India in World War II

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Indian infantrymen of the 7th Rajput Regiment about to go on patrol on the Arakan front in Burma, 1944. INDIAN TROOPS IN BURMA, 1944.jpg
Indian infantrymen of the 7th Rajput Regiment about to go on patrol on the Arakan front in Burma, 1944.

During the Second World War (19391945), India was controlled by the United Kingdom, with the British holding territories in India including over five hundred autonomous Princely States; British India officially declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939. [1] The British Raj, as part of the Allied Nations, sent over two and a half million soldiers to fight under British command against the Axis powers. The British government borrowed billions of pounds to help finance the war. India also provided the base for American operations in support of China in the China Burma India Theater.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

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Indians fought with distinction throughout the world, including in the European theatre against Germany, in North Africa against Germany and Italy, in the South Asian region defending India against the Japanese and fighting the Japanese in Burma. Indians also aided in liberating British colonies such as Singapore and Hong Kong after the Japanese surrender in August 1945. Over 87,000 Indian soldiers (including those from modern day Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh) died in World War II. [2] Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from 1942 asserted the British "couldn't have come through both wars [World War I and II] if they hadn't had the Indian Army." [3] [4]

European theatre of World War II Huge area of heavy fighting across Europe

The European theatre of World War II, also known as the Second European War, was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe, from Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 until the end of the war with the Soviet Union conquering most of Eastern Europe along with the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The Allied powers fought the Axis powers on two major fronts as well as in a massive air war and in the adjoining Mediterranean and Middle East theatre.

North African Campaign military campaign of World War II

The North African Campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria, as well as Tunisia.

South-East Asian theatre of World War II campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma, Ceylon, India, Thailand, Indochina, Philippines, Malaya and Singapore

The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma, Ceylon, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore. Conflict in this theatre began when the Empire of Japan invaded French Indochina in September 1940 and rose to a new level following the raid on Pearl Harbor, and simultaneous attacks on Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaya on 7 and 8 December 1941. The main landing at Singora on the east side of the Isthmus of Kra preceded the bombing of Pearl Harbor by several hours. Action in the theatre officially ended on 9 September 1945.

The Muslim League supported the British war effort while the largest and most influential political party existing in India at the time, the Indian National Congress, demanded independence before it would help Britain. London refused, and when Congress announced a "Quit India" campaign in August 1942, tens of thousands of its leaders were imprisoned by the British for the duration. Meanwhile, under the leadership of Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose, Japan set up an army of Indian POWs known as the Indian National Army, which fought against the British. A major famine in Bengal in 1943 led to millions of deaths by starvation, and remains a highly controversial issue regarding Churchill's reluctance to provide emergency food relief. [ citation needed ]

All-India Muslim League political party within the Indian Empire

The All-India Muslim League was a political party established in 1906 in the British Indian Empire. Its strong advocacy for the establishment of a separate Muslim-majority nation-state, Pakistan, successfully led to the partition of British India in 1947 by the British Empire.

Indian National Congress Major political party in India

The Indian National Congress(pronunciation ) is a broadly based political party in India. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from Great Britain, and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire.

Prisoner of war Person who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, whether a combatant or a non-combatant, who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1660.

Indian participation in the Allied campaign remained strong. The financial, industrial and military assistance of India formed a crucial component of the British campaign against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. [5] India's strategic location at the tip of the Indian Ocean, its large production of armaments, and its huge armed forces played a decisive role in halting the progress of Imperial Japan in the South-East Asian theatre. [6] The Indian Army during World War II was one of the largest Allied forces contingents which took part in the North and East African Campaign, Western Desert Campaign. At the height of the World War, more than 2.5 million Indian troops were fighting Axis forces around the globe. [7] After the end of the war, India emerged as the world's fourth largest industrial power and its increased political, economic and military influence paved the way for its independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. [8]

Indian Army during World War II

The British Indian Army during World War II began the war, in 1939, numbering just under 200,000 men. By the end of the war, it had become the largest volunteer army in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in August 1945. Serving in divisions of infantry, armour and a fledgling airborne force, they fought on three continents in Africa, Europe and Asia.

East African Campaign (World War II) 1940-1941 series of battles fought in East Africa as part of World War II

The East African Campaign was fought in East Africa during World War II by Allied forces, mainly from the British Empire, against Axis forces, primarily from Italy of Italian East Africa, between June 1940 and November 1941. Forces of the British Middle East Command, including units from the United Kingdom and the colonies of British East Africa, British Somaliland, British West Africa, the Indian Empire, Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Mandatory Palestine, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and Sudan participated in the campaign. Imperial Ethiopian irregulars, the Free French and the Belgian Force Publique also participated.

