Indian Nationalist Movement during the Second World War

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In September 1939, the Second World War broke out. Indian opinion was not sought but the British government dragged India in the war as a party. Britain which claimed to be fighting for freedom had destroyed the freedom of the Indian people and had dragged India into the war. But India cannot associate herself in a war said to be for democratic freedom, when that very freedom is denied to her.

The Congress demanded the establishment of an Indian government responsible to the Central Legislative Assembly. The British government did not agree even to this.

In November 1939, the Congress resigned in protest. In October 1940, the Individual Satyagraha was launched by Gandhiji. Vinoba Bhave was chosen as the first person to offer the Satyagraha. Within six months about 25,000 persons were in jail.

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At this time Germany attacked U.S.S.R and Japan attacked the U.S. naval station at Pearl Harbor, and started advancing in South East Asia. These developments led to the widening of the war into a world war.

Indian national leaders were opposed to fascism and condemned it as the enemy of the freedom. Many countries, allies against fascism, put pressure on the British government to concede the demand of the Indian people. In March 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps came to India to hold talks with the Indian leaders, which failed because the British were not willing to promise independence to India.

At last, in August, 1942, Gandhiji gave forth the slogan ‘Quit India’. The Congress passed a resolution on 8th August 1942, which mentioned the ‘immediate ending of British rule in India’. The day after the resolution was passed, the Congress was banned and all the important leaders were pushed behind the bars.

After the arrest of the leaders, there were spontaneous demonstrations all over India. The government tried to suppress the demonstrations. Hundreds of people were killed and over 70,000 persons arrested. In 1941, Subhash Chandra Bose had escaped from India and had reached Germany. In July 1943 he came to Singapore.

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The Indian National Army was organised from among the Indian soldiers who had been taken prisoner by the Japanese. In 1944, three units of Indian National Army along with Japanese troops moved into the Imphal Kohima. Though the attempt to liberate India failed, the activities of Subhash Chandra Bose and the INA served to strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle in India.

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