Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

General Aung San

Birthday of General Aung San

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.

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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.

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Japanese Surrenders 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...

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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...

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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...

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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. We must remember that this was a time when 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...

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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.

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U Aung San's Historic Meeting with Pandit Nehru

The AFPFL leader was en route to London to discuss Burmese independence with Prime Minister Clement Attlee. Pandit Nehru helped U Aung San by having his tailor make for him a new set of warm clothes, including a greatcoat for the London winter. The winter of 1946-7 was to be the coldest in England in three centuries, with temperatures falling to -21 degrees Celsius and fuel shortages leading to widespread power cuts.

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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.

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General Aung San's Last Speech

On July 13, 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 assassinated six days later. (Most of the buildings in the background were demolished after WW2 bomb damage and have been replaced by the Centrepoint and AGD bank buildings.) In his speech, he urged Burmese to be more disciplined in the face of challenges ahead. The country, less than two years from the...

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Union Day: Anniversary of the 1947 Panglong Agreement

"Union Day" (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. U Aung San led the Burma delegation to London in January 1947 to negotiate the country's independence from Britain. He was very ably assisted by ICS U Tin Tut. The British side was represented principally by the Labour politician Sir Stafford Cripps and the Secretary of...

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Aung San-Attlee Agreement

The Aung San - Attlee Agreement which paved the way for Burmese independence less a year later was signed on 27 January 1947. Amongst other things, the agreement included as an objective "the early unification of the Frontier Areas and Ministerial Burma with the free consent of the inhabitants of those areas".  By late 1946 the Clement Attlee government had decided that with the looming independence of India, Burma would soon lose its strategic value on the empire's eastern flank....

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