Western Desert Campaign North African campaign during WWII

The Western Desert Campaign, took place in the deserts of Egypt and Libya and was the main theatre in the North African Campaign during the Second World War. The campaign began in September 1940 with the Italian invasion of Egypt; Operation Compass, a British five-day raid in December 1940, led to the destruction of the Italian 10th Army. Benito Mussolini sought help from Adolf Hitler, who responded with a small German force sent to Tripoli under Directive 22. The German Afrika Korps was under nominal Italian command but Italian dependency on Nazi Germany made it the dominant partner.

Quit India movement

Prominent Indian leaders, including Gandhi, Patel and Maulana Azad, denounced Nazism as well as British imperialism. Gandhi, Patel and Maulana Azad Sept 1940.jpg
Prominent Indian leaders, including Gandhi, Patel and Maulana Azad, denounced Nazism as well as British imperialism.

The Indian National Congress, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Maulana Azad, denounced Nazi Germany but would not fight it or anyone else until India was independent. [9] Congress launched the Quit India Movement in August 1942, refusing to co-operate in any way with the government until independence was granted. The government wasn't ready for this move. It immediately arrested over 60,000 national and local Congress leaders, and then moved to suppress the violent reaction of Congress supporters. Key leaders were kept in prison until June 1945, although Gandhi was released in May 1944 because of his health. Congress, with its leaders incommunicado, played little role on the home front. The Muslim League rejected the Quit India movement and worked closely with the Raj authorities. [10]

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

Quit India Movement Katra Neel Chandni Chowk Delhi

The Quit India Movement, or the August Movement, was a movement launched at the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee by Gandhi on 8 August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British Rule of India.

Supporters of the British Raj argued that decolonisation was impossible in the middle of a great war. So, in 1939, the British Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow declared India's entry into the War without consulting prominent Indian Congress leaders who were just elected in previous elections. [1]

Subhas Chandra Bose (also called Netaji) had been a top Congress leader. He broke with Congress and tried to form a military alliance with Germany or Japan to gain independence. Bose, with the assistance of Germany, formed the Indian Legion from Indian students in Axis occupied Europe and Indian Army prisoners of war. With German reversals in 1942 and 1943, Bose and the Legion's officers were transported by U boat to Japanese territory to continue his plans. Upon arrival, Japan helped him set up the Indian National Army (INA) which fought under Japanese direction, mostly in Burma Campaign. Bose also headed the Provisional Government of Free India, a government-in-exile based in Singapore. It controlled no Indian territory and was used only to raise troops for Japan. [11]

British Indian Army

In 1939 the British Indian Army numbered 205,000 men. It took in volunteers and by 1945 was the largest all-volunteer force in history, rising to over 2.5 million men. [12] These forces included tank, artillery and airborne forces. British Indian Army earned 17 Victoria Crosses during World War II.

The Middle East and African theatre

The British government meanwhile sent Indian troops to fight in West Asia and northern Africa against the Axis. India also geared up to produce essential goods such as food and uniforms. Pre-Independence India provided the largest volunteer force (2.5 million) of any nation during World War II.

The 4th, 5th and 10th Indian Divisions took part in the North African theatre against Rommel's Afrika Korps. In addition, the 18th Brigade of the 8th Indian Division fought at Alamein. Earlier, the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions took part in the East African campaign against the Italians in Somaliland, Eritrea and Abyssinia capturing the mountain fortress of Keren.

In the Battle of Bir Hacheim, Indian gunners played an important role by using guns in the anti tank role and destroying tanks of Rommel's panzer divisions. Maj PPK Kumaramangalam was the battery commander of 41 Field Regiment which was deployed in the anti tank role. He was awarded the DSO for his act of bravery. Later he became the Chief of Army Staff of independent India in 1967.

South-East Asian theatre

An Indian prisoner of war from Hong Kong after liberation in 1945. The Far East- Singapore, Malaya and Hong Kong 1939-1945 A30522.jpg
An Indian prisoner of war from Hong Kong after liberation in 1945.

The British Indian Army was the key British Empire fighting presence in the Burma Campaign. The Royal Indian Air force's first assault mission was carried out against Japanese troops stationed in Burma. The British Indian Army was key to breaking the siege of Imphal when the westward advance of Imperial Japan came to a halt.

