The Part Played by India in the Second World War

The Part Played by India in the Second World War

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The Part Played by India in the Second World War

In September 1939, Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy of India declared war
on Germany without consulting the Indian Assembly. India being the
Britain's colony supported the war effort at that time.

During the first year, the government did very little to help the
Britain. However, during the later years, the Indian Army did not only
fight for Britain, but also fought for the ally in the world war
against Germany, Italy and Japan. They also fought in North Africa,
Italy, France and South Asia for Britain with loyalty and bravery.
This was proved by the Rajputs and the Punjabis being praised for
their bravery when fighting in Hong Kong and in Singapore. According
to reliable statistics, about 1,250,000 Indians volunteered to join
the British army. Other than helping the allies, India also helped
other countries like China to build roads from Calcutta to Chiang Kai
Shek, so that China could get aids from other countries while they
were struggling under the Japanese's occupation. The people in India
were very united and loyal other than volunteering to join the army,
about 2.5 million servicemen and women contributed to the war effort
on their own choice.

Other than joining the British army, the Indians also helped Britain
with their economy during the war. India owed Britain about three
hundred million pounds before the World War Two. Britain withdrawn
this money from India to pay the Indian army fighting outside of
India. However, Britain took more than what they could pay back, and
after the war, Britain owed India about one thousand and two hundred
million pounds. It may also be this reason that the British government
had decided to leave India because this expenditure cannot continue.
Other than the money withdrawn from India, the British government in
India increased the tax slightly during the war to help Britain
economically. This shows that everyone in India contributed to the war
effort and helped the allies in winning the World War. India also
provided Britain with essentials for example clothes and medicines.

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There was an outbreak of Spanish Influenza in India during World War
Two, as a result of over-supplying Britain with doctors and medicine.

In conclusion, India's contribution to the war was important. This was
showed by the Japanese troops being held up in Indian border when
trying to take over India. The Britain also relied on the materials
and essentials from India. The British would not have won the war if
India did not help them. The British was willing to pay about one
thousand million pounds to the Indian army after the war, this shown
how much Britain valued Indian Army. However India did not do much to
stop Japanese's occupation and war effort. I think that the war in
Asia ended being USA dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan, forcing them
to surrender, so I think USA was very important in defeating the
Japanese in Asia.

The relationship between Britain and the congress party:

The congress party was set up trying to put pressure on the Raj's
government to allow more Indian influence when ruling India. In 1906,
the congress demanded Home rule for the first time. In attempting
this, the Indians helped the government during World War One
willingly, hoping the Viceroy would give the Indians more power.
However the government did not mention about executing home rule after
World War One, this lead to outbreaks of violence and strikes in the
area of Punjab. This showed that the British and the Congress did not
trust each other. It may also be this reason that lead to violence and
hatred between them. In order to settle down the hatred, the British
gave the Indians some powers and influences in the government in the
first Government of India Act. However this act was useless as the
British kept the control over the army, police and the finance
department. They kept the finance department to control the Indian
influence in the government. Gandhi then organised massive civil
disobedience, for example the Salt March and encouraged the spinning
of cloth to protest about the relationship between the British
government and the government. Later in 1935, the British executed the
Government of India Act, which showed that the government only wanted
to satisfy the desire of Indians of having influences in the
government, but not sharing their power in the government. However the
congress again had massive civil disobedience to reject this act, as
they wanted a complete break from the British. All the above showed
that there was a lack of trust between India and Britain. As India did
not do very much in helping the Britain during World War Two, British
government sent Cripps to negotiate that if India helped in the war
effort, British would then leave India in return. However, the
congress rejected this plan, and carried out the "Quit India" campaign
trying to throw British government out. This showed that the Indians
were not satisfied with the British government. In conclusion, I think
that government and the Congress was always enemies and they never
really co-operated with each other.

