar di Jakarta.

Ayahnya meninggal pada saat ia masih berumur tujuh bulan. Setelah kematian ayahnya, ibunya menikah dengan Agus Haji Ning, seorang pedagang dari Palembang, Haji Ning sering berhubungan dagang dengan Ilyas Bagindo Marah, kakeknya dari pihak ibu. Dari perkawinan Siti Saleha dengan Haji Ning, mereka dikaruniai empat orang anak, yang semuanya adalah perempuan.

Pendidikan dan pergaulan

Mohammad Hatta pertama kali mengenyam pendidikan formal di sekolah swasta. Setelah enam bulan, ia pindah ke sekolah rakyat dan sekelas dengan Rafiah, kakaknya. Namun, pelajarannya berhenti pada pertengahan semester kelas tiga. Ia lalu pindah ke ELS di Padang (kini SMA Negeri 1 Padang) sampai tahun 1913, kemudian melanjutkan ke MULO sampai tahun 1917. Selain pengetahuan umum, ia telah ditempa ilmu-ilmu agama sejak kecil. Ia pernah belajar agama kepada Muhammad Jamil Jambek, Abdullah Ahmad, dan beberapa ulama lainnya. Selain keluarga, perdagangan memengaruhi perhatian Hatta terhadap perekonomian. Di Padang, ia mengenal pedagang-pedagang yang masuk anggota Serikat Usaha dan juga aktif dalam Jong Sumatranen Bond sebagai bendahara. Kegiatannya ini tetap dilanjutkannya ketika ia bersekolah di Prins Hendrik School. Mohammad Hatta tetap menjadi bendahara di Jakarta.

Kakeknya bermaksud akan ke Mekkah, dan pada kesempatan tersebut, ia dapat membawa Mohammad Hatta melanjutkan pelajaran di bidang agama, yakni ke Mesir (Al-Azhar). Ini dilakukan untuk meningkatkan kualitas surau di Batu Hampar yang memang sudah menurun semenjak ditinggalkan Syaikh Abdurrahman. Tapi, hal ini diprotes dan mengusulkan pamannya, Idris untuk menggantikannya. Menurut catatan Amrin Imran, Pak Gaeknya kecewa dan Syekh Arsyad pada akhirnya menyerahkan kepada Tuhan.

Keluarga

Pada 18 November 1945, Hatta menikah dengan Rahmi Hatta dan tiga hari setelah menikah, mereka bertempat tinggal di Yogyakarta. Kemudian, dikarunai 3 anak perempuan yang bernama Meutia Farida Hatta, Gemala Rabi’ah Hatta, dan Halida Nuriah Hatta.

Perjuangan dan Pergerakan


1921-1932: Sewaktu di Belanda

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Hatta (berdiri, kedua dari kanan) bersama para pengurus Perhimpunan Indonesia, pada waktu itu (tahun 1925) Hatta masih berstatus seorang bendahara di situ

Pergerakan politik ia mulai sewaktu bersekolah di Belanda dari 1921-1932. Ia bersekolah di Handels Hogeschool (kelak sekolah ini disebut Economische Hogeschool, sekarang menjadi Universitas Erasmus Rotterdam), selama bersekolah di sana, ia masuk organisasi sosial Indische Vereeniging yang kemudian menjadi organisasi politik dengan adanya pengaruh Ki Hadjar Dewantara, Cipto Mangunkusumo, dan Douwes Dekker. Pada tahun 1923, Hatta menjadi bendahara dan mengasuh majalah Hindia Putera yang berganti nama menjadi Indonesia Merdeka. Pada tahun 1924, organisasi ini berubah nama menjadi Indische Vereeniging (Perhimpunan Indonesia; PI).

Pada tahun 1926, ia menjadi pimpinan Perhimpunan Indonesia. Sebagai akibatnya, ia terlambat menyelesaikan studi. Di bawah kepemimpinannya, PI mendapatkan perubahan. Perhimpunan ini lebih banyak memperhatikan perkembangan pergerakan di Indonesia dengan memberikan banyak komentar, dan banyak ulasan di media massa di Indonesia. Setahun kemudian, ia seharusnya sudah berhenti dari jabatan ketua, namun ia dipilih kembali hingga tahun 1930. Pada Desember 1926, Semaun dari PKI datang kepada Hatta untuk menawarkan pimpinan pergerakan nasional secara umum kepada PI, selain itu dia dan Semaun membuat suatu perjanjian bernama “Konvensi Semaun-Hatta”. Inilah yang dijadikan alasan Pemerintah Belanda ingin menangkap Hatta. Waktu itu, Hatta belum meyetujui paham komunis. Stalin membatalkan keinginan Semaun, sehingga hubungan Hatta dengan komunisme mulai memburuk. Sikap Hatta ini ditentang oleh anggota PI yang sudah dikuasai komunis.

Pada tahun 1927, ia mengikuti sidang “Liga Menentang Imperialisme, Penindasan Kolonial dan untuk Kemerdekaan Nasional” di Frankfurt. Dalam sidang ini, pihak komunis dan utusan dari Rusia tampak ingin menguasai sidang ini, sehingga Hatta tidak bisa percaya terhadap komunis. Pada waktu itu, majalah PI, Indonesia Merdeka masuk dengan mudah ke Indonesia lewat penyelundupan, karena banyak penggeledahan oleh pihak kepolisian terhadap kaum pergerakan yang dicurigai.

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Mohammad Hatta bersama Abdulmadjid Djojohadiningrat, Nazir Datuk Pamuntjak, dan Ali Sastroamidjojo

Pada 25 September 1927, Hatta bersama Ali Sastroamidjojo, Nazir Datuk Pamuntjak, dan Madjid Djojohadiningrat ditangkap oleh penguasa Belanda atas tuduhan mengikuti partai terlarang yang dikait-kaitkan dengan Semaun, terlibat pemberontakan di Indonesia yang dilakukan PKI dari tahun 1926-1927, dan menghasut (opruiing) supaya menentang Kerajaan Belanda. Moh. Hatta sendiri dihukum tiga tahun penjara. Mereka semua dipenjara di Rotterdam. Dia juga dituduh akan melarikan diri, sehingga dia yang sedang memperkenalkan Indonesia ke kota-kota di Eropa sengaja pulang lebih cepat begitu berita ini tersebar.

Semua tuduhan tersebut, ia tolak dalam pidatonya “Indonesia Merdeka” (Indonesie Vrij) pada sidang kedua tanggal 22 Maret 1928. Pidato ini sampai ke Indonesia dengan cara penyelundupan. Ia juga dibela 3 orang pengacara Belanda yang salah satunya berasal dari parlemen. Yang dari parlemen, bernama J.E.W. Duys. Tokoh ini memang bersimpati padanya. Setelah ditahan beberapa bulan, mereka berempat dibebaskan dari tuduhan, karena tuduhan tidak bisa dibuktikan.

Sampai pada tahun 1931, Mohammad Hatta mundur dari kedudukannya sebagai ketua karena hendak mengikuti ujian sarjana, sehingga ia berhenti dari PI; namun demikian ia akan tetap membantu PI. Akibatnya, PI jatuh ke tangan komunis, dan mendapat arahan dari partai komunis Belanda dan juga dari Moskow. Setelah tahun 1931, PI mengecam keras kebijakan Hatta dan mengeluarkannya dari organisasi ini. PI di Belanda mengecam sikap Hatta sebab ia bersama Soedjadi mengkritik secara terbuka terhadap PI. Perhimpunan menahan sikap terhadap kedua orang ini.

Pada Desember 1931, para pengikut Hatta segera membuat gerakan tandingan yang disebut Gerakan Merdeka yang kemudian bernama Pendidikan Nasional Indonesia yang kelak disebut PNI Baru. Ini mendorong Hatta dan Syahrir yang pada saat itu sedang bersekolah di Belanda untuk mengambil langkah kongkret untuk mempersiapkan kepemimpinan di sana. Hatta sendiri merasa perlu untuk menyelesaikan studinya terlebih dahulu. Oleh karenanya, Syahrir terpaksa pulang dan untuk memimpin PNI. Kalau Hatta kembali pada 1932, diharapkan Syahrir dapat melanjutkan studinya.

1932-1941: Pengasingan

Sekembalinya ia dari Belanda, ia ditawarkan masuk kalangan Sosialis Merdeka (Onafhankelijke Socialistische Partij, OSP) untuk menjadi anggota parlemen Belanda, dan menjadi perdebatan hangat di Indonesia pada saat itu. Pihak OSP mengiriminya telegram pada 6 Desember 1932, yang berisi kesediaannya menerima pencalonan anggota Parlemen. Ini dikarenakan ia berpendapat bahwa ia tidak setuju orang Indonesia menjadi anggota dalam parlemen Belanda. Sebenarnya dia menolak masuk, dengan alasan ia perlu berada dan berjuang di Indonesia. Namun, pemberitaan di Indonesia mengatakan bahwa Hatta menerima kedudukan tersebut, sehingga Soekarno menuduhnya tidak konsisten dalam menjalankan sistem non-kooperatif.

Setelah Hatta kembali dari Belanda, Syahrir tidak bisa ke Belanda karena keduanya keburu ditangkap Belanda pada 25 Februari 1934 dan dibuang ke Digul, dan selanjutnya ke Banda Neira. Baik di Digul maupun Banda Neira, ia banyak menulis di koran-koran Jakarta, dan ada juga untuk majalah-majalah di Medan. Artikelnya tidak terlalu politis, namun bersifat lebih menganalisis dan mendidik pembaca. Ia juga banyak membahas pertarungan kekuasaan di Pasifik.

Semasa diasingkan ke Digul, ia membawa semua buku-bukunya ke tempat pengasingannya. Di sana, ia mengatur waktunya sehari-hari. Pada saat hendak membaca, ia tak mau diganggu. Sehingga, beberapa kawannya menganggap dia sombong. Ia juga merupakan sosok yang peduli terhadap tahanan. Ia menolak bekerja sama dengan penguasa setempat, misalnya memberantas malaria. Apabila ia mau bekerja sama, ia diberi gaji f 7.50 sebulan. Namun, kalau tidak, ia hanya diberi gaji f 2.50 saja. Gajinya itu tidak ia habiskan sendiri. Ia juga peduli terhadap kawannya yang kekurangan.

Di Digul, selain bercocok tanam, ia juga membuat kursus kepada para tahanan. Di antara tahanan tersebut, ada beberapa orang yang ibadah shalat dan puasanya teratur; baik dari Minangkabau maupun Banten. Tapi, mereka ditangkap karena -pada umumnya- terlibat pemberontakan komunis. Pada masa itu, ia menulis surat untuk iparnya untuk dikirimi alat-alat pertukangan seperti paku dan gergaji. Selain itu, dia juga menceritakan nasib orang-orang buangan dalam surat itu. Kemudian, ipar Hatta mengirim surat itu ke koran Pemandangan di Jakarta dan segera surat itu dimuat. Surat itu dibaca menteri jajahan pada saat itu, Colijn. Colijn mengecam pemerintah dan segera mengirim residen Ambon untuk menemui Hatta di Digul. Maka uang diberikan untuknya, Hatta menolak dan ia juga meminta supaya kalau mau ditambah, diberikan juga kepada pemimpin lain yang hidup dalam pembuangan.

Pada 1937, ia menerima telegram yang mengatakan dia dipindah dari Digul ke Banda Neira. Hatta pindah bersama Syahrir pada bulan Februari pada tahun itu, dan mereka menyewa sebuah rumah yang cukup besar. Di situ, ada beberapa kamar dan ruangan yang cukup besar. Adapun ruangan besar itu digunakannya untuk menyimpan bukunya dan tempat bekerjanya.

Sewaktu di Banda Neira, ia bercocok tanam dan menulis di koran “Sin Tit Po” (dipimpin Liem Koen Hian; bulanan ini berhenti pada 1938) dengan honorarium f 75 dalam Bahasa Belanda. Kemudian, ia menulis di Nationale Commantaren (Komentar Nasional; dipimpin Sam Ratulangi) dan juga, ia menulis di koran Pemandangan dengan honorarium f 50 sebulan per satu/dua tulisan. Hatta juga pernah menerima tawaran Kiai Haji Mas Mansur untuk ke Makassar, dia menolak dengan alasan kalaupun dirinya ke Makassara dia masih berstatus tahanan juga. Waktu itu, sudah ada Cipto Mangunkusumo dan Iwa Kusumasumantri. Mereka semua sudah saling mengenal.

Selain itu, di Banda Neira, Hatta juga mengajar kepada beberapa orang pemuda. Anak dr. Cipto belajar tata-buku dan sejarah. Ada juga anak asli daerah Banda Neira yang belajar kepada Hatta. Ada seorang kenalan Hatta dari Sumatera Barat yang mengirimkan dua orang kemenakannya untuk belajar ekonomi dan juga sejarah. Selain itu, dari Bukittinggi dikirim Anwar Sutan Saidi sebanyak empat orang pemuda yang belajar kepada Hatta.

Pada tahun 1941, Mohammad Hatta menulis artikel di koran Pemandangan yang isinya supaya rakyat Indonesia jangan memihak kepada baik ke pihak Barat ataupun fasisme Jepang. Kelak, pada zaman Jepang tulisan Hatta dijadikan bahan oleh penguasa Jepang untuk tidak percaya Hatta selama Perang Pasifik. Yang mana, kelak tulisan Hatta dibaca Murase, seorang Wakil Kepala Kenpeitei (dinas intelijen) dan menyarankan Hatta agar mengikuti Nippon Sheisin di Tokyo pada November 1943.

1942-1945: Penjajahan Jepang

Pada tanggal 8 Desember 1941, angkatan perang Jepang menyerang Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Ini memicu Perang Pasifik, dan setelah Pearl Harbor, Jepang segera menguasai sejumlah daerah, termasuk Indonesia. Dalam keadaan genting tersebut, Pemerintah Belanda memerintahkan untuk memindahkan orang-orang buangan dari Digul ke Australia, karena khawatir kerjasama dengan Jepang. Hatta dan Syahrir dipindahkan pada Februari 1942, ke Sukabumi setelah menginap sehari di Surabaya dan naik kereta api ke Jakarta. Bersama kedua orang ini, turut pula 3 orang anak-anak dari Banda yang dijadikan anak angkat oleh Syahrir.

Setelah itu, ia dibawa kembali ke Jakarta. Ia bertemu Mayor Jenderal Harada. Hatta menanyakan keinginan Jepang datang ke Indonesia. Harada menawarkan kerjasama dengan Hatta. Kalau mau, ia akan diberi jabatan penting. Hatta menolak, dan memilih menjadi penasihat. Ia dijadikan penasihat dan diberi kantor di Pegangsaan Timur dan rumah di Oranje Boulevard (Jalan Diponegoro). Orang terkenal pada masa sebelum perang, baik orang pergerakan, atau mereka yang bekerja sama dengan Belanda, diikutsertakan seperti Abdul Karim Pringgodigdo, Surachman, Sujitno Mangunkususmo, Sunarjo Kolopaking, Supomo, dan Sumargo Djojohadikusumo. Pada masa ini, ia banyak mendapat tenaga-tenaga baru. Pekerjaan di sini, merupakan tempat saran oleh pihak Jepang. Jepang mengharapkan agar Hatta memberikan nasihat yang menguntungkan mereka, malah Hatta memanfaatkan itu untuk membela kepentingan rakyat.

1945: Mempersiapkan kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia

Saat-saat mendekati Proklamasi pada 22 Juni 1945, Badan Penyelidik Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (BPUPKI) membentuk panitia kecil yang disebut Panitia Sembilan dengan tugas mengolah usul dan konsep para anggota mengenai dasar negara Indonesia. Panitia kecil itu beranggotakan 9 orang dan diketuai oleh Ir. Soekarno. Anggota lainnya Bung Hatta, Mohammad Yamin, Achmad Soebardjo, A.A. Maramis, Abdulkahar Muzakir, Wahid Hasyim, H. Agus Salim, dan Abikusno Tjokrosujoso.

Kemudian pada 9 Agustus 1945, Bung Hatta bersama Bung Karno dan Radjiman Wedyodiningrat diundang ke Dalat (Vietnam) untuk dilantik sebagai Ketua dan Wakil Ketua Panitia Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (PPKI). Badan ini bertugas melanjutkan hasil kerja BPUPKI dan menyiapkan pemindahan kekuasaan dari pihak Jepang kepada Indonesia. Pelantikan dilakukan secara langsung oleh Panglima Asia Tenggara Jenderal Terauchi. Puncaknya pada 16 Agustus 1945, terjadilah Peristiwa Rengasdengklok hari dimana Bung Karno bersama Bung Hatta diculik kemudian dibawa ke sebuah rumah milik salah seorang pimpinan PETA, Djiaw Kie Siong, di sebuah kota kecil Rengasdengklok (dekat Karawang, Jawa Barat).

Penculikan itu dilakukan oleh kalangan pemuda, dalam rangka mempercepat tanggal proklamasi kemerdekaan Indonesia. Malam hari, mereka mengadakan rapat untuk persiapan proklamasi Kemerdekaan Indonesia di kediaman Laksamana Tadashi Maeda di Jalan Imam Bonjol 1 Jakarta. Sebelum rapat, mereka menemui somabuco (kepala pemerintahan umum) Mayjen Nishimura untuk mengetahui sikapnya mengenai pelaksanaan proklamasi kemerdekaan Indonesia. Pertemuan tersebut tidak menghasilkan kesepahaman sehingga tidak adanya kesepahaman itu meyakinkan mereka berdua untuk melaksanakan proklamasi kemerdekaan itu tanpa kaitan lagi dengan Jepang.

1945-1956: Menjadi Wakil Presiden pertama di Indonesia

Pada 17 Agustus 1945, hari yang sangat ditunggu-tunggu oleh seluruh rakyat Indonesia dia bersama Soekarno resmi memproklamasikan kemerdekaan di Jalan Pegangsaan Timur 56 Jakarta pukul 10.00 WIB. Dan keesokan harinya pada tanggal 18 Agustus 1945, dia resmi dipilih sebagai Wakil Presiden RI yang pertama mendampingi Presiden Soekarno.

Selama menjadi Wakil Presiden, Bung Hatta amat gigih bahkan dengan nada sangat marah, menyelamatkan Republik dengan mempertahankan naskah Linggarjati di Sidang Pleno KNIP di Malang yang diselenggarakan pada 25 Februari – 6 Maret 1947 dan hasilnya Persetujuan Linggajati diterima oleh Komite Nasional Indonesia Pusat (KNIP) sehingga anggota KNIP menjadi agak lunak pada 6 Maret 1947.

Pada saat terjadinya Agresi Militer Belanda I pada 21 Juli 1947, Hatta dapat meloloskan diri dari kepungan Belanda dan pada saat itu dia masih berada di Pematangsiantar. Dia dengan selamat bersama dengan Gubernur Sumatera Mr. T. Hassan tiba di Bukittinggi. Sebelumnya pada 12 Juli 1947 Bung Hatta mengadakan Kongres Koperasi I di Tasikmalaya yang menetapkan tanggal 12 Juli sebagai Hari Koperasi di Indonesia. Kemudian dalam Kongres Koperasi II di Bandung tanggal 12 Juli 1953, Bung Hatta diangkat sebagai Bapak Koperasi Indonesia.

Kemudian, Bung Hatta dengan kewibawaannya sebagai Wakil Presiden hendak memperjuangkan sampai berhasil Perjanjian Renville dengan berakibat jatuhnya Kabinet Amir dan digantikan oleh Kabinet Hatta. Pada era Kabinet Hatta yang dibentuk pada 29 Januari 1948, Bung Hatta menjadi Perdana Menteri dan merangkap jabatan sebagai Menteri Pertahanan.

Suasana panas waktu timbul Pemberontakan PKI Madiun dalam bulan September 1948, memuncak pada penyerbuan tentara Belanda ke Yogyakarta pada 19 Desember 1948. Bung Hatta bersama Bung Karno diangkut oleh tentara Belanda pada hari itu juga. Pada tahun yang sama, Bung Hatta bersama Bung Karno diasingkan ke Menumbing, Bangka. Beberapa waktu setelah pengasingan karena mengalami adanya sebuah perundingan Komisi Tiga Negara (KTN) di Kaliurang, di mana Critchley datang mewakili Australia dan Cochran mewakili Amerika.

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Mohammad Hatta berpidato di hadapan para peserta Konferensi Persiapan Nasional di Jakarta pada 26 November 1949. Tampak Sartono (duduk deretan depan no.2 dari kiri) mendengarkan dengan saksama.

Pada Juli 1949, terjadi kemenangan Cochran dalam menyelesaikan perundingan Indonesia. Tahun ini, terjadilah sebuah perundingan penting, Konferensi Meja Bundar (KMB) yang diadakan di Den Haag sesudah berunding selama 3 bulan, pada 27 Desember 1949 kedaulatan NKRI kita miliki untuk selamanya. Ratu Juliana memberi tanda pengakuan Belanda atas kedaulatan negara Indonesia tanpa syarat kecuali Irian Barat yang akan dirundingkan lagi dalam waktu setahun setelah Pengakuan Kedaulatan kepada Bung Hatta yang bertindak sebagai Ketua Delegasi Republik Indonesia di Amsterdam dan di Jakarta.

Di Amsterdam dari Ratu Juliana kepada Drs. Mohammad Hatta dan di Jakarta dari Dr. Lovink yang mewakili Belanda kepada Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX. Sehingga pada akhirnya negara Indonesia menjadi negara Republik Indonesia Serikat (RIS), Bung Hatta terpilih menjadi Perdana Menteri RIS juga merangkap sebagai Menteri Luar Negeri RIS dan berkedudukan di Jakarta dan Bung Karno menjadi Presiden RIS. Ternyata RIS tidak berlangsung lama, dan pada 17 Agustus 1950, Indonesia menjadi Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia (NKRI) dengan ibu kota Jakarta dan Perdana Menteri Mohammad Natsir. Bung Hatta menjadi Wakil Presiden RI lagi dan berdinas di Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan 13 Jakarta.

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Kunjungan kerja Wakil Presiden Moh.Hatta ke Yogyakarta tahun 1950. Tampak dalam gambar,paling kiri, Mayor Pranoto Reksosamodra sebagai Komandan Militer Kota Besar Yogyakarta.

Pada tahun 1955, Mohammad Hatta membuat pernyataan bahwa bila parlemen dan konstituante pilihan rakyat sudah terbentuk, dia akan mengundurkan diri sebagai wakil presiden. Menurutnya, dalam negara yang mempunyai kabinet parlementer, Kepala Negara adalah sekadar simbol saja, sehingga Wakil Presiden tidak diperlukan lagi.

Pada tanggal 20 Juli 1956, Mohammad Hatta menulis sepucuk surat kepada Ketua DPR pada saat itu, Sartono yang isinya antara lain, “Merdeka, Bersama ini saya beritahukan dengan hormat, bahwa sekarang, setelah Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat yang dipilih rakyat mulai bekerja, dan Konstituante menurut pilihan rakyat sudah tersusun, sudah tiba waktunya bagi saya untuk mengundurkan diri sebagai wakil presiden. Segera, setelah Konstituante dilantik, saya akan meletakkan jabatan itu secara resmi.”

DPR menolak secara halus permintaan Mohammad Hatta tersebut, dengan cara mendiamkan surat tersebut. Kemudian, pada tanggal 23 November 1956, Bung Hatta menulis surat susulan yang isinya sama, bahwa tanggal 1 Desember 1956, dia akan berhenti sebagai Wakil Presiden RI. Akhirnya, pada sidang DPR pada 30 November 1956, DPR akhirnya menyetujui permintaan Mohammad Hatta untuk mengundurkan diri dari jabatan sebagai Wakil Presiden, jabatan yang telah dipegangnya selama 11 tahun.

Di akhir tahun 1956 juga, Hatta tidak sejalan lagi dengan Bung Karno karena dia tidak ingin memasukkan unsur komunis dalam kabinet pada waktu itu. Sebelum ia mundur, dia mendapatkan gelar Doctor Honoris Causa dari Universitas Gajah Mada, Yogyakarta. Sebenarnya gelar Doctor Honoris Causa ingin diberikan pada tahun 1951. Namun, gelar tersebut baru diberikan pada 27 November 1956. Demikian pula Universitas Indonesia pada tahun 1951 telah menyampaikan keinginan itu tetapi Bung Hatta belum bersedia menerimanya. Kata dia, “Nanti saja kalau saya telah berusia 60 tahun.”.

1956-1980: Setelah pensiun

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Foto terakhir Bung Hatta sebelum masuk rumah sakit, tanggal 1 Maret 1980. Di sebelah kanan adalah Ny. Moenadji Soerjohadikoesoemo.

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Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX yang juga pernah menjabat sebagai Wakil Presiden RI tampak serius berbicara dengan Mohammad Hatta.

Setelah mundur dari jabatannya sebagai Wakil Presiden RI pada 1 Desember 1956, dia dan keluarga berpindah rumah dari Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan 13 ke Jalan Diponegoro 57. Bung Hatta tak pernah menyesal atas keputusan yang telah ia buat. Kegiatan sehari-hari Bung Hatta setelah pensiun adalah menambah dari penghasilan menulis buku dan mengajar. Meskipun sudah tak menjabat lagi sebagai Wakil Presiden, pada tahun 1957 dia berangkat ke Cina karena mendapat undangan dari Pemerintah RRC. Rakyat sana masih menganggap dia sebagai “a great son of his country”, terbukti dari penyambutan yang seharusnya diberikan kepada seorang kepala negara di mana PM Zhou Enlai sendiri menyambut dia yang bukan lagi sebagai wakil presiden.

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Mereka yang sibuk pada masa Revolusi berkumpul kembali tahun 1979 ketika Richard C. Kirby, yang dulu mewakili Australia dalam Komite Jasa Baik PBB untuk Indonesia (KTN), berkunjung ke Jakarta. Dari kanan : Ali Budiardjo (pembantu politik Hamengkubuwono IX menjelang RIS), Mohammad Hatta, Richard C. Kirby, Mohammad Roem, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, Subadio Sastrosatomo, Mohammad Natsir, Tamzil, dan Thomas K. Critchley yang menggantikan Kirby dalam Komite PBB.

Tahun 1963 Bung Hatta pertama kali mengalami jatuh sakit dan mendapatkan perawatan di Stockholm, Swedia atas perintah Soekarno, dengan biaya negara, karena perlengkapan medis di sana lebih lengkap.

Pada 31 Januari 1970, melalui Keppres No. 12/1970 telah dibentuk Komisi Empat yang bertugas mengusut masalah korupsi. Untuk keperluan itu Dr. Moh. Hatta (mantan Wakil Presiden RI) telah diangkat menjadi Penasehat Presiden dalam masalah pemberantasan Korupsi. Komisi Empat ini diketuai oleh Wilopo, SH, dengan anggota-anggota: IJ Kasimo, Prof. Dr. Yohanes, H. Anwar Tjokroaminoto, dengan sekretaris Kepala Bakin/Sekretaris Kopkamtib, Mayjen. Sutopo Juwono. Dr. Moh. Hatta juga ditunjuk sebagai Penasehat Komisi Empat tersebut. Tetapi secara kontroversial, Presiden Suharto membubarkan komisi tersebut dan hanya memberikan izin untuk mengusut tuntas 2 kasus korupsi saja.

Hatta dipercaya oleh Presiden Soeharto untuk menjadi Anggota Dewan Penasehat Presiden. Pada 15 Agustus 1972, Bung Hatta mendapat anugerah Bintang Republik Indonesia Kelas I dari Pemerintah Republik Indonesia. Kemudian, pada tahun yang sama Pemerintah Provinsi DKI Jakarta mengangkat dia sebagai warga utama Ibukota Jakarta dengan segala fasilitasnya, seperti perbaikan besarnya pensiun dan penetapan rumah dia menjadi salah satu gedung yang bersejarah di Jakarta.

Kemudian, pada tahun 1975, Bung Hatta menjadi anggota Panitia Lima bersama Prof Mr. Soebardjo, Prof Mr. Sunario, A.A. Maramis, dan Prof Mr. Pringgodigdo untuk memberi pengertian mengenai Pancasila sesuai dengan alam pikiran dan semangat lahir dan batin para penyusun UUD 1945 dengan Pancasilanya. Ternyata, Bung Hatta resmi menjadi Ketua Panitia Lima. Tak hanya itu, Bung Hatta kembali mendapatkan gelar doctor honouris causa sebagai tokoh proklamator dari Universitas Indonesia yang seharusnya diberikan pada tahun 1951. Pemberian gelar tersebut dilakukan di Jakarta pada 30 Juli 1975 dan diberikan secara langsung oleh Rektor Mahar Mardjono.

Pada Tahun 1978 bersama-sama Jenderal Abdul Haris Nasution, Bung Hatta mendirikan Yayasan Lembaga Kesadaran Berkonstitusi yang bertujuan mengkritik penggunaan Pancasila dan UUD 1945 untuk kepentingan rezim otoriter Suharto.

Dan pada tahun 1979, dimana tahun tersebut merupakan tahun ke-5 Bung Hatta masuk ke rumah sakit. Kesehatan Bung Hatta semakin menurun. Walaupun begitu, semangatnya tetap saja tinggi. Ia masih mengikuti perkembangan politik dunia.

Wafat


Bung_Hatta_Anti-Corruption_Award

Logo Bung Hatta Anti-Corruption Award (BHACA).

