- Germany, Federal Republic of, Relations with
- Imperial, Weimar, and Nazi Germany had few significant contacts with Burma other than commercial ties, but after the country became independent in 1948, West Germany played an important, though still little understood, role involving General Ne Win. In 1955, a company owned by the West German state, Fritz Werner, was invited by the Union of Burma government to assist in the establishment of an indigenous armaments industry, to provide the Tatmadaw with small arms, ammunition, and explosives. Anumber of Tatmadaw personnel were trained by the company in Germany, and between 1962 and 1988 Ne Win visited Germany every year as a personal guest of the company, on what one German scholar calls "a mixture of private holidays and business trips" (his last trip there was in May 1988). Fritz Werner arranged for the construction of Union of Burma Five Star Line ships in Bremen and Hamburg and established one of the very few joint ventures in socialist Burma, Myanma Fritz Werner, for the purpose of promoting industry.Political relations between the two countries during this time were also friendly, as reflected in an official visit by Germany's President Richard von Weizsächer to Burma in February 1986. Between 1970 and 1988, Germany was consistently the second-largest donor of foreign aid to the Ne Win government (after Japan), mostly in the form of concessional loans, which during the economic crisis of the late 1980s left the country with a huge, unpayable debt in deutschmarks (and yen). The flow of official development assistance funds from Bonn to Rangoon (Yangon) increased significantly in the late 1970s, reaching a high of US$75 million in 1983. German policy makers thought Burma an appropriate destination for aid because it represented a "third way" in economic systems, between Western capitalism and Soviet-style communism. Aid was halted, however, after the State Law and Order Restoration Council seized power in September 1988.See also European Union, Relations with.
Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Donald M. Seekins . 2014.
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