Union of Burma (1962–74)
Pyidaunzu Myăma Nainngandaw
Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma (1974–88)
ပြည်ထောင်စု ဆိုရှယ်လစ်သမ္မတ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံတော်
Pyihtaunghcu Soshallaitsammat Myanmar Ninengantaw
Anthem: Kaba Ma Kyei
Till the End of the World
|Government||One-party state under a totalitarian military dictatorship|
• 1962–1981 (first)
• 1988 (last)
• 1962–1974 (first)
• 1988 (last)
|Historical era||Cold War|
|2 March 1962|
|18 September 1988|
|1974||676,578 km2 (261,228 sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||MM|
|Today part of||Myanmar|
|History of Myanmar|
The Burmese Way to Socialism (Burmese : မြန်မာ့နည်းမြန်မာ့ဟန် ဆိုရှယ်လစ်စနစ်; also known as the Burmese Road to Socialism) refers to the ideology of the military dictatorship in Burma from 1962 to 1988, which was formed after the 1962 coup d'état led by Ne Win and the military in order to remove Prime Minister U Nu from power. More specifically, the Burmese Way to Socialism is an economic treatise written in April 1962 by the Revolutionary Council, shortly after the coup, as a blueprint for economic development, reducing foreign influence in Burma and increasing the role of the military. The military coup led by Ne Win and the Revolutionary Council in 1962 was done under the pretext of economic, religious and political crises in the country, particularly the issue of federalism and the right of Burmese states to secede from the Union.
The "Burmese Way to Socialism" has largely been described by scholars as being xenophobic, superstitious and an "abject failure", and as turning one of the most prosperous countries in Asia into one of the world's poorest.However, real per capita GDP (constant 2000 US$) in Burma increased from $159.18 in 1962 to $219.20 in 1987, or about 1.3% per year - one of the weakest growth rates in East Asia over this period, but still positive. The program also may have served to increase domestic stability and keep Burma from being as entangled in the Cold War struggles that affected other Southeast Asian nations.
The Burmese Way to Socialism greatly increased poverty, inequality, corruption and international isolation,and has been described as "disastrous". Ne Win's later attempt to make the Kyat based in denominations divisible by 9, a number he considered auspicious, wiped out the savings of millions of Burmese. This resulted in the pro-democratic 8888 Uprising, which was violently suppressed by the military, which later established the State Law and Order Restoration Council in 1988.
Under U Nu and the AFPFL-led coalition government, Burma had implemented left-wing economic and welfare policies, although economic growth remained slow throughout the 1950s.On 28 October 1958, Ne Win had staged a coup, under the auspices of U Nu, who asked Ne Win to serve as interim prime minister, to restore order in the country, after the AFPFL split into two factions and U Nu barely survived a motion of no-confidence against his government in parliament. Ne Win restored order during the period known as the Ne Win caretaker government . Elections were held in February 1960 and Ne Win handed back power to the victorious U Nu on 4 April 1960.
By 1958, Burma was largely beginning to recover economically, but was beginning to fall apart politically due to a split in the AFPFL into two factions, one led by Thakins Nu and Tin, the other by Ba Swe and Kyaw Nyein.And this situation persisted despite the unexpected success of U Nu's 'Arms for Democracy' offer taken up by U Seinda in the Arakan, the Pa-O, some Mon and Shan groups, but more significantly by the PVO surrendering their arms. The situation became very unstable in the Union Parliament, with U Nu surviving a no-confidence vote only with the support of the opposition National United Front (NUF), believed to have 'crypto-communists' amongst them.
Army hardliners now saw the 'threat' of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) coming to an agreement with U Nu through the NUF, and in the end U Nu 'invited' Army Chief of Staff General Ne Win to take over the country.Over 400 'communist sympathizers' were arrested, of which 153 were deported to the Coco Island in the Andaman Sea. Among them was the NUF leader Aung Than, older brother of Aung San. Newspapers like Botahtaung, Kyemon and Rangoon Daily were also closed down.
Ne Win's caretaker government successfully established the situation and paved the way for new general elections in 1960 that returned U Nu's Union Party with a large majority.The situation did not remain stable for long, however, as the Shan Federal Movement, started by Nyaung Shwe Saopha Sao Shwe Thaik (the first President of independent Burma from 1948 to 1952) and aspiring to create a 'loose' federation, was seen as a separatist movement insisting on the government honouring the right to secession in 10 years provided for by the 1947 Constitution. Ne Win had already succeeded in stripping the Shan Saophas of their feudal powers in exchange for comfortable pensions for life in 1959.
