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Indian Independance: World War II

The Second World War had a profound influence on the British policy towards India. Britain needed India's manpower to fight the war and, to secure Indian support, was willing to offer to hand over its political power after it won the war. In 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps on his first mission to India made on behalf of the British Government his offer of independence after the war in exchange for cooperation, but the Indian political parties rejected his proposals. The Indian National Congress launched the "Quit India" movement. The Indian National Army led by Subhas Chandra Bose joined the Japanese to fight against the British.

P.M. Clement Attlee with Commonwealth leaders

P.M. Clement Attlee (centre) with Commonwealth leaders in London, 1951.

Source 1:
Clement Attlee's wartime concern about India's future status (1942) (L/PO/6/106b)

Source 2:
Draft declaration for discussion with Indian leaders (30 March 1942) (cmd 635)

Source 3:
Telegram from President Roosevelt to Harry Hopkins during the Cripps Mission to India (1942) (R/30/1/1)

Source 4:
Telegram from the US State Department to the American Ambassador at Paris (1947) (L/P&S/12/4705)

Source 5:
Secret report from the War Staff Office of the India Office 14 July 1943, 'Recent activities of Subhas Chandra Bose' [L/WS/1/1576:ff. 79-80]

Chandra Bose addressing a rally in Tokyo, 1945

Chandra Bose addressing a rally in Tokyo, 1945

Source 5b:
Biographical note on Subhas Chandra Bose (1943) [L/WS/1/1576: ff. 79-80]

Source 6:
Sarat Bose calls for Indians to fight alongside the Vietnamese (1947) (L/PS/12/4705)

Source 7:
Indian National Army court martial (1945) (MSS EUR D977/14)

Source 8:
Lord Wavell's letter to Churchill (Oct 1944) (L/PS/8/520)

Source 9:
Lord Wavell's note on the results for the British Commonwealth of the transfer of political power in India (13 July, 1946) (MSS EUR D977)

Source 10:
Ernest Bevin, Foreign Secretary, letter to Attlee (1947) (R/30/1/8a)

Source 11:
Attlee's reply to Bevin (1947) (R/30/1/8a)