8 March 1942
Fall of Rangoon
On 8 March 1942 Rangoon fell to the Japanese after two and a half months of heavy bombing, At least 2,000 civilians had already died in Rangoon (mainly from Japanese aerial bombing) over the previous 10 weeks; another 400,000 became refugees. The city's dockyards, factories, oil refinery, and railways were all destroyed by the colonial authorities before leaving. Hundreds of offices and shops were looted by ordinary people. The fighting retreat from Rangoon first to Mandalay and then to Assam over the next three months would be the longest ever in British history. One of the most advanced countries in Southeast Asia became an economic ruin because of the war. This photograph shows victorious Japanese troops in front of Government House (near where the Region Hluttaw building is now). Imperial Vice Chief of Staff Lt General Takashiro Kawabe would formally sign Japan's surrender there in August 1945.