The "Burmese Way to Socialism" has been described by some commentators as anti-Western, isolationist and socialist in nature, လူနှင့် ပတ်ဝန်းကျင်တို့၏ အညမည သဘောတရား), was published, as the philosophical and political basis for the Burmese approach to society and what Ne Win deemed as socialism, influenced by Buddhist, humanist and Marxist views.characterised also by an extensive dependence on the military, emphasis on the rural populace, and Burmese (or more specifically, Burman) nationalism. In January 1963, the "Burmese Way to Socialism" was further elaborated in a political public policy called the System of Correlation of Man and His Environment (
The fundamentals of the "Burmese Way to Socialism", as outlined in 1963, were as follows:
The policy sought to reorganize the Burmese economy to a socialist economy, to develop the Burmese military, and to construct a national identity among many disparate ethnic minorities and the majority Burmans.
The effects of the "Burmese Way to Socialism" were multi-fold, affecting the economy, educational standards, and living standards of the Burmese people. Foreign aid organisations, like the American-based Ford Foundation and Asia Foundation, as well as the World Bank, were no longer allowed to operate in the country.Only permitted was aid from a government-to-government basis. In addition, the teaching of the English language was reformed and moved to secondary schools, whereas previously it had started as early as kindergarten. The government also implemented extensive visa restrictions for Burmese citizens, especially when their destinations were Western countries. Instead, the government sponsored the travel of students, scientists and technicians to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, in order to receive training and to "counter years of Western influence" in the country. Similarly, visas for foreigners were limited to just 24 hours.
Furthermore, freedom of expression and the freedom of the press was extensively restricted. Foreign language publications were prohibited, as were newspapers that printed "false propagandist news."The Press Scrutiny Board (now the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division), which censors all publications to this day, including newspapers, journals, advertisements and cartoons, was established by the RC through the Printers' and Publishers' Registration Act in August 1962. The RC set up the News Agency of Burma (BNA) to serve as a news distribution service in the country, thus effectively replacing the work of foreign news agencies. In September 1963, The Vanguard and The Guardian, two Burmese newspapers, were nationalized. In December 1965, publication of privately owned newspapers was banned by the government.
The impact on the Burmese economy was extensive. The Enterprise Nationalization Law, passed by the Revolutionary Council in 1963, nationalized all major industries, including import-export trade, rice, banking, mining, teak and rubber on 1 June 1963.In total, around 15,000 private firms were nationalized. Furthermore, industrialists were prohibited from establishing new factories with private capital. This was particularly detrimental to the Anglo-Burmese, Burmese Indians and the British, who were disproportionately represented in these industries.
The oil industry, which was previousky controlled by American and British companies, such as the General Exploration Company and East Asiatic Burma Oil, were forced to end operations. In its place was the government-owned Burma Oil Company, which monopolized oil extraction and production. In August 1963, the nationalization of basic industries, including department stores, warehouses and wholesale shops, followed.Price control boards were also introduced.
The Enterprise Nationalization Law directly affected foreigners in Burma, particularly Burmese Indians and the Burmese Chinese, both of whom had been influential in the economic sector as entrepreneurs and industrialists. By mid-1963, 2,500 foreigners a week were leaving Burma.By September 1964, approximately 100,000 Indian nationals had left the country.
The black market became a major feature in the economy, representing about 80% of national economy during the Burmese Way period.Moreover, income disparity became a major socioeconomic issue. Throughout the 1960s, Burma's foreign exchange reserves declined from $214 million in 1964 to $50 million in 1971, while inflation skyrocketed. Rice exports also declined, from 1,840,000 tons in 1961-62 to 350,000 tons in 1967-68, the result of the inability of rice production to satisfy demand caused by high population growth rates.
In the First Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) Congress in 1971, several minor economic reforms were made, in light of the failures of the economic policy pursued throughout the 1960s. The Burmese government asked to rejoin the World Bank, joined the Asian Development Bank, and sought more foreign aid and assistance.The Twenty-Year Plan, an economic plan divided into five increments of implementation, was introduced, in order to develop the country's natural resources, including agriculture, forestry, oil and natural gas, through state development. These reforms brought living standards back to pre-World War II levels and stimulated economic growth. However, by 1988, foreign debt had ballooned to $4.9 billion, about three-fourths of the national GDP, and Ne Win's later attempt to make the Kyat based in denominations divisible by 9, a number he considered to be auspicious, led to the wiping of millions of savings of the Burmese people, resulting in the 8888 Uprising.
Ne Win was a Burmese politician and military commander who served as Prime Minister of Burma from 1958 to 1960 and 1962 to 1974, and also President of Burma from 1962 to 1981. Ne Win was Burma's military dictator during the Socialist Burma period of 1962 to 1988.
The history of Myanmar covers the period from the time of first-known human settlements 13,000 years ago to the present day. The earliest inhabitants of recorded history were a Tibeto-Burman-speaking people who established the Pyu city-states ranged as far south as Pyay and adopted Theravada Buddhism.