Hatta wafat pada tanggal 14 Maret 1980 pk18.56 di Rumah Sakit Cipto Mangunkusumo Jakarta setelah sebelas hari ia dirawat di sana. Selama hidupnya, Bung Hatta telah dirawat di rumah sakit sebanyak 6 kali pada tahun 1963, 1967, 1971, 1976, 1979, dan terakhir pada 3 Maret 1980. Keesokan harinya, dia disemayamkan di kediamannya Jalan Diponegoro 57, Jakarta dan dikebumikan di TPU Tanah Kusir, Jakarta disambut dengan upacara kenegaraan yang dipimpin secara langsung oleh Wakil Presiden pada saat itu, Adam Malik. Ia ditetapkan sebagai pahlawan proklamator pada tahun 1986 oleh pemerintahan Soeharto.

Mendapat Gelar Pahlawan


Setelah wafat, Pemerintah memberikan gelar Pahlawan Proklamator kepada Bung Hatta pada 23 Oktober 1986 bersama dengan mendiang Bung Karno. Pada 7 November 2012, Bung Hatta secara resmi bersama dengan Bung Karno ditetapkan oleh Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sebagai Pahlawan Nasional.

Bung Hatta Award


Artikel utama untuk bagian ini adalah: Bung Hatta Award

Sejak 9 April 2003, Perkumpulan BHACA yang diprakarsai oleh Theodore Permadi Rachmat dan Teten Masduki menyelenggarakan perhelatan penganugerahan Bung Hatta Award yang diserahkan kepada para tokoh Indonesia dari berbagai latar belakang profesi yang dinilai memiliki komitmen anti-korupsi. Beberapa tokoh yang pernah menerima penghargaan tersebut antara lain Tri Risma Harini, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, dan Joko Widodo.

Bacaan Lanjutan


  1. Hatta, Mohammad, Mohammad Hatta Memoir, Tinta Mas Jakarta, 1979
  2. Deliar Noer. 1990. Mohammad Hatta, Biografi Politik. Jakarta: LP3ES.
  3. Greta O. Wilson (ed.). 1978. Regents, reformers, and revolutionaries: Indonesian
  4. Voices of Colonial Days. Asian Studies at Hawaii, no 21. The University Press of Hawaii.
  5. George McTurnan Kahin. 1952. Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Cornell University Press.
  6. Sekretariat Negara Republik Indonesia. 1975. 30 Tahun Indonesia Merdeka. Jakarta: PT Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada
  7. Swasono, Meutia Farida. 1981. Bung Hatta Pribadinya Dalam Kenangan. Jakarta: Sinar Harapan
  8. Team Dokumentasi Presiden RI. 2003. Jejak Langkah Pak Harto 28 Maret 1968-23 Maret 1973. Jakarta: PT. Citra Kharisma Bunda
  9. Tim Penyusun. 1981. Bung Hatta. Jakarta: (unknown)
  10. Wahyu, Christoporus. 2012. Pemerintah Akhirnya Akui Bung Karno-Bung Hatta Pahlawan Nasional. 

CHRISTOPORUS WAHYU HARYO P Kompas 06/11/2012, 18:30 WIB 

Pemerintah akhirnya menganugerahi proklamator Republik Indonesia, Soekarno dan Muhammad Hatta, sebagai pahlawan nasional.

Penganugerahan gelar pahlawan nasional akan diberikan Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono kepada keluarga Bung Karno dan Bung Hatta, Rabu (7/11/2012) di Istana Negara.

“Kami tadi melaporkan kepada Presiden hasil sidang Dewan Gelar dan Kehormatan. Besok akan dilakukan penganugerahan gelar pahawan nasional kepada Ir Soekarno dan Muhammad Hatta.

Keppres akan segera ditandatangani sore ini, dan besok akan dilakukan penganugerahan pukul 11.00 WIB di Istana Negara,” kata Menteri Koordinator Bidang Politik, Hukum, dan Keamanan Djoko Suyanto yang juga Ketua Dewan Gelar dan Kehormatan, Selasa (6/11/2012) di Jakarta.

Djoko tidak menyebutkan alasan pemberian gelar pahlawan itu, termasuk mengapa baru diberikan sekarang. “Alasan mengapa akan disampaikan Presiden sendiri. Saya tidak akan banyak membahas mengenai hal itu,” kata Djoko.

Pranala Luar


Opera Snapshot_2018-10-27_091907_id.wikipedia.org

Barack Obama

Barack Obama . Biography 


Dari Wikipedia bahasa Indonesia, ensiklopedia bebas

480px-President_Barack_Obama

Presiden Amerika Serikat ke-44

Masa Jabatan: 20 Januari 2009 – 20 Januari 2017
Wakil Presiden: Joe Biden
Didahului oleh George W. Bush
Digantikan oleh Donald Trump

Senator Amerika Serikat dari Illinois
Masa Jabatan: 3 Januari 2005 – 16 November 2008
Didahului oleh Peter Fitzgerald
Digantikan oleh Roland Burris

Anggota Senat Illinois dari Distrik ke-13
Masa Jabatan: 8 Januari 1997 – 4 November 2004
Didahului oleh Alice Palmer
Digantikan oleh Kwame Raoul

Informasi Pribadi
Lahir: Barack Hussein Obama II 4 Agustus 1961 (umur 55)
Honolulu, Hawaii, A.S.
Partai Politik: Demokrat
Suami/istri: Michelle Robinson (3 Oktober 1992–sekarang)
Anak:
Malia (l. 1998)
Sasha (l. 2001)
Tempat tinggal: Chicago, Illinois
Almamater: Occidental College, Universitas Columbia (B.A.), Harvard Law School (J.D.)

Profesi: Pengacara, Profesor hukum konstitusi, Penggerak masyarakat, Penulis
Agama: Kristen
Penghargaan: Hadiah Nobel Perdamaian

Hadiah Nobel Perdamaian 2009 diberikan kepada Presiden A.S. Barack Obama “atas usahanya yang luar biasa dalam memperkuat diplomasi internasional dan kerja sama antarmasyarakat.” Komite Nobel Norwegia mengumumkan penerima hadiah ini pada 9 Oktober 2009 dan menyebut dukungan Obama terhadap nonproliferasi nuklir dan “iklim baru” dalam hubungan internasional, terutama membuka hubungan dengan dunia Muslim.

Keputusan Komite Nobel mendapat berbagai macam respon oleh komentator dan penulis editorial dari seluruh spektrum politik di Amerika Serikat, sementara respon dari para sekutu A.S. pada umumnya positif.

Obama menerima hadiah ini di Oslo pada tanggal 10 Desember 2009. Dalam pidato berdurasi 36 menit, ia membicarakan ketegangan antara perang dan perdamaian dan ide “perang saja”.

President_Barack_Obama_with_the_Nobel_Prize_medal_and_diploma

Tanda tangan:

Barack_Obama_signature.svg
Media Sosial
Situs Web: www dot barackobama dot com

Barack Hussein Obama II ( i/bəˈrɑːk huːˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; lahir 4 Agustus 1961; umur 55 tahun) adalah seorang politisi Amerika yang menjabat sebagai Presiden Amerika Serikat ke-44. Ia merupakan orang Afrika Amerika pertama yang menempati jabatan tersebut.

Lahir di Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama merupakan lulusan Universitas Columbia dan Harvard Law School, tempat ia menjadi presiden Harvard Law Review. Ia dulunya seorang penggerak masyarakat di Chicago sebelum mendapat gelar hukumnya. Ia bekerja sebagai jaksa hak-hak sipil di Chicago dan mengajar hukum konstitusi di University of Chicago Law School sejak 1992 sampai 2004. Ia tiga kali mewakili Distrik ke-13 di Senat Illinois mulai tahun 1997 hingga 2004, namun tidak lolos ke tahap Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Amerika Serikat tahun 2000.

Pada tahun 2004, Obama mendapat perhatian nasional saat berkampanye mewakili Illionis di Senat Amerika Serikat melalui kemenangannya pada pemilu pendahuluan Partai Demokrat bulan Maret, pidatonya di Konvensi Nasional Demokrat bulan Juli, dan pemilihannya sebagai Senat pada bulan November. Ia memulai kampanye presidennya tahun 2007, dan pada tahun 2008, setelah kampanye pendahuluan melawan Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama memenangkan mayoritas suara delegasi dalam pemilu pendahuluan partai Demokrat untuk dijadikan calon presiden. Ia kemudian mengalahkan calon dari Partai Republik John McCain dalam pemilihan umum presiden tahun 2008, dan dilantik sebagai presiden pada tanggal 20 Januari 2009. Sembilan bulan kemudian, Obama dinyatakan sebagai pemenang Hadiah Nobel Perdamaian 2009. Ia terpilih lagi sebagai presiden pada November 2012, mengalahkan Mitt Romney dari Partai Republik, dan dilantik untuk kedua kalinya pada tanggal 20 Januari 2013.

Pada masa jabatan pertamanya, Obama mengesahkan undang-undang stimulus ekonomi sebagai tanggapan terhadap resesi 2007–2009 di Amerika Serikat dalam bentuk American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 dan Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. Inisiatif besar dalam negeri lainnya pada masa pemerintahannya adalah Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010; Budget Control Act of 2011; dan American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Di bidang kebijakan luar negeri, Obama mengakhiri keterlibatan militer A.S. dalam Perang Irak, menambah jumlah tentara di Afganistan, menandatangani perjanjian pengendalian senjata New START bersama Rusia, memerintahkan intervensi militer A.S. di Libya, dan melaksanakan operasi militer yang berujung pada kematian Osama bin Laden. Pada bulan mei 2012, ia menjadi presiden A.S. pertama yang mendukung pengesahan pernikahan sesama jenis secara terbuka.

Kehidupan Awal dan Karier

Obama lahir pada tanggal 4 Agustus 1961 di Kapiʻolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital (sekarang Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children) di Honolulu, Hawaii, dan menjadi Presiden pertama yang lahir di Hawaii. Ibunya, Stanley Ann Dunham, lahir di Wichita, Kansas, dan merupakan keturunan bangsa Inggris. Ayahnya, Barack Obama, Sr., adalah seorang anggota suku Luo dari Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya. Orang tua Obama bertemu pada tahun 1960 di kelas bahasa Rusia di University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, tempat ayahnya kuliah sebagai penerima beasiswa asing. Keduanya menikah di Wailuku, Maui, pada tanggal 2 Februari 1961, dan terpisah ketika ibu Obama pindah bersama putranya yang baru lahir ke Seattle, Washington, pada akhir Agustus 1961 agar bisa berkuliah di University of Washington selama satu tahun. Sementara itu, Obama, Sr. menyelesaikan program S1 ekonominya di Hawaii pada Juni 1962, kemudian mengikuti program S2 di Harvard University dengan beasiswa. Orang tua Obama bercerai pada bulan Maret 1964. Obama Sr. pulang ke Kenya tahun 1964, lalu menikah kembali; ia hanya sekali menjenguk Barack di Hawaii, yaitu pada tahun 1971.Ia meninggal dunia akibat kecelakaan lalu lintas tahun 1982.

Ann_Dunham_with_father_and_children

Obama bersama separuh adiknya, Maya Soetoro-Ng, ibunya, Ann Dunham dan kakeknya, Stanley Dunham, di Honolulu, Hawaii

Pada tahun 1963, Dunham bertemu Lolo Soetoro, seorang mahasiswa East–West Center asal Indonesia yang mengambil program S2 dalam bidang geografi di University of Hawaii. Mereka menikah di Molokai pada tanggal 15 Maret 1965. Setelah dua tahun perpanjangan visa J-1-nya, Lolo pulang ke Indonesia tahun 1966, diikuti istri dan putra tirinya 16 bulan kemudian pada tahun 1967. Mereka awalnya menetap di Menteng Dalam, Tebet, Jakarta Selatan, kemudian pindah ke permukiman elit di Menteng, Jakarta Pusat, pada tahun 1970. Sejak usia 6 sampai 10 tahun, Obama bersekolah di Sekolah Katolik St. Fransiskus dari Assisi selama dua tahun dan Sekolah Dasar Besuki selama satu setengah tahun, ditambah pendidikan rumahan dengan bantuan Calvert School.

Pada tahun 1971, Obama kembali ke Honolulu untuk tinggal bersama orang tua ibunya, Madelyn dan Stanley Dunham, dan dengan bantuan beasiswa ia mengenyam pendidikan di Punahou School, sebuah sekolah persiapan perguruan tinggi, mulai kelas lima sampai lulus tahun 1979. Obama tinggal dengan ibu dan adiknya di Hawaii selama tiga tahun mulai 1972 sampai 1975, sementara ibunya menjalani program S2 antropologi di University of Hawaii. Ibu dan adiknya pulang ke Indonesia tahun 1975 untuk melaksanakan kerja lapangan antropologi, sementara Obama memilih untuk tetap tinggal di Hawaii bersama kakek neneknya agar bisa bersekolah di Punahou. Ibunya menghabiskan hampir dua dasawarsa di Indonesia, bercerai dengan Lolo tahun 1980 dan mendapatkan gelar PhD tahun 1992, sebelum meninggal dunia tahun 1995 di Hawaii pasca-pengobatan kanker ovarium dan kanker rahim.

Tentang masa kecilnya, Obama mengingat kembali, “Bahwa ayahku tidak seperti orang-orang di sekitarku—ia hitam bagaikan ter, ibuku putih bagaikan susu—nyaris tidak terpikirkan olehku.”[10] Ia menjelaskan perjuangannya sebagai sosok pemuda dewasa yang ingin menyatukan berbagai sudut pandang sosial terhadap warisan multirasialnya. Merenungkan masa kecilnya di Honolulu, Obama menulis: “Kesempatan yang Hawaii tawarkan—untuk menyaksikan berbagai macam budaya dengan suasana yang saling menghargai—menjadi bagian tak terpisahkan dari pandangan duniaku, sekaligus menjadi dasar nilai-nilai yang aku pegang erat.” Obama juga menulis dan berbicara tentang pemakaian alkohol, ganja, dan kokain saat ia masih muda untuk “menyingkirkan pertanyaan siapa aku dari pikiran saya”. Obama sempat menjadi anggota “choom gang”, sebuah kelompok pertemanan yang menghabiskan waktu bersama-sama dan sering menghirup marijuana. Pada acara Civil Forum on the Presidency tahun 2008, Obama menyatakan penyesalannya karena pernah mengonsumsi obat-obatan terlarang saat SMA.

Setelah SMA, Obama pindah ke Los Angeles tahun 1979 untuk menuntut ilmu di Occidental College. Pada bulan Februari 1981, ia berpidato di hadapan publik untuk pertama kalinya, meminta Occidental melakukan divestasi dari Afrika Selatan sebagai respon terhadap kebijakan apartheid di sana. Pada pertengahan 1981, Obama berkunjung ke Indonesia untuk menemui ibu dan adiknya, Maya, kemudian menemui keluarga teman-teman kuliahnya di Pakistan dan India selama tiga minggu. Kemudian pada 1981, ia pindah ke Columbia University di New York City dan mendapatkan gelar dalam ilmu politik dengan kekhususan hubungan internasional dan lulus dengan gelar Bachelor of Arts pada tahun 1983. Ia bekerja selama satu tahun di Business International Corporation, kemudian di New York Public Interest Research Group.

Penggerak Masyarakat Chicago dan Harvard Law School

Dua tahun setelah lulus, Obama bekerja sebagai direktur Developing Communities Project (DCP), sebuah organisasi masyarakat berbasis gereja yang awalnya terdiri dari 8 paroki Katoli Roseland, West Pullman, dan Riverdale di South Side, Chicago. Ia bekerja di sana sebagai penggerak masyarakat pada bulan Juni 1985 sampai Mei 1988. Ia membantu membuat program pelatihan kerja, program tutorial persiapan masuk perguruan tinggi, dan organisasi hak-hak penyewa di Altgeld Gardens. Obama juga bekerja sebagai konsultan dan instruktur untuk Gamaliel Foundation, sebuah institut penggerak masyarakat. Pada pertengahan 1988, untuk pertama kalinya ia berkunjung ke Eropa selama tiga minggu, lalu lima minggu di Kenya untuk bertemu dengan saudara-saudara ayahnya. Ia kembali berkunjung ke Kenya pada tahun 1992 bersama tunangannya, Michelle, dan adiknya, Auma. Obama datang lagi ke Kenya pada Agustus 2006 untuk mengunjungi tempat kelahiran ayahnya, yaitu sebuah desa dekat Kisumu di pedesaan barat Kenya.

Pada akhir 1988, Obama masuk Harvard Law School. Ia terpilih sebagai editor Harvard Law Review pada akhir tahun pertamanya, dan presiden jurnal pada tahun kedua. Sepanjang musim panas, ia pulang ke Chicago, lalu bekerja sebagai jaksa di firma hukum Sidley Austin tahun 1989 dan Hopkins & Sutter tahun 1990. Setelah lulus dengan gelar J.D. secara magna cum laude[44] dari Harvar tahun 1991, ia pulang ke Chicago. Pemilihan Obama sebagai presiden Harvard Law Review berkulit hitam pertama menjadi perhatian media nasional dan berujung pada ditandatanganinya kontrak penerbitan buku karya Obama tentang hubungan antarras, yang berubah menjadi memoar pribadi. Buku karya Obama tersebut diterbitkan pada pertengahan 1995 dengan judul Dreams from My Father.

University of Chicago Law School dan jaksa hak sipil

Pada tahun 1991, Obama menjabat sebagai Dosen Tamu Hukum dan Pemerintahan di University of Chicago Law School selama dua tahun sambil menyelesaikan buku pertamanya. Ia kemudian mengajar di University of Chicago Law School selama 12 tahun (sebagai Dosen pada 1992 sampai 1996 dan Dosen Senior pada 1996 sampai 2004), mengajarkan hukum konstitusi.

Mulai bulan April sampai Oktober 1992, Obama memimpin Project Vote di Illinois, yaitu kampanye registrasi pemilih dengan sepuluh staf dan 700 pendaftar sukarela; proyek ini berhasil mendaftarkan 150.000 dari 400.000 warga Afrika-Amerika tak terdaftar di negara bagian Illinois sampai-sampai Crain’s Chicago Business memasukkan Obama dalam daftar “40 under Forty” pada tahun 1993.

Tahun 1993, ia bergabung dengan Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, sebuah firma hukum 13 jaksa yang bergerak di bidang litigasi hak-hak sipil dan pembangunan ekonomi masyarakat. Obama menjadi jaksa pembantu di sana pada tahun 1993 sampai 1996, kemudian of counsel tahun 1996 sampai 2004. Lisensi hukumnya tidak aktif lagi pada tahun 2007.

Sejak 1994 hingga 2002, Obama menjabat sebagai anggota dewan direktur Woods Fund of Chicago, yang pada 1985 menjadi yayasan pertama yang mendanai Developing Communities Project; dan dewan direktur Joyce Foundation. Ia menjabat sebagai anggota dewan direktur Chicago Annenberg Challenge mulai tahun 1995 sampai 2002, kemudian sebagai presiden pendiri dan ketua dewan direktur mulai tahun 1995 sampai 1999.

Karier Legislatif: 1997–2008

Senator Negara Bagian: 1997–2004

Obama terpilih sebagai anggota Senat Illinois pada tahun 1996, menggantikan Alice Palmer sebagai Senator dari Distrik ke-13 Illinois yang pada waktu itu mencakup permukiman South Side Chicago dari Hyde Park – Kenwood ke selatan hingga South Shore dan barat hingga Chicago Lawn. Setelah terpilih, Obama mendapat dukungan dari kedua partai untuk undang-undang reformasi hukum etika dan pelayanan kesehatan. Ia memperkenalkan hukum penambahan kredit pajak untuk pekerja berpenghasilan rendah, menegosiasikan reformasi kesejahteraan, dan mempromosikan peningkatan subsidi perawatan anak. Tahun 2001, selaku ketua bersama Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama mendukung peraturan pinjaman upah dan pemberian pinjaman gadai predator usulan Gubernur Ryan dari Partai Republik yang bertujuan menghindari penyitaan rumah.

Obama terpilih kembali sebagai Senator Illinois pada tahun 1998, mengalahkan Yesse Yehudah dari Partai Republik, lalu terpilih lagi pada tahun 2002. Tahun 2000, ia kalah dalam pemilu pendahuluan Demokrat untuk distrik kongres ke-1 Illinois di Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Amerika Serikat. Pemilu tersebut dimenangkan oleh petahana Bobby Rush yang sudah menjabat empat kali dengan margin suara dua banding satu.

Pada Januari 2003, Obama menjadi ketua Komite Pelayanan Kesehatan dan Masyarakat Senat Illinois setelah Demokrat merebut kembali suara mayoritas pasca menjadi minoritas selama satu dasawarsa. Ia memperkenalkan dan memimpin pengesahan undang-undang dwipartai yang mengawasi pemrofilan ras dengan meminta polisi mencatat ras pengemudi yang mereka tahan, serta undang-undang yang menjadikan Illinois negara bagian pertama yang mewajibkan interogasi pelaku pembunuhan direkam. Selama kampanye pemilu Senat A.S. 2004, perwakilan polisi memuji Obama atas keterlibatan aktifnya bersama organisasi polisi dengan menerapkan reformasi hukuman mati. Obama mengundurkan diri dari Senat Illinois pada bulan november 2004 setelah terpilih menjadi anggota Senat Amerika Serikat.

Kampanye Senat A.S.

Bulan Mei 2002, Obama mengadakan pemungutan suara untuk menilai prospeknya pada pemilu Senat A.S. 2004; ia membuat panitia kampanye, menggalang dana, dan bekerja sama dengan konsultan media politik David Axelrod pada Agustus 2002. Obama secara resmi mencalonkan diri pada bulan Januari 2003.

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Hasil pemilu Senat A.S. 2004 tingkat county di Illinois. County berwarna biru dimenangkan oleh Obama.

Obama adalah salah seorang penentang pertama invasi Irak 2003 yang dicanangkan oleh pemerintahan George W. Bush. Pada tanggal 2 Oktober 2002, saat Presiden Bush dan Kongres menyetujui resolusi bersama yang mengizinkan dilancarkannya Perang Irak, Obama mengadakan kampanye anti-Perang Irak pertama di Chicago dan berpidato di sana. Ia mengadakan kampanye anti-perang lainnya pada bulan Maret 2003 dan berkata bahwa “belum terlambat” untuk menghentikan perang.

Keputusan petahana dari Partai Republik Peter Fitzgerald dan pendahulunya dari Partai Demokrat Carol Moseley Braun untuk tidak berpartisipasi dalam pemilihan umum berujung pada persaingan pemilihan pendahluan Demokrat dan Republik secara terbuka yang melibatkan 15 orang kandidat. Pada pemilihan pendahuluan Maret 2004, Obama menang dengan selisih yang tidak diduga-duga—yang menjadikannya bintang satu malam di Partai Demokrat nasional, sehingga memunculkan spekulasi tentang masa depannya sebagai presiden serta penerbitan ulang memoarnya, Dreams from My Father. Pada Juli 2004, Obama menyampaikan pidatonya di Konvensi Nasional Demokrat 2004 yang ditonton oleh 9,1 juta orang. Pidatonya disambut hangat dan menaikkan statusnya di Partai Demokrat.

Calon pesaing Obama pada pemilihan umum, yaitu pemenang pemilihan pendahuluan dari Partai Republik Jack Ryan, keluar pada bulan Juni 2004. Enam minggu kemudian, Alan Keyes menerima pencalonan Republik untuk menggantikan Ryan. Pada pemilihan umum November 2004, Obama memenangkan 70 persen suara.

Senator A.S.: 2005–2008

Obama disumpah sebagai seorang senator pada tanggal 3 Januari 2005, dan menjadi satu-satunya anggota Senat dari Congressional Black Caucus. CQ Weekly menyebutnya sebagai seorang “Demokrat setia” berdasarkan analisis seluruh suara Senat tahun 2005–2007. Pada 13 November 2008, Obama mengumumkan akan mengundurkan diri dari jabatan Senatnya terhitung 16 November 2008, sebelum dimulainya sesi lame-duck, untuk berfokus pada masa transisinya sebagai presiden.

Undang-undang
 
Obama turut mensponsori Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. Ia memperkenalkan dua inisiatif yang diberi nama dirinya: Lugar–Obama, yang memperluas konsep pengurangan risiko bersama Nunn–Lugar menjadi senjata api konvensional; dan Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, yang mengizinkan pembuatan USAspending.gov, mesin pencari anggaran federal di Internet. Tanggal 3 Juni 2008, Senator Obama—bersama Senator Tom Carper, Tom Coburn, dan John McCain—memperkenalkan RUU kelanjutannya, yaitu Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.

Obama mensponsori RUU yang mewajibkan pemilik PLTN memberitahu kebocoran radioaktif kepada otoritas negara bagian dan wilayah setempat, namun gagal disahkan secara bulat setelah diubah besar-besaran oleh komite. Mengenai reformasi kerugian, Obama memberi suaranya untuk Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 dan FISA Amendments Act of 2008, yang memberikan imunitas kewajiban sipil kepada perusahaan-perusahaan telekomunikasi yang mematuhi operasi penyadapan tanpa surat perintah NSA.

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Obama dan Sen. A.S. Richard Lugar (R-IN) mengunjungi sebuah fasilitas perombakan rudal bergerak di Rusia (Agustus 2005).

Pada bulan Desember 2006, Presiden Bush mengesahkan Undang-Undang Pemulihan, Keamanan, dan Pengenalan Demokrasi Republik Demokratik Kongo, yang menandai UU federal pertama yang disahkan dan disponsori Obama. Bulan Januari 2007, Obama dan Senator Feingold memperkenalkan peraturan jet perusahaan dalam Honest Leadership and Open Government Act yang disahkan bulan September 2007. Obama juga memperkenalkan Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, sebuah RUU yang mengkriminalisasi praktik penipuan dalam pemilihan umum federal, dan Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007. Tidak satupun yang disahkan.

Kemudian pada tahun 2007, Obama memperkenalkan amendemen terhadap Defense Authorization Act yang yang berisi tentang penambahan perlindungan bagi pensiunan militer yang menderita gangguan kepribadian. Amanddemen ini disahkan Senat dengan suara bulat pada musim semi 2008. Ia memperkenalkan pula Iran Sanctions Enabling Act yang mendukung divestasi dana pensiun negara dari industri minyak dan gas Iran, yang tidak disahkan komite; serta mensponsori bersama UU pengurangan risiko terorisme nuklir. Obama juga mensponsori amendemen Senat terhadap State Children’s Health Insurance Program yang memberikan perlindungan kerja selama satu tahun untuk para anggota keluarga yang merawat tentara-tentara terluka akibat pertempuran.

Komite
Obama mengemban tugas di Komite Senat untuk Hubungan Luar Negeri, Lingkungan dan Pekerjaan Umum dan Urusan Veteran sepanjang Desember 2006. Pada Januari 2007, ia keluar dari komite Lingkungan dan Pekerjaan Umum dan melaksanakan tugas tambahan di Komite Kesehatan, Pendidikan, Buruh, dan Pensiun dan Keamanan Dalam Negeri dan Urusan Pemerintahan. Ia juga menjadi Ketua subkomite Senat untuk Urusan Eropa. Selaku anggota Komite Hubungan Luar Negeri Senat, Obama melakukan serangkaian kunjungan resmi ke Eropa Timur, Timur Tengah, Asia Tengah, dan Afrika. Ia bertemu dengan Mahmoud Abbas sebelum menjadi Presiden Otoritas Nasional Palestina dan berpidato di Universitas Nairobi sambil mengutuk korupsi di tubuh pemerintahan Kenya.

Kampanye Presiden

Kampanye Presiden 2008

Pada tanggal 10 Februari 2007, Obama menyatakan pencalonannya sebagai Presiden Amerika Serikat di depan gedung Old State Capitol di Springfield, Illinois. Pemilihan tempat pengumuman itu dianggap simbolis karena di situ Abraham Lincoln menyampaikan pidato bersejarahnya yang berjudul “House Divided” tahun 1858. Obama menekankan isu pengakhiran Perang Irak secepat mungkin, meningkatkan kebebasan energi, dan menyediakan layanan kesehatan universal, dalam kampanye yang mengusung tema “harapan” dan “perubahan”.

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Senator Barack Obama di Austin, Texas, 2007.

Banyak kandidat yang ikut bertarung dalam pemilihan pendahuluan presiden Partai Demokrat. Persaingan besar ini berakhir dengan duel antara Obama dan Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton dan berlangsung ketat sepanjang proses pemilihan pendahuluan. Akan tetapi, Obama tetap unggul dalam jumlah delegasi karena perencanaan jangka panjang yang baik, penggalangan dana kelas atas, dominasi di negara-negara bagian kaukus, serta pemanfaatan peraturan alokasi delegasi yang sangat rapi. Pada 7 Juni 2008, Clinton mengakhiri kampanyenya dan mendukung Obama.

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Obama berdiri di panggung bersama istri dan putrinya sesaat sebelum menyatakan pencalonannya sebagai presiden di Springfield, Illinois, 10 Februari 2007

Tanggal 23 Agustus, Obama mengumumkan penunjukan Senator Delaware Joe Biden sebagai pasangan kampanye sekaligus calon wakil presidennya. Biden dipilih dari sejumlah calon yang meliputi mantan Gubernur Indiana dan Senator Evan Bayh dan Gubernur Virginia Tim Kaine. Pada Konvensi Nasional Demokrat 2008 di Denver, Colorado, Hillary Clinton meminta para pendukungnya memilih Obama dan ia serta Bil Clinton menyampaikan pidato dukungan untuk Obama. Obama menyampaikan pidato penerimaan pencalonannya, bukan di tengah arena Konvensi Nasional Demokrat, tetapi di Invesco Field at Mile High di hadapan sekitar 75.000 orang; pidato tersebut ditonton oleh lebih dari 38 juta orang di seluruh dunia.

