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During the Second World War (1939-45), India supported the Allied
Forces with both money and military. The part India played was very
important as the support had a large impact on the result of the war.
Without India, the Allied would have lost to the Axis.
Before the partition in 1947, India was a colony under British rule.
India had an army of over two million in 1945. A lot of the soldiers
served the allies. 700,000 (three-quarters of the Indian's military)
of them joined the 14th Army in Burma. They served in the North Africa
campaigns against the Germans. Other armies fought battles in Eritrea,
the Middle East and the Far East.
On the sea, as much as 30,000 joined the Royal Indian Navy with many
other sea merchants transporting and supplying goods to other allies.
The Royal Indian Air Force also recruited 55,000 Indians while
thousands of Indian women gave their services and took part in WRINS
(Women's Royal Indian Naval Service) , WACS (Women's Auxiliary Corps:
Indian) or as nurses and weaponry workers.
Financially, India supported Britain with over GBP1550m. Furthermore,
the millions that worked at factories produced goods that worth
uncountable amounts of money.
From government reports, we know that India supported the Allied
Forces significantly. In reality, India did not participate as a
whole. Two main groups of people reacted differently to the war.
Muslims believed that if they aid the British, they would gain their
respect and freedom. The Hindus thought the opposite. Many Hindus
leaders put on strikes and did not cooperate with the British-ruled
India government. Therefore many Hindus were sent to prisons.
Some Indians in the army, however also changed sides throughout the
war. Subhas Chandra Bhose believed that if Britain loses the war,
India would get its independence. He then organized an INA (Indian
National Army) to fight for the Japanese. The Japanese forced
thousands of Indians to join the INA and some died because of
rejecting the offer. The survivors of the INA were captured by the
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charged with treason by the British government. This decision did not
impress the local Indians since Bhose and other members of the INA
fought for an independent India. The reason was approved and the
survivors were sent home.
India played an important role in the Second World War. Without India,
the outcome of the war might be unthinkable. The contribution from the
country could never be replaced. Many thousands were killed or injured
in the bloody battles. Their deaths would remind us the significance
of India's part in the Second World War.
2) The Second World War had a very large impact on the world. One
thing it changed was the relationship between the British government
and other Indian political parties.
Two main political parties had their relationship with the British
government changed after the Second World War. They are the Congress
Party and the Muslim League. The Congress Party was set up during the
19th century. The organizers were mainly rich and wealthy people who
wanted to put some pressure on the British government. The Congress
Party did not have any mass support in the beginning but were slowly
growing into a national party.
Gandhi and other members of the Congress believe that India should get
its independence as a reward for helping the British to fight against
its enemies in World War One. The Indians showed how loyal and brave
they are in the battles between the French. Gandhi held peaceful
strikes and allowed his members and himself to be arrested by the
In 1919, General Dyer, a British army commander arrived Amritsar and
banned all meetings. A group of Sikhs however, gathered for a festival
in the Jallian Bagh, an open square. General Dyer then blocked all the
exits of the square and ordered his troops to fire without any kind of
warning. 371 were killed and over a thousand people were wounded.
After the incident, more Indians believe that the British could not be
trusted and joined Gandhi and the Congress, demanding independence.
When the Second World War broke out, the Congress Party refused to aid
the British since nothing was rewarded when India contributed so much
in the First World War. British declared war on India's behalf without
getting any consulting from the people. Many leaders held disobedience
campaigns and were imprisoned.
The other major party was the Muslim league. It was founded in 1906
with most of its members being Muslims that were uncomfortable with
Hindu domination over the country. Many of the Muslim league members
were also members of the Congress. Both parties combined in 1916 to
attempt demanding independence but after 1927, the parties started to
In 1934, Muhammed Ali Jinnah became the Leagues leader and quit the
Congress, disagreeing with Gandhi's non violence, slow actions. The
Muslim league had very few representatives in the Congress which
claims to represent the whole India. In 1935, Jinnah rejected the
government act since most of the Muslim provinces did not have control
over the area. He then became very annoyed with the Congress and
decided to start a new campaign in 1937, demanding a separate Muslim
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, the Muslim league reacted
in the opposite of what the Congress (Hindus) did. The party supported
British, sent troops to aid and provided supplies and goods. In March
1940, Jinnah officially demanded a separate Muslim state - Pakistan,
the land of pure.
The two parties' relationship with Britain changed significantly and
the different reactions resulted a partitioned India. On the North
West side of India is Pakistan, where most of the Muslims live. The
other side becomes the home to many Hindus.
3) India was partitioned into 2 different countries in 1947. Muslims
live in Pakistan (North West of India) and Hindus live in India. There
are many reasons to why the country was partitioned. They can be
divided into two groups.
The first group of reasons are short term reasons. One of the short
term reasons for partition is that there were serious conflicts
between Muslims and Hindus. Violent battles between both religions
could be seen everywhere. Muslims set fire on Hindu temples while
Hindus set fire on Muslim temples. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Jinnah and
Jawarhal Nehru figured out that an independent whole India was
impossible. Gandhi only realized that until 1946 when he saw the
conflict with his own eyes.
Another short term reason is the fixed date set for India's
independence by Lord Louis Mountbatten. It would take much more time
to resolve the conflict and produce a united India. Breaking the
promise of independence before 1948 would lead to chaos and disorder
all over the country. Partition was the best solution to the problem
The second group of reasons is long term reasons. The war has put
India into a terrible state where men were wounded with a lot of the
country's capital wasted on military. The country would take a lot of
time to recover and dividing it into two states could speed up the
recovery rate. Another long term reason is that the difference between
Muslims and Hindus became so great that the two groups of people acted
like two races and could not live together. Jinnah, the leader of the
Muslims also insisted a separate Muslim state. Hindus has a higher
population then Muslims and if they live in the same country, Muslims
would always lose to votes. Jinnah has also stated and ordered an
independent Pakistan that changing the option would disappoint
millions of Muslims, which could lead to many other violent conflicts.
Even Gandhi, the man with the original belief of one independent India
gave up the thought after looking at the different religions. This
diminished the final hopes of one united and independent India.
The partition of India in 1947 was inevitable. The key members and
leaders involved in the incident could not do anything else to stop
the division. Partition was after all a better solution over a united
independent India with a lot of violence and fights happening everyday
in the country. Dividing India into two might have caused problems,
but has also prevented thousands of innocent deaths.