The formations included the Indian III Corps, IV Corps, the Indian XXXIII Corps and the Fourteenth Army. As part of the new concept of Long Range Penetration (LRP), Gurkha troops of the Indian Army were trained in the present state of Madhya Pradesh under their commander then krishnasamy (later Major General) Orde Charles Wingate.

These troops, popularly known as Chindits , played a crucial role in halting the Japanese advance into South Asia. [13]

Capture of Indian territory

By 1942, neighbouring Burma was invaded by Japan, which by then had already captured the Indian territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Japan gave nominal control of the islands to the Provisional Government of Free India on 21 October 1943, and in the following March, the Indian National Army with the help of Japan crossed into India and advanced as far as Kohima in Nagaland. This advance on the mainland of South Asia reached its farthest point on India territory, retreating from the Battle of Kohima in June and from that of Imphal on 3 July 1944.[ citation needed ]

Recapture of Axis-occupied territory

In 1944–45 Japan was under heavy air bombardment at home and suffered massive naval defeats in the Pacific. As its Imphal offensive failed, harsh weather and disease and withdrawal of air cover (due to more pressing needs in the Pacific) also took its toll on the Japanese and remnants of the INA and the Burma National Army. In spring 1945, a resurgent British army recaptured the occupied lands. [14]

The invasion of Italy

A Sikh soldier (of the 4th Division (the Red Eagles) of the Indian Army, attached to the British Fifth Army in Italy) holding a captured swastika flag after the surrender of Nazi German forces in Italy. Behind him, fascist inscriptions on the mural says VIVA IL DUCE, "Long live the Duce" (Benito Mussolini). Photo circa May 1945 Sikh soldier with captured Swastika flag.jpg
A Sikh soldier (of the 4th Division (the Red Eagles) of the Indian Army, attached to the British Fifth Army in Italy) holding a captured swastika flag after the surrender of Nazi German forces in Italy. Behind him, fascist inscriptions on the mural says VIVA IL DUCE, "Long live the Duce" (Benito Mussolini). Photo circa May 1945

Indian forces played a role in liberating Italy from Nazi control. India contributed the 3rd largest Allied contingent in the Italian campaign after US and British forces. The 4th, 8th and 10th Divisions and 43rd Gurkha Infantry Brigade led the advance, notably at the gruelling Battle of Monte Cassino. They fought on the Gothic Line in 1944 and 1945.

Collaboration with the Axis powers

Several leaders of the radical revolutionary Indian independence movement broke away from the main Congress and went to war against Britain. Subhas Chandra Bose, once a prominent leader of Congress, volunteered to help Germany and Japan; he said Britain's opposition to Nazism and Fascism as "hypocrisy" since it was itself violating human rights and denying individual liberties in India. [15] Moreover, he argued that it was not Germany and Japan but the British Raj which was the enemy, since the British were over-exploiting Indian resources for War purposes. [15] Bose suggested that there was little possibility of India being attacked by any of the Axis powers provided it did not fight the War on Britain's side. [15]

Captured soldiers of the British Indian Army who refused to join the INA were executed by the Japanese. Japanese atrocities imperial war museum K9923.jpg
Captured soldiers of the British Indian Army who refused to join the INA were executed by the Japanese.

Berlin was encouraging but gave little help. Bose then approached Tokyo which gave him control of Indian forces it had organised. [17]

The Indian National Army (INA), formed first by Mohan Singh Deb, consisted initially of prisoners taken by the Japanese in Malaya and at Singapore who were offered the choice of serving the INA by Japan or remaining in very negative conditions in POW camps. Later, after it was reorganised under Subhas Chandra Bose, it drew civilian volunteers from Malaya and Burma. Ultimately, a force of under 40,000 was formed, although only two divisions ever participated in battle. Intelligence and special services groups from the INA were instrumental in destabilising the British Indian Army in the early stages of the Arakan offensive. It was during this time that the British Military Intelligence began propaganda work to shield the true numbers who joined the INA, and also described stories of Japanese brutalities that indicated INA involvement. Further, the Indian press was prohibited from publishing any accounts whatsoever of the INA.

As the Japanese offensive opened, the INA was sent into battle. Bose hoped to avoid set-piece battles for which it lacked arms, armament as well as man-power. [18] Initially, he sought to obtain arms as well as increase its ranks from British Indian soldiers he hoped would defect to his cause. Once the Japanese forces were able to break the British defences at Imphal, he planned for the INA to cross the hills of North-East India into the Gangetic plain, where it was to work as a guerrilla army and expected to live off the land, garner support, supplies, and ranks from amongst the local populace to ultimately touch off a revolution.

