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The Modern Nation, Constitutional Democracy
ethnic separatism, Nonaligned Movement, Communist bloc, party split, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Myanmarís new independence confronted the AFPFL government of U Nu with a series of political and ethnic insurrections, which continued over the next three decades. During the 1950s a major threat created by the Karen revolt was blunted, and the Communist insurgents were forced to retreat into the hills. U Nu, along with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India, President Sukarno of Indonesia, and President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, helped establish the Nonaligned Movement, a loose association of nations that accepted aid but refused alliance with either the Western bloc of nations led by the United States or the Communist bloc led by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Some decades later, when the movement became too much aligned with the USSR, Myanmar quit. After the establishment of the nonaligned foreign policy, economic reconstruction was begun and some new growth undertaken with multilateral foreign aid.
AFPFL rule was validated in national elections in 1951-1952 and 1956. By 1958, however, a party split required the constitutional intervention of a caretaker army government for 18 months. General Ne Winís government tightened administrative discipline to promote modernization and curbed separatist tendencies in the Shan states, where some of the traditional rulers wanted to exercise the right to secession that was available during the first ten years under the 1947 constitution. The 1960 election gave a resounding victory to U Nuís faction, based largely on respect for his personal piety. U Nuís return to power was short-lived, however. His promotion of Buddhism as the state religion and his tolerance for ethnic separatism precipitated a bloodless coup that reestablished military rule under Ne Win in March 1962.
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