U thant

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U Thant (1963)
Sithu U Thant at a meeting with US President Lyndon B. Johnson , 1968

Sithu U Thant ( Burmese ဦး သန့် ; born January 22, 1909 in Pantanaw , Irrawaddy Division , Burma (now Myanmar); † November 25, 1974 in New York City , New York , USA ) was a Burmese politician . From 1961 to 1971 he was the third Secretary General of the United Nations .


After his school career, Thant initially worked in the school service. In 1945 he joined U Nu with the Burmese liberation movement under General Aung San against the Japanese occupation forces. In 1947 he became Minister of Information under Prime Minister U Nu. From 1957 to 1961 he was a Burmese delegate to the UN .

On November 3, 1961, he was first interim successor to Dag Hammarskjöld , and on November 30, 1962, he was confirmed as the third Secretary General of the United Nations for four more years. A second term of office from 1966 to 1971 followed. In dealing with international conflicts ( arms race between the superpowers , the Cuban Missile Crisis , the civil war in Cyprus , the Vietnam War and the Middle East conflict ), like his predecessor, he tried to mediate and balance interests. However, he did not succeed in effectively increasing the weight of the UN . He made increasing efforts to promote third world countries .

In 1963, U Thant was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . In 1973 he received the United Nations Human Rights Prize .

Sithu U Thant died of lung cancer on November 25, 1974 in New York . His body was transferred to his native Burma in Rangoon . There, however, he was denied an honorable funeral by President Ne Win . On December 5, 1974, students kidnapped the body shortly before the official burial. He was buried on the site of a student union of the University of Yangon (RUSU) that was destroyed in 1962. A mausoleum was built for him there. On December 11, 1974, the site was stormed by the Burmese military, killing some students. The body was removed and buried at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda. This action led to street protests in Rangoon, whereupon the government declared a state of emergency. This incident is known as the "U-Thant Crisis".

In his honor, a small island in the East River , not far from the United Nations Headquarters in New York City , has borne the unofficial name U Thant Island since 1977 .

Web links

Commons : U Thant  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Thant was his only name according to the Burmese naming convention; U is an honorable address, comparable to the German “Herr”, and Sithu is an honorary title that was awarded to him as a member of the “Order of the Burmese Union”.
  2. ^ Former secretaries-general ( Memento from January 5, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  3. ^ List of previous recipients. (PDF; 43 kB) United Nations Human Rights, April 2, 2008, accessed on December 29, 2008 (English).