After the Second World War, together with other members from his Burmese nationalist group, general Aung San succeeded in negotiating independence from the British which was agreed to take place in 1948. But, as happens with many charismatic leaders, Aung San had enemies who perhaps envied him his power or disagreed with his plans, and he was assassinated in 1947. His daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi was 2 years old at the time.
Burma then went through an unstable period in the 1950’s coming to terms with independence and finding it was not easy to please all the people all the time. Many different ethnic groups live in Burma and some of them wanted independence from Burma itself, while others wanted more local power. The army, run by Gen Ne Win, one of the original members of Aung San’s Burmese national group, led a military coup in 1962 which installed the military dictatorship which the world has come to know over the past fifty years.
Military Dictatorship: 1962-201–?
During this time, virtually all power was in the hands of the military and though General Aung San’s daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi almost unwittingly got involved in politics in Burma after spending much of her life in the West, she won the elections (with 82% of the votes) which were held in 1990, but was not allowed to take power and was instead placed under house arrest, where she stayed for much of the next twenty years. Meanwhile, Burma was isolated from the rest of the world and sanctions were placed on the country which worsened the already miserable plight of most Burmans.
pictures and photos from Aung San Suu Kyi’s Letters from Burma.