East Asia 1948: Huaihai Campaign
By late 1948 the Communists were gaining the initiative in the Chinese Civil War. In early November Communist forces moved to surround a large body of Nationalist troops at Xuzhou. The following two month battle resulted in the death or capture of over 500 thousand Nationalists, severely weakening the Nationalist position north of the Yangtze.
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.
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.
12 Sep–2 Nov 1948 Liaoshen Campaign▲
In the Liaoshen Campaign, the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched a series of attacks on the rail link around Jinzhou, severing Republic of China forces in Manchuria from the south. The fall of Jinzhou on 15 October encouraged the northern city of Changchun—already under siege—to surrender six days later. After a beating back a Nationalist counteroffensive in late October, the Communists captured Shenyang, completing their conquest of Manchuria.
6 Nov 1948–10 Jan 1949 Huaihai Campaign▲
In the Huaihai Campaign, the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army surrounded and destroyed some 550,000 Chinese Nationalist troops of the Republic of China in the vicinity of Xuzhou, just north of the Nationalist capital of Nanjing. The defeat cost the Nationalists their best troops and most of their American equipment, prompting President Chiang Kaishek to resign and the United States to end its military and financial support of the regime.