Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

General Aung San

General Aung San in London

13 February is the birth anniversary of General Aung San. This is a photograph of General Aung San at the Dorchester Hotel in London during negotiations with the UK government in January 1947. He is flanked by Thakin Mya and U Tin Tut (the delegation's principal negotiator). It was the moment of his greatest triumph. Thakin Mya would be killed together with General Aung San six months later. U Tin Tut was killed in September 1948.

Read More

Dr. Ba Maw in Tokyo in 1943

A photograph from March 1943 showing then Dr Ba Maw arriving in Tokyo (together with Thakin May, U Thein Maung, and Gen Aung San) for discussions with Japanese Prime Minister Tojo and others. Dr Ba Maw would soon become the “Adhipati” or “Leader” of the State of Burma and an ally of the Axis Powers.

Read More

The Japanese surrender at Government House, Rangoon

On 12 September 1945, General Ichida Jiro (Acting Chief of Staff Burma Area Army) formally surrendered to Brigadier E.P.E. Armstrong (Chief of Staff to Lt-General Sir Montague Stopford, GOC-in-Chief 12th Army Burma) at Government House, Rangoon. On the same day, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia received the Japanese surrender in Singapore. Five days earlier on 7 September, Lord Mountbatten and General Aung San signed an agreement at Kandy in Ceylon to absorb up to 5,200 men...

Read More

Relationship Between Lt. General Slim and General Aung San

General Aung San crossed the Irrawaddy at Allanmyo on 15 May 1945 and then flew to Meiktila on 16 May to meet for the first time with Lt General William Slim, commander of the (British) 14th Army. The 14th Army with nearly one million men was the largest Commonwealth army anywhere during World War Two - a giant force of Indians, Africans, British, Gurkhas, Burmese and others. By 16 May, the 14th Army had already retaken Rangoon and General Slim...

Read More

Allied Forces Holding a Victory Parade Along Shwedagon Pagoda Road

On 15 June 1945 Allied forces under Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten held a victory parade over the Japanese Empire. Lord Louis Mountbatten took the salute together with other Allied commanders including General Aung San, who had just been given the rank of "Deputy Inspector General". The march past included units of the Indian Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the US Army, the Chinese Army, and the "Patriotic Burma Forces" under General Aung...

Read More

UK's decision to quit Burma

On 20 December 1946, UK Prime Minister Clement Attlee informed the House of Commons of his government's intention "to hasten forward the time when Burma shall realize her independence, either within or without the Commonwealth". In other words, the UK had decided to quit Burma. Clement Attlee's Labour government were coping with severe and mounting economic challenges at home, and facing dire emergencies in India, Palestine, and Greece. Communal violence in India would soon claim the lives of millions. Palestine...

Read More

Photograph of 31-Year-Old General Aung San

A photograph of General Aung San at his moment of triumph: At 10 Downing Street on 27 January 1947 to negotiate the independence of Burma from the British Empire. To his left is his closest colleague in the talks, ICS U Tin Tut. He was then 31 years old.

Read More

U Aung San's historic meeting with Pandit Nehru

General Aung San met with Pandit Nehru in Delhi en route to London to discuss Burmese independence with Prime Minister Clement Attlee. Pandit Nehru realized General Aung San's tropical outfit would not be suitable for London, which was then experiencing one of its coldest winters in history, and gave the General a greatcoat and had him made two new bespoke uniforms of warmer material.  The winter of 1946-7 was to be the coldest in England in three centuries, with temperatures...

Read More

U Aung San leading a demonstration in 1947

In June 1947: U Aung San leads a demonstration down Dalhousie Street to the Secretariat before attending a meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

Read More

General Aung San's Last Speech

On 13 July 1947, U Aung San gave his last speech from the balcony of City Hall to supporters in Fytche Square (now Maha Bandula Park). He was then the de facto head of an Interim government (formally the Counsellor for Defense and External Affairs and deputy chairman of the Executive Council) under the Governor Sir Hubert Rance. U Aung San and nearly his entire Executive Council would be killed less than a week after this speech, depriving Burma of...

Read More

Union Day: Anniversary of the 1947 Panglong Agreement

"Union Day” that falls on 12 February marks the anniversary of the "Panglong Agreement" of 1947. There is considerable mythology surrounding the Panglong Agreement and it's important to remember what it was and what it was not. The Panglong Agreement itself was primarily an agreement on transitional arrangements in the lead up to Burmese independence after WW2. Of its nine paragraphs, four deal exclusively with the new position of "Counsellor to the Governor to deal with Frontier Areas" and the...

Read More

Aung San-Attlee Agreement

Between 13 and 27 January 1947 discussions took place in London between the UK government of Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the visiting Burmese delegation led by U Aung San. These discussions led to the "Aung San - Attlee Agreement”. The "Aung San - Attlee Agreement" stated as the "common objective" of its signatories "a free and independent Burma whether within or without the British Commonwealth Nations”. The Agreement further called for elections to a Constituent Assembly "as soon as...

Read More