The relationship between Britain and the League:

The Muslim League was set up in 1906 by Muslims who feared of Hindu
domination and discrimination. But during that time, most important
Muslim leaders were in the Congress. Jinnah resigned and became the
leader of the Muslim League in the 1930s. When the second Government
of India Act was executed, the League rejected the act because the
Muslims and the League did not gain much power as the result of that.
This showed that the League was not very satisfied with British rule
before World War two. However this was not the case during and after
the war. The League fully co-operated with the British government, and
supported the British government in India. As congress began to resign
from the original posts they had in the government, the League began
to take the opportunity and asked for a separate state called
Pakistan.

In conclusion, I think the WW2 did not change the relationship between
the Congress because the British and Congress were enemies since the
congress was found. However, WW2 gave the opportunity to the League to
ask for another state, and changed the relationship between Britain
and the League as a result of World War Two.

To understand why India was partitioned, we must first understand why
India became independent. Britain decided to quit India because there
was less support from the Indians after the World War Two, because
they thought that the British army did not fight for India during
World War One. There was also a mutiny in the Indian navy, and it soon
spread to the army, this indicated to the Indian people that Britain
could not govern India. When the World War Two was over, the British
economy fell down. They had to build their industry. At the same time,
British people were asking for a better society with better education
system and social welfare. This increased British government's
expenditure. Empire is also very expensive, Britain had already spent
over £1,000,000,000 on India, if this continued, Britain would
bankrupt. Therefore in 1945 to 46, the British government decided to
deconlonise India.

The League and the Congress were enemies since 1930. In 1930s, Jinnah
resigned from the congress and became the leader of the League. He was
the same with most of the Muslim at that time, and that they feared
Hindu's domination and discrimination in the future. This might happen
when the congress came to power. The Muslim League lost the 1937
election, they only won 22% of all the seats reserved for the Muslims.
And the Congress seized this opportunity to claim that the Congress
represented all Indian people. During World War Two, the League and
Jinnah supported the government and the war effort. Some of the
Congress members resigned from the government to protest against the
decision of going to war, but the League took the advantage and
managed to get themselves into the government. Therefore they had the
opportunity to press their claims for a separate state-Pakistan.
Jinnah mentioned his dreamland Pakistan for the first time in March
1940. During the war, the League grew in size to having 2,000,000
members. This enabled them to win the election after the war, which
they won 90% of all the seats reserved for Muslims.

There are also lots of short term causes which lead to the partition
of India. In 1946, the labour government sent the Cabinet Mission to
India and suggested to have a united India with protection of Muslims.
Nehru and Gandhi were still hoping for a united India, but they
appeared to have accepted. But when the League won 90% of the seats
reserved for the Muslims, the congress withdrew and rejected the plan.
The League also withdrew when the Congress rejected the plan, and
Jinnah was furious that the Congress withdrew support for the plan. He
called for the Direct Action, which was meant to be a series of
peaceful demonstrations to force the Congress and the Government to
give the League a separate state. But it turned that the Direct Action
was a series of bloodsheds between the Hindus and Muslims. Therefore
the British government appointed Lord Mountbatten to settle this
problem. Mountbatten came up with the conclusion that if there are two
separate state, the bloodsheds would stop. He then persuaded the
Congress, and the Congress agreed to partition on 3 June, 1947.

The four most important individuals involved in the decision making
were Nehru, Gandhi, Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten. Nehru and Gandhi were
the leaders of the Congress party. They always wanted a united India
as they believed that the people must be united to develop the
country. However Lord Mountbatten persuaded them that it was
impossible in 1947. They agreed with Mountbatten's proposal on 3 june,
1947. Mountbatten was the most important of all. He decided to
partition India and persuaded the Congress to accept his proposal.
However he had too little time to fix the border of the two countries,
which lead to continuous violence between the Hindus and the Muslims.
He was also appointed by the British government to divide all the
government's assets and gold reserve to both countries. Lastly, Jinnah
was the leader of the Muslim League. He wanted a new state called
Pakistan, which meant "Land of Pure" and it is also an acronym of the
states at the north-west of India. He was important because he called
for the Direct Action and forced the Congress to accept Mountbatten's
proposal.
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