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Japanese occupation of Burma

The Japanese occupation of Burma refers to 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.[1][2]

In 1942, during World War II, Japan invaded Burma and nominally declared Burma independent as the State of Burma on 1 August 1943. A puppet government led by Ba Maw was installed. However, it soon became apparent that the Japanese had no intention of giving independence to Burma.[3][4]

United Kingdom to form a coalition with 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.[5][6]

It has been argued that the Japanese invasion of Burma was the main cause of the Bengal Famine of 1943, since it cut off all food supplies from the region.

Contents

  • Background 1
  • Japanese Occupation 2
    • Massacre during the Occupation 2.1
  • End of the Occupation 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6

Background

Some Burmese nationalists saw the outbreak of

  • Newell, Clayton R. Burma, 1942. World War II Campaign Brochures. Washington D.C.:  
  • Hogan, David W. India-Burma. World War II Campaign Brochures. Washington D.C.:  
  • MacGarrigle, George L. Central Burma. World War II Campaign Brochures. Washington D.C.:  

Further reading

  1. ^ Michael Clodfelter. Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500–2000. 2nd Ed. 2002 ISBN 0-7864-1204-6. p. 556
  2. ^ Werner Gruhl, Imperial Japan's World War Two, 1931–1945 Transaction 2007 ISBN 978-0-7658-0352-8 (Werner Gruhl is former chief of NASA's Cost and Economic Analysis Branch with a lifetime interest in the study of the First and Second World Wars.)
  3. ^ Michael Clodfelter. Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500–2000. 2nd Ed. 2002 ISBN 0-7864-1204-6. p. 556
  4. ^ Werner Gruhl, Imperial Japan's World War Two, 1931–1945 Transaction 2007 ISBN 978-0-7658-0352-8 (Werner Gruhl is former chief of NASA's Cost and Economic Analysis Branch with a lifetime interest in the study of the First and Second World Wars.)
  5. ^ Michael Clodfelter. Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500–2000. 2nd Ed. 2002 ISBN 0-7864-1204-6. p. 556
  6. ^ Werner Gruhl, Imperial Japan's World War Two, 1931–1945 Transaction 2007 ISBN 978-0-7658-0352-8 (Werner Gruhl is former chief of NASA's Cost and Economic Analysis Branch with a lifetime interest in the study of the First and Second World Wars.)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Martin Smith (1991). Burma - Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity. London and New Jersey: Zed Books. pp. 49,91,50,53,54,56,57,58–59,60,61,60,66,65,68,69,77,78,64,70,103,92,120,176,168–169,177,178,180,186,195–197,193,,202,204,199,200,270,269,275–276,292–3,318–320,25,24,1,4–16,365,375–377,414. 
  8. ^ Robert H. Taylor (1987). The state in Burma. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 284. 

References

See also

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.[7] The absorption of the PBF was concluded successfully at the Kandy conference in Ceylon in September 1945.[7]

There were informal contacts between the AFO and the Allies in 1944 and 1945 through the British Force 136. On March 27, 1945, the Burma National Army rose up in a country-wide rebellion against the Japanese.[7] March 27 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.[7]

The destruction of Rangoon in the aftermath of World War II.

End of the Occupation

The Japanese had entered the Kalagong village and rounded up all the inhabitants for questioning by the members of the 3rd Battalion, 215th Regiment and the OC Moulmein Kempeitai of the Imperial Japanese Army. These units had been ordered by Major General Seiei Yamamoto, chief of staff of the 33rd Army. An estimated 600 Burmese villagers died in the Kalagong massacre.

Massacre during the Occupation

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 Simla, India.[7]

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 August 1, 1943, but this was just another façade. Disillusioned, Aung San began negotiations with Communist leaders Pegu. The AFO was later renamed the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL),[7] and roundly opposed the Japanese fascism, proposing a fairer and more equal society.[8]

The flag of the State of Burma, used 1943-5.

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).[7]

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.[7]

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.[7]

Japanese army at Shwethalyaung Buddha.

Japanese Occupation

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 that the United States was not self-sufficient in. 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.

Aung San briefly returned to Burma to enlist twenty-nine young men who went to Japan with him in order 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.[7]

After 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.[7]

[7]

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