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U Ne Win Quotes


U Ne Win
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: U Ne Win
  • Born: 24th May 1911, Paungdale, Pegu Province, Lower Burma, British India
  • Died: 5th December 2002, Yangon, Myanmar
  • Occupation: Political and military leader
  • Military service: 1931 - 1974
  • 3rd Prime Minister of Burma: 29th October 1958 - 4th April 1960
  • 4th President of Burma: 2nd March 1962 - 9th November 1981
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"When the army shoots, it shoots to kill"

U Ne Win

"I shall be watching from the Party. All those who would be directly concerned with the practical aspects of the work should exercise utmost caution"

U Ne Win

"I would like to declare from here that if the army shoots it has no tradition of shooting into the air. It would shoot straight to hit"

U Ne Win

"The Burmese Army is not only the hope of the country, but its very life and soul"

U Ne Win

"The Burmese Way to Socialism .... through political and economic mysticism"

U Ne Win

"All those who would be directly concerned with the practical aspects of the work should exercise utmost caution"

U Ne Win

"You are to uphold law and justice without fear or favour, not to bend the law and stretch it to please me or anyone else" (said to Maung Maung in 1965)

U Ne Win

"If the disturbances were intended to challenge us we will fight sword with sword and spear with spear"

U Ne Win

"Let us heal rather than reopen our wounds"

U Ne Win

"Federalism is impossible, It will destroy the union"

U Ne Win

"I am the surrogate father of the Tatmadaw"

U Ne Win

"Parliamentary democracy was not suitable for Burma"

U Ne Win

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U Ne Win Biography

U Ne Win was the Burmese patriot who worked his way up to lead the army and eventually take full control of the country in a 1962 military coup that saw him hold the reins of power for 26 years until he too was ousted in a 1988 coup.



Burma had broken free of the British colonial chains in 1948 which saw a faltering democracy cling to power for a rudderless decade of political in-fighting for power and factional insurgency around the country.

U Ne Win had stepped in as a temporary prime minister during a successful interim military administration between 1958 and 1960 until U Nu won a landslide victory in the 1960 democratic election to become prime minister.

U Nu lasted two years which saw no improvements so U Ne Win staged a military coup to take control of the country in March 1962 and moved quickly to implement changes which he deemed appropriate to the nations needs.

U Ne Win's iron fist came down hard as he used the army to launch an all out offensive against insurgents throughout the country, foreigners were expelled from the country and he virtually nationalised the economy. Political questioning saw hundreds imprisoned and when students at Rangoon university protested they were met with deadly force with dozens killed and injured.

This set the tone for a quarter of a century of isolation behind what became known as the bamboo curtain and his policies which were a mix of Lenin's version of communism, Burmese folklore and Buddhism merely resulted in a negative effect where he took the nation from prosperity to poverty.

By 1988 with the economy on the brink of bankruptcy U Ne Win resigned which sparked protests pushing for democracy until the military brutally put down the uprisings.

U Ne Win was now an old man who took on an advisory role in the background, but his influence waned as each year passed. He was one of the last great Asian dictators of the 20th century and this is my compilation of 12 of the best U Ne Win quotes

Quotes About U Ne Win

The New York Times editor Joseph Lelyveld gave this assessment: "He had a kind of nutty candour and some idea of the rest of the world, however limited. He was highly regarded in those [early] days. No one suspected he’d prove to be as erratic as he later showed himself to be. Most Western diplomats regarded him as a modernising figure… they were of course spectacularly wrong"

His grandson U Aye Ne Win poured scorn on the conspiracy theories of amassed wealth: "If we would have stolen or accumulated money, there should be a paper trail, or the documents should have surfaced, for instance at WikiLeaks. No country has ever frozen or confiscated assets of the family. That itself is a clear indication"

U Aye We Win went on to question the merits of democracy over dictatorship: "Even democracy can’t guarantee that you won’t get a ruler like Adolf Hitler; he was democratically chosen, a majority of the people in Nazi Germany supported him"

The author Tillman Durdin shared this observation: "Mr. Ne Win was a husky, hot-tempered, quick-witted martinet driven as much by a strong taste for discipline as by personal ambition"

The biographer Robert H Taylor had researched him for years: "The challenging thing is to try to think back to what things were like when General Ne Win lived. We know today Myanmar and the world are very different. He lived before television, before mass media and before radio. It was different. The work is trying to understand the man without having ever met him and trying to get into someone’s mind without knowing him. It was very difficult"


U Ne Win quote Let us heal rather than reopen our wounds