|History of Myanmar|
The Japanese occupation of Burma was the period between 1942 and 1945 during World War II, when Burma was occupied by the Empire of Japan. The Japanese had assisted formation of the Burma Independence Army, and trained the Thirty Comrades, who were the founders of the modern Armed Forces ( Tatmadaw ). The Burmese hoped to gain support of the Japanese in expelling the British, so that Burma could become independent.
In 1942 Japan invaded Burma and nominally declared the colony independent as the State of Burma on 1 August 1943. A puppet government led by Ba Maw was installed. However, many Burmese began to believe the Japanese had no intention of giving them real independence.
Aung San, father of future opposition leader and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and other nationalist leaders formed the Anti-Fascist Organisation in August 1944, which asked the United Kingdom to form a coalition with the other Allies against the Japanese. By April 1945, the Allies had driven out the Japanese. Subsequently, negotiations began between the Burmese and the British for independence. Under Japanese occupation, 170,000 to 250,000 civilians died.
Some Burmese nationalists saw the outbreak of World War II as an opportunity to extort concessions from the British in exchange for support in the war effort. Other Burmese, such as the Thakin movement, opposed Burma's participation in the war under any circumstances. Aung San with other Thakins founded the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in August 1939.Aung San also co-founded the People's Revolutionary Party (PRP), renamed the Socialist Party after World War II. He was also instrumental in founding the Freedom Bloc by forging an alliance of Dobama Asiayone, ABSU, politically active monks and Ba Maw's Poor Man's Party.
After Dobama Asiayone called for a national uprising, an arrest warrant was issued for many of the organisation's leaders including Aung San, who escaped to China. Aung San's intention was to make contact with the Chinese Communists but he was detected by the Japanese authorities who offered him support by forming a secret intelligence unit called the Minami Kikan, headed by Colonel Suzuki with the objective of closing the Burma Road and supporting a national uprising.
Aung San briefly returned to Burma to enlist twenty-nine young men who went to Japan with him to receive military training on Hainan, China, and they came to be known as the "Thirty Comrades". When the Japanese occupied Bangkok in December 1941, Aung San announced the formation of the Burma Independence Army (BIA) in anticipation of the Japanese invasion of Burma in 1942.
For Japan's military leadership, the conquest of Burma was a vital strategic objective upon the opening of hostilities with Britain and the United States. Occupation of Burma would interrupt a critical supply link to China. Also, the Japanese knew that rubber was one of the few militarily vital resources in which the United States was not self-sufficient. It was thought critical that the Allies be denied access to Southeast Asian rubber supplies if they were ever to accept peace terms favourable to Japan.
The BIA formed a provisional government in some areas of the country in the spring of 1942, but there were differences within the Japanese leadership over the future of Burma. While Colonel Suzuki encouraged the Thirty Comrades to form a provisional government, the Japanese military leadership had never formally accepted such a plan. Eventually, the Japanese Army turned to Ba Maw to form a government.
During the war in 1942, the BIA had grown in an uncontrolled manner, and in many districts officials and even criminals appointed themselves to the BIA. It was reorganised as the Burma Defence Army (BDA) under the Japanese but still headed by Aung San. While the BIA had been an irregular force, the BDA was recruited by selection and trained as a conventional army by Japanese instructors.
Ba Maw was afterwards declared head of state, and his cabinet included both Aung San as War Minister and the Communist leader Thakin Than Tun as Minister of Land and Agriculture as well as the Socialist leaders Thakins Nu and Mya. When the Japanese declared Burma, in theory, independent in 1943, the Burma Defence Army (BDA) was renamed the Burma National Army (BNA).
It soon became apparent that Japanese promises of independence were merely a sham and that Ba Maw was deceived. As the war turned against the Japanese, they declared Burma a fully sovereign state on 1 August 1943, but this was just another façade. Disillusioned, Aung San began negotiations with Communist leaders Thakin Than Tun and Thakin Soe, and Socialist leaders Ba Swe and Kyaw Nyein which led to the formation of the Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO) in August 1944 at a secret meeting of the CPB, the PRP and the BNA in Pegu. The AFO was later renamed the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL),and roundly opposed the Japanese fascism, proposing a fairer and more equal society.
Thakins Than Tun and Soe, while in Insein prison in July 1941, had co-authored the Insein Manifesto which, against the prevailing opinion in the Dobama movement, identified world fascism as the main enemy in the coming war and called for temporary co-operation with the British in a broad allied coalition which should include the Soviet Union. Soe had already gone underground to organise resistance against the Japanese occupation, and Than Tun was able to pass on Japanese intelligence to Soe, while other Communist leaders Thakins Thein Pe and Tin Shwe made contact with the exiled colonial government in Simla, India.
Japanese soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, the 215th Regiment and the OC Moulmein Kempeitai of the Imperial Japanese Army entered the village of Kalagong on 7 July 1945 and rounded up all the inhabitants for questioning. These soldiers were then ordered by Major General Seiei Yamamoto, chief of staff of the 33rd Army, to kill an estimated 600 Burmese villagers.
There were informal contacts between the AFO and the Allies in 1944 and 1945 through the British Force 136. On 27 March 1945, the Burma National Army rose up in a country-wide rebellion against the Japanese.27 March had been celebrated as 'Resistance Day' until the military renamed it 'Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) Day'. Aung San and others subsequently began negotiations with Lord Mountbatten and officially joined the Allies as the Patriotic Burmese Forces (PBF). At the first meeting, the AFO represented itself to the British as the provisional government of Burma with Thakin Soe as Chairman and Aung San as a member of its ruling committee.
