Burma fell totally under the British rule from 1885 after the 3rd Anglo-Burmese war. The last king of Burma, King Thibaw ( Sipaw ) was sent to Ratanagiri in India, south of Bombay ( Mumbai ). Burma became part of India. The British brought in thousands of middle-class India for administration. The British boasted to be the “ Empire without Sunset ”. Alike Asia the entire continent of Africa was also colonised by many European nations.
Communism was spreading throughout the world. As WW I broke out in 1917. Many Karens soldiers fought for the British during WW I in Mesopotamia.
Communication was getting better due to the industrial revolution. That was also the golden age for the Karens as they sent their children to school and many American missionaries were serving in Burma. Educated Karens were recruited into governmental administration, police force and army. Some rich Karens sent their children even to the U.K for higher education.
In 1939 Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany and started building the army and became a threat to Europe. Young patriotic in Burma started forming groups and political parties. Aung San and 30 comrades went to Japan to for military training and seeking help. Then the WW II broke out in 1941. USA got into WW II as the Royal Army of Japan bombed the Pearl Harbour by surprise.
The British was facing hardship in the European war and was forced to defend England. The Japanese army took that opportunity and invaded Burma from Victoria Point in southern-most part and also through the Three Pagoda pass from Thailand. The British withdrew from Burma to India by land destroying many bridges. As the British left the local administration in Burma was in turmoil. Dohbama ( Our Burman ) party took control of many towns and villages. In reality, Dohbama was more than patriotic and leading to a fascist group.
Irrawaddy delta was shared by the Karens and Burmans in harmony. But some Burmans reported the Karens as pro-British and spies to the Japanese. Many Karen leaders tried to negotiate with the Burmans. Unfortunately, one incident broke out in Myaung Mya area.