Prem Kumar Sahgal, an officer of the INA once Military secretary to Subhas Bose and later tried in the first Red Fort trials, explained that although the war itself hung in balance and nobody was sure if the Japanese would win, initiating a popular revolution with grass-root support within India would ensure that even if Japan lost the war ultimately, Britain would not be in a position to re-assert its colonial authority, which was ultimately the aim of the INA and Azad Hind.

Troops of the Indische Legion guarding the Atlantic Wall in France in March 1944. Subhas Chandra Bose initiated the legion's formation, intended to serve as a liberation force from the British occupation of India. Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-263-1580-05, Atlantikwall, Soldaten der Legion "Freies Indien".jpg
Troops of the Indische Legion guarding the Atlantic Wall in France in March 1944. Subhas Chandra Bose initiated the legion's formation, intended to serve as a liberation force from the British occupation of India.

As Japan opened its offensive towards India, the INA's first division, consisting of four Guerrilla regiments, participated in Arakan offensive in 1944, with one battalion reaching as far as Mowdok in Chittagong. Other units were directed to Imphal and Kohima, as well as to protect Japanese Flanks to the south of Arakan, a task it successfully carried out. However, the first division suffered the same fate as did Mutaguchi's Army when the siege of Imphal was broken. With little or no supplies and supply lines deluged by the Monsoon, harassed by Allied air dominance, the INA began withdrawing when the 15th Army and Burma Area Army began withdrawing, and suffered the same terrible fate as wounded, starved and diseased men succumbed during the hasty withdrawal into Burma. Later in the war however, the INA's second division, tasked with the defence of Irrawaddy and the adjoining areas around Nangyu, was instrumental in opposing Messervy's 7th Indian Infantry Division when it attempted to cross the river at Pagan and Nyangyu during the successful Burma Campaign by the Allies the following year. The 2nd division was instrumental in denying the 17th Indian Infantry Division the area around Mount Popa that would have exposed the Flank of Kimura's forces attempting to retake Meiktila and Nyangyu. Ultimately however, the division was obliterated. Some of the surviving units of the Army surrendered as Rangoon fell, and helped keep order till the allied forces entered the city. The other remnants began a long march over land and on foot towards Singapore, along with Subhas Chandra Bose. As the Japanese situation became precarious, Bose left for Manchuria to attempt to contact the Russians, and was reported to have died in an air crash near Taiwan.

The only Indian territory that the Azad Hind government controlled was nominally the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, they were bases for the Japanese Navy, and the navy never relinquished control. Enraged with the lack of administrative control, the Azad Hind Governor, Lt. Col. Loganathan, later relinquished his authority. After the War, a number of officers of the INA were tried for treason. However, faced with the possibility of a massive civil unrest and a mutiny in the Indian Army, the British officials decided to release the prisoners-of-war, in addition the event became a turning point to expedite the process of transformation of power and independence of India. [19]

Bengal famine

Child who starved to death during the Bengal famine of 1943. Bengal famine 1943 photo.jpg
Child who starved to death during the Bengal famine of 1943.

The region of Bengal in India suffered a devastating famine during 1940-43. Some of the key reasons for this famine are:

  1. ever-increasing financial and resource needs due to the war;
  2. the Japanese invasion of Burma which cut off food and other essential supplies to the region;
  3. mismanagement by Indian regional governments; and
  4. an increase in demand partially as a result of refugees from Burma and Bengal.

Indian Economist Amartya Sen (1976) challenged this orthodoxy, reviving the claim that there was no shortage of food in Bengal and that the famine was caused by inflation. [20]

The British government denied an urgent request from Leopold Amery, the Indian secretary of state, and Archibald Wavell, the Viceroy of India, to stop exports of food from Bengal in order that it might be used for famine relief. Winston Churchill, then prime minister, dismissed these requests in a fashion that Amery regarded as "Hitler-like," by asking why, if the famine was so horrible, Gandhi had not yet died of starvation. [21] Indeed, he refused to allow free relief shipments of food from the United States and Canada into Bengal on the grounds that the food was needed more elsewhere and because the Japanese Navy was patrolling the Bay of Bengal.[ citation needed ]

Princely states

During World War II, in 1941, the British presented a captured German Bf109 single-engined fighter to the Nizam of Hyderabad, in return for the funding of 2 RAF fighter squadrons. [22]

