Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

Independence and Civil War (1945-1951)

Historic Events

The 1948 Government of Burma Was Genuinely Multi-Ethnic

August 1948: With communist ("White Flag" and "Red Flag") PVO, and "Mujahideen" insurrections in full swing, President Sao Shwe Thaik and Army Chief General Smith Dun inspect the troops in front of the Rangoon Corporation building. Martial law had just been declared. At the time, Karen, Kachin, and Chin battalions were fighting Burmese communist and PVO militias up and down the Irrawaddy valley. It was also a time (the only time) when the government of Burma was genuinely multi-ethnic, with...

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Foreign minister U E Maung’s Visit to India 1949

This is a photograph of Burmese foreign minister U E Maung arriving at Delhi airport in September 1949, together with the ambassador to India Sir M.A. Maung Gyi and other Burmese and Indian officials. U E Maung and Sir M.A. Maung Gyi are both smoking cheroots or cigars, something you do not see much at VIP airport arrivals any more.

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U Nu with Gandhi in Delhi 1947

The photograph is from the last meeting between U Nu and Mahatma Gandhi, taken at Birla House, Delhi, on 4 December 1947, a little over a month before Gandhi was assassinated. Mahatma Gandhi was wearing a hat just given to him by soon to be Prime Minister U Nu (then Premier Thakin Nu). The struggle against British colonialism is a shared history of Burma and India. Mahatma Gandhi visited Rangoon three times: in 1902, 1915 and 1929. He had a...

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Jubilee Hall

Jubilee Hall was a place of immense historic significance, as the site many public events including the 1947 AFPFL convention, and as the place where Gen. Aung San and his assassinated colleagues lay in state. It was also where Sir John Gielgud, certainly one of the greatest actors ever to have lived, played Hamlet in 1946. Its demolition in 1995 was an act of vandalism, like the destruction of the palace of the Kengtung sawbwa around the same time.

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White Paper on Burma

On 17 May 1945, the British government issued its "White Paper" on the future of Burma. Burma's "Anti-Fascist Organization" (later AFPFL) under General Aung San opposed the programme outlined in the White Paper, leading first to a standoff against the returned British authorities, then to negotiations in London in January 1946 and finally independence outside the Commonwealth in 1948. The White Paper proposed the following: (1) A period of "direct rule" by the Governor (assisted by an "Executive Council" of...

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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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Birth Anniversary of U Nyun

U Nyun, one of Myanmar's most distinguished public servants, was born on 20 January 1910 and was educated at Rangoon, Oxford and London Universities. He served in the ICS and then as a senior civil servant in the independent Burma government, before joining the UN in 1953. From 1959 - 1973 he was the Executive Secretary of UN ECAFE (now ESCAP), working directly under Secretaries-General Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant. U Nyun was one of many trained and experienced Burmese...

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A Shared History of India and Burma Independence

India became independent from the British Empire on 15 August 1947. The country was partitioned and the new state of Pakistan was created at the same time. India and Burma immediately established diplomatic ties, but as Burma was then not yet an independent republic outside the Commonwealth, the country was represented in New Delhi by a High Commissioner (U Win). Burma's road to independence was intimately tied with India's. Modern Burmese politics began with the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms of 1917 and...

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General Ne Win in UK 1949

In July 1949, General Ne Win at the UK Foreign Office together with U Hla Maung (then Burmese Ambassador to Thailand) Bo Setkya, and Burmese Ambassador to the UK ("San Shay") U Ohn (who translated for General Ne Win). They were there to meet British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin as part of a week-long visit. General Ne Win then went on to Washington. In 1949, General Ne Win was Deputy Prime Minister as well Commander-in-Chief of the Burma Armed Forces....

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The First Ever Meeting Between Burmese and American Leaders

On 3 July 1956 Prime Minister U Nu met with President Dwight Eisenhower at the White House. The meeting was at the start of U Nu's two-week tour of the US. U Nu and President Eisenhower said that the two countries "share two fundamental goals, a peaceful world and a democratic way of life" and reaffirmed their "loyal steadfast support for the Charter of the United Nations". Relations had recently been difficult because of US support for KMT forces in...

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