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Presiden George W. Bush bertemu Presiden terpilih Obama di Oval Office pada tanggal 10 November 2008

Selama proses pemilihan pendahuluan dan pemilihan umum, kampanye Obama mencetak sejumlah rekor penggalangan dana, terutama dalam jumlah sumbangan kecil.[108] Pada 19 Juni 2008, Obama menjadi kandidat presiden partai besar pertama yang menolak pendanaan publik dalam pemilu sejak sistem tersebut dicetuskan tahun 1976.

John McCain dicalonkan sebagai kandidat dari Partai Republik dan keduanya mengikuti tiga debat presiden pada bulan September dan Oktober 2008. Tanggal 4 November, Obama memenangkan pemilu dengan 365 suara elektoral dibandingkan dengan 173 suara yang diperoleh McCain. Obama memenangkan 52,9% suara rakyat dibandingkan dengan 45,7% yang diterima McCain. Ia menjadi orang Afrika Amerika pertama yang menduduki jabatan presiden. Obama menyampaikan pidato kemenangannya di hadapan ratusan ribu pendukungnya di Grant Park, Chicago.

Kampanye Presiden 2012

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Mitt Romney dan Presiden Obama bersalaman di Oval Office tanggal 29 November 2012, setelah pertemuan pertama mereka sejak pemilihan kembali Presiden Obama.

Artikel utama untuk bagian ini adalah: Pemilihan umum presiden Amerika Serikat 2012 dan Kampanye presiden Barack Obama 2012
 
Empire State Building dibanjiri cahaya biru setelah CNN menyatakan Obama sebagai pemenang pemilu 2012; jika Romney menang cahayanya berwarna merah.
Pada tanggal 4 April 2011, Obama mengumumkan kampanye pemilihannya kembali untuk pemilu 2012 dalam sebuah video berjudul “It Begins with Us” di situs webnya dan mengirim berkas pemilu ke Federal Election Commission. Sebagai presiden petahana, ia secara virtual tidak punya saingan pada pemilihan pendahuluan presiden Partai Demokrat, dan pada 3 April 2012, Obama berhasil mendapat dukungan dari 2778 delegasi konvensi yang dibutuhkan untuk memenangkan pencalonan Demokrat.

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Empire State Building dibanjiri cahaya biru setelah CNN menyatakan Obama sebagai pemenang pemilu 2012; jika Romney menang cahayanya berwarna merah.

Pada Konvensi Nasional Demokrat 2012 di Charlotte, North Carolina, mantan Presiden Bill Clinton secara resmi mencalonkan Obama dan Joe Biden sebagai kandidat dari Partai Demokrat untuk menjadi presiden dan wakil presiden pada pemilihan umum mendatang, melawan Mitt Romney, mantan gubernur Massachusetts, dan Anggota DPR Paul Ryan dari Wisconsin dari Partai Republik.

Pada tanggal 6 November 2012, Obama memeroleh 332 suara elektoral, melebihi batas minimal 270 yang dibutuhkan agar bisa terpilih lagi sebagai presiden. Dengan 51% suara rakyat, Obama menjadi presiden Demokrat pertama sejak Franklin D. Roosevelt yang dua kali mendapatkan mayoritas suara rakyat. Presiden Obama berpidato di hadapan para pendukung dan relawannya di McCormick Place, Chicago, setelah pemilihannya kembali dan berkata: “Malam ini kalian memilih tindakan, bukan politik seperti biasanya. Kalian memilih kami untuk berfokus pada pekerjaan kalian, bukan kami. Dan dalam beberapa minggu dan bulan selanjutnya, saya berusaha menghubungi dan bekerja sama dengan para pemimpin dari kedua partai.”

Pemerintahan

Hari-hari pertama

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Barack Obama mengambil sumpah jabatan dibantu Ketua Hakim John G. Roberts, Jr. di the Capitol, 20 Januari 2009

Barack Obama mengambil sumpah jabatan dibantu Ketua Hakim John G. Roberts, Jr. di the Capitol, 20 Januari 2009. Pelantikan Barack Obama sebagai Presiden ke-44 dilaksanakan pada tanggal 20 Januari 2009. Pada hari-hari pertamanya menjabat, Obama mengeluarkan sejumlah perintah eksekutif dan memorandum presiden yang ditujukan pada militer A.S. untuk menyusun rencana penarikan tentara dari Irak. Ia memerintahkan penutupan kamp penahanan Teluk Guantanamo, tetapi Kongres mencegahnya dengan menolak pencairan dana yang diperlukan.Obama mengurangi tingkat kerahasiaan catatan presiden. Ia juga mencabut penerapan kembali Mexico City Policy era Presiden Ronald Reagan oleh Presiden George W. Bush yang melarang bantuan federal untuk organisasi perencanaan keluarga internasional yang melakukan atau memberi bantuan konseling tentang aborsi.

Kebijakan Dalam Negeri

Rancangan undang-undang pertama yang disahkan oleh Obama adalah Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 yang memperlonggar persyaratan batasan tuntutan hukum upah setara. Lima hari kemudian, ia menandatangani perizinan kembali State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) untuk mengasuransikan sekitar 4 juta anak. Pada bulan Maret 2009, Obama menghapus kebijakan era Bush yang membatasi pendanaan penelitian sel batang embrionik dan berjanji membuat “panduan ketat” mengenai penelitian tersebut.Barack_Obama_addresses_joint_session_of_Congress_2009-02-24.

Obama menyampaikan pidato sidang gabungan Kongres bersama Wakil Presiden Joe Biden dan Ketua DPR Nancy Pelosi pada tanggal 24 Februari 2009

Obama menunjuk dua wanita untuk menjabat di Mahkamah Agung pada dua tahun pertama masa pemerintahannya. Sonia Sotomayor, yang dicalonkan Obama tanggal 26 Mei 2009 untuk menggantikan Hakim Pembantu David Souter, resmi menjabat pada 6 Agustus 2009 dan menjadi Hakim Mahkamah Agung Hispanik pertama. Elena Kagan, yang dicalonkan Obama tanggal 10 Mei 2010 untuk menggantikan Hakim Pembantu John Paul Stevens, resmi menjabat pada 5 Agustus 2010 sehingga untuk pertama kalinya sepanjang sejarah Amerika Serikat pejabat wanita di Mahkamah Agung berjumlah tiga orang.

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Obama bersidang dengan Kabinetnya, 23 November 2009.

Pada tanggal 30 September 2009, pemerintahan Obama mengusulkan peraturan baru khusus pembangkit listrik, pabrik, dan penyulingan minyak untuk membatasi emisi gas rumah kaca dan memperlambat pemanasan global.

Tanggal 8 Oktober 2009, Obama menandatangani Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, sebuah peraturan yang memperluas hukum kebencian federal Amerika Serikat 1969 agar mencakup juga kejahatan yang dilakukan karena jenis kelamin, orientasi seksual, identitas gender, atau kecacatan korban baik yang dipersepsikan maupun yang benar-benar dialami.

Pada 30 Maret 2010, Obama menandatangani Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, sebuah rancangan undang-undang rekonsiliasi yang mengakhiri proses pemberian subsidi oleh pemerintah federal kepada bank-bank swasta untuk menghapus pinjaman yang dijamin pemerintah, menambah pemberian beasiswa Pell Grant, dan mengubah Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Pada pidato kebijakan antariksa bulan April 2010, Obama mengumumkan rencana perubahan arah di NASA, badan antariksa Amerika Serikat. Ia mengakhiri rencana peluncuran kembali penerbangan antariksa manusia ke Bulan dan pengembangan roket Ares I, Ares V dan program Constellation, agar bisa mendanai proyek-proyek ilmu Bumi, jenis roket baru, dan penelitian dan pengembangan misi berawak ke Mars, serta misi yang sedang berlangsung ke Stasiun Luar Angkasa Internasional.

Tanggal 22 Desember 2010, Obama mengesahkan Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 yang memenuhi janji kampanye presiden Obama pada tahun 2008 untuk mengakhiri kebijakan Don’t ask, don’t tell tahun 1993 yang mencegah kaum gay dan lesbian berdinas secara bebas di Angkatan Bersenjata Amerika Serikat.

2011 State of the Union Address yang disampaikan Presiden Obama berfokus pada pendidikan dan inovasi, menekankan pentingnya ekonomi inovasi supaya Amerika Serikat semakin bersaing di panggung dunia. Ia membicarakan kebuntuan pengeluaran dalam negeri selama lima tahun, penghapusan pengecualian pajak bagi perusahaan minyak dan membatalkan potongan pajak bagi orang-orang kaya A.S., melarang earmark, dan mengurangi biaya layanan kesehatan. Ia berjanji bahwa Amerika Serikat akan mempunyai satu juga kendaraan listrik pada tahun 2015 dan 80%-nya akan bergantung pada listrik “bersih”.

Selaku kandidat senator Illinois, Obama pernah berkata pada tahun 1996 bahwa ia ingin melegalisasi pernikahan sesama jenis; namun saat berkampanye untuk menjadi senator A.S. tahun 2004, ia menyatakan meski ia mendukung persatuan sipil dan hubungan serumah untuk kaum penyuka sesama jenis, karena alasan strategis ia menentang pernikahan sesama jenis. Pada tanggal 9 Mei 2012, sesaat setelah peluncuran resmi kampanyenya untuk pemilihan kembali sebagai presiiden, Obama mengatakan pandangannya telah berubah dan ia secara terbuka mendukung legalisasi pernikahan sesama jenis. Ia menjadi presiden menjabat A.S. pertama yang melakukan hal tersebut.

Kebijakan Ekonomi

Pada tanggal 7 Februari 2009, Obama mengesahkan American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, sebuah paket stimulus ekonomi senilai $787 miliar untuk membantu pemulihan ekonomi akibat memburuknya resesi global. Undang-undang ini mencakup peningkatan pengeluaran pemerintah untuk layanan kesehatan, infrastruktur, pendidikan, berbagai pengecualian dan insentif pajak, dan bantuan langsung individu, yang dilaksanakan dalam kurun beberapa tahun.

Pada bulan Maret, Menteri Keuangan Obama, Timothy Geithner, mengambil sejumlah keputusan untuk menangani krisis keuangan, termasuk memperkenalkan Public-Private Investment Program for Legacy Assets yang berisi peraturan batas pembelian aset real estat terbengkalai sampai $2 triliun. Obama mengintervensi industri otomotif bermasalah pada Maret 2009, memperbarui pinjaman untuk General Motors dan Chrysler supaya terus beroperasi sambil melakukan reorganisasi. Pada bulan-bulan selanjutnya, Gedung Putih menetapkan persyaratan untuk kebangkrutan yang dialami kedua perusahaan tersebut, termasuk penjualan Chrysler ke pabrik mobil Italia Fiat dan reorganisasi GM yang memberikan pemerintah A.S. saham sementara sebesar 60% di perusahaan tersebut dan 12% untuk pemerintah Kanada. Bulan Juni 2009, tidak puas dengan kemajuan stimulus ekonomi, Obama meminta kabinetnya mempercepat investasi. Ia mengesahkan Car Allowance Rebate System, dikenal dengan sebutan “Cash for Clunkers”, yang berhasil mempercepat ekonomi untuk sementara.

Meski jaminan pengeluaran dan pinjaman dari Federal Reserve dan Departemen Keuangan yang diizinkan pemerintahan Bush dan Obama senilai $11,5 triliun, hanya $3 triliun yang dikeluarkan pada akhir November 2009.[167] Akan tetapi, Obama dan Congressional Budget Office memperkirakan bahwa defisit anggaran 2010 akan mencapai $1,5 triliun atau 10,6% dari produk domestik bruto Amerika Serikat dibandingkan dengan defisit sebesar $1,4 triliun atau 9,9% dari PDB pada tahun 2009.[168][169] Untuk tahun 2011, pemerintahan Obama memperkirakan defisit akan sedikit turun hingga $1,34 triliun, sementara defisit 10 tahun akan naik hingga $8,53 triliun atau 90% dari PDB. Kenaikan batas utang A.S. terbaru sebesar $16,4 triliun disahkan pada tanggal 26 Januari 2012. Pada tanggal 2 Agustus 2011, setelah Kongres panjang lebar membicarakan perlunya menaikkan batas utang Amerika Serikat, Obama mengesahkan RUU dwipartai Budget Control Act of 2011. UU ini memberlakukan batasan pengeluaran rahasia sampai 2021, menetapkan prosedur penaikan batas utang, membentuk Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction untuk merencanakan pengurangan defisit lebih lanjut dengan tujuan mencapai penghematan anggaran sebesar $1,5 triliun dalam kurun 10 tahun, dan menetapkan prosedur otomatis untuk mengurangi pengeluaran sampai $1,2 triliun jika UU yang berawal dengan komite gabungan pilihan baru tersebut gagal mencapai penghematan yang ditetapkan.[172] Dengan mengesahkan UU ini, Kongres mampu mencegah gagal bayar obligasi oleh pemerintah A.S..

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Statistik lapangan kerja (perubahan tingkat pengangguran dan lapangan kerja per bulan) selama masa pemerintahan Obama

Seperti 2008, tingkat pengangguran naik pada tahun 2009 dan mencapai puncaknya pada bulan Oktober di level 10,0% dan rata-rata 10,0% pada kuartal keempat. Setelah menurun hingga 9,7% pada kuartal pertama 2010, tingkat pengangguran turun sampai 9,6% pada kuartal kedua dan tetap stabil sampai akhir tahun. Antara Februari dan Desember 2010, jumlah lapangan kerja naik 0,8%, kurang dari rata-rata 1,9% pada masa-masa perbandingan dalam empat pemulihan lapangan kerja sebelumnya. Per November 2012, tingkat pengangguran turun hingga 7,7%. Pertumbuhan PDB kembali naik pada kuartal ketiga 2009 hingga 1,6%, diikuti peningkatan sebesar 5,0% pada kuartal keempat.[179] Pertumbuhan berlanjut pada tahun 2010 dengan peningkatan sebesar 3,7% pada kuartal pertama dengan sedikit perbedaan hingga akhir tahun.[179] Pada Juli 2010, Federal Reserve menyatakan bahwa meski aktivitas ekonomi terus meningkat, kemajuannya melambat, dan Ketua Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke mengatakan bahwa masa depan ekonomi “malah tidak jelas.”[180] Secara keseluruhan, ekonomi nasional mengalami kenaikan sebesar 2,9% pada tahun 2010.

Congressional Budget Office dan sejumlah ekonom memuji rencana stimulus Obama untuk pertumbuhan ekonomi. CBO merilis laporan yang menyatakan RUU stimulus ini menaikkan jumlah lapangan kerja hingga 1–2,1 juta orang, sambil mengakui bahwa “Mustahil mengetahui berapa banyak lapangan kerja yang tercipta jika paket stimulus tidak ada.” Meski dalam survei anggota National Association for Business Economics bulan April 2010 menunjukkan kenaikan jumlah lapangan kerja (terhadap survei yang sama pada bulan Januari) untuk pertama kalinya dalam dua tahun, 73% dari 68 responden percaya bahwa RUU stimulus tersebut tidak berdampak apapun terhadap lapangan kerja.

Satu bulan setelah pemilu pertengahan 2010, Obama mengumumkan persetujuan dengan fraksi Repulik di Kongres berupa perpanjangan sementara nilai pajak penghasilan 2001 dan 2003 selama dua tahun, pengurangan pajak gaji selama satu tahun, kelanjutan tunjangan pengangguran, dan jumlah nilai dan pengecualian baru untuk pajak properti. Persetujuan ini ditentang oleh sejumlah pihak dari kedua kubu partai dan Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 senilai $858 miliar disetujui dengan suara mayoritas di kedua partai sebelum disahkan Obama pada 17 Desember 2010.

Reformasi Layanan Kesehatan

Obama meminta Kongres mengesahkan UU yang mereformasi layanan kesehatan di Amerika Serikat, salah satu janji kampanye dan tujuan legislatif utamanya. Ia merencanakan perluasan cakupan asuransi kesehatan hingga orang-orang yang belum terasuransikan, membatasi kenaikan premi, dan mengizinkan masyarakat memeroleh kembali jaminan mereka saat keluar atau ganti pekerjaan. Rencananya adalah menganggarkan $900 miliar selama 10 tahun dan membuat rencana asuransi pemerintah yang disebut opsi publik untuk bersaing dengan sektor asuransi perusahaan sebagai komponen utama menekan biaya dan memperbaiki kualitas layanan kesehatan. Pengasuransi juga dilarang menolak orang sakit ataupun menolak mengasuransikan mereka atas kondisi tidak jelas, dan mewajibkan setiap warga Amerika Serikat memiliki asuransi kesehatan. Rencana ini juga meliputi pemotongan pengeluaran kesehatan dan pembebanan pajak kepada perusahaan-perusahaan asuransi yang menawarkan rencana asuransi yang mahal.

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Obama menandatangani Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act di Gedung Putih, 23 Maret 2010

Tanggal 14 Juli 2009, fraksi Demokrat di DPR memperkenalkan rencana 1.017 halaman untuk merombak sistem layanan kesehatan A.S. yang Obama harapkan disetujui Kongres pada akhir 2009. Setelah banyak dibicarakan masyarakat ketika reses musim panas 2009, Obama menyampaikan pidato di sidang gabungan Kongres pada tanggal 9 September yang berisi kekhawatirannya tentang rencana tersebut. Pada Maret 2009, Obama mencabut larangan pemakaian dana federal untuk penelitian sel batang.

Tanggal 7 November 2009, sebuah RUU layanan kesehatan yang berisi opsi publik disetujui oleh DPR. Tanggal 24 Desember 2009, Senat menyetujui RUU-nya sendiri—tanpa opsi publik—dengan suara partai 60–39. Tanggal 21 Maret 2010, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act yang disetujui Senat pada bulan Desember disetujui oleh DPR dengan suara 219 banding 212. Obama mengesahkan RUU ini pada tanggal 23 Maret 2010.

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Obama menandatangani Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act di Gedung Putih, 23 Maret 2010

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act berisi peraturan kesehatan yang harus dilaksanakan dalam kurun empat tahun, termasuk perluasan cakupan Medicaid hingga orang-orang berpendapatan 133% dari tingkat kemiskinan federal (FPL) terhitung tahun 2014, menyubsidi premi untuk orang-orang berpendapatan 400% dari FPL ($88.000 untuk keluarga empat orang pada tahun 2010) sehingga pembayaran “di luar kantung” maksimal untuk premi tahunan akan naik dari 2 menjadi 9,5% dari pendapatan mereka, memberikan insentif untuk pengusaha agar menyediakan tunjangan layanan kesehatan, melarang penolakan asuransi dan penolakan klaim berdasarkan kondisi yang sudah ada, membentuk pertukaran asuransi kesehatan, melarang batas asuransi tahunan, dan mendukung penelitian medis. Menurut laporan Gedung Putih dan Congressional Budget Office, pangsa maksimum pendapatan yang harus dibayarkan pelanggan asuransi akan bervariasi tergantung pendapatan mereka yang relatif terhadap tingkat kemiskinan federal.

Biaya pelaksanaan peraturan ini ditutupi oleh pajak, retribusi, dan penghematan biaya, seperti pajak Medicare baru untuk orang-orang berpendapatan tinggi, pajak jemur dalam ruangan, pemotongan anggaran program Medicare Advantage untuk dialihkan ke Medicare biasa, dan pembebanan tarif untuk peralatan medis dan perusahaan obat-obatan; ada pula penalti pajak untuk orang-orang yang tidak memiliki asuransi kesehatan, kecuali mereka dikecualikan akibat pendapatan rendah atau alasan lain. Pada Maret 2010, Congressional Budget Office memperkirakan bahwa dampak bersih dari kedua hukum tersebut berupa pengurangan defisit federal sebesar $143 miliar pada periode dasawarsa pertama.

Hukum ini disambut sejumlah tuntutan hukum yang kebanyakan didasarkan pada pendapat bahwa keputusan seseorang yang mewajibkan warga Amerika Serikat membeli asuransi kesehatan bersifat tidak konstitusional. Pada tanggal 28 Juni 2012, Mahkamah Agung memutuskan dengan suara 5–4 di sidang National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius bahwa Commerce Clause tidak mengizinkan pemerintah mewajibkan masyarakat membeli asuransi kesehatan, tetapi keputusan tersebut bersifat konstitusional sesuai perizinan perpajakan Kongres Amerika Serikat.

Kebocoran Minyak Teluk Meksiko

Pada 20 April 2010, sebuah ledakan menghancurkan instalasi pengeboran lepas pantai di Prospek Macondo di Teluk Meksiko dan mengakibatkan kebocoran minyak luar biasa. Operator pengeboran lepas pantai ini, BP, melaksanakan rencana pembendungan dan pembersihan dan mulai mengebor dua sumur pembantu untuk menghentikan aliran tersebut. Obama mengunjungi kawasan Teluk Meksiko pada tanggal 2 Mei, 28 Mei, dan 4 Juni bersama sejumlah anggota kabinetnya. Tanggal 22 Mei, ia menyatakan dimulainya investigasi federal dan membentuk komisi dwipartai untuk merekomendasikan standar keselamatan baru setelah dilakukan tinjauan oleh Menteri Dalam Negeri Ken Salazar dan sidang Kongres. Tanggal 27 Mei, ia mengumumkan moratorium izin dan sewa pengeboran laut dalam baru selama 6 bulan sambil menunggu hasil tinjauan peraturan. Setelah berbagai upaya BP gagal, sejumlah pihak di media dan publik mengungkapkan ketidakjelasan sekaligus kritik atas beragam aspek kecelakaan ini, serta menginginkan Obama dan pemerintah federal terlibat lebih jauh dalam penanganannya.

Pengendalian Senjata Api
Pada tanggal 16 Januari 2013, satu bulan setelah penembakan Sekolah Dasar Sandy Hook, Presiden Obama mengusulkan serangkaian rencana pengendalian senjata api secara cepat, meminta Kongres mengesahkan kembali larangan senjata api “bergaya militer” seperti yang dipakai di beberapa kasus penembakan massal terakhir, menerapkan pembatasan magasin peluru menjadi 10 butir, melaksanakan pemeriksaan latar belakang semua pembeli senjata api, melarang kepemilikan dan penjualan peluru tembus rompi antipeluru, menerapkan hukuman berat bagi penyelundup senjata, khususnya penjual tak berlisensi yang membeli senjata api untuk pelaku kriminal dan menyetujui penunjukan kepala badan federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives untuk pertama kalinya sejak 2006.

Pemilihan Pertengahan 2010
 
Obama menyebut pemilu 2 November 2010 yang berakhir dengan Partai Demokrat kehilangan 63 kursi yang didudukinya sekaligus kendali mayoritas di DPR sebagai hal yang “memalukan” dan “merugikan”. Ia mengatakan hasilnya seperti itu karena belum banyak warga Amerika Serikat yang sudah merasakan dampak pemulihan ekonomi.

Kebijakan Luar Negeri

Pada bulan Februari dan Maret, Wakil Presiden Joe Biden dan Menteri Luar Negeri Hillary Rodham Clinton melakukan serangkaian perjalanan terpisah ke luar negeri untuk mengumumkan “era baru” dalam hubungan luar negeri A.S. dengan Rusia dan Eropa. Mereka memakai kata “break” dan “reset” untuk menyebut perubahan besar dari kebijakan era pemerintahan sebelumnya. Obama berusaha berkomunikasi dengan para pemimpin Arab dengan mengadakan wawancara pertamanya dengan jaringan televisi Arab, Al Arabiya.

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Obama menyampaikan pidato berjudul “A New Beginning” di Universitas Kairo pada tanggal 4 Juni 2009

Tanggal 19 Maret, Obama melanjutkan pendekatannya dengan umat Muslim dengan merilis video ucapan Selamat Tahun Baru untuk rakyat dan pemerintah Iran. Upaya ini tidak digubris oleh pemerintah Iran. Pada bulan April, Obama berpidato di Ankara, Turki, dan disambut hangat oleh sejumlah pemerintah di kawasan Arab. Tanggal 4 Juni 2009, Obama menyampikan pidato di Universitas Kairo, Mesir, yang berisi tentang dimulainya “awal baru” dalam hubungan antara dunia Islam dan Amerika Serikat dan mempromosikan perdamaian di Timur Tengah.

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Obama dan Presiden Meksiko Felipe Calderón, 2009

Tanggal 26 Juni 2009, menanggapi tindakan pemerintah Iran terhadap pengunjuk rasa pasca-pemilu presiden Iran 2009, Obama mengatakan, “Kekerasan yang dilakukan terhadap mereka sangat biadab. Kami mengetahuinya dan kami mengutuknya.” Tanggal 7 Juli, saat di Moskwa, ia menjawab komentar Wakil Presiden Biden tentang kemungkinan serangan militer Israel ke Iran, “Kami telah berkata langsung kepada pemerintah Israel bahwa penting sekali untuk mencoba dan menyelesaikan masalah ini secara bersama-sama sehingga tidak menciptakan konflik besar di Timur Tengah.”

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Obama dan Presiden Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, 2011.

Tanggal 24 September 2009, Obama menjadi presiden menjabat A.S. pertama yang menghadiri pertemuan Dewan Keamanan Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa.

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Obama bertemu Perdana Menteri Britania Raya David Cameron pada pertemuan G-20 Toronto 2010

Pada bulan Maret 2010, Obama menentang secara terbuka rencana pemerintahan Perdana Menteri Israel Benjamin Netanyahu untuk terus melaksanakan proyek perumahan Yahudi di permukiman-permukiman Arab di Yerusalem Timur. Pada bulan itu juga, Obama membuat perjanjian dengan pemerintahan Presiden Rusia Dmitry Medvedev untuk mengganti Perjanjian Pengurangan Senjata Strategis 1991 dengan pakta baru yang mengurangi jumlah senjata nuklir jarak jauh mereka sebesar sepertiga dari total persediaannya. Perjanjian New START tersebut ditandatangani oleh Obama dan Medvedev pada April 2010 dan disahkan oleh Senat A.S. bulan Desember 2010.

Tanggal 6 Desember 2011, ia menginstruksikan semua badan pemerintahan mempertimbangkan hak-hak LGBT saat mengeluarkan bantuan keuangan ke negara asing.

Perang Irak
 
Pada tanggal 27 Februari 2009, Obama mengumuman bahwa operasi pertempuran di Irak akan berakhir dalam 18 bulan. Pernyataannya ditujukan kepada sekelompok Marinir yang hendak ditempatkan di Afghanistan. Obama mengatakan, “Saya katakan dengan jelas: pada 31 Agustus 2010, misi pertempuran kita di Irak akan berakhir.” Pemerintahan Obama memperkirakan penarikan pasukan tempur akan rampung pada Agustus 2010, mengurangi jumlah tentara dari 142.000 orang menjadi satu pasukan transisi berkekuatan 50.000 orang di Irak sampai akhir 2011. Pada 19 Agustus 2010, brigade tempur AS terakhir keluar dari Irak. Tentara yang tersisa dialihkan dari operasi pertempuran ke kontra-terorisme dan pelatihan, perlengkapan, dan pendidikan pasukan keamanan Irak. Tanggal 31 Agustus 2010, Obama menyatakan bahwa misi tempur Amerika Serikat di Irak telah berakhir. Tanggal 21 Oktober 2011, Presiden Obama mengumumkan bahwa seluruh tentara A.S. akan keluar dari Irak tepat pada waktunya supaya bisa “pulang saat musim liburan”.

Perang di Afghanistan

Pada awal masa pemerintahannya, Obama berupaya memperkuat keberadaan pasukan A.S. di Afghanistan. Ia menyetujui penambahan jumlah tentara A.S. menjadi 17.000 orang pada Februari 2009 untuk “menstabilkan situasi yang memburuk di Afghanistan”, sebuah daerah yang katanya belum menerima “perhatian, arahan, dan sumber daya strategis yang mereka sangat perlukan”. Ia mengganti komandan militer di Afghanistan, Jenderal David D. McKiernan, dengan mantan komandan Pasukan Khusus Letnan Jenderal Stanley A. McChrystal pada Mei 2009, menandakan bahwa pengalaman Pasukan Khusus McChrystal bisa membantu penerapan taktik-taktik kontra-penyergapan dalam perang. Tanggal 1 Desember 2009, Obama mengumumkan penempatan 30.000 personel militer tambahan di Afghanistan. Ia juga berencana mulai menarik tentara 18 bulan terhitung sejak tanggal tersebut. McChrystal digantikan oleh David Petraeus pada bulan Juni 2010 setelah staf McChrystal mengkritik personel Gedung Putih dalam sebuah artikel majalah.

Israel

Obama berkata bahwa Amerika Serikat dan Israel memiliki hubungan yang “tak terpisahkan.” Pada tahun-tahun pertama pemerintahan Obama, Amerika Serikat meningkatkan kerja sama militernya dengan Israel, termasuk menambah bantuan militer, membentuk kembali U.S.-Israeli Joint Political Military Group dan Defense Policy Advisory Group, serta meningkatkan jumlah kunjungan petinggi militer antar kedua negara. Pemerintahan Obama meminta Kongres mengalokasikan anggaran untuk mendanai program Kubah Besi sebagai respon terhadap serangan roket Palestina di Israel.

