Hand Extended Across the World: Yugoslav Support to Burma in its Struggle against Foreign Aggression (1952–1954) Cover Image

Рука пружена преко света: југословенска подршка Бурми у борби против спољне агресије 1952–1954.
Hand Extended Across the World: Yugoslav Support to Burma in its Struggle against Foreign Aggression (1952–1954)

Author(s): Jovan Čavoški
Subject(s): Diplomatic history, Post-War period (1950 - 1989)
Published by: Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije
Keywords: Yugoslavia; Burma; non-alignment; foreign aggression; military and diplomatic assistance; Chinese Nationalists

Summary/Abstract: This article intends to present a largely unknown historical episode that clearly depicts how Yugoslavia and Burma, facing tough choices between two antagonistic world camps, opted for the third way in international politics that implied avoiding open afϐiliation with either of the superpower blocs and developing closer coordination with other nations that shared similar aspirations. Both countries ultimately concluded that any strengthening of this bilateral relationship would ultimately have far-reaching consequences not only for their respective positions in Asian affairs, but also for their general standing in world politics. Over the time, Yugoslavia became a role model for Burma, country whose policy of non-alignment and separate road to socialism were emulated by the leadership in Rangoon. Furthermore, direct consequence of the clandestine Western support to the rogue Chinese Nationalist troops in Burma was the outright strengthening of the non-aligned camp and gradual weakening of the grip of containment in Asia. Yugoslav arms shipments to Burma directly contributed to the emergence of such an alternative, acting as an impetus for Rangoon’s active tilt towards the foreign policy strategy of non-alignment, while also opening doors to Yugoslavia’s active involvement in Asian affairs in the years to come. Without the Yugoslav arms, it would have been quite impossible for Burma to initially stave off and ultimately crush the mounting foreign aggression, thus creating conditions for a successful political, military, and economic cooperation between the two countries. In fact, Yugoslav-Burmese military exchanges had a major impact on the strategic plans of both blocs in Southeast Asia, foremost on U.S. and Chinese power projections. The unexpected success of the Yugoslav-Burmese interactions was basically founded on the fact that for both these nations, frequent exchanges never represented a danger to their independence or sovereignty, which could not be claimed for any of the great powers.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 143-176
  • Page Count: 34
  • Language: Serbian