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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The 1945 Conquest of Burma

The Axis powers were then everywhere in retreat. British and American forces were crossing the Rhine and Soviet armies - over 2 million strong - had taken Poland and were approaching Berlin from the east. In the Pacific, American Marines had defeated the Japanese at Iwo Jima and begun the firebombing of Tokyo itself. At Cairo 15 months earlier, the leaders of the new “United Nations”, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Chiang Kai-shek, agreed on an overland invasion of...

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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 completed. The road linked Ledo in Assam via the Kachin Hills with Kunming in Yunnan. It was the first and still only modern road to connect India and China across Myanmar. The idea for the road began in 1942 after Japanese forces seized Rangoon and cut the old "Burma Road". The Burma Road began in Rangoon and went via Mandalay and Lashio to Yunnan. It was the critical life-line for...

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