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Obama bertemu dengan Presiden Israel Shimon Peres, 2009

Pada tahun 2011, Amerika Serikat memveto sebuah resolusi Dewan Keamanan PBB yang mengutuk pembangunan permukiman Israel dan hanya Amerika Serikat yang melakukan aksi ini. Obama mendukung solusi dua negara terhadap konflik Arab–Israel sesuai perbatasan tahun 1967 dengan cara pertukaran tanah.

Perang di Libya

Pada Maret 2011, ketika pasukan yang setia pada Muammar Gaddafi memerangi pihak pemberontak di seluruh Libya, permintaan dibentuknya zona larangan terbang datang dari seluruh dunia, termasuk Eropa, Liga Arab, dan sebuah resolusi[244] yang disahkan secara bulat oleh Senat A.S. Menanggapi pengesahan Resolusi Dewan Keamanan Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa 1973 secara bulat pada tanggal 17 Maret, Gaddafi—yang sebelumnya berjanji “tidak ada ampun” bagi pemberontak Benghazi—mengumumkan penghentian semua aktivitas militer, namun sejumlah laporan menyebutkan bahwa pasukannya terus membombardir Misrata. keesokan harinya, atas perintah Obama, militer A.S. memainkan peran utama dalam serangan udara untuk menghancurkan kemampuan pertahanan udara pemerintah Libya demi melindungi warga sipil dan menciptakan zona larangan terbang,[248] termasuk memakai rudal Tomahawk, B-2 Spirit, dan jet tempur. Enam hari kemudian, pada tanggal 25 Maret, dengan persetujuan ke-28 anggotanya, NATO memimpin upaya intervensi yang diberi nama Operation Unified Protector. Sejumlah anggota DPR mempertanyakan apakah Obama punya kewenangan konstitusional untuk memerintahkan aksi militer selain biaya, struktur, dan dampaknya.

Osama bin Laden

Berawal dengan informasi yang diterima bulan Juli 2010, aktivitas mata-mata CIA pada bulan-bulan selanjutnya menyimpulkan bahwa sebuah bangunan perlindungan besar di Abbottabad, kawasan pinggiran 35 mil dari Islamabad, Pakistan, sebagai tempat bersembunyi Osama bin Laden. Kepala CIA Leon Panetta melaporkan hasil intelijen ini ke Presiden Obama pada bulan Maret 2011. Bertemu dengan penasihat keamanan nasionalnya selama enam minggu berikutnya, Obama menolak rencana pengeboman bangunan tersebut dan memerintahkan “serangan mendadak” oleh SEAL Angkatan Laut Amerika Serikat. Operasi ini dilaksanakan tanggal 1 Mei 2011 yang berujung dengan kematian Osama bin Laden dan penyitaan sejumlah berkas, drive komputer dan CD dari tempat perlindungannya. Jenazah bin Laden diidentifikasi melalui pengujian DNA dan dikuburkan di laut beberapa jam kemudian.[260] Dalam hitungan menit setelah pengumuman Presiden dari Washington, DC, pada 1 Mei malam, muncul berbagai perayaan spontan di seluruh Amerika Serikat, termasuk kerumunan di luar Gedung Putih, Ground Zero, dan Times Square. Pengumuman tersebut disambut positif oleh seluruh jajaran partai, termasuk mantan Presiden Bill Clinton dan George W. Bush, dan sejumlah negara lain di seluruh dunia.

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Presiden Barack Obama bersama anggota tim keamanan nasionalnya mendapatkan berita baru tentang Operasi Neptune’s Spear di White House Situation Room, 1 Mei 2011.

Citra Budaya dan Politik

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Potret resmi presiden Obama (2009)

Sejarah keluarga, popularitas, dan pendidikan Ivy League Obama jauh berbeda dibandingkan dengan para politikus Afrika Amerika yang memulai kariernya dengan ikut serta dalam gerakan hak-hak sipil pada tahun 1960-an. Menyatakan keterkejutannya atas sejumlah orang yang mempertanyakan apakah ia “cukup hitam”, pada pertemuan National Association of Black Journalists bulan Agustus 2007 Obama mengatakan bahwa “kita masih terjebak dalam pemikiran bahwa jika Anda menarik perhatian orang kulit putih, pasti ada yang salah”. Obama mengakui citra pemudanya dalam pidato kampanye bulan Oktober 2007, “Saya tidak akan berdiri di sini jika obor belum diserahkan ke generasi yang baru.”

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Obama mengadakan wawancara virtual pertama dari Gedung Putih pada tahun 2012

Obama sering dijuluki sebagai sosok orator yang kemampuannya tidak diragukan lagi.[268] Pada masa transisi prapelantikan hingga masa pemerintahannya, Obama menyampaikan sejumlah pidato mingguan melalui video di Internet.

Menurut survei Gallup, Obama memulai masa pemerintahannya dengan persetujuan rakyat sebesar 68%, lalu menurun perlahan hingga 41% pada Agustus 2010, sebuah tren yang juga dialami Ronald Reagan dan Bill Clinton saat menjabat pada tahun pertama. Popularitasnya sempat naik sedikit setelah kematian Osama bin Laden dan bertahan sampai Juni 2011 ketika popularitasnya anjlok lagi ke level sebelum operasi penyerbuan dimulai. Jajak pendapat di negara lain menunjukkan adanya dukungan kuat untuk Obama, dan sebelum terpilih sebagai Presiden ia sempat bertemu dengan sejumlah tokoh asing ternama seperti Perdana Menteri Britania Raya Tony Blair, ketua Partai Demokrat Italia dan Wali Kota Roma Walter Veltroni, dan Presiden Perancis Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Obama dan para pemimpin G8 menonton pertandingan Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea F.C. pada final UEFA Champions League bulan Mei 2012

Dalam jajak pendapat Harris Interactive untuk France 24 dan International Herald Tribune di Eropa Barat dan A.S. pada Februari 2009, Obama merupakan pemimpin dunia yang paling dihormati dan berpengaruh. Dalam jajak pendapat oleh Harris bulan Mei 2009, Obama merupakan pemimpin dunia paling terkenal, sekaligus sosok yang sangat diharapkan masyarakat mampu membawa dunia keluar dari krisis ekonomi.

Obama memenangkan Grammy Award dalam kategori Best Spoken Word Album untuk versi buku suara Dreams from My Father pada bulan Februari 2006 dan The Audacity of Hope pada Februari 2008. Pidato konsesinya setelah kampanye pendahuluan di New Hampshire diubah menjadi lagu “Yes We Can” oleh sejumlah artis independen dan ditonton sebanyak 10 juta kali di YouTube dalam kurun satu bulan[284] dan memenangkan Daytime Emmy Award. Bulan Desember 2008, majalah Time menobatkan Obama sebagai Person of the Year atas pencalonan dan pemilihannya yang bersejarah yang digambarkan sebagai “peraihan suatu pencapaian yang tampak mustahil”. Ia lagi-lagi dinobatkan sebagai Person of the Year tahun 2012.

Pada tanggal 9 Oktober 2009, Komite Nobel Norwegia mengumumkan bahwa Obama adalah pemenang Hadiah Nobel Perdamaian 2009 “atas upayanya yang luar biasa dalam memperkuat diplomasi internasional dan kerja sama antarmasyarakat”.Obama menerima hadiah ini di Oslo, Norwegia tanggal 10 Desember 2009 dengan “rasa terima kasih mendalam dan kehormatan luar biasa.” Pemberian hadiah ini disambut berbagai pujian dan kritik dari sejumlah pemimpin dunia dan tokoh media. Obama adalah presiden A.S. keempat yang memenangkan Hadiah Nobel Perdamaian dan ketiga yang memenangkan Hadiah Nobel saat sedang menjabat.

Keluarga dan Kehidupan Pribadi

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Obama berpose di Green Room, Gedung Putih, bersama istrinya Michelle dan kedua putrinya Sasha dan Malia, 2009

Dalam sebuah wawancara tahun 2006, Obama menggarisbawahi keragaman keluarganya yang luas: “Rasanya seperti Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa berukuran mini… Saya punya kerabat yang mirip dengan Bernie Mac. Saya juga punya kerabat yang mirip dengan Margaret Thatcher.” Obama memiliki adik ipar yang juga dibesarkan bersama dirinya (Maya Soetoro-Ng, putri dari ibunya dan suami keduanya yang berasal dari Indonesia) dan tujuh saudara ipar dari keluarga ayahnya yang berasal dari Kenya – enam di antaranya masih hidup. Nenek Obama dari pihak ibunya, Madelyn Dunham, meninggal dunia pada tanggal 2 November 2008, dua hari sebelum Obama terpilih menjadi Presiden. Obama juga memiliki hubungan kekerabatan dengan bangsa Irlandia; ia bertemu sepupunya di Moneygall pada bulan Mei 2011. Dalam buku Dreams from My Father, Obama mengaitkan sejarah keluarga ibunya dengan kemungkinan nenek moyang Pribumi Amerika dan hubungan kekerabatan jauh dengan Jefferson Davis, Presiden Konfederasi Amerika pada Perang Saudara Amerika.

Obama dipanggil “Barry” saat masih muda, kemudian meminta agar dipanggil dengan nama aslinya setelah duduk di bangku perguruan tinggi. Selain bahasa Inggris, Obama juga bisa mempertuturkan sedikit bahasa Indonesia setelah mempelajarinya selama empat tahun ketika bersekolah di Jakarta. Ia gemar bermain basket dan pernah berpartisipasi dalam tim basket SMA-nya. Ia juga sosok yang bertangan kidal.

Obama adalah pendukung Chicago White Sox dan ia melakukan lemparan pertama di 2005 ALCS saat masih menjabat sebagai senator. Pada tahun 2009, ia melakukan lemparan pertama di 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game dengan mengenakan jaket White Sox. Ia juga merupakan penggemar berat Chicago Bears di NFL, namun saat masih kecil dan remaja ia adalah penggemar Pittsburgh Steelers, dan berhenti menjelang kemenangan mereka di Super Bowl XLIII 12 hari setelah menjabat sebagai Presiden. Pada tahun 2011, Obama mengundang tim Chicago Bears tahun 1985 ke Gedung Putih; tim tersebut belum pernah masuk Gedung Putih sejak menang di Super Bowl tahun 1986 akibat bencana Wahana Antariksa Challenger.

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Obama melemparkan bola pada pertandingan di lapangan basket Gedung Putih, 2009

Pada bulan Juni 1989, Obama bertemu Michelle Robinson saat bekerja sebagai pengacara pembantu di firma hukum Sidley Austin, Chicago. Ditugaskan sebagai penasihat Obama selama tiga bulan, Robinson bekerja sama dengan Obama di sejumlah acara sosial, namun menolak permintaan kencan pertamanya. Mereka mulai berkencan pada musim panas, bertunangan tahun 1991, dan menikah tanggal 3 Oktober 1992. Putri pertama mereka, Malia Ann, lahir tanggal 4 Juli 1998, diikuti putri kedua, Natasha (“Sasha”), pada tanggal 10 Juni 2001.Kedua putri Obama bersekolah di University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Setelah pindah ke Washington, D.C. bulan Januari 2009, mereka mulai bersekolah di Sidwell Friends School. Keluarga Obama memiliki seekor anjing air Portugal bernama Bo yang dihadiahkan oleh Senator Ted Kennedy.

Setelah membuat persetujuan penerbitan buku, pada tahun 2005 keluarga ini pindah dari kondominium di Hyde Park, Chicago ke sebuah rumah senilai $1,6 juta di Kenwood, Chicago. Pembelian tanah di sampingnya—dan penjualan separuh lahannya ke Obama oleh istri pengembang, donor kampanye, dan sahabatnya Tony Rezko—menarik perhatian media setelah Rezko diadili dan ditahan akibat tuduhan korupsi politik yang tidak ada hubungannya dengan Obama.

Pada bulan Desember 2007, Money memperkirakan kekayaan bersih keluarga Obama sebesar $1,3 juta. Formulir pajak mereka tahun 2009 mencantumkan pendapatan rumah tangga senilai $5,5 juta—naik dari $4,2 juta tahun 2007 dan $1,6 juta tahun 2005—yang kebanyakan merupakan hasil penjualan buku-bukunya. Dari pendapatannya sebesar $1,7 juta pada tahun 2010, ia memberikan 14%-nya ke organisasi nirlaba, termasuk $131.000 ke Fisher House Foundation, badan amal yang membantu keluarga veteran terluka dan mengizinkan mereka tinggal dekat tempat veteran tersebut dirawat. Dalam informasi keuangannya yang dilepaskan ke publik tahun 2012, kekayaan Obama bisa mencapai $10 juta.

Obama sempat mencoba berhenti merokok beberapa kali, kadang dengan terapi pengganti nikotin, dan pada awal 2010 Michelle Obama mengatakan bahwa ia berhasil berhenti merokok.

Pandangan Agama
Obama adalah seorang Kristen Protestan yang pandangan agamanya mulai terbentuk setelah beranjak dewasa. Di The Audacity of Hope, ia menulis bahwa ia “tidak dibesarkan di keluarga yang agamis”. Ia menggambarkan ibunya yang dibesarkan oleh keluarga nonreligius (yang Obama sebut sebagai “Metodis dan Baptis tidak taat”) sebagai sosok yang terlepas dari agama, namun juga “sosok yang pandangan spiritualnya paling terbuka yang pernah aku kenal”. Ia menggambarkan ayahnya sebagai “ateis mutlak” pada saat orang tuanya bertemu, dan ayah tirinya sebagai “orang yang memandang agama sebagai sesuatu yang tidak terlalu bermanfaat.” Obama menjelaskan bagaimana ia memahami “kekuatan tradisi agama Afrika-Amerika dalam menciptakan perubahan sosial” setelah bekerja sebagai penggerak masyarakat di gereja-gereja hitam saat berusia 20 tahunan.

Dalam sebuah wawancara dengan periodik evangelis Christianity Today, Obama menyatakan: “Saya seorang Kristen dan saya seorang Kristen yang taat. Saya percaya dengan penebusan dan kebangkitan Yesus Kristus. Saya percaya bahwa agama memberikan jalan pembersihan dari dosa dan kehidupan yang abadi.” Pada tanggal 27 September 2010, Obama merilis pernyataan yang mengomentari pandangan agamanya, “Aku Kristen karena pilihan. Keluargaku tidak—sejujurnya, mereka bukan orang-orang yang rajin ke gereja setiap minggu. Dan ibuku adalah orang paling spiritual yang pernah aku kenal, tetapi dia tidak membesarkanku di gereja. Jadi aku memeluk agama Kristen setelah dewasa, dan ini karena petunjuk Yesus Kristus berbicara kepadaku dalam bentuk kehidupan yang ingin aku pimpin—menjadi pelindung saudara-saudaraku, memperlakukan orang lain sebagaimana mereka memperlakukanku.”

Obama bertemu Trinity United Church of Christ Pdt. Jeremiah Wright pada bulan Oktober 1987 dan menjadi anggota Trinity tahun 1992. Ia keluar dari Trinity bulan Mei 2008 saat kampanye presiden pertamanya setelah pernyataan kontroversial Jeremiah Wright tersebar ke publik. Setelah lama mencari gereja yang cocok di Washington, Obama mengumumkan pada Juni 2009 bahwa tempat ibadah kesukaannya adalah Kapel Evergreen di Camp David.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi . Biography


Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (pronounced [ˈmoːɦənd̪aːs ˈkərəmtʃənd̪ ˈɡaːnd̪ʱi] ; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi or Bapu (Father of Nation), was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in the Raj (British-ruled India). Employing non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights, and freedom across the world.

Gandhi was born in a Bania family in coastal Gujarat, and trained in law in London. He fought for the civil rights of Indians in South Africa, using non-violent civil disobedience. Returning to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants to protest excessive land-taxes. A lifelong opponent of “communalism” (basing politics on religion) he reached out widely to all religious groups.He became a leader of Muslims protesting against the declining status of the Caliphate.Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, increasing economic self-reliance, and above all for achieving Swaraj—the independence of India from British domination.

Gandhi led Indian protests against the national salt tax, with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in demanding the British to immediately Quit India in 1942, during the Second World War. He was imprisoned for that and for numerous other political offences over the years.  Gandhi sought to practice non-violence and truth in all situations and advocated that others do the same. He saw the villages as the core of the true India and promoted self-sufficiency; he did not support the industrialisation programs of his disciple Jawaharlal Nehru.He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn he had hand spun on a charkha. He was a vegetarian and undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and political mobilisation. 

In his last year, unhappy at the partition of India, Gandhi worked to stop the carnage between Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs that raged in the border areas between India and Pakistan.  He was assassinated on 30 January 1948 by Nathuram Godse, who thought Gandhi was too sympathetic to India’s Muslims. 30 January is observed as Martyrs’ Day in India. The honorific Mahatma (“Great Soul”) was applied to him by 1914. In India he was also called Bapu (“Father”). He is known in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Non-Violence.

Mahatma Gandhi
MKGandhi
Born

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

2 October 1869

Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, Bombay Presidency, British India 

Died 30 January 1948 (aged 78)
New Delhi, Dominion of India
Cause of death Assassination by shooting
Resting place Cremated at Rajghat, Delhi.
28.6415°N 77.2483°E
Nationality Indian
Other names Mahatma Gandhi, Bapu, Gandhiji
Ethnicity Indo-Aryan (Gujarati) 
Alma mater Alfred High School, Rajkot,
Samaldas College, Bhavnagar,
University College, London (UCL)
Known for Prominent figure of Indian independence movement,
propounding the philosophy of Satyagraha and Ahimsa
advocating non-violence,
pacifism
Religion Hinduism, with Jain influences
Spouse(s) Kasturba Gandhi
Children Harilal
Manilal
Ramdas
Devdas
Parents Putlibai Gandhi (Mother)
Karamchand Gandhi (Father)
Signature Gandhi signature.svg

Early Life and Background

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in his earliest known photo, aged 7, c. 1876
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in his earliest known photo, aged 7, c. 1876

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, a coastal town on the Kathiawar Peninsula and then part of the small princely state of Porbandar in the Kathiawar Agency of the British Indian Empire. His father, Karamchand Gandhi (1822–1885), served as the diwan (chief minister) of Porbander state. His mother, Putlibai, who was from a Pranami Vaishnava family, was Karamchand’s fourth wife, the first three wives having apparently died in childbirth.

The Indian classics, especially the stories of Shravana and king Harishchandra, had a great impact on Gandhi in his childhood. In his autobiography, he admits that they left an indelible impression on his mind. He writes: “It haunted me and I must have acted Harishchandra to myself times without number.” Gandhi’s early self-identification with truth and love as supreme values is traceable to these epic characters.

In May 1883, the 13-year-old Mohandas was married to 14-year-old Kasturbai Makhanji (her first name was usually shortened to “Kasturba”, and affectionately to “Ba”) in an arranged child marriage, according to the custom of the region. In the process, he lost a year at school. Recalling the day of their marriage, he once said, “As we didn’t know much about marriage, for us it meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives.” However, as was prevailing tradition, the adolescent bride was to spend much time at her parents’ house, and away from her husband. In 1885, when Gandhi was 15, the couple’s first child was born, but survived only a few days. Gandhi’s father, Karamchand Gandhi, had also died earlier that year.[14] The religious background was eclectic. Gandhi’s father was Hindu Modh Baniya and his mother was from Pranami Vaishnava family. Religious figures were frequent visitors to the home.

Mohandas and Kasturba had four more children, all sons: Harilal, born in 1888; Manilal, born in 1892; Ramdas, born in 1897; and Devdas, born in 1900. At his middle school in Porbandar and high school in Rajkot, Gandhi remained a mediocre student. He shone neither in the classroom nor on the playing field. One of the terminal reports rated him as “good at English, fair in Arithmetic and weak in Geography; conduct very good, bad handwriting.” He passed the matriculation exam at Samaldas College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, with some difficulty. Gandhi’s family wanted him to be a barrister, as it would increase the prospects of succeeding to his father’s post.

English Barrister

Gandhi and his wife Kasturba (1902)
Gandhi and his wife Kasturba (1902)

In 1888, Gandhi travelled to London, England, to study law at University College London, where he studied Indian law and jurisprudence and trained as a barrister at the Inner Temple. His time in London was influenced by a vow he had made to his mother upon leaving India, in the presence of a Jain monk, to observe the precepts of abstinence from meat and alcohol as well as of promiscuity. Gandhi tried to adopt “English” customs, including taking dancing lessons. However, he could not appreciate the bland vegetarian food offered by his landlady and was frequently hungry until he found one of London’s few vegetarian restaurants. Influenced by Henry Salt’s writing, he joined the Vegetarian Society, was elected to its executive committee, and started a local Bayswater chapter. Some of the vegetarians he met were members of the Theosophical Society, which had been founded in 1875 to further universal brotherhood, and which was devoted to the study of Buddhist and Hindu literature. They encouraged Gandhi to join them in reading the Bhagavad Gita both in translation as well as in the original. Not having shown interest in religion before, he became interested in religious thought.

Gandhi was called to the bar in June 1891 and then left London for India, where he learned that his mother had died while he was in London and that his family had kept the news from him. His attempts at establishing a law practice in Bombay failed because he was too shy to speak up in court. He returned to Rajkot to make a modest living drafting petitions for litigants, but he was forced to close it when he ran afoul of a British officer. In 1893, he accepted a year-long contract from Dada Abdulla & Co., an Indian firm, to a post in the Colony of Natal, South Africa, then part of the British Empire.

Civil Rights Movement in South Africa (1893–1914)

Gandhi was 24 when he arrived in South Africa to work as a legal representative for the Muslim Indian Traders based in the city of Pretoria. He spent 21 years in South Africa, where he developed his political views, ethics and political leadership skills.

Gandhi in South Africa (1895)
Gandhi in South Africa (1895)

Indians in South Africa were led by wealthy Muslims, who employed Gandhi as a lawyer, and by impoverished Hindu indentured labourers with very limited rights. Gandhi considered them all to be Indians, taking a lifetime view that “Indianness” transcended religion and caste. He believed he could bridge historic differences, especially regarding religion, and he took that belief back to India where he tried to implement it. The South African experience exposed handicaps to Gandhi that he had not known about. He realised he was out of contact with the enormous complexities of religious and cultural life in India, and believed he understood India by getting to know and leading Indians in South Africa.

In South Africa, Gandhi faced the discrimination directed at all coloured people. He was thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg after refusing to move from the first-class. He protested and was allowed on first class the next day. Travelling farther on by stagecoach, he was beaten by a driver for refusing to move to make room for a European passenger. He suffered other hardships on the journey as well, including being barred from several hotels. In another incident, the magistrate of a Durban court ordered Gandhi to remove his turban, which he refused to do.

These events were a turning point in Gandhi’s life and shaped his social activism and awakened him to social injustice. After witnessing racism, prejudice and injustice against Indians in South Africa, Gandhi began to question his place in society and his people’s standing in the British Empire.

Gandhi extended his original period of stay in South Africa to assist Indians in opposing a bill to deny them the right to vote. In regards to this bill Gandhi sent out a memorial to Joseph Chamberlain, British Colonial Secretary, asking him to reconsider his position on this bill.[22] Though unable to halt the bill’s passage, his campaign was successful in drawing attention to the grievances of Indians in South Africa. He helped found the Natal Indian Congress in 1894, and through this organisation, he moulded the Indian community of South Africa into a unified political force. In January 1897, when Gandhi landed in Durban, a mob of white settlers attacked him and he escaped only through the efforts of the wife of the police superintendent. He, however, refused to press charges against any member of the mob, stating it was one of his principles not to seek redress for a personal wrong in a court of law.

In 1906, the Transvaal government promulgated a new Act compelling registration of the colony’s Indian population. At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September that year, Gandhi adopted his still evolving methodology of Satyagraha (devotion to the truth), or non-violent protest, for the first time. He urged Indians to defy the new law and to suffer the punishments for doing so. The community adopted this plan, and during the ensuing seven-year struggle, thousands of Indians were jailed, flogged, or shot for striking, refusing to register, for burning their registration cards or engaging in other forms of non-violent resistance. The government successfully repressed the Indian protesters, but the public outcry over the harsh treatment of peaceful Indian protesters by the South African government forced South African leader Jan Christiaan Smuts, himself a philosopher, to negotiate a compromise with Gandhi. Gandhi’s ideas took shape, and the concept of Satyagraha matured during this struggle.

Gandhi and the Africans

Gandhi focused his attention on Indians while in South Africa and opposed the idea that Indians should be treated at the same level as native Africans while in South Africa. He also stated that he believed “that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.” After several treatments he received from Whites in South Africa, Gandhi began to change his thinking and apparently increased his interest in politics. White rule enforced strict segregation among all races and generated conflict between these communities. Bhana and Vahed argue that Gandhi, at first, shared racial notions prevalent of the times and that his experiences in jail sensitized him to the plight of South Africa’s indigenous peoples.

During the Boer war Gandhi volunteered in 1900 to form a group of ambulance drivers. He wanted to disprove the British idea that Hindus were not fit for “manly” activities involving danger and exertion. Gandhi raised eleven hundred Indian volunteers. They were trained and medically certified to serve on the front lines. At Spion Kop Gandhi and his bearers had to carry wounded soldiers for miles to a field hospital because the terrain was too rough for the ambulances. Gandhi was pleased when someone said that European ambulance corpsmen could not make the trip under the heat without food or water. General Redvers Buller mentioned the courage of the Indians in his dispatch. Gandhi and thirty-seven other Indians received the War Medal.

In 1906, the British declared war against the Zulu Kingdom in Natal, Gandhi encouraged the British to recruit Indians. He argued that Indians should support the war efforts to legitimise their claims to full citizenship. The British accepted Gandhi’s offer to let a detachment of 20 Indians volunteer as a stretcher-bearer corps to treat wounded British soldiers. This corps was commanded by Gandhi and operated for less than two months. The experience taught him it was hopeless to directly challenge the overwhelming military power of the British army—he decided it could only be resisted in non-violent fashion by the pure of heart.

After the black majority came to power in South Africa, Gandhi was proclaimed a national hero with numerous monuments.

Struggle for Indian Independence (1915–47)

In 1915, Gandhi returned to India permanently. He brought an international reputation as a leading Indian nationalist, theorist and organiser. He joined the Indian National Congress and was introduced to Indian issues, politics and the Indian people primarily by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Gokhale was a key leader of the Congress Party best known for his restraint and moderation, and his insistence on working inside the system. Gandhi took Gokhale’s liberal approach based on British Whiggish traditions and transformed it to make it look wholly Indian.

Gandhi took leadership of Congress in 1920 and began a steady escalation of demands (with intermittent compromises or pauses) until on 26 January 1930 the Indian National Congress declared the independence of India. The British did not recognise that and more negotiations ensued, with Congress taking a role in provincial government in the late 1930s. Gandhi and Congress withdrew their support of the Raj when the Viceroy declared war on Germany in September 1939 without consulting anyone. Tensions escalated until Gandhi demanded immediate independence in 1942 and the British responded by imprisoning him and tens of thousands of Congress leaders for the duration. Meanwhile the Muslim League did co-operate with Britain and moved, against Gandhi’s strong opposition, to demands for a totally separate Muslim state of Pakistan. In August 1947 the British partitioned the land, with India and Pakistan each achieving independence on terms Gandhi disapproved.

Role in World War I

In April 1918, during the latter part of World War I, the Viceroy invited Gandhi to a War Conference in Delhi. Perhaps to show his support for the Empire and help his case for India’s independence, Gandhi agreed to actively recruit Indians for the war effort. In contrast to the Zulu War of 1906 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914, when he recruited volunteers for the Ambulance Corps, this time Gandhi attempted to recruit combatants. In a June 1918 leaflet entitled “Appeal for Enlistment”, Gandhi wrote “To bring about such a state of things we should have the ability to defend ourselves, that is, the ability to bear arms and to use them…If we want to learn the use of arms with the greatest possible despatch, it is our duty to enlist ourselves in the army.” He did, however, stipulate in a letter to the Viceroy’s private secretary that he “personally will not kill or injure anybody, friend or foe.”

Gandhi’s war recruitment campaign brought into question his consistency on nonviolence. Gandhi’s private secretary noted that “The question of the consistency between his creed of ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence) and his recruiting campaign was raised not only then but has been discussed ever since.”

Champaran and Kheda

Gandhi in 1918, at the time of the Kheda and Champaran Satyagrahas
Gandhi in 1918, at the time of the Kheda and Champaran Satyagrahas

Gandhi’s first major achievements came in 1918 with the Champaran and Kheda agitations of Bihar and Gujarat. The Champaran agitation pitted the local peasantry against their largely British landlords who were backed by the local administration. The peasantry was forced to grow Indigo, a cash crop whose demand had been declining over two decades, and were forced to sell their crops to the planters at a fixed price. Unhappy with this, the peasantry appealed to Gandhi at his ashram in Ahmedabad. Pursuing a strategy of non-violent protest, Gandhi took the administration by surprise and won concessions from the authorities.

In 1918, Kheda was hit by floods and famine and the peasantry was demanding relief from taxes. Gandhi moved his headquarters to Nadiad, organising scores of supporters and fresh volunteers from the region, the most notable being Vallabhbhai Patel. Using non-co-operation as a technique, Gandhi initiated a signature campaign where peasants pledged non-payment of revenue even under the threat of confiscation of land. A social boycott of mamlatdars and talatdars (revenue officials within the district) accompanied the agitation. Gandhi worked hard to win public support for the agitation across the country. For five months, the administration refused but finally in end-May 1918, the Government gave way on important provisions and relaxed the conditions of payment of revenue tax until the famine ended. In Kheda, Vallabhbhai Patel represented the farmers in negotiations with the British, who suspended revenue collection and released all the prisoners.

