7 September. Faced with hyperinflation in Malaya as a result of massive printing by the Japanese of their wartime currency, the British Military Administration (BMA) demonetizes the currency; only pre-war and a new post-war currency are legal tender. The widespread economic pain this causes is alleviated by government handouts. However, due to the financial and economic upheaval caused by the demonetization policy, the BMA would come to be derogatorily known as the ‘Black Market Administration’ owing to the widespread corruption of its staff.
12 September. The remnants of the once-vast Japanese forces in Burma formally surrender to the Allies; about 70,000 troops are taken prisoner. Since the disastrous failure of the main Japanese army in July to break out of Burma, its few survivors together with other detachments (including units of the Indian National Army) have struggled to retreat east into Thailand or south into Malaya. Many have been killed by Karen irregulars.
6 November. With some of their states newly liberated from Thai rule, the Shan sawbwas (princes) send a message to London reminding the British of their past loyalty and material support and calling for self-government (dominion status) for the 43 Shan States in the same way as being discussed for Burma, India, Ceylon and Malaya. They also propose amalgamating the 43 states into 12 and having one sawbwa lead them all.
1 October. A range of Karen groups begin a three-day mass meeting in Rangoon to discuss a ‘humble memorial’ that proposes a separate Karen state within the British Commonwealth, to be federated with Burma at a later date. Fears are also aired that the culture and identity of Burma’s ethnic minorities are threatened. Mindful of the savage repression that Karen suffered during wartime resistance to the Japanese occupation and its puppet Burman regime, Karen want to retain their licensed weapons. While prepared to work with the returning British governor, they feel neglected by the British despite their longterm loyalty. This gathering foreshadows the unproductive London meeting in 1946 and the Karen uprising in 1949.
17 October. Civilian administration is restored under Governor Dorman-Smith in accordance with the British government White Paper for the reconstruction and rule of postwar Burma. During his discussions with Aung San on the country’s post-war governance and plans for an Executive Council, Aung San demands a decisive AFPFL role: 11 of the 15 positions on the council. Negotiations will fail due to a lack of will on the part of Dorman-Smith. The governor also does not recognize the AFPFL as a national mass organization representing the people of Burma.
On 13 November 1945, 100 tumultuous days had passed since the dropping of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. One thousand days later, on 9 August 1948, the forces that had been set in train by Japan’s defeat and surrender continued to shape the face of Asia.
Whereas Thailand had firmly reoriented to a pro-Western stance by 1948, Burma was increasingly isolated. The country had become independent on 4 January 1948 as the Union of Burma, which incorporated … (to continue reading Cribb and Li’s aftermath, click the link below)
11 September. Occupation authorities in Japan designate 39 former Japanese leaders as war criminals and order their arrests. Among their number is General Tōjō Hideki, who as prime minister presided over Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Tōjō has already attempted suicide before being taken to prison. He is later found guilty at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal and hanged in December 1948. Eventually 5,700 Japanese military personnel will be tried in war crimes tribunals throughout Asia.
25 September. Though saying he is sad to leave the military, Aung San rejects the British offer to become Deputy Inspector-General in the regular Burma Army. He declares his departure from the army and now aims to lead the AFPFL as a civilian in its struggle for Burmese independence.
1 November. Rejecting the AFPFL push for a dominant role in the post-war governance of Burma, Governor Dorman-Smith forms an Executive Council that excludes the AFPFL and only includes ‘loyal’ prewar politicians. He is determined not to depart from the White Paper and not to continue Mountbatten’s ‘appeasement’ approach towards Aung San and the AFPFL. Aung San soon responds, calling on the Burmese to emulate India’s struggle for independence. Later in the month, he forms a private militia, the People’s Volunteer Organization, with thousands of discharged PBF soldiers and former resistance fighters. With the PVO at his command, he is now able to threaten the British with an armed struggle.