By 1942, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya and Burma had all fallen to the Japanese. Their army looked unbeatable.
The following year, with morale at its lowest, General William Slim set about rebuilding confidence among the British Commonwealth troops of the newly formed Fourteenth Army. Along with its allies, this force then succeeded in halting the Japanese advance on India's eastern frontier in two epic battles fought between March and July 1944.
These hard-won victories at Imphal and Kohima proved the turning point in the Burma campaign and paved the way for the reconquest of that country. After taking Mandalay and Meiktila, the Allies recaptured Rangoon in May 1945. Within weeks, the war in the Far East was over, and the British and their allies were victorious.
Dr Robert Lyman is a writer and historian, who has published widely on the British and Commonwealth armies of the Second World War. He is currently writing a new account of the entire Burma campaign to be published in 2022. His book ‘Slim, Master of War’ continues to be listed as a must-read for officer cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
James Holland is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian, writer and broadcaster. The author of a number of bestselling histories, including ‘The Battle of Britain’, ‘Dam Busters’ and ‘Burma ‘44’, he is also the co-founder of the Chalke Valley History Festival and hosts a weekly podcast with Al Murray, ‘We Have Ways of Making You Talk’.
This event is part of our VJ75: Never Forgotten series.
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