Khilafat Movement

In 1919 Gandhi, with his weak position in Congress, decided to broaden his base by increasing his appeal to Muslims. The opportunity came from the Khilafat movement, a worldwide protest by Muslims against the collapsing status of the Caliph, the leader of their religion. The Ottoman Empire had lost the World War and was dismembered, as Muslims feared for the safety of the holy places and the prestige of their religion. Although Gandhi did not originate the All-India Muslim Conference, which directed the movement in India, he soon became its most prominent spokesman and attracted a strong base of Muslim support with local chapters in all Muslim centres in India. His success made him India’s first national leader with a multicultural base and facilitated his rise to power within Congress, which had previously been unable to reach many Muslims. In 1920 Gandhi became a major leader in Congress. By the end of 1922 the Khilafat movement had collapsed.

Gandhi always fought against “communalism”, which pitted Muslims against Hindus in politics, but he could not reverse the rapid growth of communalism after 1922. Deadly religious riots broke out in numerous cities, including 91 in U.P. (Uttar Pradesh) alone.[57][58] At the leadership level, the proportion of Muslims among delegates to Congress fell sharply, from 11% in 1921 to under 4% in 1923.[59]

Non-Co-Operation

Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn, in the late 1920s
Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn, in the late 1920s

With Congress now behind him in 1920, Gandhi had the base to employ non-co-operation, non-violence and peaceful resistance as his “weapons” in the struggle against the British Raj. His wide popularity among both Hindus and Muslims made his leadership possible; he even convinced the extreme faction of Muslims to support peaceful non-co-operation. The spark that ignited a national protest was overwhelming anger at the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (or Amritsar massacre) of hundreds of peaceful civilians by British troops in Punjab. Many Britons celebrated the action as needed to prevent another violent uprising similar to the Rebellion of 1857, an attitude that caused many Indian leaders to decide the Raj was controlled by their enemies. Gandhi criticised both the actions of the British Raj and the retaliatory violence of Indians. He authored the resolution offering condolences to British civilian victims and condemning the riots which, after initial opposition in the party, was accepted following Gandhi’s emotional speech advocating his principle that all violence was evil and could not be justified.

After the massacre and subsequent violence, Gandhi began to focus on winning complete self-government and control of all Indian government institutions, maturing soon into Swaraj or complete individual, spiritual, political independence. During this period, Gandhi claimed to be a “highly orthodox Hindu” and in January 1921 during a speech at a temple in Vadtal, he spoke of the relevance of non-co-operation to Hindu Dharma, “At this holy place, I declare, if you want to protect your ‘Hindu Dharma’, non-cooperation is first as well as the last lesson you must learn up.”.

Sabarmati Ashram, Gandhi's home in Gujarat
Sabarmati Ashram, Gandhi’s home in Gujarat

In December 1921, Gandhi was invested with executive authority on behalf of the Indian National Congress. Under his leadership, the Congress was reorganised with a new constitution, with the goal of Swaraj. Membership in the party was opened to anyone prepared to pay a token fee. A hierarchy of committees was set up to improve discipline, transforming the party from an elite organisation to one of mass national appeal. Gandhi expanded his non-violence platform to include the swadeshi policy—the boycott of foreign-made goods, especially British goods. Linked to this was his advocacy that khadi (homespun cloth) be worn by all Indians instead of British-made textiles. Gandhi exhorted Indian men and women, rich or poor, to spend time each day spinning khadi in support of the independence movement.

Gandhi even invented a small, portable spinning wheel that could be folded into the size of a small typewriter. This was a strategy to inculcate discipline and dedication to weeding out the unwilling and ambitious and to include women in the movement at a time when many thought that such activities were not respectable activities for women. In addition to boycotting British products, Gandhi urged the people to boycott British educational institutions and law courts, to resign from government employment, and to forsake British titles and honours.

“Non-cooperation” enjoyed widespread appeal and success, increasing excitement and participation from all strata of Indian society. Yet, just as the movement reached its apex, it ended abruptly as a result of a violent clash in the town of Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, in February 1922. Fearing that the movement was about to take a turn towards violence, and convinced that this would be the undoing of all his work, Gandhi called off the campaign of mass civil disobedience. This was the third time that Gandhi had called off a major campaign. Gandhi was arrested on 10 March 1922, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He began his sentence on 18 March 1922. He was released in February 1924 for an appendicitis operation, having served only two years.

Without Gandhi’s unifying personality, the Indian National Congress began to splinter during his years in prison, splitting into two factions, one led by Chitta Ranjan Das and Motilal Nehru favouring party participation in the legislatures, and the other led by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, opposing this move. Furthermore, co-operation among Hindus and Muslims, which had been strong at the height of the non-violence campaign, was breaking down. Gandhi attempted to bridge these differences through many means, including a three-week fast in the autumn of 1924, but with limited success. In this year, Gandhi was persuaded to preside over the Congress session to be held in Belgaum. Gandhi agreed to become president of the session on one condition: that Congressmen should take to wearing homespun khadi. In his long political career, this was the only time when he presided over a Congress session.

Salt Satyagraha (Salt March)

Gandhi stayed out of active politics and, as such, the limelight for most of the 1920s. He focused instead on resolving the wedge between the Swaraj Party and the Indian National Congress, and expanding initiatives against untouchability, alcoholism, ignorance and poverty. He returned to the fore in 1928. In the preceding year, the British government had appointed a new constitutional reform commission under Sir John Simon, which did not include any Indian as its member. The result was a boycott of the commission by Indian political parties. Gandhi pushed through a resolution at the Calcutta Congress in December 1928 calling on the British government to grant India dominion status or face a new campaign of non-co-operation with complete independence for the country as its goal. Gandhi had not only moderated the views of younger men like Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru, who sought a demand for immediate independence, but also reduced his own call to a one year wait, instead of two.

The British did not respond. On 31 December 1929, the flag of India was unfurled in Lahore. 26 January 1930 was celebrated as India’s Independence Day by the Indian National Congress meeting in Lahore. This day was commemorated by almost every other Indian organisation. Gandhi then launched a new Satyagraha against the tax on salt in March 1930. This was highlighted by the famous Salt March to Dandi from 12 March to 6 April, where he marched 388 kilometres (241 mi) from Ahmedabad to Dandi, Gujarat to make salt himself. Thousands of Indians joined him on this march to the sea. This campaign was one of his most successful at upsetting British hold on India; Britain responded by imprisoning over 60,000 people.

Women

Gandhi strongly favoured the emancipation of women, and he went so far as to say that “the women have come to look upon me as one of themselves.” He opposed purdah, child marriage, untouchability, and the extreme oppression of Hindu widows, up to and including sati. He especially recruited women to participate in the salt tax campaigns and the boycott of foreign products. Sarma concludes that Gandhi’s success in enlisting women in his campaigns, including the salt tax campaign, anti-untouchability campaign and the peasant movement, gave many women a new self-confidence and dignity in the mainstream of Indian public life.

Gandhi as Folk Hero

Congress in the 1920s appealed to peasants by portraying Gandhi as a sort of messiah, a strategy that succeeded in incorporating radical forces within the peasantry into the nonviolent resistance movement. In thousands of villages plays were performed that presented Gandhi as the reincarnation of earlier Indian nationalist leaders, or even as a demigod. The plays built support among illiterate peasants steeped in traditional Hindu culture. Similar messianic imagery appeared in popular songs and poems, and in Congress-sponsored religious pageants and celebrations. The result was that Gandhi became not only a folk hero but the Congress was widely seen in the villages as his sacred instrument.

Negotiations

Mahadev Desai (left) reading out a letter to Gandhi from the viceroy at Birla House, Bombay, 7 April 1939
Mahadev Desai (left) reading out a letter to Gandhi from the viceroy at Birla House, Bombay, 7 April 1939

The government, represented by Lord Edward Irwin, decided to negotiate with Gandhi. The Gandhi–Irwin Pact was signed in March 1931. The British Government agreed to free all political prisoners, in return for the suspension of the civil disobedience movement. Also as a result of the pact, Gandhi was invited to attend the Round Table Conference in London as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress. The conference was a disappointment to Gandhi and the nationalists, because it focused on the Indian princes and Indian minorities rather than on a transfer of power. Lord Irwin’s successor, Lord Willingdon, taking a hard line against nationalism, began a new campaign of controlling and subduing the nationalist movement. Gandhi was again arrested, and the government tried and failed to negate his influence by completely isolating him from his followers.

Untouchables

In 1932, through the campaigning of the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar, the government granted untouchables separate electorates under the new constitution, known as the Communal Award. In protest, Gandhi embarked on a six-day fast on 20 September 1932, while he was imprisoned at the Yerwada Jail, Pune. The resulting public outcry successfully forced the government to adopt an equitable arrangement (Poona Pact) through negotiations mediated by Palwankar Baloo. This was the start of a new campaign by Gandhi to improve the lives of the untouchables, whom he named Harijans, the children of God. On 8 September 1931, Mahatma Gandhi who was sailing on SS Rajputana, to the second Round Table Conference in London, Mahatma Gandhi met Meher Baba in his cabin on board the ship, and discussed issues of untouchables, politics, state Independence and spirituality

On 8 May 1933, Gandhi began a 21-day fast of self-purification and launched a one-year campaign to help the Harijan movement. This new campaign was not universally embraced within the Dalit community, as Ambedkar condemned Gandhi’s use of the term Harijans as saying that Dalits were socially immature, and that privileged caste Indians played a paternalistic role. Ambedkar and his allies also felt Gandhi was undermining Dalit political rights. Gandhi had also refused to support the untouchables in 1924–25 when they were campaigning for the right to pray in temples. Because of Gandhi’s actions, Ambedkar described him as “devious and untrustworthy”. Gandhi, although born into the Vaishya caste, insisted that he was able to speak on behalf of Dalits, despite the presence of Dalit activists such as Ambedkar. Gandhi and Ambedkar often clashed because Ambedkar sought to remove the Dalits out of the Hindu community, while Gandhi tried to save Hinduism by exorcising untouchability. Ambedkar complained that Gandhi moved too slowly, while Hindu traditionalists said Gandhi was a dangerous radical who rejected scripture. Guha noted in 2012 that, “Ideologues have carried these old rivalries into the present, with the demonization of Gandhi now common among politicians who presume to speak in Ambedkar’s name.” Guha adds that their work complemented each other, and Gandhi often praised Ambedkar.

In the summer of 1934, three attempts were made on Gandhi’s life.

Congress politics

In 1934 Gandhi resigned from Congress party membership. He did not disagree with the party’s position but felt that if he resigned, his popularity with Indians would cease to stifle the party’s membership, which actually varied, including communists, socialists, trade unionists, students, religious conservatives, and those with pro-business convictions, and that these various voices would get a chance to make themselves heard. Gandhi also wanted to avoid being a target for Raj propaganda by leading a party that had temporarily accepted political accommodation with the Raj.

Gandhi returned to active politics again in 1936, with the Nehru presidency and the Lucknow session of the Congress. Although Gandhi wanted a total focus on the task of winning independence and not speculation about India’s future, he did not restrain the Congress from adopting socialism as its goal. Gandhi had a clash with Subhas Chandra Bose, who had been elected president in 1938, and who had previously expressed a lack of faith in non-violence as a means of protest. Despite Gandhi’s opposition, Bose won a second term as Congress President, against Gandhi’s nominee, Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya; but left the Congress when the All-India leaders resigned en masse in protest of his abandonment of the principles introduced by Gandhi. Gandhi declared that Sitaramayya’s defeat was his defeat.

World War II and Quit India

Gandhi and Nehru in 1942
Gandhi and Nehru in 1942

Gandhi initially favoured offering “non-violent moral support” to the British effort when World War II broke out in 1939, but the Congressional leaders were offended by the unilateral inclusion of India in the war without consultation of the people’s representatives. All Congressmen resigned from office. After long deliberations, Gandhi declared that India could not be party to a war ostensibly being fought for democratic freedom while that freedom was denied to India itself. As the war progressed, Gandhi intensified his demand for independence, calling for the British to Quit India in a speech at Gowalia Tank Maidan. This was Gandhi’s and the Congress Party’s most definitive revolt aimed at securing the British exit from India.

Gandhi was criticised by some Congress party members and other Indian political groups, both pro-British and anti-British. Some felt that not supporting Britain more in its struggle against Nazi Germany was unethical. Others felt that Gandhi’s refusal for India to participate in the war was insufficient and more direct opposition should be taken, while Britain fought against Nazism, it continued to refuse to grant India Independence. Quit India became the most forceful movement in the history of the struggle, with mass arrests and violence on an unprecedented scale.

In 1942, although still committed in his efforts to “launch a non-violent movement”, Gandhi clarified that the movement would not be stopped by individual acts of violence, saying that the “ordered anarchy” of “the present system of administration” was “worse than real anarchy.” He called on all Congressmen and Indians to maintain discipline via ahimsa, and Karo ya maro (“Do or die”) in the cause of ultimate freedom.

Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Bombay, 1944
Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Bombay, 1944

Gandhi and the entire Congress Working Committee were arrested in Bombay by the British on 9 August 1942. Gandhi was held for two years in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. It was here that Gandhi suffered two terrible blows in his personal life. His 50-year old secretary Mahadev Desai died of a heart attack 6 days later and his wife Kasturba died after 18 months imprisonment on 22 February 1944; six weeks later Gandhi suffered a severe malaria attack. He was released before the end of the war on 6 May 1944 because of his failing health and necessary surgery; the Raj did not want him to die in prison and enrage the nation. He came out of detention to an altered political scene—the Muslim League for example, which a few years earlier had appeared marginal, “now occupied the centre of the political stage” and the topic of Jinnah’s campaign for Pakistan was a major talking point. Gandhi met Jinnah in September 1944 in Bombay but Jinnah rejected, on the grounds that it fell short of a fully independent Pakistan, his proposal of the right of Muslim provinces to opt out of substantial parts of the forthcoming political union.

While the leaders of Congress languished in jail, the other parties supported the war and gained organizational strength. Underground publications flailed at the ruthless suppression of Congress, but it had little control over events.[101] At the end of the war, the British gave clear indications that power would be transferred to Indian hands. At this point Gandhi called off the struggle, and around 100,000 political prisoners were released, including the Congress’s leadership.

Partition and Independence, 1947

Gandhi with Louis Mountbatten, Britain's last Viceroy of India, 1947
Gandhi with Louis Mountbatten, Britain’s last Viceroy of India, 1947

As a rule, Gandhi was opposed to the concept of partition as it contradicted his vision of religious unity. Concerning the partition of India to create Pakistan, while the Indian National Congress and Gandhi called for the British to quit India, the Muslim League passed a resolution for them to divide and quit, in 1943. Gandhi suggested an agreement which required the Congress and Muslim League to co-operate and attain independence under a provisional government, thereafter, the question of partition could be resolved by a plebiscite in the districts with a Muslim majority. When Jinnah called for Direct Action, on 16 August 1946, Gandhi was infuriated and personally visited the most riot-prone areas to stop the massacres. He made strong efforts to unite the Indian Hindus, Muslims, and Christians and struggled for the emancipation of the “untouchables” in Hindu society.

On 14 and 15 August 1947 the Indian Independence Act was invoked. In border areas some 10–12 million people moved from one side to another and upwards of a half million were killed in communal riots pitting Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs against each other. But for his teachings, the efforts of his followers, and his own presence, there perhaps could have been much more bloodshed during the partition, according to prominent Norwegian historian, Jens Arup Seip.

Stanley Wolpert has argued, The “plan to carve up British India was never approved of or accepted by Gandhi…who realised too late that his closest comrades and disciples were more interested in power than principle, and that his own vision had long been clouded by the illusion that the struggle he led for India’s freedom was a nonviolent one.”

Assassination

Memorial at the former Birla House, New Delhi, where Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated at 5:17 PM on 30 January 1948 on his way to a prayer meeting. Stylized footsteps are shown leading to the memorial.
Memorial at the former Birla House, New Delhi, where Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated at 5:17 PM on 30 January 1948 on his way to a prayer meeting. Stylized footsteps are shown leading to the memorial.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated in garden of the former Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti) at 5:17 PM on 30 January 1948. Accompanied by his grandnieces, Gandhi was on his way to address a prayer meeting, when his assassin, Nathuram Godse, fired three bullets from a Beretta 9 mm pistol into his chest at point-blank range. Godse was a Hindu nationalist with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha, who held Gandhi guilty of favouring Pakistan and strongly opposed the doctrine of nonviolence. Godse and his co-conspirator were tried and executed in 1949. Gandhi’s memorial (or Samādhi) at Rāj Ghāt, New Delhi, bears the epigraph “Hē Ram”, (Devanagari: हे ! राम or, He Rām), which may be translated as “Oh God”. These are widely believed to be Gandhi’s last words after he was shot, though the veracity of this statement has been disputed. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the nation through radio:

“Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere, and I do not quite know what to tell you or how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the father of the nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that; nevertheless, we will not see him again, as we have seen him for these many years, we will not run to him for advice or seek solace from him, and that is a terrible blow, not only for me, but for millions and millions in this country.”—Jawaharlal Nehru’s address to Gandhi

Funeral procession of Gandhi at New Delhi on 6 February 1948
Funeral procession of Gandhi at New Delhi on 6 February 1948

Gandhi’s death was mourned nationwide. Over two million people joined the five-mile long funeral procession that took over five hours to reach Raj Ghat from Birla house, where he was assassinated. Gandhi’s body was transported on a weapons carrier, whose chassis was dismantled overnight to allow a high-floor to be installed so that people could catch a glimpse of his body. The engine of the vehicle was not used, instead four drag-ropes manned by 50 people each pulled the vehicle. All Indian-owned establishments in London remained closed in mourning as thousands of people from all faiths and denominations and Indians from all over Britain converged at India House in London.

While India mourned and communal (inter-religious) violence escalated, there were calls for retaliation, and even an invasion of Pakistan by the Indian army. Nehru and Patel, the two strongest figures in the government and in Congress, had been pulling in opposite directions; the assassination pushed them together. They agreed the first objective must be to calm the hysteria. They called on Indians to honour Gandhi’s memory and even more his ideals. They used the assassination to consolidate the authority of the new Indian state. The government made sure everyone knew the guilty party was not a Muslim. Congress tightly controlled the epic public displays of grief over a two-week period—the funeral, mortuary rituals and distribution of the martyr’s ashes—as millions participated and hundreds of millions watched. The goal was to assert the power of the government and legitimise the Congress Party’s control. This move built upon the massive outpouring of Hindu expressions of grief. The government suppressed the RSS, the Muslim National Guards, and the Khaksars, with some 200,000 arrests. Gandhi’s death and funeral linked the distant state with the Indian people and made more understood the need to suppress religious parties during the transition to independence for the Indian people.

Ashes

By Hindu tradition the ashes were to be spread on a river. Gandhi’s ashes were poured into urns which were sent across India for memorial services. Most were immersed at the Sangam at Allahabad on 12 February 1948, but some were secretly taken away. In 1997, Tushar Gandhi immersed the contents of one urn, found in a bank vault and reclaimed through the courts, at the Sangam at Allahabad. Some of Gandhi’s ashes were scattered at the source of the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda, and a memorial plaque marks the event. On 30 January 2008, the contents of another urn were immersed at Girgaum Chowpatty. Another urn is at the palace of the Aga Khan in Pune (where Gandhi had been imprisoned from 1942 to 1944) and another in the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles.

Principles, practices and beliefs

Gandhism designates the ideas and principles Gandhi promoted. Of central importance is nonviolent resistance. A Gandhian can mean either an individual who follows, or a specific philosophy which is attributed to, Gandhism. M.M. Sankhdher argues that Gandhism is not a systematic position in metaphysics or in political philosophy. Rather, it is a political creed, an economic doctrine, a religious outlook, a moral precept, and especially, a humanitarian world view. It is an effort not to systematize wisdom but to transform society and is based on an undying faith in the goodness of human nature. However Gandhi himself did not approve of the notion of “Gandhism”, as he explained in 1936:

There is no such thing as “Gandhism”, and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I do not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems…The opinions I have formed and the conclusions I have arrived at are not final. I may change them tomorrow. I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.

Influences

Gandhi with famous poet Rabindranath Tagore, 1940
Gandhi with famous poet Rabindranath Tagore, 1940

Historian R.B. Cribb argues that Gandhi’s thought evolved over time, with his early ideas becoming the core or scaffolding for his mature philosophy. In London he committed himself to truthfulness, temperance, chastity, and vegetarianism. His return to India to work as a lawyer was a failure, so he went to South Africa for a quarter century, where he absorbed ideas from many sources, most of them non-Indian. Gandhi grew up in an eclectic religious atmosphere and throughout his life searched for insights from many religious traditions. He was exposed to Jain ideas through his mother who was in contact with Jain monks. Themes from Jainism that Gandhi absorbed included asceticism; compassion for all forms of life; the importance of vows for self-discipline; vegetarianism; fasting for self-purification; mutual tolerance among people of different creeds; and “syadvad”, the idea that all views of truth are partial, a doctrine that lies at the root of Satyagraha. He received much of his influence from Jainism particularly during his younger years.

Gandhi’s London experience provided a solid philosophical base focused on truthfulness, temperance, chastity, and vegetarianism. When he returned to India in 1891, his outlook was parochial and he could not make a living as a lawyer. This challenged his belief that practicality and morality necessarily coincided. By moving in 1893 to South Africa he found a solution to this problem and developed the central concepts of his mature philosophy. N. A. Toothi felt that Gandhi was influenced by the reforms and teachings of Swaminarayan, stating “Close parallels do exist in programs of social reform based on to non-violence, truth-telling, cleanliness, temperance and upliftment of the masses.” Vallabhbhai Patel, who grew up in a Swaminarayan household was attracted to Gandhi due to this aspect of Gandhi’s doctrine.

Gandhi’s ethical thinking was heavily influenced by a handful of books, which he repeatedly meditated upon. They included especially Plato’s Apology, (which he translated into his native Gujarati); William Salter’s Ethical Religion (1889); Henry David Thoreau’s On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1847); Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1893); and John Ruskin’s Unto this Last (1862), which he also translated into Gujarati. Ruskin inspired his decision to live an austere life on a commune, at first on the Phoenix Farm in Natal and then on the Tolstoy Farm just outside Johannesburg, South Africa.

Balkrishna Gokhale argues that Gandhi took his philosophy of history from Hinduism and Jainism, supplemented by selected Christian traditions and ideas of Tolstoy and Ruskin. Hinduism provided central concepts of God’s role in history, of man as the battleground of forces of virtue and sin, and of the potential of love as an historical force. From Jainism, Gandhi took the idea of applying nonviolence to human situations and the theory that Absolute Reality can be comprehended only relatively in human affairs.

Historian Howard Spodek argues for the importance of the culture of Gujarat in shaping Gandhi’s methods. Spodek finds that some of Gandhi’s most effective methods such as fasting, nonco-operation and appeals to the justice and compassion of the rulers were learned as a youth in Gujarat. Later on, the financial, cultural, organizational and geographical support needed to bring his campaigns to a national audience were drawn from Ahmedabad and Gujarat, his Indian residence 1915–1930.

Tolstoy

Mohandas K. Gandhi and other residents of Tolstoy Farm, South Africa, 1910
Mohandas K. Gandhi and other residents of Tolstoy Farm, South Africa, 1910

In 1908 Leo Tolstoy wrote A Letter to a Hindu, which said that only by using love as a weapon through passive resistance could the Indian people overthrow colonial rule. In 1909, Gandhi wrote to Tolstoy seeking advice and permission to republish A Letter to a Hindu in Gujarati. Tolstoy responded and the two continued a correspondence until Tolstoy’s death in 1910. The letters concern practical and theological applications of non-violence. Gandhi saw himself a disciple of Tolstoy, for they agreed regarding opposition to state authority and colonialism; both hated violence and preached non-resistance. However, they differed sharply on political strategy. Gandhi called for political involvement; he was a nationalist and was prepared to use nonviolent force. He was also willing to compromise. It was at Tolstoy Farm where Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach systematically trained their disciples in the philosophy of nonviolence.

Truth and Satyagraha

“God is truth. The way to truth lies through ahimsa (non-violence)”—Sabarmati 13 March 1927

Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth, or Satya. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. He called his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth.

Bruce Watson argues that Gandhi based Satyagraha on the Vedantic ideal of self-realization, and notes it also contains Jain and Buddhist notions of nonviolence, vegetarianism, the avoidance of killing, and ‘agape’ (universal love). Gandhi also borrowed Christian-Islamic ideas of equality, the brotherhood of man, and the concept of turning the other cheek.

Gandhi stated that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities. Gandhi summarised his beliefs first when he said “God is Truth”. He would later change this statement to “Truth is God”. Thus, satya (truth) in Gandhi’s philosophy is “God”.

The essence of Satyagraha (a name Gandhi invented meaning “adherence to truth”) is that it seeks to eliminate antagonisms without harming the antagonists themselves and seeks to transform or “purify” it to a higher level. A euphemism sometimes used for Satyagraha is that it is a “silent force” or a “soul force” (a term also used by Martin Luther King Jr. during his famous “I Have a Dream” speech). It arms the individual with moral power rather than physical power. Satyagraha is also termed a “universal force”, as it essentially “makes no distinction between kinsmen and strangers, young and old, man and woman, friend and foe.”

Gandhi wrote: “There must be no impatience, no barbarity, no insolence, no undue pressure. If we want to cultivate a true spirit of democracy, we cannot afford to be intolerant. Intolerance betrays want of faith in one’s cause.” Civil disobedience and non-co-operation as practised under Satyagraha are based on the “law of suffering”, a doctrine that the endurance of suffering is a means to an end. This end usually implies a moral upliftment or progress of an individual or society. Therefore, non-co-operation in Satyagraha is in fact a means to secure the co-operation of the opponent consistently with truth and justice.

Nonviolence

Gandhi with textile workers at Darwen, Lancashire, 26 September 1931.
Gandhi with textile workers at Darwen, Lancashire, 26 September 1931.

Although Gandhi was not the originator of the principle of non-violence, he was the first to apply it in the political field on a large scale. The concept of nonviolence (ahimsa) and nonresistance has a long history in Indian religious thought and has had many revivals in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish and Christian contexts. Gandhi explains his philosophy and way of life in his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Some of his other remarks were widely quoted, such as “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.” Gandhi realised later that this level of nonviolence required incredible faith and courage, which he believed everyone did not possess. He therefore advised that everyone need not keep to nonviolence, especially if it were used as a cover for cowardice, saying, “where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”

Gandhi thus came under some political fire for his criticism of those who attempted to achieve independence through more violent means. His refusal to protest against the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Udham Singh and Rajguru were sources of condemnation among some parties.

Of this criticism, Gandhi stated, “There was a time when people listened to me because I showed them how to give fight to the British without arms when they had no arms […] but today I am told that my non-violence can be of no avail against the [Hindu–Moslem riots] and, therefore, people should arm themselves for self-defense.”

Gandhi’s views came under heavy criticism in Britain when it was under attack from Nazi Germany, and later when the Holocaust was revealed. He told the British people in 1940, “I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions… If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.”

In a post-war interview in 1946, he said, “Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs… It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany… As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.” Gandhi believed this act of “collective suicide”, in response to the Holocaust, “would have been heroism”.

Muslims

One of the Gandhi’s major strategies, first in South Africa and then in India, was uniting Muslims and Hindus to work together in opposition to British imperialism. In 1919–22 he won strong Muslim support for his leadership in the Khilafat Movement to support the historic Ottoman Caliphate. By 1924 that Muslim support had largely evaporated.

Jews

In 1931, he suggested that while he could understand the desire of European Jews to emigrate to Palestine, he opposed any movement that supported British colonialism or violence. Muslims throughout India and the Middle East strongly opposed the Zionist plan for a Jewish state in Palestine, and Gandhi (and Congress) supported the Muslims in this regard. By the 1930s all major political groups in India opposed a Jewish state in Palestine.

This led to discussions concerning the persecution of the Jews in Germany and the emigration of Jews from Europe to Palestine, which Gandhi framed through the lens of Satyagraha. In 1937, Gandhi discussed Zionism with his close Jewish friend Hermann Kallenbach. He said Zionism was not the right answer to the Jewish problem and instead recommended Satyagraha. Gandhi thought the Zionists in Palestine represented European imperialism and used violence to achieve their goals; he argued that “the Jews should disclaim any intention of realizing their aspiration under the protection of arms and should rely wholly on the goodwill of Arabs. No exception can possibly be taken to the natural desire of the Jews to found a home in Palestine. But they must wait for its fulfillment till Arab opinion is ripe for it.” In 1938, Gandhi stated that his “sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Some of them became life-long companions.” Philosopher Martin Buber was highly critical of Gandhi’s approach and in 1939 wrote an open letter to him on the subject. Gandhi reiterated his stance on the use of Satyagraha in Palestine in 1947.

Vegetarianism and Food

Stephen Hay argues that Gandhi in London looked into numerous religious and intellectual currents. He especially appreciated how the theosophical movement encouraged a religious eclecticism and an antipathy to atheism. Hay says the vegetarian movement had the greatest impact for it was Gandhi’s point of entry into other reformist agendas of the time. The idea of vegetarianism is deeply ingrained in Hindu and Jain traditions in India, especially in his native Gujarat. Gandhi was close to the chairman of the London Vegetarian Society, Dr. Josiah Oldfield, and corresponded with Henry Stephens Salt, a vegetarian campaigner. Gandhi became a strict vegetarian. He wrote the book The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism and wrote for the London Vegetarian Society’s publication. Gandhi was somewhat of a food faddist taking his own goat to travels so he could always have fresh milk.

