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No winning for losing

“The British and Japanese fought each other on the Burman front for forty-six months. Burma thus became the longest single campaign of the Second World War. It cost the Japanese only 2,000 lives to seize this British possession in 1942, but a further 104,000 dead to stay there until 1945. The largest country on the South-East Asian mainland, rich in oil, teak and rubber, Burma had been ruled by a British governor, with only token democratic institutions. Its population of eighteen million included a million Indians, who played a prominent part in commerce and administration. A host of Indian fugitives died in ghastly circumstances during the 1942 British retreat. Burmans had always been hostile to colonial rule. Many acquiesced willingly in occupation by fellow Asians, until they discovered that their new masters were far more brutal than their former ones. By 1944, they had learned to hate the Japanese. They craved independence and, ironically, now looked to the British to secure it for them.” – Max Hastings, Retribution

Published inEconomicsMax HastingsPolitics & LawThe Second World War

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