* war and social upheaval: World War II India contribution to the Allied war effort

World War II India: Indian Politics

Indian Congress Party
Figure 1.--This photograph and undisclosed location in India about 1940 is a bisual represention of the huge popularity of the Congress Party. Unfortunately we cannot read the signs. We do see the Congress Party flag designed in the 1920s. It was afopted as the national flag at independence (1947). There was one change, Gandi's original spinning wheel was replced. The spomming wheel was the symbol of Gandhi's crusade to make Indians self-reliant by producingbtheir own textiles with home spinning wheels. Nehru and others saw India's future with modern industry. Thus they substututed the similar looking blue chakra -- the Dharma Chakra (Wheel of the Law). The Dharma Chakra was intrpduved by the great Indian law giver -- the Emperor Ashoka (3rd century BC).

The independence movement led by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawarhal Nehru through the Congress Party gained considerable strength during the 1920s and 30s. There wa no dpubt that at the advent of World War II that Congress and thevidea of indeoendence had the support of the vast majority of the Indian people, espcially Hindu Indians as well as many Muslims as well. The British were, as a result, even before the War having increasing difficulties governing India. The British had introduce a sugnificant degree of home rule. India was led into the war with no input from its people. Congress controlled the provincial legislatures, but they had no control over the Viceroy. The Congress Party while refusing to support the War efort, decided not to actively oppose it or to take advantage of British defeats in the early stages of the War. The majority of Congress was opposed to Nazism and Fascism even though they were not fully aware of the NAZI race obsession. This an animosity toward the British causded a small part of Congress to make common cause with the Axis. This faction was led by Subhash Chandra Bose. While not willing to join the Axis, Congress was not prepared to join the British in the war. They saw Britain's attempt to make the war an effort to 'save democracy' as hypocritical as it was denying democracy and full individual liberties to Indians. Congress did not give the impression that they supported the British War effort and ordered its deputies to boycott the colonial legislatures. Bose and other revolutionary Indian independence movement collaborated with the Axis powers to overthrow the British colonial rule. Other notable examples of such military alliances with Axis nations included the Legion Freies Indien and the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan Raj. With German assistance, the Indian National Army was formed which fought against the Allies, mistly in the propaganda arena. With Pearl Harbor and the survival of the Soviet Red Army (December 1941), the focis shifted to Japan where the Indian Natiinal Arny actually fielded units formed from Indian POWs in Japanese hands that fought the British and the Indian Army in Burma.


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Created: 6:11 PM 5/5/2020
Last updated: 6:11 PM 5/5/2020