East Asia 1949: Communist Victory in Northern China
In China, the uneasy truce between Nationalists and Communists had collapsed in mid-1946. Things started well for the superior Nationalist forces, but their focus on taking cities, and ignoring control of the countryside, left them overextended. By late 1948, the Communists were ready for their own major offensives, isolating and destroying the Nationalist armies in Manchuria, central China and north China.
Following the end of World War II, the Yangtze River was again opened to international trade and patrolled by foreign - in particular US and British - warships. This state of affairs ended in 1949 with the Communist takeover.
15 Aug 1947 Partition of India▲
Under the direction of Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma, the last Viceroy of the British Indian Empire, British India was partitioned into the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India. As Pakistan was designated as a Muslim homeland, the religiously mixed provinces of Punjab and Bengal were also divided between the two new states. The princely states were advised to choose between Pakistan and India, rather than retain independence.
4 Jan 1948 Independence of Burma▲
Following the Panglong Agreement of 12 February 1947, the Union of Burma became an independent republic on 4 January 1948, ending British rule. Sao Shwe Thaik became President and U Nu Prime Minister. Unlike most other former British colonies, Burma chose not to join the British Commonwealth of Nations.
16 Jun 1948-31 Jul 1960 Malayan Emergency▲
The Malayan National Liberation Army - the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party - started a guerrilla against the British dominated Federation of Malaya. The British responded by instituting emergency measures and bringing in Commonwealth forces, largely defeating the guerrillas by the early 1950s. The independence of Malaya in 1957 further undermined the rationale of the war, and the remaining holdouts surrendered in the following years.
15 Aug 1948 First Republic of South Korea▲
The Republic of Korea was formally established in South Korea, succeeding the United States Army Military Government in Korea. Syngman Rhee - an independence activist who had won the South Korean presidential elections of July 1948 - was inaugurated as the new country’s first president.
9 Sep 1948 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea▲
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed in Pyongyang, capital of Soviet-dominated North Korea. Kim Il-Sung - chairman of the Worker’s Party of North Korea and a former Korean Red Army officer - assumed the role of premier.
29 Nov 1948-31 Jan 1949 Pingjin Campaign▲
In the Pingjin Campaign, the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army conquered Hebei province, capturing the key cities of Zhangjiakou and Tianjin from the Nationalists. On 21 January 1949, the isolated Nationalist garrison in Beiping (now Beijing) agreed to surrender, with the People’s Liberation Army entering the city ten days later. The Communist victory brought an end to Nationalist power in the North China Plain
19 Dec 1948-5 Jan 1949 Operation Kraai▲
The Netherlands conducted Operation Kraai, their second military offensive against the Republic of Indonesia. They successfully captured Yogyakarta, the Republic’s temporary capital, and seizes President Sukarno. The action was internationally condemned, with the United States threatening to suspend Marshall Plan aid to the Dutch and the United Nations passing a resolution demanding the reinstatement of the Republican government, prompting the Dutch to announce a ceasefire at the end of the year.