1919-1937 1942-1945

Burma 1937-1942

Administration . In 1937, Burma had been separated from British India to form a separate crown colony, with the capital Rangoon. The country was given political autonomy, a constitution, providing a representative assembly and self-government. Ba Maw served as Burma's first PM from 1937 to 1939; U Saw served from 1940 to 1942.

Resistance . Aung San had risen to prominence as a leader in students' demonstrations. In 1938 Aung San moved on to organize strikes; in 1939 he was among the co-founders of the Burmese Communist Party.
Aung San as well as Burma's prime ministers Ba Maw and U Saw aimed for full independence and regarded Japan as an ally in their cause.

The Burma Road . The Henri-Matsuoka Pact of 1940 had resulted in the stationing of Japanese troops in French Indochina, which cut the supply lines of Nationalist China running through Tongking. The Burma Road thus became of vital importance to Nationalist China, connecting it with British India.

The Economy . Until 1937, Burma used the coinage of British India; in 1937 the Burmese Rupee was introduced; in 1939 the usage of Indian Rupees in Burma terminated.
In 1937, Burma produced 6.9 million metric tons of rice, in 1940 8.2 million metric tons, in 1942 5.9 million metric tons (IHS p.194).

Social History . J. Lahmeyer estimates the population of Burma in 1937 at 15.3 million, in 1941 at 16.8 million.

Articles British Rule in Burma, Ba Maw, U Saw, Aung San, Dobama Asiayone, Communist Party of Burma, Burma Independence Army, Burma Road, from Wikipedia
DOCUMENTS Myanmar Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Myanmar, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
Flags of the Burmese Government 1941ff, from FOTW
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Article : Burma, in : Americana Annual 1943 pp.118-119 (on events of 1942) [G]
The Far Frontiers pp.507-523, in : John Gunther, Inside Asia, 1942 War Edition, NY : Harper & Brothers (1938) 1942

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 12th 2002, last revised on May 31st 2007

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