Wars are always destructive and not good for human beings, as well as it leave a deep impact on the future generations. The Second World War or the Last Global War was one of these wars that affected the whole world deeply. The Two cities of Japan were ruined by the dropping of nuclear bombs. Its impact was seen all over the world. Although its repercussions on south Asia were terrible yet a mix impact had been observed in India.
The Second World War was started on 1st September, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. Great Britain and other powers called Allied Forces declared a war against Germany, Japan, and Italy which were known as Axis Powers. Many other countries were gradually involved one by one and almost all the nations were participating in the war directly or indirectly. Its impacts were also observed over India.
Since Great Britain was directly involved in the war thus their control on India was not good enough. It was observed that after the end of the war Britain was in a great difficulty. The manufacturing units and production centers were largely affected. The loss of people was also a problem for them. It was not easy for the rulers to have their tight control on the rebellion groups in India.
Impacts of Second World War on Indian Independence
There were a lot of factors that compelled the British to leave India free. Some of them are mentioned here under:
Quit India Movement
Stafford Cripps was sent to India to negotiate a deal with the Congress for India’s full cooperation during the war. He offered that the British would give a full dominion status to India after the war. Gandhiji with Nehru and other Congress leaders rejected the offer and instead demanded a full cabinet government with full power. They wanted absolute independence but the British had turned down the demand.
Hence the Congress had decided to start a movement that was based on the Gandhian theory of truth and non-violence that was announced after the rejection of the demand of Congress. British rulers actively suppressed the movement and around 1,00,000 national activists were arrested along with Gandhiji and other top leaders. Quit India Movement was one of the largest movements ever demanding Indian independence.
Expansion of Indian Army
The British had an army of 220,000 soldiers in which there were many Indians. During the Second World War it had expanded by the British as it was the demand of the time. New naval and air force units were established to fight in the war. At the end of the Second World War the Royal Indian Army was the largest volunteering army with over 2,500,000 soldiers in its infantry, air force and naval regiments.
Japanese Occupation of Andaman
Japanese Army occupied Port Blair on 23rd March, 1942. The Port Blair battalion consisted of 300 Sikh fighters, who were later enrolled in Indian National Army. The cruelty committed by the Japanese Army on the local inhabitants from 1942-45 was reported by the British officers. Hundreds of locals were brutally tortured and killed on the suspicion of being secret agents while thousands of civilians were tortured and killed for no specific reason.
In 1945, over 700 people were forcefully deported on boats to an unknown island to grow food. A rescue mission sent to save them found only 12 people alive and the beach was littered by a ton of skeletons.
Bengal Famine of 1943
Bengal famine had a deep impact on the British and Indians. During the Second World War Japanese army took over their control on Burma which was the main supplier of rice in Bengal. The supply of rice and paddy was blocked by the Japanese therefore the stock in Bengal was getting low day by day. The other provincial governments had also refused to supply any kind of food grains to Bengal. That’s why this famine was called the manmade famine. Around four million people were killed. The stocks of rice seized by the British Government to fulfill the needs of their British soldiers made the condition worse.
Role of Muslim League
The Muslim league was supporting the British during the war. In 1940 Jinnah had spoken first time for a separate Muslim state in the Lahore session of the Muslim League. He used the name Pakistan that was suggested by another Muslim League leader Yusuf Mehar Ali. Anyhow Jinnah was able to gain the support of Muslims and during the war the Muslim League became powerful with over two million supporters.
Congress and the War
Gandhiji wanted that the British Government should negotiate with the German ruler Adolf Hitler on the issue. But other leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru hadn’t supported Gandhi’s Opinion. Nehru wished that India should support the British against Fascism. Many leaders of the Congress supported Nehru and rejected the Gandhi’s will. All the Congress led governments in the provinces resigned. The Congress had put a condition of absolute independence to give British their support in the war.
The viceroy refused the demand of the Congress following which Quit India movement was launched. The British Government had captured all the agitators along with Gandhi, Nehru and all the other top leaders of the Congress. This left an opportunity for Jinnah and the Muslim League to enhance their power and position in the Indian political system. They supported the British and the story of partition had been written.
Effect of the Battle of Imphal and Kohima
Battle of Kohima broke out on 3rd April, 1944 when 15000 men of Japanese army with the help of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj attacked a British troop with an army of just 1500 soldiers. British forces defended for nearly two weeks before augmentation arrived. The battle continued longer and Japanese army was facing the shortage of food supplies and undergone for heavy losses from the British with their advanced weapons and war techniques. They had to retreat back. The battle of Imphal was fought on an even larger scale than Kohima.
It was fought for about five months and heavy losses were incurred by both the sides. Japanese incurred 2.5 times more losses than the allies. The defeat at Kohima and Imphal was the largest defeat in Japanese history. The war crippled their dominance over Burma. In fact, British considered it one of the greatest battles fought by British Army.
After the end of the Second World War, Britain was in loss. Their income was curtailed and they had to invest in rebuilding the nation. Therefore, they were looking to their colonies to help them to arrange money for them. In the meantime Gandhiji was successful in organizing India in his favour. After Second World War, people all over the world raised voices against the British occupation over its colonies.
When Labour Party came in power in 1945 in Britain, it inclined towards global and racial equality, and relied on other liberal principles. Soon after gaining power, Prime Minister, Clement Attlee began the process of disassembling the British Empire and granting India its independence in 1947.
Partition of India
In February 1947, the British government declared that India would be granted independence by June 1947. As India was gradually progressing towards independence, tensions grew between Hindus and Muslims and the Muslim League started demanding a separate Muslim state for the Muslims with the name of Pakistan.
On 15th July, 1947 Mountbatten advanced the date of transfer of power to August 15, 1947. With just one month left for Independence, Cyril Radcliffe was given only few weeks time to demarcate the line of control between India and Pakistan. The lines were drawn in haste without the thoughts given on majority and minorities on either side of the lines.
Half a million people perished and twelve million became homeless in the violent migration across the Indian border as a result of Indo-Pak partition.
More Information about Indian Independence Day:
Indian Independence Day | Independence Day Essay | Importance of Independence Day in India Essay | Independence Day Speech | Speech on Independence Day for Teachers | Independence Day Speech for Principal | Slogans on Independence Day | Paragraph on Independence Day | Facts about Independence Day of India | Speech on 15 August 1947 by Nehru | Independence Day Quotes | Live Celebration Ceremony of 69th Independence Day of India at Red Fort Delhi | President’s Address to the Nation on the eve of Independence Day