The Aftermath of World War II

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How did World War II affect the relationship between the Rohingya and the Buddhist population of Myanmar?

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From the early 19th century through 1942, contemporary Myanmar, known as Burma, was under British colonial control as part of British India. Buddhism was the religion of the majority. The Rohingya Muslim minority was concentrated in a few areas, especially Arakan in the west, which had previously been an independent kingdom.

In 1942, the Japanese conquered Burma and other areas of Southeast Asia. The wartime tensions exacerbated conflicts between Buddhists and Muslims. Rohingya fighters supported the British in retaking the territory from the Japanese in 1945. Many believed that they would achieve an autonomous Muslim state or that Arakan would join the new Muslim-dominant state of Pakistan when India became independent. (East Pakistan later became Bangladesh.)

In the late 1940s–1950s, active Rohingya resistance continued, and was increasingly quashed by government forces.

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