Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

World War Two (1942-1945)

Historic Events

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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Stay away from the Japanese!

Around 1943. American air force leaflets explaining to Burmese villagers that the bombs falling on their country are not meant for them but for the Japanese.

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Historic Siege of Myitkyina

Beginning 17 May 1944, Chinese and American forces (including "Merrill's Marauders" ) supported by Kachin and other Allied troops laid siege to Japanese-held Myitkyina. It was a critical battle of World War Two, leading to the capture of the all-important Myitkyina airstrip. Myitkyina was captured after only 78 days of savage fighting against an entrenched Japanese garrison. Chinese forces included armies attacking from both India and Yunnan. Altogether nearly 10,000 men were killed or wounded during the historic siege. The...

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Surrender of Japan

On 2 September 1945, the Empire of Japan formally surrendered to the Allied Powers on board the USS Missouri. Over 100 Allied warships and submarines were present that day in Tokyo Bay. The Allied was represented by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander. The Japanese was represented by Foreign Minister Shigemitsu Mamoru (in top hat and tails) and Chief of Imperial Army Staff General Umezu Yoshijiro.In Burma three days before (30 August), the Commander of the Burma...

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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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Battles of Meiktila and Mandalay

The battles of Meiktila and Mandalay were extremely significant battles in the war between the Allies and the Empire of Japan (after Imphal and Kohima battles). They changed as well the course of Burmese history. In Cairo in November 1943 the leaders of the new “United Nations”, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek, agreed on an overland invasion of Burma, to restore links between India and China. In June 1944, Allied forces decisively defeated the Japanese at the...

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Beginning of World War Two in Burma

On 14 December 1941, the Japanese began their invasion of the Tenasserim. This is a photograph of British troops along Sule Pagoda Road, probably from the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, who were amongst the last to remain in the city, until the final evacuation on 7 March 1942.

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The defeat of the Japanese

The Japanese surrender ceremony was held at the Convocation Hall of Rangoon University in August 1945. The British 14th Army, with nearly a million men under arms (the largest imperial army anywhere in WW2) had just defeated the Japanese Burma Area Army and were preparing for an invasion of Malaya when the war ended. In this photograph, you can see the Convocation Hall in the background.

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Cover of "Shashin Shuho" Magazine in March 1943

The image was the cover of the Japanese magazine "Shashin Shuho" showing Dr Ba Maw and colleagues arriving in March 1943 at Tokyo's Haneda airport. Five months later, Dr Ba Maw would be proclaimed the "Adipati" of Burma. In the background is a camouflaged Mitsubishi KI-57 transport plane probably belonging to the Dai Nippon Koku (Imperial Japanese Airways).

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Ledo or Stillwell Road

On 28 January 1945, the Ledo or "Stillwell Road" was opened. The Road connected Ledo in Assam to Kunming in Yunnan. The Allied lifeline to China was built by thousands of African-Americans in what was one of the epic engineering feats of World War Two. The road was named for General "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell, Commander of the China-Burma-India Theatre. This is a photograph of him with Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, taken at Flagstaff House in Maymyo (now destroyed) in...

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