The Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II
took place over four years from 1942 to 1945. During the first year
of the campaign, the Japanese Army (with aid from Thai forces and
Burmese insurgents) drove British Commonwealth and Chinese forces
out of Burma, and occupied the country, forming a Burmese
administration with little real authority. Before the Second World
War broke out, Burma was part of the British Empire, having been
progressively occupied and annexed following three Anglo-Burmese
Wars in the nineteenth century. Initially governed as part of
British India, Burma was formed into a separate colony under the
Government of India Act 1935. Under British rule, there had been
substantial economic development but the majority Bamar community
was becoming increasingly restive. Among their concerns were the
importation of Indian workers to provide a labour force for many of
the new industries, and the erosion of traditional society in the
countryside as land was used for plantations of export crops or
became mortgaged to Indian moneylenders. Pressure for independence
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