Recording: Louis Allen and the History of a Battle in the Burma Campaign

Professor Barkawi speaks about the dispute between Louis Allen, author of Burma: The Longest War 1941-45 and veterans of the Battle of Sangshak in the Burma Campaign.

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In his seminal history of the Burma campaign in which he served, Louis Allen drew on his own experience and judgements and the archives of his former enemies. Between the first and second editions of his book, Burma: The Longest War 1941-45, he became embroiled in a dispute with veterans of the Battle of Sangshak. The story of this dispute guides us through some of the ways in which history is a continuation of war by other means. The Battle of Sangshak took place in Manipur in the forested and mountainous frontier area between India and Burma. A Indian/Gurkha paratroop brigade fought against Japanese forces on their way to Kohima at the beginning of the Imphal offensive from 20 March to 26 March 1944.


Professor Tarak Barkawi is a historian of war and empire at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His scholarship uses interdisciplinary approaches to imperial and military archives to re-imagine relations between war, armed forces and society in modern times. His most recent book, Soldiers of Empire, examined the multicultural armies of British Asia in the Second World War, reconceiving Indian and British soldiers in cosmopolitan rather than national terms.

The event will be chaired by Dr Sidharth Kaushal, Research Fellow in Sea Power in the Military Sciences Research Group at RUSI. His research covers the impact of technology on maritime doctrine in the 21st century and the role of sea power in a state's grand strategy. He holds a doctorate in International Relations from LSE, where his research examined the ways in which strategic culture shapes the contours of a nation's grand strategy.


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