This week in the War, 26 July–1 August 1943: Ba Maw assumes the leadership of Burma and declares war on Britain and the USA
Ba Maw (extreme left) at the Greater East Asia Conference in Tokyo, 5 November 1943; Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo is in the centre [Public domain, wiki]
This week in the war, on 1 August 1943, the French-educated Burmese political leader, Ba Maw
, was appointed Head of State and Prime Minister of the newly formed State of Burma (effectively a puppet state, supported by the Japanese authorities). His first act was to declare war against Britain and the United States.
The Japanese had already promised to grant Burma independence, but they reasoned that granting independence early would further motivate the Burmese into supporting the war effort.
Thus Burma joined Thailand and other Asian states under Japanese control to become part of the ‘Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.’ It controlled 95% of the world’s rubber and all of the world’s production of quinine (used to treat malaria).
The Allies were working hard to create artificial substitute for both.
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