a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Burmese Govt vs Communist Guerillas

Years: 1948-1994
Battle deaths: 17,700 [1]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]
Myanmar (Burma)

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2014-08-10 17:12:56
This article is about the armed conflict between the Burmese Government and various guerilla movements - mainly the CBP/CPB–RF (Communist Party of Burma and its Red Flag faction) and the PVO – "White Band" faction (People’s Volunteer Organisation) over the power in Burma 1948-1988.


The conflict over government in Myanmar dates back to 1948 and has since then been characterised by periods of heavy fighting between the government and CPB (Communist Party of Burma) (1948-1989) and later also between the government and ABSDF (All Burma Students Democratic Front) (1990-1994). Since the military coup in 1962, Myanmar has been a one-party state.


Within eight months of independence Burma plunged into an all out civil war. Soe’s Red Flag Communists had already started a rebellion, so had the Rakhine nationalists led by the veteran monk U Seinda as well as the Mujahid Rakhine Muslims. The PVO had split into White-band and Yellow-band factions; the majority White-band PVO led by Bo La Yaung, a member of the Thirty Comrades, and Bo Po Kun, joined the insurrection in July. Nu’s government deployed the Karen and Kachin Rifles to suppress the communist uprising, and took Pyay, Thayetmyo and Pyinmana during the latter half of 1948. The Karen National Union (KNU) rebelled at the end of January 1949 when the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Smith Dun, an ethnic Karen was replaced by Gen. Ne Win, a socialist commander and senior member of the Thirty Comrades after Aung San and Bo Let Ya. The Mon joined the Karen. The Pa-O in the Shan State also rose up. Three regiments of the Burma Rifles also went underground led by communist commanders Bo Zeya, Bo Yan Aung and Bo Yè Htut, all members of the Thirty Comrades, forming the Revolutionary Burma Army (RBA)

The communist military offensive began to run out of steam, and in 1955 the CPB put forward the‘Peace and Unity’line. It combined a strong peace movement by its above-ground supporters and sympathizers and proposals by Than Tun to the AFPFL government in 1956.


On 12 March 1989, Kokang Chinese units led by Peng Jiasheng openly challenged the CPB’s central leadership and captured Mong Ko. Soon, several other ethnic commanders and their forces joined the mutiny, and on 16 April, Wa troops stormed the CPB headquarters at Panghsang and forced the old CPB leadership into exile in China. Former CPB forces split into several ethnic-specific groups which soon were contacted by the Myanmar government and offered ceasefires, which were accepted by many parties. Some of these groups later became active in the Wa (UWSA) and Kokang (MNDAA) conflicts.


Source: Wikipedia, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2014-03-03

Source: Uppsala Conflict Data Program (Date of retrieval: 2014-03-03) UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia, Uppsala University


Data Sources

[1] Battle deaths: PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset v3.0 (link) (1946-88) UCDP Battle-Related Deaths Dataset v. 5-2014 (link) (1989-) ID: #24
Low: 17,700 High: 170,475

Note: PRIO have only basic estimations and the lower estimation has been used - battle related fatalities may be much higher)

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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