Gandhi noted in his autobiography that vegetarianism was the beginning of his deep commitment to Brahmacharya; without total control of the palate, his success in Brahmacharya would likely falter. “You wish to know what the marks of a man are who wants to realize Truth which is God”, he wrote. “He must reduce himself to zero and have perfect control over all his senses-beginning with the palate or tongue.”

Fasting, with young Indira Gandhi, mid-1920s
Fasting, with young Indira Gandhi, mid-1920s

Fasting

Gandhi used fasting as a political device, often threatening suicide unless demands were met. Congress publicised the fasts as a political action that generated widespread sympathy. In response the government tried to manipulate news coverage to minimise his challenge to the Raj. He fasted in 1932 to protest the voting scheme for separate political representation for Dalits; Gandhi did not want them segregated. The government stopped the London press from showing photographs of his emaciated body, because it would elicit sympathy. Gandhi’s 1943 hunger strike took place during a two-year prison term for the anticolonial Quit India movement. The government called on nutritional experts to demystify his action, and again no photos were allowed. However his final fast in 1948, after India was independent, was lauded by the British press and this time did include full-length photos.

Alter argues that Gandhi’s fixation on diet and celibacy were much deeper than exercises in self-discipline. Rather, his beliefs regarding health offered a critique of both the traditional Hindu system of ayurvedic medicine and Western concepts. This challenge was integral to his deeper challenge to tradition and modernity, as health and nonviolence became part of the same ethics.

Celibacy and experiments with celibacy (Bramhacharya)

In 1906 Gandhi, although married and a father, vowed to abstain from sexual relations. In the 1940s, in his mid-seventies, he brought his grandniece Manubehn to sleep naked in his bed as part of a spiritual experiment in which Gandhi could test himself as a “brahmachari.” Several other young women and girls also sometimes shared his bed as part of his experiments. Gandhi’s behaviour was widely discussed and criticised by family members and leading politicians, including Nehru. Some members of his staff resigned, including two editors of his newspaper who left after refusing to print parts of Gandhi’s sermons dealing with his sleeping arrangements. But Gandhi said that if he wouldn’t let Manu sleep with her, it would be a sign of weakness.

Gandhi discussed his experiment with friends and relations; most disagreed and the experiment ceased in 1947. Religious studies scholar Veena Howard argues that Gandhi made “creative use”of his celibacy and his authority as a mahatma “to reinterpret religious norms and confront unjust social and religious conventions relegating women to lower status.”:130 According to Howard, Gandhi “developed his discourse as a religious renouncer within India’s traditions to confront repressive social and religious customs regarding women and to bring them into the public sphere, during a time when the discourse on celibacy was typically imbued with masculine rhetoric and misogynist inferences…. his writings show a consistent evolution of his thought toward creating an equal playing field for members of both sexes and even elevating women to a higher plane—all through his discourse and unorthodox practice of brahmacharya.”

Nai Talim, Basic Education

Gandhi’s educational policies reflected Nai Talim (‘Basic Education for all’), a spiritual principle which states that knowledge and work are not separate. It was a reaction against the British educational system and colonialism in general, which had the negative effect of making Indian children alienated and career-based; it promoted disdain for manual work, the development of a new elite class, and the increasing problems of industrialisation and urbanisation. The three pillars of Gandhi’s pedagogy were its focus on the lifelong character of education, its social character and its form as a holistic process. For Gandhi, education is ‘the moral development of the person’, a process that is by definition ‘lifelong’.

Nai Talim evolved out of the spiritually oriented education program at Tolstoy Farm in South Africa, and Gandhi’s work at the ashram at Sevagram after 1937. After 1947 the Nehru government’s vision of an industrialised, centrally planned economy had scant place for Gandhi’s village-oriented approach.

Swaraj, self-rule

Rudolph argues that after a false start in trying to emulate the English in an attempt to overcome his timidity, Gandhi discovered the inner courage he was seeking by helping his countrymen in South Africa. The new courage consisted of observing the traditional Bengali way of “self-suffering” and, in finding his own courage, he was enabled also to point out the way of ‘Satyagraha’ and ‘ahimsa’ to the whole of India.[185] Gandhi’s writings expressed four meanings of freedom: as India’s national independence; as individual political freedom; as group freedom from poverty; and as the capacity for personal self-rule.

Gandhi was a self-described philosophical anarchist, and his vision of India meant an India without an underlying government. He once said that “the ideally nonviolent state would be an ordered anarchy.” While political systems are largely hierarchical, with each layer of authority from the individual to the central government have increasing levels of authority over the layer below, Gandhi believed that society should be the exact opposite, where nothing is done without the consent of anyone, down to the individual. His idea was that true self-rule in a country means that every person rules his or herself and that there is no state which enforces laws upon the people.

This would be achieved over time with nonviolent conflict mediation, as power is divested from layers of hierarchical authorities, ultimately to the individual, which would come to embody the ethic of nonviolence. Rather than a system where rights are enforced by a higher authority, people are self-governed by mutual responsibilities. On returning from South Africa, when Gandhi received a letter asking for his participation in writing a world charter for human rights, he responded saying, “in my experience, it is far more important to have a charter for human duties.”

A free India did not mean merely transferring the established British administrative structure into Indian hands. He warned, “you would make India English. And when it becomes English, it will be called not Hindustan but Englishtan. This is not the Swaraj I want.” Tewari argues that Gandhi saw democracy as more than a system of government; it meant promoting both individuality and the self-discipline of the community. Democracy was a moral system that distributed power and assisted the development of every social class, especially the lowest. It meant settling disputes in a nonviolent manner; it required freedom of thought and expression. For Gandhi, democracy was a way of life.

Gandhian economics

A free India for Gandhi meant the flourishing of thousands of self-sufficient small communities who rule themselves without hindering others. Gandhian economics focused on the need for economic self-sufficiency at the village level. His policy of “sarvodaya” called for ending poverty through improved agriculture and small-scale cottage industries in every village. Gandhi challenged Nehru and the modernizers in the late 1930s who called for rapid industrialisation on the Soviet model; Gandhi denounced that as dehumanising and contrary to the needs of the villages where the great majority of the people lived. After Gandhi’s death Nehru led India to large-scale planning that emphasised modernisation and heavy industry, while modernising agriculture through irrigation. Historian Kuruvilla Pandikattu says “it was Nehru’s vision, not Gandhi’s, that was eventually preferred by the Indian State.” After Gandhi’s death activists inspired by his vision promoted their opposition to industrialisation through the teachings of Gandhian economics.

Literary works

Young India, a weekly journal published by Gandhi from 1919 to 1932
Young India, a weekly journal published by Gandhi from 1919 to 1932

Gandhi was a prolific writer. One of Gandhi’s earliest publications, Hind Swaraj, published in Gujarati in 1909, is recognised  as the intellectual blueprint of India’s freedom movement. The book was translated into English the next year, with a copyright legend that read “No Rights Reserved”. For decades he edited several newspapers including Harijan in Gujarati, in Hindi and in the English language; Indian Opinion while in South Africa and, Young India, in English, and Navajivan, a Gujarati monthly, on his return to India. Later, Navajivan was also published in Hindi. In addition, he wrote letters almost every day to individuals and newspapers.

Gandhi also wrote several books including his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth (Gujarātī “સત્યના પ્રયોગો અથવા આત્મકથા”), of which he bought the entire first edition to make sure it was reprinted. His other autobiographies included: Satyagraha in South Africa about his struggle there, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, a political pamphlet, and a paraphrase in Gujarati of John Ruskin’s Unto This Last. This last essay can be considered his programme on economics. He also wrote extensively on vegetarianism, diet and health, religion, social reforms, etc. Gandhi usually wrote in Gujarati, though he also revised the Hindi and English translations of his books.

Gandhi’s complete works were published by the Indian government under the name The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi in the 1960s. The writings comprise about 50,000 pages published in about a hundred volumes. In 2000, a revised edition of the complete works sparked a controversy, as it constituted large number of errors and omissions. The Indian government later withdrew the revised edition.

Legacy and depictions in popular culture

The word Mahatma, while often mistaken for Gandhi’s given name in the West, is taken from the Sanskrit words maha (meaning Great) and atma (meaning Soul). Rabindranath Tagore is said to have accorded the title to Gandhi. In his autobiography, Gandhi nevertheless explains that he never valued the title, and was often pained by it.

Followers and International Influence

A wall graffiti in San Francisco containing a quote and image of Gandhi
A wall graffiti in San Francisco containing a quote and image of Gandhi

Gandhi influenced important leaders and political movements. Leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States, including Martin Luther King, James Lawson, and James Bevel, drew from the writings of Gandhi in the development of their own theories about non-violence. King said “Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics.”[211] King sometimes referred to Gandhi as “the little brown saint.” Anti-apartheid activist and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was inspired by Gandhi. Others include Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Steve Biko, and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mahatma Gandhi on a 1969 postage stamp of the Soviet Union
Mahatma Gandhi on a 1969 postage stamp of the Soviet Union

In his early years, the former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was a follower of the non-violent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. Bhana and Vahed commented on these events as “Gandhi inspired succeeding generations of South African activists seeking to end White rule. This legacy connects him to Nelson Mandela…in a sense Mandela completed what Gandhi started.”

Gandhi’s life and teachings inspired many who specifically referred to Gandhi as their mentor or who dedicated their lives to spreading Gandhi’s ideas. In Europe, Romain Rolland was the first to discuss Gandhi in his 1924 book Mahatma Gandhi, and Brazilian anarchist and feminist Maria Lacerda de Moura wrote about Gandhi in her work on pacifism. In 1931, notable European physicist Albert Einstein exchanged written letters with Gandhi, and called him “a role model for the generations to come” in a later writing about him. Einstein said of Gandhi:

Mahatma Gandhi’s life achievement stands unique in political history. He has invented a completely new and humane means for the liberation war of an oppressed country, and practised it with greatest energy and devotion. The moral influence he had on the consciously thinking human being of the entire civilized world will probably be much more lasting than it seems in our time with its overestimation of brutal violent forces. Because lasting will only be the work of such statesmen who wake up and strengthen the moral power of their people through their example and educational works. We may all be happy and grateful that destiny gifted us with such an enlightened contemporary, a role model for the generations to come.

Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.

Lanza del Vasto went to India in 1936 intending to live with Gandhi; he later returned to Europe to spread Gandhi’s philosophy and founded the Community of the Ark in 1948 (modelled after Gandhi’s ashrams). Madeleine Slade (known as “Mirabehn”) was the daughter of a British admiral who spent much of her adult life in India as a devotee of Gandhi.

In addition, the British musician John Lennon referred to Gandhi when discussing his views on non-violence. At the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in 2007, former US Vice-President and environmentalist Al Gore spoke of Gandhi’s influence on him.

President of the United States Barack Obama in an address to a Joint Session of the Parliament of India said that:

“I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as President of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world.”—Barack Obama in an address to a Joint Session of the Parliament of India, 2010

Obama in September 2009 said that his biggest inspiration came from Mahatma Gandhi. His reply was in response to the question ‘Who was the one person, dead or live, that you would choose to dine with?’. He continued that “He’s somebody I find a lot of inspiration in. He inspired Dr. King with his message of nonviolence. He ended up doing so much and changed the world just by the power of his ethics.”

Time Magazine named The 14th Dalai Lama, Lech Wałęsa, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Aung San Suu Kyi, Benigno Aquino, Jr., Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela as Children of Gandhi and his spiritual heirs to non-violence. The Mahatma Gandhi District in Houston, Texas, United States, an ethnic Indian enclave, is officially named after Gandhi.

Global holidays

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared Gandhi’s birthday 2 October as “the International Day of Non-Violence.” First proposed by UNESCO in 1948, as the School Day of Non-violence and Peace (DENIP in Spanish), 30 January is observed the School Day of Non-violence and Peace in schools of many countries In countries with a Southern Hemisphere school calendar, it is observed on 30 March.

Awards

Monument to M.K. Gandhi in New Belgrade, Serbia. On the monument is written
Monument to M.K. Gandhi in New Belgrade, Serbia. On the monument is written “Non-violence is the essence of all religions”.
 

Time magazine named Gandhi the Man of the Year in 1930. Gandhi was also the runner-up to Albert Einstein as “Person of the Century” at the end of 1999. The Government of India awards the annual Gandhi Peace Prize to distinguished social workers, world leaders and citizens. Nelson Mandela, the leader of South Africa’s struggle to eradicate racial discrimination and segregation, is a prominent non-Indian recipient. In 2011, Time magazine named Gandhi as one of the top 25 political icons of all time.

Gandhi did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize, although he was nominated five times between 1937 and 1948, including the first-ever nomination by the American Friends Service Committee, though he made the short list only twice, in 1937 and 1947. Decades later, the Nobel Committee publicly declared its regret for the omission, and admitted to deeply divided nationalistic opinion denying the award. Gandhi was nominated in 1948 but was assassinated before nominations closed. That year, the committee chose not to award the peace prize stating that “there was no suitable living candidate” and later research shows that the possibility of awarding the prize posthumously to Gandhi was discussed and that the reference to no suitable living candidate was to Gandhi. When the 14th Dalai Lama was awarded the Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was “in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.”

World Farm Animals’ Day

Gandhi’s birthday is chosen as a commemoration for the billions of non-human animals that are slaughtered by the human farming industry each year. The practice started in 1983

Film and Literature

Mahatma Gandhi has been portrayed in film, literature, and in the theatre. Ben Kingsley portrayed him in the 1982 film Gandhi, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Gandhi was a central figure in the 2006 Bollywood comedy film Lage Raho Munna Bhai. The 1996 film The Making of the Mahatma documented Gandhi’s time in South Africa and his transformation from an inexperienced barrister to recognised political leader.

Anti-Gandhi themes have also been showcased through films and plays. The 1995 Marathi play Gandhi Virudh Gandhi explored the relationship between Gandhi and his son Harilal. The 2007 film, Gandhi, My Father was inspired on the same theme. The 1989 Marathi play Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy and the 1997 Hindi play Gandhi Ambedkar criticised Gandhi and his principles.

Several biographers have undertaken the task of describing Gandhi’s life. Among them are D. G. Tendulkar with his Mahatma. Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in eight volumes, and Pyarelal and Sushila Nayyar with their Mahatma Gandhi in 10 volumes. There is another documentary, Mahatma: Life of Gandhi, 1869–1948, which is 14 chapters and six hours long. The 2010 biography, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India by Joseph Lelyveld contained controversial material speculating about Gandhi’s sexual life. Lelyveld, however, stated that the press coverage “grossly distort[s]” the overall message of the book.

Current Impact Within India

The Gandhi Mandapam, a temple in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu in India. This temple was erected to honour M.K. Gandhi.
The Gandhi Mandapam, a temple in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu in India. This temple was erected to honour M.K. Gandhi.

India, with its rapid economic modernisation and urbanisation, has rejected Gandhi’s economics but accepted much of his politics and continues to revere his memory. Reporter Jim Yardley notes that, “modern India is hardly a Gandhian nation, if it ever was one. His vision of a village-dominated economy was shunted aside during his lifetime as rural romanticism, and his call for a national ethos of personal austerity and nonviolence has proved antithetical to the goals of an aspiring economic and military power.” By contrast Gandhi is “given full credit for India’s political identity as a tolerant, secular democracy.”

Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October, is a national holiday in India, Gandhi Jayanti. Gandhi’s image also appears on paper currency of all denominations issued by Reserve Bank of India, except for the one rupee note. Gandhi’s date of death, 30 January, is commemorated as a Martyrs’ Day in India.

There are two temples in India dedicated to Gandhi. One is located at Sambalpur in Orissa and the other at Nidaghatta village near Kadur in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. The Gandhi Memorial in Kanyakumari resembles central Indian Hindu temples and the Tamukkam or Summer Palace in Madurai now houses the Mahatma Gandhi Museum.

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
  • I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
  • Where there is love there is life.
  • First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
  • An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
  • You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
  • You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
  • Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
  • A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.
  • Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.
  • It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.
  • A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
  • A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
  • The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
  • Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.
  • Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.
  • Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
  • Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
  • Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.
  • A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
  • If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.
  • An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.
  • There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.
  • A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
  • I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.
  • It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
  • When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.
  • An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
  • In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
  • Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.
  • The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
  • If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.
  • Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
  • It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.
  • Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.

Source: Wikipedia and other Sources

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy 

JohnFK
35th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson
United States Senator from Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1953 – December 22, 1960
Preceded by Henry Cabot Lodge
Succeeded by Benjamin Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts’s 11th District
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by James Curley
Succeeded by Tip O’Neill
Personal Details
Born John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died November 22, 1963 (aged 46)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Bouvier
Relations Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (father)
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (mother)
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (brother)
Rosemary Kennedy (sister)
Kathleen Agnes Kennedy (sister)
Eunice Kennedy (sister)
Patricia Kennedy (sister)
Robert F. Kennedy (brother)
Jean Kennedy (sister)
Edward Moore Kennedy (brother)
Children
  • Arabella (1956 stillborn)
  • Caroline B. (b. 1957)
  • John F., Jr. (1960–1999)
  • Patrick B. (August 7–9, 1963)
Alma mater Harvard College
Profession Politician
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Cursive signature in ink
Military Service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant
Unit Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109
Battles/wars
  • World War II
    • Solomon Islands campaign
Awards
  • Navy and Marine Corps Medal ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Medal
  • Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
  • American Defense Service ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
  • American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3 bronze stars)
  • World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal

John FitzgeraldJackKennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his death in 1963.

After military service as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boats PT-109 and PT-59 during World War II in the South Pacific, Kennedy represented Massachusetts’ 11th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat. Thereafter, he served in the U.S. Senate from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election. At 43 years of age, he is the youngest to have been elected to the office, the second-youngest President (after Theodore Roosevelt), and the first person born in the 20th century to serve as president. A Catholic, Kennedy is the only non-Protestant president, and is the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Events during his presidency included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and early stages of the Vietnam War. Therein, Kennedy increased the number of military advisers, special operation forces, and helicopters in an effort to curb the spread of communism in South East Asia. The Kennedy administration adopted the policy of the Strategic Hamlet Program which was implemented by the South Vietnamese government. It involved certain forced relocation, village internment, and segregation of rural South Vietnamese from the northern and southern communist insurgents.

Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the crime, but he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby two days later, before a trial could take place. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin. However, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that those investigations were flawed and that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. Kennedy’s controversial Department of Defense TFX fighter bomber program led to a Congressional investigation that lasted from 1963 to 1970. Since the 1960s information concerning Kennedy’s private life has come to light. Details of Kennedy’s health problems in which he struggled have become better known, especially since the 1990s. Although initially kept secret from the general public, reports of Kennedy’s philandering have garnered much press. Kennedy ranks highly in public opinion ratings of U.S. presidents.

Early Life and Education

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917, the second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Fitzgerald; Rose was the eldest child of John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, a prominent Boston political figure who was the city’s mayor and a three-term member of Congress. Kennedy’s ancestry was predominantly Irish with all eight of his great-grandparents immigrated from Ireland. Kennedy lived in Brookline for ten years and attended Edward Devotion School, Noble and Greenough Lower School, and the Dexter School, through 4th grade. In 1927, the family moved to 5040 Independence Avenue in Riverdale, Bronx, New York City; two years later, they moved to 294 Pondfield Road in Bronxville, New York, where Kennedy was a member of Scout Troop 2. Kennedy spent summers with his family at their home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, and Christmas and Easter holidays with his family at their winter home in Palm Beach, Florida. For the 5th through 7th grade, Kennedy attended Riverdale Country School, a private school for boys. For 8th grade in September 1930, the 13-year old Kennedy attended Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. In late April 1931, he required an appendectomy, after which he withdrew from Canterbury and recuperated at home.

In September 1931, Kennedy was sent to The Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, for his 9th through 12th grade years. His older brother, Joe Jr., had already been at Choate for two years, a football star and leading student. Jack spent his first years at Choate in his brother’s shadow, and compensated for this with rebellious behavior that attracted a coterie. Their most notorious stunt was to explode a toilet seat with a powerful firecracker. In the ensuing chapel assembly, the strict headmaster, George St. John, brandished the toilet seat and spoke of certain “muckers” who would “spit in our sea”. The defiant Jack Kennedy took the cue and named his group “The Muckers Club”, which included roommate and friend Kirk LeMoyne “Lem” Billings. While at Choate, Kennedy was beset by health problems that culminated in 1934 with his emergency hospitalization at Yale – New Haven Hospital. In June 1934 he was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and diagnosed with colitis. Kennedy graduated from Choate in June 1935. For the school yearbook, of which he had been business manager, Kennedy was voted the “most likely to succeed”.

Kennedy family at Hyannisport in 1931 with Jack at top left in white shirt
Kennedy family at Hyannisport in 1931 with Jack at top left in white shirt

In September 1935, he made his first trip abroad, with his parents and sister Kathleen, to London, with the intent of studying under Harold Laski at the London School of Economics (LSE), as his older brother Joe had done. Ill health forced his return to America in October 1935, when he enrolled late and spent six weeks at Princeton University. He was then hospitalized for observation at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He convalesced further at the Kennedy winter home in Palm Beach, then spent the spring of 1936 (along with his older brother Joe) working as a ranch hand on the 40,000 acres (160 km2) “Jay Six” cattle ranch outside Benson, Arizona. It is reported that ranchman Jack Speiden worked both brothers “very hard”.

In September 1936, Kennedy enrolled at Harvard College, where he produced that year’s annual “Freshman Smoker”, called by a reviewer “an elaborate entertainment, which included in its cast outstanding personalities of the radio, screen and sports world”. He tried out for the football, golf, and swim teams and earned a spot on the varsity swim team. In July 1937 Kennedy sailed to France—bringing his convertible—and spent ten weeks driving through Europe with Billings. In June 1938 Kennedy sailed overseas with his father and brother Joe to work with his father, who was then Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, at the American embassy in London. In 1939 Kennedy toured Europe, the Soviet Union, the Balkans, and the Middle East in preparation for his Harvard senior honors thesis. He then went to Czechoslovakia and Germany before returning to London on September 1, 1939, the day Germany invaded Poland. On September 3, 1939, the family was in the House of Commons for speeches endorsing the United Kingdom’s declaration of war on Germany. Kennedy was sent as his father’s representative to help with arrangements for American survivors of the SS Athenia, before flying back to the U.S. from Foynes, Ireland, to Port Washington, New York on his first transatlantic flight.

As an upperclassman at Harvard, Kennedy became a more serious student and developed an interest in political philosophy. In his junior year he made the Dean’s List. In 1940 Kennedy completed his thesis, “Appeasement in Munich”, about British participation in the Munich Agreement. The thesis became a bestseller under the title Why England Slept. He graduated from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Science cum laude in international affairs in 1940. Kennedy enrolled and audited classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that fall. In early 1941, he helped his father write a memoir of his three years as an American ambassador and then traveled throughout South America.

Military Service

In September 1941, after medical disqualification by the Army for his chronic lower back problems, Kennedy joined the U.S. Navy, with the influence of the director of the Office of Naval Intelligence, former naval attaché to Joseph Kennedy. Kennedy was an ensign serving in the office of the Secretary of the Navy when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. He attended the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center, was assigned duty in Panama and later in the Pacific theater, where he earned the rank of lieutenant, commanding a patrol torpedo (PT) boat.

PT-109_crew
Lieutenant (junior grade) John F. Kennedy (standing at right) with his PT-109 crew

On August 2, 1943, Kennedy’s boat, PT-109, along with PT-162 and PT-169, were performing nighttime patrols near New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, when PT-109 was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. Kennedy gathered his surviving crew members together in the water around the wreckage, to vote on whether to “fight or surrender”. Kennedy stated, “There’s nothing in the book about a situation like this. A lot of you men have families and some of you have children. What do you want to do? I have nothing to lose.” Shunning surrender, the men swam towards a small island. Kennedy, despite re-injury to his back in the collision, towed a badly burned crewman through the water with a life jacket strap clenched between his teeth. He towed the wounded man to the island, and later to a second island, from where his crew was subsequently rescued. For these actions, Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal with the following citation:

For extremely heroic conduct as Commanding Officer of Motor Torpedo Boat 109 following the collision and sinking of that vessel in the Pacific War Theater on August 1–2, 1943. Unmindful of personal danger, Lieutenant (then Lieutenant, Junior Grade) Kennedy unhesitatingly braved the difficulties and hazards of darkness to direct rescue operations, swimming many hours to secure aid and food after he had succeeded in getting his crew ashore. His outstanding courage, endurance and leadership contributed to the saving of several lives and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Kennedy on his navy patrol boat, the PT-109
Kennedy on his navy patrol boat, the PT-109

In October 1943, Kennedy took command of a PT boat converted into a gun boat, PT-59, which took part in a Marine rescue on Choiseul Island that November. Kennedy then left PT-59, and returned to the United States in early January 1944. After receiving treatment for his back injury, he was released from active duty in late 1944. Kennedy was honorably discharged in early 1945, just prior to Japan’s surrender. Kennedy’s other decorations in World War II included the Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. When later asked how he became a war hero, Kennedy joked: “It was easy. They cut my PT boat in half.”

In April 1945, Kennedy’s father, a friend of William Randolph Hearst, arranged a position for his son as a special correspondent for Hearst Newspapers; the assignment kept Kennedy’s name in the public eye and “expose[d] him to journalism as a possible career.” He worked as a correspondent that May, covering the Potsdam Conference and other events.

Congressional Career

House of Representatives

While Kennedy was still serving, his older brother, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., was killed in action on August 12, 1944, while part of Operation Aphrodite. Since Joe Jr. had been the family’s political standard-bearer, the task now fell to John.

In 1946, U.S. Representative James Michael Curley vacated his seat in the strongly Democratic 11th Congressional district in Massachusetts—at Joe’s urging—to become mayor of Boston. Kennedy ran for the seat, beating his Republican opponent by a large margin. He served as a congressman for six years.

Senate

In the 1952 election, he defeated incumbent Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for the U.S. Senate seat. The following year he was married to Jacqueline.

John_F._Kennedy_after_spinal_surgery_cph.3c33052
Kennedy lying on a gurney following spinal surgery, accompanied by Jackie, December 1954

Kennedy underwent several spinal operations over the following two years. Often absent from the Senate, he was at times critically ill and received Catholic last rites. During his convalescence in 1956, he published Profiles in Courage, a book about U.S. Senators who risked their careers for their personal beliefs, and which received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957. Rumors that this work was co-authored by his close adviser and speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, were confirmed in Sorensen’s 2008 autobiography. In the book, Kennedy supported the conservative Southern view that Reconstruction was corrupt.

At the 1956 Democratic National Convention, Kennedy was nominated for Vice President on a ticket with presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson, but finished second in the balloting to Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Kennedy received national exposure from that episode; his father thought it just as well that his son lost, due to the political debility of his Catholicism and the strength of the Eisenhower ticket.

One of the matters demanding Kennedy’s attention in the Senate was President Eisenhower’s bill for the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Kennedy cast a procedural vote on this, which was considered by some as an appeasement of Southern Democratic opponents of the bill. Kennedy did vote for Title III of the act, which would have given the Attorney General powers to enjoin, but Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson agreed to let the provision die as a compromise measure. Kennedy also voted for Title IV, termed the “Jury Trial Amendment”. Many civil rights advocates at the time criticized that vote as one which would weaken the act. A final compromise bill, which Kennedy supported, was passed in September 1957. In 1958, Kennedy was re-elected to a second term in the Senate, defeating his Republican opponent, Boston lawyer Vincent J. Celeste, by a wide margin. It was during his re-election campaign that Kennedy’s press secretary at this time Robert E Thompson, put together a film entitled The U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy Story, which exhibited a day in the life of the Senator and showcased his family life as well as the inner-workings of his office. It is the most comprehensive film produced about Kennedy up to that time.

John_F._Kennedy_Jack_Paar_Tonight_Show_1959
Jack Paar interviews Senator Kennedy on The Tonight Show (1959)

Senator Joseph McCarthy was a friend of the Kennedy family; Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was a leading McCarthy supporter, Robert F. Kennedy worked for McCarthy’s subcommittee, and McCarthy dated Patricia Kennedy. In 1954, when the Senate voted to censure McCarthy, Kennedy drafted a speech supporting the censure. The speech was not delivered, because he was in the hospital. Though absent, he could have participated procedurally by “pairing” his vote against that of another senator, but did not do so. He never indicated how he would have voted, but the episode damaged Kennedy’s support among members of the liberal community, including Eleanor Roosevelt, in the 1956 and 1960 elections.

1960 Presidential Election

On January 2, 1960, Kennedy initiated his campaign for President in the Democratic primary election, where he faced challenges from Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. Kennedy defeated Humphrey in Wisconsin and West Virginia, Morse in Maryland and Oregon, as well as from token opposition (often write-in candidates) in New Hampshire, Indiana, and Nebraska. Kennedy visited a coal mine in West Virginia; most miners and others in that predominantly conservative, Protestant state were quite wary of Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism. His victory in West Virginia confirmed his broad popular appeal. At the Democratic Convention, he gave his well-known “New Frontier” speech, saying: “For the problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won—and we stand today on the edge of a New Frontier … But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises—it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.”

800px-Kennedy_Nixon_Debat_(1960)
John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon participate in a 1960 presidential debate.

