|Republic of the Union of Myanmar|
|Government:||Unitary presidential republic|
|Status in OTL:||Active|
Myanmar is a country on the Bay of Bengal, which borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. Very often it is referred to by its older name of Burma, particularly by those who reject the legitimacy of the unelected, autocratic junta which renamed the country in 1989.
It is home to many fractious ethnic groups, who constantly fought with one another until the Bamar people emerged as the dominant power, founding the Kingdom of Burma. The other groups frequently revolted and seceded, but were always reconquered. At the height of its power, Burma controlled most of present-day Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh, but an invasion of British India backfired horribly and led to the country's colonization and absorption into the very entity it attempted to conquer. Eric Arthur Blair was once a member of the colonial police in Burma.
Burma was overrun by Japan during the Second World War, but a British counterattack succeeded in regaining the territory. The British granted independence to Burma in 1948 as a republic, until a military coup in 1962. The military regime revived many policies of the former kingdoms, such as autocratic rule, repeatedly shifting the capital and subjugating the various ethnic groups. They have also turned Burma into one of the world's poorest countries.
The junta officially dissolved following a 2010 general election. The military still retains substantial influence in the government.
Myanmar in Days of Infamy
Following their conquest of much of the Far East and part of the Pacific, the Empire of Japan established a puppet nationalist government in Burma composed of local collaborators. Representatives from Burma were present during a crowning ceremony in Hawaii of King Stanley Owana Laanui after Japan conquered the Islands in 1942.
Myanmar in The Two Georges
Myanmar in The War That Came Early
Burma was a British possession until the first months of 1941, when it was conquered by Japan during the Pacific phase of the Second World War. The Japanese military set up a facility called Unit 113, which engaged in much of the same research that Unit 731 did in Harbin. Burma also bordered the Chinese province of Yunnan, which was restive under Japanese rule, particularly as Chinese rebels were supplied by the British, who moved a trickle of weapons into Yunnan through India. Containers full of cholera bacelli and diseased rodents from Unit 113 were released into Yunnan, causing a great deal of sickness and panic.
Even for battle-hardened soldiers, the humidity of Burma was nearly intolerable. Uniforms were prone to rot, and several soldiers began wearing only loinclothes and and zoris. Corporal Hideki Fujita, who'd been transferred to Burma in the summer of 1941, was soon among them.
As was its practice elsewhere, the Japanese army forced young Burmese women into harsh prostitution as "comfort women" for its soldiers. Soldiers such as Fujita were encouraged to exploit these women for a purely physical sexual satisfaction and completely ignore the women's feelings about it.
In 1944, when the Soviet Union concluded its war with Germany and formed an alliance with the United States against Japan, the Japanese realized that facing such a formidable combination of enemies they would not be able to hold on to Burma. Instead, the Japanese encouraged the Burmese to declare independence from Britain. Bobbity Cranborne shared his belief with Alistair Walsh that Britain would have to accept Burmese independence as fait accompli and would not be in the position to restore the pre-war colonial situation.