History of Myanmar

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1962 Mar 2

1962 Burmese coup d'état

Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma)

The 1962 Burmese coup d'état occurred on March 2, 1962, led by General Ne Win, who seized power from the democratically elected government of Prime Minister U Nu.[79] The coup was justified by Ne Win as necessary to preserve the unity of the country, as there were rising ethnic and communist rebellions. The immediate aftermath of the coup saw the abolition of the federal system, dissolution of the constitution, and the establishment of a Revolutionary Council headed by Ne Win.[80] Thousands of political opponents were arrested, and Burmese universities were closed for two years.


Ne Win's regime implemented the "Burmese Way to Socialism," which included nationalizing the economy and cutting off almost all foreign influence. This led to economic stagnation and hardships for the Burmese people, including food shortages and a scarcity of basic services. Burma became one of the world's most impoverished and isolated countries, with the military maintaining strong control over all aspects of society. Despite these struggles, the regime remained in power for several decades.


The 1962 coup had long-lasting impacts on Burmese society and politics. It not only set the stage for decades of military rule but also deeply exacerbated ethnic tensions in the country. Many minority groups felt marginalized and excluded from political power, fueling ongoing ethnic conflicts that persist to this day. The coup also stifled political and civil liberties, with significant restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, shaping the political landscape of Myanmar (formerly Burma) for years to come.

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Last Updated: Mon Oct 02 2023