What was the Attitude of the Indian National Congress towards the World War – II?

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a) The constitutional Deadlock:

World War – II broke out in 1939. The Congress refused to let the government use Indian men, money and material in the war. They could be used only on the condition of granting the right of self-determination to the Indians. But the government refused to accept this and the Congress ministries resigned.

The Viceroy, Lord Linlithgo, without consulting the Indian leaders, declared in the Central Legislature that India had joined the war against Germany. The Indian leaders criticized the Governor-General’s action in very harsh words.

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b) Forward Block:

The extremists were not at all satisfied with the reforms of 1935 and chalked out a forward spirited programme. In 1939, Subhash Chandra Bose was elected the President of the Congress. He was forced to form his executive after the will of Mahatma Gandhi. He didn’t agree and left the Congress to form his own separate party named Forward Block.

The British Government was very particular about the activities of Subhash Chandra Bose and arrested him in 1940. But he escaped in 1941 and visited Germany, Japan and other south-East Asian countries. He formed the Indian National Army and attacked India in 1945. Though he could not gain a victory, yet the British were frightened.

c) The August 1940 Offer:

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In 1940, Lord Linlithgo made an offer on behalf of the British Government to expand the Central Legislature by taking more Indians in it.

In fact, he aimed at enlisting the Indian co-operation in the war-effort. But the Congress demanded an immediate provisional national government with all powers of defence under it. The Muslim League too rejected it as it had no reference to Pakistan—a separate land for the Muslims.

d) Cripp’s 1942 Proposals:

The constitutional deadlock continued and Japan too declared war against Britain in 1941. Not only this, she captured Singapore and Rangoon and advanced towards India. The British were alarmed and so they sent Sir Stafford Cripps, a socialist leaders of England, with some proposals to pacify the Indians.

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