With Humphrey and Morse eliminated, Kennedy’s main opponent at the Los Angeles convention was Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. Kennedy overcame this formal challenge as well as informal ones from Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee in 1952 and 1956, Stuart Symington, and several favorite sons, and on July 13 the Democratic convention nominated Kennedy as its candidate. Kennedy asked Johnson to be his Vice Presidential candidate, despite opposition from many liberal delegates and Kennedy’s own staff, including his brother, Robert. He needed Johnson’s strength in the South to win what was considered likely to be the closest election since 1916. Major issues included how to get the economy moving again, Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism, Cuba, and whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the U.S. To address fears that his being Catholic would impact his decision-making, he famously told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, “I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.” Kennedy questioned rhetorically whether one-quarter of Americans were relegated to second-class citizenship just because they were Catholic, and once stated that, “No one asked me my religion [serving the Navy] in the South Pacific.”

Jfk-appleton
Jacqueline and John Kennedy campaigning in Appleton, Wisconsin, March 1960

In September and October, Kennedy appeared with Republican candidate Richard Nixon, then Vice President, in the first televised U.S. presidential debates in U.S. history. During these programs, Nixon, with a sore injured leg and his “five o’clock shadow“, looked tense, uncomfortable, and perspiring, while Kennedy, choosing to avail himself of makeup services, appeared relaxed, leading the huge television audience to favor Kennedy as the winner. Radio listeners either thought Nixon had won or that the debates were a draw. The debates are now considered a milestone in American political history—the point at which the medium of television began to play a dominant role in politics.

767px-Eisenhower_and_Kennedy
President Dwight D. Eisenhower meets with President-elect John F. Kennedy on December 6, 1960

Kennedy’s campaign gained momentum after the first debate, and he pulled slightly ahead of Nixon in most polls. On November 8, Kennedy defeated Nixon in one of the closest presidential elections of the 20th century. In the national popular vote Kennedy led Nixon by just two-tenths of one percent (49.7% to 49.5%), while in the Electoral College he won 303 votes to Nixon’s 219 (269 were needed to win). Another 14 electors from Mississippi and Alabama refused to support Kennedy because of his support for the civil rights movement; they voted for Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, as did the elector from Oklahoma. Kennedy was the youngest man elected president, succeeding Eisenhower, who was then the oldest (Ronald Reagan surpassed Eisenhower as the oldest president in 1981).

Presidency

John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President at noon on January 20, 1961. In his inaugural address he spoke of the need for all Americans to be active citizens, famously saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” He asked the nations of the world to join together to fight what he called the “common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself”. He added: “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” In closing, he expanded on his desire for greater internationalism: “Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.”

John F. Kennedy takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren on January 20, 1961, at the Capitol
John F. Kennedy takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren on January 20, 1961, at the Capitol

The address reflected Kennedy’s confidence that his administration would chart a historically significant course in both domestic policy and foreign affairs. The contrast between this optimistic vision and the pressures of managing daily political realities at home and abroad would be one of the main tensions running through the early years of his administration.

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win ... It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency. - JFK, 1962
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win …
It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency. – JFK, 1962

Kennedy brought to the White House a stark contrast in organization compared to the decision making structure of the former general, Eisenhower; and he wasted no time in dismantling Eisenhower’s methods. Kennedy preferred the organizational structure of a wheel, with all the spokes leading to the president. He was ready and willing to make the increased number of quick decisions required in such an environment. He selected a mixture of experienced and inexperienced people to serve in his cabinet. “We can learn our jobs together”, he stated. There were a couple instances where the president got ahead of himself, as when he announced in a cabinet meeting, without prior notice, that Edward Lansdale would be Ambassador to South Vietnam, a decision which Secretary of State Rusk later had Kennedy alter. There was also the case of Harris Wofford, who was summoned to the White House for swearing in without knowing which position he was to assume.

Much to the chagrin of his economic advisors, who wanted him to reduce taxes, he quickly agreed to a balanced budget pledge. This was needed in exchange for votes to expand the membership of the House Rules Committee in order to give the Democrats a majority in setting the legislative agenda. The president focused on immediate and specific issues facing the administration, and quickly voiced his impatience with pondering of deeper meanings. Deputy national security advisor Walt Whitman Rostow once began a diatribe about the growth of communism, and Kennedy abruptly cut him off, asking, “What do you want me to do about that today?”

In May 1961, the press ran articles that Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall had requested an oil executive to solicit $100 contributions at a fund raiser from oil and gasoline interests. Udall demanded that his name that was used on material to solicit funding be withdrawn. A week earlier, Kennedy had proposed that Congress tighten the conflict of interest laws. At a press conference, Kennedy faulted the then current campaign finance laws, rather than Udall. Kennedy stated he had talked with Udall and was satisfied with his explanation. Kennedy stated that anyone who contributed to a campaign fund should not expect any favors in return. Udall denied any wrongdoing and stated that the oil executive misunderstood his intentions.

Foreign policy

Foreign trips of John F. Kennedy during his presidency
Foreign trips of John F. Kennedy during his presidency

President Kennedy’s foreign policy was dominated by American confrontations with the Soviet Union, manifested by proxy contests in the early stage of the Cold War. In 1961, Kennedy anxiously anticipated a summit with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The President started off on the wrong foot by reacting aggressively to a routine Khrushchev speech on Cold War confrontation in early 1961. The speech was intended for domestic audiences in the Soviet Union, but Kennedy interpreted it as a personal challenge. His mistake helped raise tensions going into the Vienna Summit of June 1961. On the way to the summit, Kennedy stopped in Paris to meet Charles de Gaulle, who advised Kennedy to ignore Khrushchev’s abrasive style. The French president was nationalistic and disdainful of the United States’ presumed influence in Europe. Nevertheless de Gaulle was quite impressed with the young president and his family. Kennedy picked up on this in his speech in Paris, saying he would be remembered as “the man who accompanied Jackie Kennedy to Paris.”

Persian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Kennedy, and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in the White House Cabinet Room on April 13, 1962
Persian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Kennedy, and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in the White House Cabinet Room on April 13, 1962

On June 4, 1961, the president met with Khrushchev in Vienna and left the meetings angry and disappointed that he had allowed the Premier to bully him, despite the warnings he had received. Khrushchev, for his part, was impressed with the president’s intelligence, but thought him weak. Kennedy did succeed in conveying the bottom line to Khrushchev on the most sensitive issue before them, a proposed treaty between Moscow and East Berlin. He made it clear that any such treaty which interfered with U.S access rights in West Berlin would be regarded as an act of war.

Shortly after the president returned home, the U.S.S.R. announced its intention to sign a treaty with East Berlin, abrogating any third-party occupation rights in either sector of the city. Kennedy, depressed and angry, assumed his only option was to prepare the country for nuclear war, which he personally thought had a one in five chance of occurring.

In the weeks immediately after the Vienna summit, more than 20,000 people fled from East Berlin to the western sector in reaction to statements from the USSR. Kennedy began intensive meetings on the Berlin issue, where Dean Acheson took the lead in recommending a military buildup alongside NATO allies. In a July 1961 speech, Kennedy announced his decision to add $3.25 billion to the defense budget, along with over 200,000 additional troops, saying an attack on West Berlin would be taken as an attack on the U.S. The speech received an 85% approval rating. The following month, the Soviet Union and East Berlin began blocking any further passage of East Berliners into West Berlin and erected barbed wire fences across the city, which were quickly upgraded to the Berlin Wall. Kennedy’s initial reaction was to ignore this, as long as free access from West to East Berlin continued. This course was altered when it was learned that the West Berliners had lost confidence in the defense of their position by the United States. Kennedy sent Vice President Johnson, along with a host of military personnel, in convoy through West Germany, including Soviet armed checkpoints, to demonstrate the continued commitment of the U.S. to West Berlin.

Kennedy gave a speech at Saint Anselm College on May 5, 1960, regarding America’s conduct in the emerging Cold War. The address detailed how American foreign policy should be conducted towards African nations, noting a hint of support for modern African nationalism by saying that “For we, too, founded a new nation on revolt from colonial rule”.

Cuba and the Bay of Pigs Invasion

Pres. Kennedy and Vice Pres. Johnson
Pres. Kennedy and Vice Pres. Johnson

The prior Eisenhower administration had created a plan to overthrow the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba. The plan, led by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with help from the U.S. military, was for an invasion of Cuba by a counter-revolutionary insurgency composed of U.S.-trained anti-Castro Cuban exiles led by CIA paramilitary officers. The intention was to invade Cuba and instigate an uprising among the Cuban people in hopes of removing Castro from power. On April 17, 1961, Kennedy ordered what became known as the “Bay of Pigs Invasion”: 1,500 U.S.-trained Cubans, called “Brigade 2506”, landed on the island. No U.S. air support was provided. Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, later stated that they thought the president would authorize any action required for success once the troops were on the ground. By April 19, 1961, the Cuban government had captured or killed the invading exiles, and Kennedy was forced to negotiate for the release of the 1,189 survivors. After twenty months, Cuba released the captured exiles in exchange for $53 million worth of food and medicine. The incident made Castro wary of the U.S. and led him to believe another invasion would occur. According to biographer Richard Reeves, Kennedy primarily focused on the political repercussions of the plan rather than the military considerations; when it failed, he was convinced the plan was a setup to make him look bad. But he took responsibility for the failure, saying, “… We got a big kick in the leg and we deserved it. But maybe we’ll learn something from it.”

In late 1961, the White House formed the “Special Group (Augmented)”, headed by Robert Kennedy and including Edward Lansdale, Secretary Robert McNamara, and others. The group’s objective—to overthrow Castro via espionage, sabotage, and other covert tactics—was never pursued.

Cuban Missile Crisis

On October 14, 1962, CIA U-2 spy planes took photographs of intermediate-range ballistic missile sites being built in Cuba by the Soviets. The photos were shown to Kennedy on October 16; a consensus was reached that the missiles were offensive in nature and thus posed an immediate nuclear threat. Kennedy faced a dilemma: if the U.S. attacked the sites, it might lead to nuclear war with the U.S.S.R., but if the U.S. did nothing, it would be faced with the increased threat from close range nuclear weapons. The U.S. would as well appear to the world as less committed to the defense of the hemisphere. On a personal level, Kennedy needed to show resolve in reaction to Khrushchev, especially after the Vienna summit.

Meeting Nikita Khrushchev in 1961
Meeting Nikita Khrushchev in 1961

More than a third of the members of the National Security Council (NSC) favored an unannounced air assault on the missile sites, but for some of them this conjured up an image of “Pearl Harbor in reverse”. There was as well some reaction from the international community (asked in confidence) that the assault plan was an overreaction in light of U.S. missiles that had been placed in Turkey by Eisenhower. And there could be no assurance that the assault would be 100% effective. In concurrence with a majority vote of the NSC, Kennedy decided on a naval quarantine. On October 22 he dispatched a message to Khrushchev and announced the decision on TV.

The U.S. Navy would stop and inspect all Soviet ships arriving off Cuba, beginning October 24. The Organization of American States gave unanimous support to the removal of the missiles. The president exchanged two sets of letters with Khrushchev, to no avail. United Nations (UN) Secretary General U Thant requested both parties reverse their decisions and enter a cooling off period. Khrushchev said yes, but Kennedy said no. One Soviet-flagged ship was stopped and boarded. On October 28 Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the missile sites subject to UN inspections. The U.S. publicly promised never to invade Cuba and privately agreed to remove its missiles in Turkey, which were by then obsolete and had been supplanted by submarines equipped with UGM-27 Polaris missiles. This crisis brought the world closer to nuclear war than at any point before or since. In the end, “the humanity” of the two men prevailed. The crisis improved the image of American willpower and the president’s credibility. His approval rating increased from 66% to 77% immediately thereafter.

Latin America and Communism

Arguing that “those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable,” Kennedy sought to contain communism in Latin America by establishing the Alliance for Progress, which sent aid to troubled countries and sought greater human rights standards in the region. He worked closely with Governor of Puerto Rico Luis Muñoz Marín for the development of the Alliance of Progress, and began working towards the autonomy of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

When the president took office the Eisenhower administration, through the CIA, had begun formulating plans for the assassination of Castro in Cuba and Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Kennedy privately instructed the CIA that any such planning must include plausible deniability by the U.S. His public position was in opposition. In June 1961 the Dominican Republic’s leader was assassinated; in the days following the event, Undersecretary of State Chester Bowles led a cautious reaction by the nation. Robert Kennedy, who saw an opportunity for the U.S., called Bowles “a gutless bastard” to his face.

Peace Corps

As one of his first presidential acts, Kennedy asked Congress to create the Peace Corps. His brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, was the first director. Through this program, Americans volunteer to help underdeveloped nations in areas such as education, farming, health care, and construction. The organization grew to 5,000 members by March 1963 and 10,000 the following year. Since 1961, over 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 139 countries.

Executive Order 10924
Executive Order 10924

Southeast Asia

When briefing Kennedy, Eisenhower emphasized that the communist threat in Southeast Asia required priority; Eisenhower considered Laos to be “the cork in the bottle” in regards to the regional threat. In March 1961, Kennedy voiced a change in policy from supporting a “free” Laos to a “neutral” Laos, indicating privately that Vietnam, and not Laos, should be deemed America’s tripwire for communism’s spread in the area. In May 1961 he dispatched Lyndon Johnson to meet with South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh Diem. Johnson assured Diem more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists. Kennedy announced a change of policy from support to partnership with Diem in defeat of communism in South Vietnam.

Kennedy initially followed Eisenhower’s lead, using limited military action to fight the communist forces led by Ho Chi Minh. Kennedy continued policies that provided political, economic, and military support to the South Vietnamese government. Late in 1961 the Viet Cong began assuming a predominant presence, initially seizing the provincial capital of Phuoc Vinh. Kennedy increased the number of helicopters, military advisors, and undeclared U.S. Special Forces in the area, but he was reluctant to order a full-scale deployment of troops. In late 1961, President Kennedy sent Roger Hilsman, then director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, to assess the situation in Vietnam. There Hilsman met Sir Robert Thompson, head of the British Advisory Mission to South Vietnam and the concept of the Strategic Hamlet Program was formed. It was approved by Kennedy and South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem. It was implemented in early 1962 and involved some forced relocation, village internment, and segregation of rural South Vietnamese into new communities where the peasantry would be isolated from Communist insurgents. It was hoped these new communities would provide security for the peasants and strengthen the tie between them and the central government. However, by November 1963 the program waned and officially ended in 1964.

In early 1962, Kennedy formally authorized escalated involvement when he signed the “National Security Action Memorandum – Subversive Insurgency (War of Liberation)”. Secretary of State Dean Rusk voiced strong support for U.S. involvement. “Operation Ranch Hand“, a large-scale aerial defoliation effort, began on the roadsides of South Vietnam.

Kennedy with future Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt in the Oval Office in 1963
Kennedy with future Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt in the Oval Office in 1963

In April 1963, Kennedy assessed the situation in Vietnam: “We don’t have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. Those people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at any point. But I can’t give up that territory to the communists and get the American people to re-elect me”. Kennedy faced a crisis in Vietnam by July; despite increased U.S. support, the South Vietnamese military was only marginally effective against pro-communist Viet Cong forces.

On August 21, just as the new U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge arrived, Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu ordered South Vietnam forces, funded and trained by the CIA, to quell Buddhist demonstrations. The crackdowns heightened expectations of a coup d’état to remove Diem with (or perhaps by) his brother, Nhu. Lodge was instructed to try to get Diem and Nhu to step down and leave the country. Diem would not listen to Lodge.Cable 243 (DEPTEL 243), dated August 24, followed, declaring Washington would no longer tolerate Nhu’s actions, and Lodge was ordered to pressure Diem to remove Nhu. If Diem refused, the Americans would explore alternative leadership. Lodge stated that the only workable option was to get the South Vietnamese generals to overthrow Diem and Nhu, as originally planned. At week’s end, Kennedy learned from Lodge that the Diem government might, due to France’s assistance to Nhu, be dealing secretly with the communists—and might ask the Americans to leave; orders were sent to Saigon and throughout Washington to “destroy all coup cables”. At the same time, the first formal anti-Vietnam war sentiment was expressed by U.S. clergy from the Ministers’ Vietnam Committee.

A White House meeting in September was indicative of the very different ongoing appraisals; the President was given updated assessments after personal inspections on the ground by the Department of Defense (General Victor Krulak) and the State Department (Joseph Mendenhall). Krulak said the military fight against the communists was progressing and being won, while Mendenhall stated that the country was civilly being lost to any U.S. influence. Kennedy reacted, saying, “Did you two gentlemen visit the same country?” The president was unaware the two men were at such odds that they had not spoken to each other on the return flight.

In October 1963, the president appointed Defense Secretary McNamara and General Maxwell D. Taylor to a Vietnam mission in another effort to synchronize the information and formulation of policy. The objective of the McNamara Taylor mission “emphasized the importance of getting to the bottom of the differences in reporting from U.S. representatives in Vietnam”. In meetings with McNamara, Taylor, and Lodge, Diem again refused to agree to governing measures insisted upon by the U.S., helping to dispel McNamara’s previous optimism about Diem. Taylor and McNamara were also enlightened by Vietnam’s Vice President, Nguyen Ngoc Tho (choice of many to succeed Diem should a coup occur), who in detailed terms obliterated Taylor’s information that the military was succeeding in the countryside. At Kennedy’s insistence, the mission report contained a recommended schedule for troop withdrawals: 1,000 by year’s end and complete withdrawal in 1965, something the NSC considered a strategic fantasy. The final report declared that the military was making progress, that the increasingly unpopular Diem-led government was not vulnerable to a coup, and that an assassination of Diem or Nhu was a possibility.

In late October, intelligence wires again reported that a coup against the Diem government was afoot. The source, Vietnamese General Duong Van Minh (also known as “Big Minh”), wanted to know the U.S. position. Kennedy instructed Lodge to offer covert assistance to the coup, excluding assassination, and to ensure deniability by the U.S. Later that month, as the coup became imminent, Kennedy ordered all cables routed through him. A policy of “control and cut out” was initiated to insure presidential control of U.S. responses, while cutting him out of the paper trail. On November 1, 1963, South Vietnamese generals, led by “Big Minh”, overthrew the Diem government, arresting and then killing Diem and Nhu. Kennedy was shocked by the deaths. He found out afterwards that Minh had asked the CIA field office to secure safe passage out of the country for Diem and Nhu, but was told 24 hours was needed to get a plane. Minh responded that he could not hold them that long. News of the coup initially led to renewed confidence—both in America and in South Vietnam—that the war might be won. McGeorge Bundy drafted a National Security Action Memo to present to Kennedy upon his return from Dallas. It reiterated the resolve to fight communism in Vietnam, with increasing military and economic aid and expansion of operations into Laos and Cambodia. Before leaving for Dallas, Kennedy told Michael Forrestal that “after the first of the year … [he wanted] an in depth study of every possible option, including how to get out of there … to review this whole thing from the bottom to the top”. When asked what he thought the president meant, Forrestal said, “it was devil’s advocate stuff.”

Historians disagree on whether Vietnam would have escalated had Kennedy survived and been re-elected in 1964. Fueling the debate are statements made by Secretary of Defense McNamara in the film “The Fog of War” that Kennedy was strongly considering pulling out of Vietnam after the 1964 election. The film also contains a tape recording of Lyndon Johnson stating that Kennedy was planning to withdraw, a position that Johnson disagreed with. Kennedy had signed National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263, dated October 11, which ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 military personnel by the end of the year. Such an action would have been a policy reversal, but Kennedy was moving in a less hawkish direction since his acclaimed speech about world peace at American University on June 10, 1963.

When Robert Kennedy was asked in 1964 what his brother would have done if the South Vietnamese had been on the brink of defeat, he replied, “We’d face that when we came to it.” At the time of Kennedy’s death, no final policy decision had been made as to Vietnam. U.S. involvement in the region escalated until Lyndon Johnson, his successor, directly deployed regular U.S. military forces for fighting the Vietnam War. After Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson passed NSAM 273 on November 26, 1963. It reversed Kennedy’s decision to withdraw 1,000 troops, and reaffirmed the policy of assistance to the South Vietnamese.

American University Speech

Kennedy delivers the commencement speech at American University, June 10, 1963
Kennedy delivers the commencement speech at American University, June 10, 1963

On June 10, 1963, Kennedy delivered the commencement address at American University in Washington, D.C., “to discuss a topic on which too often ignorance abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived—yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace … I speak of peace because of the new face of war…in an age when a singular nuclear weapon contains ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied forces in the Second World War … an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and air and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn … I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men … world peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor—it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance … our problems are man-made—therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.” The president also made two announcements—that the Soviets had expressed a desire to negotiate a nuclear test ban treaty and that the U.S had postponed planned atmospheric tests.

West Berlin Speech

Kennedy delivering his speech in Berlin
Kennedy delivering his speech in Berlin

In 1963, Germany was enduring a time of particular vulnerability due to Soviet aggression to the east, de Gaulle’s French nationalism to the west, and the impending retirement of German Chancellor Adenauer. On June 26 Kennedy gave a public speech in West Berlin reiterating the American commitment to Germany and criticizing communism; he was met with an ecstatic response from a massive audience. Kennedy used the construction of the Berlin Wall as an example of the failures of communism: “Freedom has many difficulties, and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.” The speech is known for its famous phrase Ich bin ein Berliner (“I am a citizen of Berlin”). A million people were on the street for the speech. He remarked to Ted Sorensen afterwards: “We’ll never have another day like this one, as long as we live.”

Israel

In 1960, Kennedy stated: “Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom”. Subsequently as president, Kennedy initiated the creation of security ties with Israel, and he is credited as the founder of the US-Israeli military alliance (which would be continued under subsequent presidents). Kennedy ended the arms embargo that the Eisenhower and Truman administrations had enforced on Israel. Describing the protection of Israel as a moral and national commitment, he was the first to introduce the concept of a ‘special relationship’ (as he described it to Golda Meir) between the US and Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir with Kennedy, December 27, 1962
Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir with Kennedy, December 27, 1962

Kennedy extended the first informal security guarantees to Israel in 1962 and, beginning in 1963, was the first US president to allow the sale to Israel of advanced US weaponry (the MIM-23 Hawk), as well as to provide diplomatic support for Israeli policies which were opposed by Arab neighbours; such as its water project on the Jordan River. However, as result of this newly created security alliance, Kennedy also encountered tensions with the Israeli government regarding the production of nuclear materials in Dimona, which he believed could instigate a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East. After the existence of a nuclear plant was initially denied by the Israeli government, David Ben-Gurion stated in a speech to the Israeli Knesset on December 21, 1960, that the purpose of the nuclear plant at Beersheba was for “research in problems of arid zones and desert flora and fauna”. When Ben-Gurion met with Kennedy in New York, he claimed that Dimona was being developed to provide nuclear power for desalinization and other peaceful purposes “for the time being”. When Kennedy wrote that he was skeptical, and stated in a May 1963 letter to Ben-Gurion that American support to Israel could be in jeopardy if reliable information on the Israeli nuclear program was not forthcoming, Ben-Gurion repeated previous reassurances that Dimona was being developed for peaceful purposes. The Israeli government resisted American pressure to open its nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections. In 1962, the US and Israeli governments had agreed to an annual inspection regime. A science attache at the embassy in Tel Aviv concluded that parts of the Dimona facility had been shut down temporarily to mislead American scientists when they visited. According to Seymour Hersh, the Israelis set up false control rooms to show the Americans. Israeli lobbyist Abe Feinberg stated, “It was part of my job to tip them off that Kennedy was insisting on [an inspection].” Hersh contends the inspections were conducted in such a way that it “guaranteed that the whole procedure would be little more than a whitewash, as the President and his senior advisors had to understand: the American inspection team would have to schedule its visits well in advance, and with the full acquiescence of Israel.”. Marc Trachtenberg argued: “Although well aware of what the Israelis were doing, Kennedy chose to take this as satisfactory evidence of Israeli compliance with America’s non-proliferation policy.” The American who led the inspection team stated that the essential goal of the inspections was to find “ways to not reach the point of taking action against Israel’s nuclear weapons program”.

Rodger Davies, the director of the State Department’s Office of Near Eastern Affairs, concluded in March 1965 that Israel was developing nuclear weapons. He reported that Israel’s target date for achieving nuclear capability was 1968–69. On May 1, 1968, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach told President Johnson that Dimona was producing enough plutonium to produce two bombs a year. The State Department argued that if Israel wanted arms, it should accept international supervision of its nuclear program. Dimona was never placed under IAEA safeguards. Attempts to write Israeli adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) into contracts for the supply of U.S. weapons continued throughout 1968.

Iraq

In 1963, the Kennedy administration backed the coup against the government of Iraq headed by Abd al-Karim Qasim, who five years earlier had deposed the Western-allied Iraqi monarchy. On February 8, 1963, Kennedy received a memo stating: “We will make informal friendly noises as soon as we can find out whom to talk with, and ought to recognize as soon as we’re sure these guys are firmly in the saddle. CIA had excellent reports on the plotting, but I doubt either they or UK should claim much credit for it.” The CIA had planned to remove Qasim in the past, but those efforts did not come to fruition. The new government, led by Abdul Salam Arif and dominated by the Ba’ath Party (along with a coalition of Nasserists and Iraqi nationalists), allegedly used lists—provided by the CIA—of suspected communists and other leftists to systematically murder unknown numbers of Iraq’s educated elite. The U.S. continued to back Arif after he purged the Ba’ath Party from the government. Former CIA officer James Chritchfield disputed the notion that the CIA offered “active support” to the coup plotters, arguing that while “well-informed” on the first coup, it was “surprised” by the power struggles that followed.

Ireland

John F. Kennedy visiting the John Barry Memorial at Crescent Quay in Wexford, Ireland.
John F. Kennedy visiting the John Barry Memorial at Crescent Quay in Wexford, Ireland.

During his four-day visit to his ancestral home of Ireland in June 1963, Kennedy accepted a grant of armorial bearings from the Chief Herald of Ireland and received honorary degrees from the National University of Ireland and Trinity College, Dublin. He visited the cottage at Dunganstown, near New Ross, County Wexford where his ancestors had lived before emigrating to America. He also became the first foreign leader to address the Houses of the Oireachtas (the Irish parliament). On December 22, 2006, the Irish Department of Justice released declassified police documents indicating that security was heightened as Kennedy was the subject of three death threats during this visit.

President Kennedy in motorcade in Patrick Street, Cork, in Ireland on June 28, 1963
President Kennedy in motorcade in Patrick Street, Cork, in Ireland on June 28, 1963

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Troubled by the long-term dangers of radioactive contamination and nuclear weapons proliferation, Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed to negotiate a nuclear test ban treaty, originally conceived in Adlai Stevenson‘s 1956 presidential campaign. In their Vienna summit meeting in June 1961, Khrushchev and Kennedy reached an informal understanding against nuclear testing, but the Soviet Union began testing nuclear weapons that September. The United States responded by conducting tests five days later. Shortly thereafter, new U.S. satellites began delivering images which made it clear that the Soviets were substantially behind the U.S. in the arms race. Nevertheless, the greater nuclear strength of the U.S. was of little value as long as the U.S.S.R. perceived themselves to be at parity.

In July 1963, Kennedy sent Averell Harriman to Moscow to negotiate a treaty with the Soviets. The introductory sessions included Khrushchev, who later delegated Soviet representation to Andrei Gromyko. It quickly became clear that a comprehensive test ban would not be implemented, due largely to the reluctance of the Soviets to allow inspections that would verify compliance. Ultimately, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union were the initial signatories to a limited treaty, which prohibited atomic testing on the ground, in the atmosphere, or underwater, but not underground; the U.S. Senate ratified this and Kennedy signed it into law in October 1963. France was quick to declare that it was free to continue developing and testing its nuclear defenses.

Soekarno

BIOGRAPHY


Read also: Mohammad Hatta

7 Juli 2013

BUNG KARNO

Patung Lilin Bung Karno di Madame Tussauds Bangkok
Patung Lilin Bung Karno di Madame Tussauds Bangkok (Closed Up)

Ringkasan Tentang Soekarno

Soekarno

Dr. Ir. Soekarno adalah Presiden Indonesia pertama yang menjabat pada periode 1945–1966. Ia memainkan peranan penting untuk memerdekakan bangsa Indonesia dari penjajahan Belanda. Wikipedia
  • Lahir: 6 Juni 1901, Kota Blitar, Indonesia
  • Meninggal: 21 Juni 1970, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Pendidikan: Institut Teknologi Bandung
  • Anak: Megawati Soekarnoputri, Guruh Soekarnoputra, Lainnya
  • Pasangan: Heldy Djafar (m. 1966–1969), Lainnya
  • Orang tua: Soekemi Sosrodihardjo, Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai
Patung Lilin Bung Karno
Patung Lilin Bung Karno di Madame Tussauds Bangkok (Full Body)

Bung Karno 2Ir Soekarno dikenal sebagai Presiden pertama Republik Indonesia dan juga sebagai Pahlawan Proklamasi, Bung Karno merupakan salah satu Presiden yang paling berani melawan musuh-musuh yang dianggap bisa mengacaukan keutuhan Indonesia, banyak pemimpin dunia menghormatinya.  Nama Presiden Soekarno dikenal sangat besar dan harum oleh rakyat Indonesia karena jasa-jasanya. Soekarno yang biasa dipanggil Bung Karno, lahir di Blitar, Jawa Timur, 6 Juni 1901 dan wafat pada tanggal 21 Juni 1970 di Jakarta. Saat ia lahir dinamakan Koesno Sosrodihardjo. Ayahnya bernama Raden Soekemi Sosrodihardjo dan ibunya Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai. Semasa hidupnya, beliau mempunyai tiga istri dan dikaruniai delapan anak. Dari istri Fatmawati mempunyai anak Guntur, Megawati, Rachmawati, Sukmawati dan Guruh. Dari istri Hartini mempunyai Taufan dan Bayu, sedangkan dari istri Ratna Sari Dewi, wanita turunan Jepang bernama asli Naoko Nemoto mempunyai anak Kartika..

