Thirty Heroes

Thirty Heroes


a group of Burmese patriots, including Aung San and Ne Win, that formed the nucleus of the command personnel of the Burma Independence Army during World War II.

The group of Thirty Heroes was created after the leaders of the Burmese national liberation movement accepted a gentlemen’s agreement with Japan. According to the agreement, Japan was to guarantee the independence of Burma, organize its army, and train its officers; in turn, Burma was to support Japan after it entered the war on the side of the fascists. Thirty Burmese patriots were sent to Japan in early 1941 for military training; in 1942, they headed the Burma Independence Army, which initiated hostilities together with Japanese troops against the British Army in Burma.

Burmese hopes for Japanese help in the national liberation movement, however, did not materialize. Japanese troops occupied Burma. Given this turn of events, the movement’s leaders, who came primarily from the Thirty Heroes, began preparing an anti-Japanese uprising. The army (from 1942, the Burma Defense Army, and from 1943, the Burma National Army), headed by the Thirty Heroes, played an important role in the liberation of Burma, first from the Japanese invaders in 1945, and then from the English colonialists, who had returned to the country. Burma achieved independence in 1948.


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