The South East Asian
nation of Myanmar (also known as Burma), has a long history as an
independent nation, punctuated by over sixty years of conquest and
occupation as a colonial possession of the expansionist British
Empire. Burma was seized by the Japanese in World War Two, and
became a major battleground as British, Indian, American, and
Chinese forces battled against the Japanese. Three year after the
defeat of Japan, Burma once again became an independent nation,
but almost immediately plunged into civil war, as Karen ethnic
group rebelled and a Communist uprising nearly toppled the new
government. The civil war began in 1948, and has continued with
varying degrees of intensity ever since. In 1988, a pro-democracy
movement was crushed violently by the military dictatorship, which
also renamed the nation "Myanmar." In late 2007, a new, so-far
peaceful anti-government uprising led by Buddhist monks has been
met with violence from government security forces.
It should be noted that
the current involvement of the Buddhist monks in the 2007 protests
harkens back to the long-running resistance to the British
conquest and occupation of Burma in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Many of the protests against British rule were led by Buddhist
monks, so the current monk-led protests are part of a tradition of
Burmese/Myanmar popular action to unpopular and repressive
Below is a listing of
the wars and conflicts of Burma and Myanmar since the first war
with the British Empire in the early 1800s.
Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826)
Resistance to British Conquest
World War: Burma Campaign
(1948-Present)--Long and complex civil war involving several
different uprisings and rebellions against the Burmese government.
This long-running war includes government warfare against the
Karen, Kachin, Shan and other ethnic groups, Communist rebels, and
pro-democracy protesters and rebels (these last two in 1988 and
2007). The civil war includes the "Four Eights" or 8888
Uprising (August 8, 1988 to September 18, 1988), in which
over 3,000 were killed by the military. Burmese/Myanmar rebel
armies and forces during the civil war include:
Communist Party of
Burma (CPB)--The Burmese Communist Party was active against
the British and Japanese occupiers, and after independence in
1948, launched a rebellion against the government. The CBP
signed a peace agreement with the government ending its
rebellion in 1989.
Active opposition to
the Myanmar/Burmese government dates from March, 1948 to 1989.
The CPB formed in 1939.
Union (KNU)-- The main Karen insurgent force. Active
opposition to the Myanmar/Burmese government dates from 1948 to
the Present. The KNU formed in 1947.
United Wa State
Army (UWSA)--Formed in 1989 after the Communist Party of
Burma ended its war against the government. The Wa ethnic group
had formed the bulk of the CPB's military force, and they did
not want to end their war against the Burmese government. The
UWSA continued resistance using the bases and infrastructure
created by the Communists. The Wa live and operate along the
Chinese border. Active opposition to the Myanmar/Burmese
government dates from 1989 to the Present. The Wa fought
against the government as part of the CPB from the 1970s to
Front / Chin National Army--The resistance movement of the
largely Christian Chin people. Active opposition to the
Myanmar/Burmese government dates from 1988 to the
Burmese Student Warriors (VBSW) --anti-government
guerrilla group best known for a 1999 raid on the Myanmar
embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. The VBSW operates out of refugee
camps along the Myanmar-Thai border. Known to be allied with
God's Army. Active opposition to the Myanmar/Burmese government
dates from 1999. Sources: http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/vbsw.htm
God's Army of the
Holy Mountain, best known simply as "God's Army," is a
breakaway faction of one of the largest Burmese opposition
groups, the Karen National Union (KNU). Supposedly led by two
children, the brothers Johnny and Luthor Htoo, the small Karen
guerrilla group gained world fame through the young age of the
brothers, as well as when God's Army seized a medical complex
along the Myanmar-Thai border in January, 2000. Myanmar
military assaults virtually wiped the group out, and the
remnants, along with Johnny and Luthor fled to Thailand in
January, 2001. This effectively brought an end to God's Army.
Active opposition to the Myanmar/Burmese government dates from
1997 to 2001.
(1950)--Refugee Nationalist (Koumintang, or KMT) Chinese soldiers
retreated across the Chinese-Burma border to escape the advancing
Chinese Communist armies of Mao Tse-Tung.
Border War (1956)
R. Ernest, Dupuy, and
Dupuy Trevor N. The
Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 B.C. To The
York: Harper & Row, 1970.
York: Facts On File Publications, 1999.
on Burma/Myanmar and Asian History:
and Conflicts of Thailand
Border Clash (2008-2009)
War of 1979
Border Clash (2008-2009)
Army Mutiny of 2009
Conflicts, and Coups of the Philippines
Rebellion in Laos