Masa kecil Soekarno hanya beberapa tahun hidup bersama orang tuanya di Blitar. Semasa SD hingga tamat, beliau tinggal di Surabaya, indekos di rumah Haji Oemar Said Tokroaminoto, politisi kawakan pendiri Syarikat Islam. Kemudian melanjutkan sekolah di HBS (Hoogere Burger School). Saat belajar di HBS itu, Soekarno telah menggembleng jiwa nasionalismenya. Selepas lulus HBS tahun 1920, pindah ke Bandung dan melanjut ke THS (Technische Hoogeschool atau sekolah Tekhnik Tinggi yang sekarang menjadi ITB). Ia berhasil meraih gelar “Ir” pada 25 Mei 1926.

Kemudian, beliau merumuskan ajaran Marhaenisme dan mendirikan PNI (Partai Nasional lndonesia) pada 4 Juli 1927, dengan tujuan Indonesia Merdeka. Akibatnya, Belanda, memasukkannya ke penjara Sukamiskin, Bandung pada 29 Desember 1929. Saat dipenjara, Soekarno mengandalkan hidupnya dari sang istri. Seluruh kebutuhan hidup dipasok oleh Inggit yang dibantu oleh kakak kandung Soekarno, Sukarmini atau yang lebih dikenal sebagai Ibu Wardoyo. Saat dipindahkan ke penjara Sukamiskin, pengawasan terhadap Soekarno semakin keras dan ketat.

Dia dikategorikan sebagai tahanan yang berbahaya. Bahkan untuk mengisolasi Soekarno agar tidak mendapat informasi dari luar, dia digabungkan dengan para tahanan ‘elite’. Kelompok tahanan ini sebagian besar terdiri dari orang Belanda yang terlibat korupsi, penyelewengan, atau penggelapan. Tentu saja, obrolan dengan mereka tidak nyambung dengan Bung Karno muda yang sedang bersemangat membahas perjuangan kemerdekaan. Paling banter yang dibicarakan adalah soal makanan, cuaca, dan hal-hal yang tidak penting. Beberapa bulan pertama menjadi tahanan di Sukamiskin, komunikasi Bung Karno dengan rekan-rekan seperjuangannya nyaris putus sama sekali. Tapi sebenarnya, ada berbagai cara dan akal yang dilakukan Soekarno untuk tetap mendapat informasi dari luar.

Hal itu terjadi saat pihak penjara membolehkan Soekarno menerima kiriman makanan dan telur dari luar. Telur yang merupakan barang dagangan Inggit itu selalu diperiksa ketat oleh sipir sebelum diterima Bung Karno. Seperti yang dituturkan Ibu Wardoyo yang dikutip dalam buku ‘Bung Karno Masa Muda’ terbitan Pustaka Antarkota tahun 1978, telur menjadi alat komunikasi untuk mengabarkan keadaan di luar penjara. Caranya, bila Inggit mengirim telur asin, artinya di luar ada kabar buruk yang menimpa rekan-rekan Bung Karno. Namun dia hanya bisa menduga-duga saja kabar buruk tersebut, karena Inggit tidak bisa menjelaskan secara detail.

Seiring berjalannya waktu, Soekarno dan Inggit kemudian menemukan cara yang lebih canggih untuk mengelabui Belanda. Medianya masih sama, telur. Namun, telur tersebut telah ditusuk-tusuk dengan jarum halus dan pesan lebih detail mengenai kabar buruk itu dapat dipahami Bung Karno. Satu tusukan di telur berarti semua kabar baik, dua tusukan artinya seorang teman ditangkap, dan tiga tusukan berarti ada penyergapan besar-besaran terhadap para aktivis pergerakan kemerdekaan.

Selama menjalani masa hukuman dari Desember 1929 hingga dibebaskan pada tanggal 31 Desember 1931, Soekarno tidak pernah dijenguk oleh kedua orangtuanya yang berada Blitar. Menurut Ibu Wardoyo, orang tua mereka Raden Soekemi Sosrodihardjo dan Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai tidak sanggup melihat anak yang mereka banggakan itu berada di tempat hina yakni penjara dan dalam posisi yang tidak berdaya.

Apalagi, saat di Sukamiskin, menurut Ibu Wardoyo, kondisi Soekarno demikian kurus dan hitam. Namun Bung Karno beralasan, dia sengaja membuat kulitnya menjadi hitam dengan bekerja dan bergerak di bawah terik matahari untuk memanaskan tulang-tulangnya. Sebab di dalam sel tidak ada sinar matahari, lembab, gelap, dan dingin. Delapan bulan kemudian baru disidangkan. Dalam pembelaannya berjudul Indonesia Menggugat, beliau menunjukkan kemurtadan Belanda, bangsa yang mengaku lebih maju itu.

Pembelaannya itu membuat Belanda makin marah. Sehingga pada Juli 1930, PNI pun dibubarkan. Setelah bebas pada tahun 1931, Soekarno bergabung dengan Partindo dan sekaligus memimpinnya. Akibatnya, beliau kembali ditangkap Belanda dan dibuang ke Ende, Flores, tahun 1933. Empat tahun kemudian dipindahkan ke Bengkulu.

Setelah melalui perjuangan yang cukup panjang, Bung Karno dan Bung Hatta memproklamasikan kemerdekaan RI pada 17 Agustus 1945. Dalam sidang BPUPKI tanggal 1 Juni 1945, Ir.Soekarno mengemukakan gagasan tentang dasar negara yang disebutnya Pancasila. Tanggal 17 Agustus 1945, Ir Soekarno dan Drs. Mohammad Hatta memproklamasikan kemerdekaan Indonesia. Dalam sidang PPKI, 18 Agustus 1945 Ir.Soekarno terpilih secara aklamasi sebagai Presiden Republik Indonesia yang pertama.

Sebelumnya, beliau juga berhasil merumuskan Pancasila yang kemudian menjadi dasar (ideologi) Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia. Beliau berupaya mempersatukan nusantara. Bahkan Soekarno berusaha menghimpun bangsa-bangsa di Asia, Afrika, dan Amerika Latin dengan Konferensi Asia Afrika di Bandung pada 1955 yang kemudian berkembang menjadi Gerakan Non Blok.

Presiden Soekarno semasa hidupnya dikenal memiliki pesona, sehingga dengan mudah menaklukkan wanita-wanita cantik yang diinginkannya. Sejarah mencatat Bung Karno sembilan kali menikah. Namun banyak yang tidak tahu wanita seperti apa yang dicintai Sang Putra Fajar itu. Untuk urusan kriteria ternyata Bung Karno bukanlah sosok pria neko-neko. Perhatian Bung Karno akan mudah tersedot jika melihat wanita sederhana yang berpakaian sopan. Lalu, bagaimana Bung Karno memandang wanita berpenampilan seksi? Pernah di satu kesempatan ketika sedang jalan berdua dengan Fatmawati, Bung Karno bercerita mengenai penilaiannya terhadap wanita. Kala itu Bung Karno benar-benar sedang jatuh hati pada Fatmawati.

“Pada suatu sore ketika kami sedang berjalan-jalan berdua, Fatmawati bertanya padaku tentang jenis perempuan yang kusukai,” ujar Soekaro dalam buku ‘Bung Karno Masa Muda’ terbitan Pustaka Antar Kota. Sesaat Bung Karno memandang sosok Fatmawati yang saat itu berpakaian sederhana dan sopan. Perasaan Bung Karno benar-benar bergejolak, dia sedikit terkejut mendengar pertanyaan itu. “Aku memandang kepada gadis desa ini yang berpakaian baju kurung merah dan berkerudung kuning diselubungkan dengan sopan. Kukatakan padanya, aku menyukai perempuan dengan keasliannya, bukan wanita modern yang pakai rok pendek, baju ketat dan gincu bibir yang menyilaukan,” kata Soekarno.

“Saya lebih menyukai wanita kolot yang setia menjaga suaminya dan senatiasa mengambilkan alas kakinya. Saya tidak menyukai wanita Amerika dari generasi baru, yang saya dengar menyuruh suaminya mencuci piring,” tambahnya. Mungkin saat itu Fatmawati begitu terpesona mendengar jawaban Soekarno yang lugas. Sampai pada akhirnya jodoh mempertemukan keduanya. Soekarno menikah dengan Fatmawati pada tahun 1943, dan dikarunia 5 anak yakni Guntur, Megawati, Rachmawati, Sukmawati, dan Guruh. “Saya menyukai perempuan yang merasa bahagia dengan anak banyak. Saya sangat mencintai anak-anak,” katanya.

Menurut pengakuan Ibu Fatmawati, dia dan Bung Karno tidak pernah merayakan ulang tahun perkawinan, Jangankan kawin perak atau kawin emas, ulang tahun pernikahan ke-1, ke-2 atau ke-3 saja tidak pernah. Sebabnya tak lain karena keduanya tidak pernah ingat kapan menikah. Ini bisa dimaklumi karena saat berlangsungnya pernikahan, zaman sedang dibalut perang. Saat itu Perang Dunia II sedang berkecamuk dan Jepang baru datang untuk menjajah Indonesia.

“Kami tidak pernah merayakan kawin perak atau kawin emas. Sebab kami anggap itu soal remeh, sedangkan kami selalu dihadapkan pada persoalan-persoalan besar yang hebat dan dahsyat,” begitu cerita Ibu Fatmawati di buku Bung Karno Masa Muda, terbitan Pustaka Antar Kota, 1978.

Kehidupan pernikahan Bung Karno dan Fatmawati memang penuh dengan gejolak perjuangan. Dua tahun setelah keduanya menikah, Indonesia mencapai kemerdekaan. Tetapi ini belum selesai, justru saat itu perjuangan fisik mencapai puncaknya. Bung Karno pastinya terlibat dalam setiap momen-momen penting perjuangan bangsa. Pasangan ini melahirkan putra pertamanya yaitu Guntur Soekarnoputra. Guntur lahir pada saat Bung Karno sudah berusia 42 tahun. Berikutnya lahir Megawati, Rachmawati, Sukmawati, dan Guruh. Putra-putri Bung Karno dikenal memiliki bakat kesenian tinggi. Hal itu tak aneh mengingat Bung Karno adalah sosok pengagum karya seni, sementara Ibu Fatmawati sangat pandai menari.

Sejak kecil, Soekarno sangat menyukai cerita wayang. Dia hapal banyak cerita wayang sejak kecil. Saat masih bersekolah di Surabaya, Soekarno rela begadang jika ada pertunjukan wayang semalam suntuk. Dia pun senang menggambar wayang di batu tulisnya. Saat ditahan dalam penjara Banceuy pun kisah-kisah wayanglah yang memberi kekuatan pada Soekarno. Terinspirasi dari Gatot Kaca, Soekarno yakin kebenaran akan menang, walau harus kalah dulu berkali-kali. Dia yakin suatu saat penjajah Belanda akan kalah oleh perjuangan rakyat Indonesia.

Pertunjukan wayang di dalam sel itu tidak hanya menyenangkan dan menghiburku. Dia juga menenangkan perasaan dan memberi kekuatan pada diriku. Bayangan-bayangan hitam di kepalaku menguap bagai kabut dan aku bisa tidur nyenyak dengan penegasan atas keyakinanku. Bahwa yang baik akan menang atas yang jahat,” ujar Soekarno dalam biografinya yang ditulis Cindy Adams “Bung Karno, Penyambung Lidah Rakyat Indonesia yang diterbitkan Yayasan Bung Karno tahun 2007. Soekarno tidak hanya mencintai budaya Jawa. Dia juga mengagumi tari-tarian dari seantero negeri. Soekarno juga begitu takjub akan tarian selamat datang yang dilakukan oleh penduduk Papua. Karena kecintaan Soekarno pada seni dan budaya, Istana Negara penuh dengan aneka lukisan, patung dan benda-benda seni lainnya. Setiap pergi ke daerah, Soekarno selalu mencari sesuatu yang unik dari daerah tersebut. Dia menghargai setiap seniman, budayawan hingga penabuh gamelan. Soekarno akan meluangkan waktunya untuk berbincang-bincang soal seni dan budaya setiap pagi, di samping bicara politik.

Pemberontakan G-30-S/PKI melahirkan krisis politik hebat yang menyebabkan penolakan MPR atas pertanggungjawabannya. Sebaliknya MPR mengangkat Soeharto sebagai Pejabat Presiden. Saat-saat diasingkan di Istana Bogor selepas G-30S/PKI, Soekarno membunuh waktunya dengan mengiventarisir musik-musik keroncong yang dulu populer tahun 1930an dan kemudian menghilang. Atas kerja kerasnya dan beberapa seniman keroncong, Soekarno berhasil menyelamatkan beberapa karya keroncong. Setlah itu Kesehatannya terus memburuk, yang pada hari Minggu, 21 Juni 1970 ia meninggal dunia di RSPAD. Ia disemayamkan di Wisma Yaso, Jakarta dan dimakamkan di Blitar, Jatim di dekat makam ibundanya, Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai. Pemerintah menganugerahkannya sebagai “Pahlawan Proklamasi”.

Detik Detik Kematian Sang Presiden

“Jakarta, Selasa, 16 Juni 1970. Ruangan intensive care RSPAD Gatot Subroto dipenuhi tentara sejak pagi. Serdadu berseragam dan bersenjata lengkap bersiaga penuh di beberapa titik strategis rumah sakit tersebut. Tak kalah banyaknya, petugas keamanan berpakaian preman juga hilir mudik di koridor rumah sakit hingga pelataran parkir.”

  • Sedari pagi, suasana mencekam sudah terasa. Kabar yang berhembus mengatakan, mantan Presiden Soekarno akan dibawa ke rumah sakit ini dari rumah tahanannya di Wisma Yaso yang hanya berjarak lima kilometer.
  • Malam ini desas-desus itu terbukti. Di dalam ruang perawatan yang sangat sederhana untuk ukuran seorang mantan presiden, Soekarno tergolek lemah di pembaringan. Sudah beberapa hari ini kesehatannya sangat mundur. Sepanjang hari, orang yang dulu pernah sangat berkuasa ini terus memejamkan mata. Suhu tubuhnya sangat tinggi. Penyakit ginjal yang tidak dirawat secara semestinya kian menggerogoti kekuatan tubuhnya.

“Lelaki yang pernah amat jantan dan berwibawa, dan sebab itu banyak digila-gilai perempuan seantero jagad, sekarang tak ubahnya bagai sesosok mayat hidup. Tiada lagi wajah gantengnya. Kini wajah yang dihiasi gigi gingsulnya telah membengkak, tanda bahwa racun telah menyebar ke mana-mana. Bukan hanya bengkak, tapi bolong-bolong bagaikan permukaan bulan. Mulutnya yang dahulu mampu menyihir jutaan massa dengan pidato-pidatonya yang sangat memukau, kini hanya terkatup rapat dan kering. Sebentar-sebentar bibirnya gemetar. Menahan sakit. Kedua tangannya yang dahulu sanggup meninju langit dan mencakar udara, kini tergolek lemas di sisi tubuhnya yang kian kurus.”

  • Sang Putera Fajar tinggal menunggu waktu
  • Dua hari kemudian, Megawati, anak sulungnya dari Fatmawati diizinkan tentara untuk mengunjungi ayahnya. Menyaksikan ayahnya yang tergolek lemah dan tidak mampu membuka matanya, kedua mata Mega menitikkan airmata. Bibirnya secara perlahan didekatkan ke telinga manusia yang paling dicintainya ini.
  • “Pak, Pak, ini Ega…”
  • Senyap.

“Ayahnya tak bergerak. Kedua matanya juga tidak membuka. Namun kedua bibir Soekarno yang telah pecah-pecah bergerak-gerak kecil, gemetar, seolah ingin mengatakan sesuatu pada puteri sulungnya itu. Soekarno tampak mengetahui kehadiran Megawati. Tapi dia tidak mampu membuka matanya. Tangan kanannya bergetar seolah ingin menuliskan sesuatu untuk puteri sulungnya, tapi tubuhnya terlampau lemah untuk sekadar menulis. Tangannya kembali terkulai. Soekarno terdiam lagi.”

  • Melihat kenyataan itu, perasaan Megawati amat terpukul. Air matanya yang sedari tadi ditahan kini menitik jatuh. Kian deras. Perempuan muda itu menutupi hidungnya dengan sapu tangan. Tak kuat menerima kenyataan, Megawati menjauh dan limbung. Mega segera dipapah keluar.
  • Harum jam terus bergerak. Di luar kamar, sepasukan tentara terus berjaga lengkap dengan senjata.
  • Malam harinya ketahanan tubuh seorang Soekarno ambrol. Dia coma. Antara hidup dan mati. Tim dokter segera memberikan bantuan seperlunya.
  • Keesokan hari, mantan wakil presiden Muhammad Hatta diizinkan mengunjungi kolega lamanya ini. Hatta yang ditemani sekretarisnya menghampiri pembaringan Soekarno dengan sangat hati-hati. Dengan segenap kekuatan yang berhasil dihimpunnya, Soekarno berhasil membuka matanya. Menahan rasa sakit yang tak terperi, Soekarno berkata lemah.
  • “Hatta.., kau di sini..?”
  • Yang disapa tidak bisa menyembunyikan kesedihannya. Namun Hatta tidak mau kawannya ini mengetahui jika dirinya bersedih. Dengan sekuat tenaga memendam kepedihan yang mencabik hati, Hatta berusaha menjawab Soekarno dengan wajar. Sedikit tersenyum menghibur.
  • “Ya, bagaimana keadaanmu, No ?”

“Hatta menyapanya dengan sebutan yang digunakannya di masa lalu. Tangannya memegang lembut tangan Soekarno. Panasnya menjalari jemarinya. Dia ingin memberikan kekuatan pada orang yang sangat dihormatinya ini.”

  • Bibir Soekarno bergetar, tiba-tiba, masih dengan lemah, dia balik bertanya dengan bahasa Belanda. Sesuatu yang biasa mereka berdua lakukan ketika mereka masih bersatu dalam Dwi Tunggal. “Hoe gaat het met jou…?” Bagaimana keadaanmu?
  • Hatta memaksakan diri tersenyum. Tangannya masih memegang lengan Soekarno.
  • Soekarno kemudian terisak bagai anak kecil. Lelaki perkasa itu menangis di depan kawan seperjuangannya, bagai bayi yang kehilangan mainan. Hatta tidak lagi mampu mengendalikan perasaannya. Pertahanannya bobol. Airmatanya juga tumpah. Hatta ikut menangis.
  • Kedua teman lama yang sempat berpisah itu saling berpegangan tangan seolah takut berpisah. Hatta tahu, waktu yang tersedia bagi orang yang sangat dikaguminya ini tidak akan lama lagi. Dan Hatta juga tahu, betapa kejamnya siksaan tanpa pukulan yang dialami sahabatnya ini. Sesuatu yang hanya bisa dilakukan oleh manusia yang tidak punya nurani.
  • “No…” Hanya itu yang bisa terucap dari bibirnya. Hatta tidak mampu mengucapkan lebih. Bibirnya bergetar menahan kesedihan sekaligus kekecewaannya. Bahunya terguncang-guncang.

“Jauh di lubuk hatinya, Hatta sangat marah pada penguasa baru yang sampai hati menyiksa bapak bangsa ini. Walau prinsip politik antara dirinya dengan Soekarno tidak bersesuaian, namun hal itu sama sekali tidak merusak persabatannya yang demikian erat dan tulus.”

  • Hatta masih memegang lengan Soekarno ketika kawannya ini kembali memejamkan matanya.
  • Jarum jam terus bergerak. Merambati angka demi angka. Sisa waktu bagi Soekarno kian tipis.
  • Sehari setelah pertemuan dengan Hatta, kondisi Soekarno yang sudah buruk, terus merosot. Putera Sang Fajar itu tidak mampu lagi membuka kedua matanya. Suhu badannya terus meninggi. Soekarno kini menggigil. Peluh membasahi bantal dan piyamanya. Malamnya Dewi Soekarno dan puterinya yang masih berusia tiga tahun, Karina, hadir di rumah sakit. Soekarno belum pernah sekali pun melihat anaknya.
  • Minggu pagi, 21 Juni 1970. Dokter Mardjono, salah seorang anggota tim dokter kepresidenan seperti biasa melakukan pemeriksaan rutin. Bersama dua orang paramedis, Dokter Mardjono memeriksa kondisi pasien istimewanya ini. Sebagai seorang dokter yang telah berpengalaman, Mardjono tahu waktunya tidak akan lama lagi.
  • Dengan sangat hati-hati dan penuh hormat, dia memeriksa denyut nadi Soekarno. Dengan sisa kekuatan yang masih ada, Soekarno menggerakkan tangan kanannya, memegang lengan dokternya. Mardjono merasakan panas yang demikian tinggi dari tangan yang amat lemah ini. Tiba-tiba tangan yang panas itu terkulai. Detik itu juga Soekarno menghembuskan nafas terakhirnya. Kedua matanya tidak pernah mampu lagi untuk membuka. Tubuhnya tergolek tak bergerak lagi. Kini untuk selamanya.

“Situasi di sekitar ruangan sangat sepi. Udara sesaat terasa berhenti mengalir. Suara burung yang biasa berkicau tiada terdengar. Kehampaan sepersekian detik yang begitu mencekam. Sekaligus menyedihkan.”

  • Dunia melepas salah seorang pembuat sejarah yang penuh kontroversi. Banyak orang menyayanginya, tapi banyak pula yang membencinya. Namun semua sepakat, Soekarno adalah seorang manusia yang tidak biasa. Yang belum tentu dilahirkan kembali dalam waktu satu abad. Manusia itu kini telah tiada.
  • Dokter Mardjono segera memanggil seluruh rekannya, sesama tim dokter kepresidenan. Tak lama kemudian mereka mengeluarkan pernyataan resmi: Soekarno telah meninggal.

Isu di bunuh secara perlahan

Banyak Keyakinan orang banyak bahwa Bung Karno dibunuh secara perlahan mungkin bisa dilihat dari cara pengobatan proklamator RI ini yang segalanya diatur secara ketat dan represif oleh Presiden Soeharto. Bung Karno ketika sakit ditahan di Wisma Yasso (Yasso adalah nama saudara laki-laki Dewi Soekarno) di Jl. Gatot Subroto. Penahanan ini membuatnya amat menderita lahir dan bathin. Anak-anaknya pun tidak dapat bebas mengunjunginya.

Banyak resep tim dokternya, yang dipimpin dr. Mahar Mardjono, yang tidak dapat ditukar dengan obat. Ada tumpukan resep di sebuah sudut di tempat penahanan Bung Karno. Resep-resep untuk mengambil obat di situ tidak pernah ditukarkan dengan obat. Bung Karno memang dibiarkan sakit dan mungkin dengan begitu diharapkan oleh penguasa baru tersebut agar bisa mempercepat kematiannya.

Permintaan dari tim dokter Bung Karno untuk mendatangkan alat-alat kesehatan dari Cina pun dilarang oleh Presiden Soeharto. “Bahkan untuk sekadar menebus obat dan mengobati gigi yang sakit, harus seizin dia, ” demikian Rachmawati Soekarnoputeri pernah bercerita.

Jika anda berkunjung ke Bangkok, Thailand jangan lupa untuk berkunjung ke Museum Madame Tussauds untuk melihat Patung Soekarno yang terbuat dari lilin. Patung lilin tersebut dibuat menyerupai Presiden Soekarno. Patung tersebut dibuat sebagai salah satu bentuk penghormatan oleh Madame Tussauds kepada Presiden Soekarno sebagai salah satu Proklamator dan sebagai Bapak Bangsa Indonesia dan juga peranan Soekarno bagi dunia internasional selama menjabat sebagai Presiden Soekarno.

Kata Kata Bijak Soekarno

  1. Kita bangsa besar, kita bukan bangsa tempe. Kita tidak akan mengemis, kita tidak akan minta-minta apalagi jika bantuan-bantuan itu diembel-embeli dengan syarat ini syarat itu ! Lebih baik makan gaplek tetapi merdeka, dari pada makan bestik tetapi budak. [Pidato HUT Proklamasi, 1963]
  2. Bangsa yang besar adalah bangsa yang menghormati jasa pahlawannya. (Pidato Hari Pahlawan 10 Nop.1961)
  3. Perjuanganku lebih mudah karena mengusir penjajah, tapi perjuanganmu akan lebih sulit karena melawan bangsamu sendiri.
  4. Jadikan deritaku ini sebagai kesaksian, bahwa kekuasaan seorang presiden sekalipun ada batasnya. Karena kekuasaan yang langgeng hanyalah kekuasaan rakyat. Dan diatas segalanya adalah kekuasaan Tuhan Yang Maha Esa.
  5. Apabila di dalam diri seseorang masih ada rasa malu dan takut untuk berbuat suatu kebaikan, maka jaminan bagi orang tersebut adalah tidak akan bertemunya ia dengan kemajuan selangkah pun.
  6. Bangsa yang tidak percaya kepada kekuatan dirinya sebagai suatu bangsa, tidak dapat berdiri sebagai suatu bangsa yang merdeka.
  7. ……….Bangunlah suatu dunia di mana semua bangsa hidup dalam damai dan persaudaraan……
  8. Janganlah mengira kita semua sudah cukup berjasa dengan segi tiga warna. Selama masih ada ratap tangis di gubuk-gubuk pekerjaan kita selesai ! Berjuanglah terus dengan mengucurkan sebanyak-banyak keringat.
  9. Berikan aku 1000 orang tua, niscaya akan kucabut semeru dari akarnya, berikan aku 1 pemuda, niscaya akan kuguncangkan dunia
  10. Tidak seorang pun yang menghitung-hitung: berapa untung yang kudapat nanti dari Republik ini, jikalau aku berjuang dan berkorban untuk mempertahankannya
  11. Janganlah melihat ke masa depan dengan mata buta! Masa yang lampau adalah berguna sekali untuk menjadi kaca bengala dari pada masa yang akan datang.

Bung Karno (Ir. Soekarno) Presiden Indonesia Pertama bersama Presiden Amerika John F. Kennedy

Ir. Soekarno 18 Desember 2010 00-37

Politik Luar Negeri Bung Karno. Pidato Presiden Soekarno saat Berkunjung ke Amerika Serikat (bersama Presiden John F. Kenndy)
Politik Luar Negeri Bung Karno. Pidato Presiden Soekarno saat Berkunjung ke Amerika Serikat (bersama Presiden John F. Kenndy)

Buku “Bung Karno – Penjambung Lidah Rakjat Indonesia” karya Cindy Adams

Buku Bung Karno - Penjambung Lidah Rakjat Indonesia karya Cindy Adams

Judul Buku : BUNG KARNO, BAPAKKU, KAWANKU, GURUKU
OLEH : GUNTUR SOEKARNO

Di Terbitkan oleh : PT. DELA-ROHITA, JAKARTA PUSAT

Tebal : 168 hlm.

Genre: Biografi

Bung Karno-Bpaku-Kawanlu-Guruku

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Patung Lilin Bung Karno

Madame Tussauds Bangkok

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Jakarta – Para wisatawan terutama dari Indonesia,yang berkunjung ke Madame Tussauds Bangkok bisa melihat koleksi terbaru: patung lilin Presiden Soekarno. Patung ini begitu mirip aslinya, dengan detil yang sempurna.

Megawati saat Melihat Patung Lilin Bung Karno di Madame Tussauds Bangkok
Megawati saat Melihat Patung Lilin Bung Karno di Madame Tussauds Bangkok

detikTravel secara ekslusif menerima foto Sang Proklamator, dari pihak Madame Tussauds dan Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT), Senin (24/9/2012). Ini adalah tampilan patung Bung Karno yang sudah selesai.

Penilaian detikTravel, detil patung lilin ini begitu luar biasa. Sang Proklamator berdiri dengan tegap dan gagah sesuai tinggi badan aslinya. Bung Karno tampak tersenyum penuh kharisma dengan tangan kanan memegang kepalan tangan kiri di depan perut.

Soekarno memakai bajunya yang terkenal, yaitu kemeja jas empat saku yang berwarna putih dan berkancing emas. Soekarno juga memakai celana panjang putih. Pada bajunya tersemat bintang pada bagian kerah dan tanda kenegaraan pada dada kirinya.

Di balik jas, Bung Karno memakai kemeja putih lengan panjang dan dasi hitam. Sepatu pantofel hitam tampak mengkilat menjadi alas kaki Sang Presiden.

Detil paling sempurna tentu saja ada pada bagian kepala. Gurat mukanya komplit menggambarkan Soekarno yang berusia paruh baya. Soekarno sudah memiliki kerut wajah di tepi mata, di bawah kelopak mata, dan di pipinya.

Gigi Bung Karno berderet rapi memberikan senyuman terbaiknya. Bola mata Soekarno tampak kecoklatan dengan alis yang tebal. Rambutnya yang tebal menyembul dari balik peci.

Peci ini juga merupakan bagian yang khas dari Soekarno. Soekarno selalu memakai peci hitam dalam berbagai kesempatan. Foto yang diterima detikTravel tidak menyertakan Tongkat Komando. Namun dalam display di Madame Tussauds, Soekarno mengapit Tongkat Komando-nya yang legendaris di tangan kiri.

Tidak rugi bagi para wisatawan untuk berjumpa dengan Bung Karno di Madame Tussauds. Detil patung Sang Proklamator begitu sempurna. Keren! (detik)

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