Nu, known honorifically as U Nu or Thakin Nu, was a leading Burmese statesman, politician, nationalist, and political figure of the 20th century. He was the first Prime Minister of Burma under the provisions of the 1947 Constitution of the Union of Burma, from 4 January 1948 to 12 June 1956, again from 28 February 1957 to 28 October 1958, and finally from 4 April 1960 to 2 March 1962.
The Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League, or hpa hsa pa la (ဖဆပလ) by its Burmese acronym, was the main political alliance in Burma from 1945 until 1958. It was founded by the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) led by Thakin Soe, the Burma National Army (BNA) led by Aung San, and the People's Revolutionary Party (PRP) at a meeting held between 1–3 March 1945 as a reorganised version of the Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO), formed to resist the Japanese occupation. The new organisation aimed to resist the Japanese occupation and achieve independence.
Ba Swe was the second Premier of Burma. He was a leading Burmese politician during the decade after the country gained its independence from Britain in 1948. He held the position of prime minister from 12 June 1956 to 28 February 1957. When Ba Swe became prime minister, Time magazine reported the news in an article titled: 'The Day of the Tiger' based on his nickname 'Big Tiger' since his university days in the 1930s as a student leader.
Thakin Than Tun born in Kanyutkwin, British Burma, was a Burmese politician and leader of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) from 1945 until his murder at age 57.
The Panglong Conference, held in February 1947, was a historic meeting that took place at Panglong in the Shan States in Burma between the Shan, Kachin and Chin ethnic minority leaders and Aung San, head of the interim Burmese government. Aung Zan Wai, Pe Khin, Bo Hmu Aung, Sir Maung Gyi, Dr. Sein Mya Maung and Myoma U Than Kywe were among the negotiators of the historical Panglong Conference negotiated with Bamar representative General Aung San and other ethnic leaders in 1947. All these leaders unanimously decided to join the Union of Burma. On the agenda was the united struggle for independence from Britain and the future of Burma after independence as a unified republic.
Brigadier General Aung Gyi was a Burmese military officer and politician. He was a cofounder of the National League for Democracy and served as president of the party.
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The Burma Workers Party, until 1958 the Burma Workers and Peasants Party, was a communist party in Burma, formed on 8 December 1950, by leftist elements of the Socialist Party. In December 1962 it merged with the People's Comrade Party to form the United Workers Party. In March 1964, it was among the many parties banned by decree of the Revolutionary Council.
The National United Front was a political alliance in Burma.
General elections were held in Burma on 6 February 1960 to install a government to take over from General Ne Win's interim administration, established in October 1958. The military-led administration was credited for bringing stability and improving infrastructure in the country, though it suppressed some civil liberties.
General elections were held in Burma to vote for 202 out of 250 seats to the Burmese Chamber of Deputies; the remaining 48 members ) were elected unopposed as no opposition candidates stood against them.
The 1962 Burmese coup d'état on 2 March 1962 marked the beginning of totalitarian rule and the political dominance of the army in Burma which spanned the course of 26 years. In the coup, the military replaced the civilian AFPFL-government, headed by Prime Minister U Nu, with the Union Revolutionary Council, Chaired by General Ne Win.
The Union Revolutionary Council was the supreme governing body of Burma from 2 March 1962, following the overthrow of U Nu's civilian government, to 3 March 1974, with the promulgation of the 1974 Constitution of Burma and transfer of power to the People's Assembly, the country's new unicameral legislature.
Thakin Kyaw Tun, or Thakin Kyaw Dun was a Burmese politician.
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The communist insurgency in Myanmar was a conflict fought primarily by the Communist Party of Burma and the Communist Party (Burma) from 1948 to 1988. The conflict ended when the armed wing of the Communist Party of Burma disbanded following the Fall of Communism and the ousting of the Burmese socialist dictatorship.
The 1967 anti-Chinese riots in Myanmar were a number of days of conflict between Chinese expatriates in Burma and Burmese nationals. The trouble flared in Rangoon on 26 June 1967. The cause of the trouble was the spread of China’s cultural revolution ideology amongst Chinese expatriates in Burma. The riots caused a deterioration in Sino-Burmese relations which did not normalize until 1970.
Military rule in Myanmar lasted from 1962 to 2011. Myanmar gained its granted independence from British Empire in 1948 under Burmese Independence Army, as a democratic nation. The first military rule began in 1958 and direct military rule started when Ne Win captured power through a coup d'état in 1962, it became a military dictatorship under the Burma Socialist Programme Party lasted for 26 years, in the claim to save the country from disintegration. During this period there was some democratic landscape in the form of election, giving rights to the citizen to elect and to stand for election.