The Japanese were routed from most of Burma by May 1945. Negotiations then began with the British over the disarming of the AFO and the participation of its troops in a post-war Burma Army. Some veterans had been formed into a paramilitary force under Aung San, called the Pyithu yèbaw tat or People's Volunteer Organisation (PVO), and were openly drilling in uniform.The absorption of the PBF was concluded successfully at the Kandy conference in Ceylon in September 1945.
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.
Bogyoke Aung San was a Burmese politician, independence activist and revolutionary. Aung San is the founder of the Myanmar Armed Forces, and is considered the Father of the Nation of modern-day Myanmar. He was instrumental in Burma's independence from British rule, but was assassinated just six months before his goal was realized.
U Nu, also known by the honorific name Thakin Nu, was a leading Burmese statesman and nationalist politician. 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 (AFPFL) was the dominant political alliance in Burma from 1945 to 1958 consisting of political parties and mass and class organizations.
The Burma Independence Army (BIA) was a collaborationist and revolutionary army that fought for the end of British rule in Burma by assisting the Japanese in their conquest of the country in 1942 during World War II. It was the first post-colonial army in Burmese history. The BIA was formed from group known as the Thirty Comrades under the auspices of the Imperial Japanese Army after training the Burmese nationalists in 1941. The BIA's attempts at establishing a government during the invasion led to it being dissolved by the Japanese and the smaller Burma Defence Army (BDA) formed in its place. As Japan guided Burma towards nominal independence, the BDA was expanded into the Burma National Army (BNA) of the State of Burma, a puppet state under Ba Maw, in 1943.
The Thirty Comrades constituted the embryo of the modern Burmese army called the Burma Independence Army (BIA) which was formed to fight for independence from Britain. This was accomplished just before the majority of the Thirty Comrades returned with the invading Japanese Army initially through Southern Burma in December 1941.
Kyaw Zaw was one of the founders of the Tatmadaw and a member of the legendary "Thirty Comrades" who trained in Japan in the struggle for independence from Britain. He was also one of the leaders of the Communist Party of Burma, and had lived in exile in Yunnan Province, China, since 1989 after retiring from politics.
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 assassination at age 57.
Thein Pe Myint was a Burmese politician, writer and journalist. A writer of several politically and socially prominent books and the founder of an influential newspaper The Botataung, Thein Pe Myint was a leading Marxist intellectual and was an important player in the Burmese independence movement and postwar politics.
Thakin Soe was a founding member of the Communist Party of Burma, formed in 1939 and a leader of Anti-Fascist Organisation. He is regarded as one of Burma's most prominent communist leaders.
The State of Burma was the wartime administration of Burma created by Japan in 1943 during the Japanese occupation of Burma in World War II.
The Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO) was a resistance movement against the Japanese occupation of Burma and independence of Burma during World War II. It was the forerunner of the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League.
Dobama Asiayone, commonly known as the Thakhins, was a Burmese nationalist group formed around the 1930s and composed of young, disgruntled intellectuals. Drawing their name from the way in which the British were addressed during colonial times, the party was established by Ba Thaung in May 1930, bringing together traditionalist Buddhist nationalist elements and fresh political ideals. It was significant in stirring up political consciousness in Burma, and drew most of its support base from students.
The Communist Party of Burma (CPB), also known as the Burma Communist Party (BCP), is the oldest existing political party in Myanmar (Burma). It was founded on 15 August 1939 at a meeting attended by seven founding members, including Aung San, widely regarded as the father of modern-day Myanmar. The party was outlawed by the Burmese government in October 1953 and its operation remains illegal in the country.
The Communist Party (Burma), sometimes referred to as the Red Flag Communist Party, was a communist party in Burma. The party was formed after a more radical faction broke away from the Communist Party of Burma in 1946. In the same year, it began a protracted armed insurgency; first against British rule, then against the Burmese government. The party was led by Thakin Soe, a firebrand communist leader. In the mid to late 1970s, the party lost influence and was militarily defeated after the capture of Thakin Soe in 1978.
Thakin Kyaw Tun, or Thakin Kyaw Dun was a Burmese politician.
Thakins and the Struggle for National Independence (1930–1948) is a book by Tekkatho Sein Tin, first published in 2009. This book includes biographies of several key leaders of Dobama Asiayone, a 1930s Burmese nationalist organization dedicated to overturn the British rule in Burma.
The communist insurgency in Myanmar was waged primarily by the Communist Party of Burma and the Communist Party (Burma) from 1948 to 1989. The conflict ended when the CPB, severely weakened by an internal mutiny, disbanded its armed wing.
Bo Taya was a Burmese writer, military officer and a member of the Thirty Comrades. He served in the Burmese National Army (BIA) and Burmese Defense Force and participated in the Japanese Revolution.
Thiri Pyanchi Ba ThanFRCS FACS FICS was a Burmese medical surgeon, educator and administrator. The first Burmese police surgeon in British Burma, Ba Than founded and ran the main hospital in Rangoon (Yangon) as well as the wartime medical and nursing schools during the Japanese occupation of the country (1942–1945). After the country's independence in 1948, Ba Than served several terms as dean and rector of the main medical universities in Rangoon and Mandalay until two months before his death in 1971.