On This Day

The Day Myanmar’s Independence Hero was Assassinated

By Wei Yan Aung 19 July 2019

Seventy-two years ago, General Aung San, widely regarded as Myanmar’s independence hero, was assassinated, along with seven of his colleagues and a bodyguard.

Since then, Myanmar has observed July 19 as Martyrs’ Day in remembrance of this tragic event.

The assassination was orchestrated by Patriot’s Party leader Galon U Saw and some British officials who did not want to grant Myanmar its independence. The assassins were apprehended within five hours.

Over the next three months, 37 court hearings were held and six perpetrators—including U Saw, who served as the Prime Minister of British Burma—were sentenced to death.

Captain David Vivian, a British Army officer, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for supplying U Saw with weapons to carry out the assassination. However, the mastermind behind it all was never identified.

Six days before his death, Gen. Aung San in his last speech said that Myanmar would achieve a proper status only when people work very hard and in unison for the next 20 years. But after his death, though Myanmar regained independence, national unity was shattered and the country was plagued by civil war and military dictatorship for the next 70 years, becoming one of the least developed countries in the region.

Today, the government is led by Gen Aung San’s daughter, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who defied the military dictatorship and is still trying to end the nation’s civil wars and instill national reconciliation.