There was a campsite for Polish refugee children at Balachadi, built by K. S. Digvijaysinhji, Jam Saheb Maharaja of Nawanagar State in 1942, near his summer resort. He gave refuge to hundreds of Polish children rescued from Poland and Soviet camps. [23] [24] The campsite is now part of the Sainik School. [25]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 Kux, Dennis. India and the United States: estranged democracies, 1941–1991. DIANE Publishing, 1992. ISBN   9781428981898.
  2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Annual Report 2013-2014 Archived 4 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine , page 44. Figures include identified burials and those commemorated by name on memorials.
  3. "Page Not Found". www.cwgc.org.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. Weigold, Auriol (6 June 2008). "Churchill, Roosevelt and India: Propaganda During World War II". Taylor & Francis via Google Books.
  6. Nolan, Cathal J. (21 April 2019). "The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations: F-L". Greenwood Publishing Group via Google Books.
  7. Leonard, Thomas M. (21 April 2019). "Encyclopedia of the Developing World". Psychology Press via Google Books.
  8. The idea of Pakistan - By Stephen P. Cohen
  9. Frank Moraes (2007). Jawaharlal Nehru. Jaico Publishing House. p. 266.
  10. Sankar Ghose (1993). Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography. Allied Publishers. pp. 114–18.
  11. Leonard A. Gordon, Brothers Against the Raj: A Biography of Indian Nationalists Sarat & Subhas Chandra Bose (2000)
  12. Compton McKenzie (1951). Eastern Epic. Chatto & Windus, London., p.1
  13. Peter Liddle; J. M. Bourne; Ian R. Whitehead. The Great World War, 1914-45: Lightning strikes twice. HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN   9780004724546.
  14. Edward M. Young and Howard Gerrard, Meiktila 1945: The Battle To Liberate Burma (2004)
  15. 1 2 3 Bose, Subash Chandra (2004). Azad Hind: writings and speeches, 1941–43. Anthem Press. ISBN   978-1-84331-083-9.
  16. Aldrich, Richard J. (2000), Intelligence and the War Against Japan: Britain, America and the Politics of Secret Service, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, p. 371, ISBN   978-0-521-64186-9 , retrieved 6 November 2013
  17. Horn, Steve (2005). The second attack on Pearl Harbor: Operation K and other Japanese attempts to bomb America in World War II. Naval Institute Press. ISBN   9781591143888.
  18. Fay 1993 , p. 292,298
  19. Fay 1993
  20. Khan, Yasmin (2008). The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan.
  21. Mishra, Pankaj (6 August 2007). "Exit Wounds" via www.newyorker.com.
  22. Manu Pubby (4 November 2006). "A mystery behind the history plane". Indian Express.
  23. "Little Warsaw Of Kathiawar". Outlook . 20 December 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  24. "Good Maharaja saves Polish children - beautiful story of A Little Poland in India". newdelhi.mfa.gov.pl. 10 November 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  25. "Origin and History". Welcome to Sainik School Balachadi. 27 April 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.

26. Henry Boot and Ray Sturtivant. Gifts of War 27. Brett Holman. The Imperial Aircraft Flotilla - II

Further reading


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The Indian National Army was an armed force formed by Indian nationalist Rash Bihari Bose in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II. Its aim was to secure Indian independence from British rule. It formed an alliance with the Empire of Japan in the latter's campaign in the Southeast Asian theatre of WWII. The army was first formed in 1942 under Rash Behari Bose, Mohan Singh, by Indian PoWs of the British-Indian Army captured by Japan in the Malayan campaign and at Singapore. This first INA collapsed and was disbanded in December that year after differences between the INA leadership and the Japanese military over its role in Japan's war in Asia. Rash Behari Bose handed over INA to Subhas Chandra Bose It was revived under the leadership of Subhash Chandra Bose after his arrival in Southeast Asia in 1943. The army was declared to be the army of Bose's Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind. Under Bose's leadership, the INA drew ex-prisoners and thousands of civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population in Malaya and Burma. This second INA fought along with the Imperial Japanese Army against the British and Commonwealth forces in the campaigns in Burma, in Imphal and at Kohima, and later against the successful Burma Campaign of the Allies.

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Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 's political views were in support of complete freedom for India at the earliest, whereas most of the Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through a Dominion status. Even though Bose and Mohandas K. Gandhi had differing ideologies, the latter called Bose the "Prince among the Patriots" in 1942. Bose admired Gandhi, recognising his importance as a symbol of Indian nationalism; he called him "The Father of Our Nation" in a radio broadcast from Rangoon in 1944, in which he stated, "I am convinced that if we do desire freedom we must be prepared to wade through blood", a statement somewhat at odds with Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence. Thus, although they shared the goal of an independent India, by 1939 the two had become divided over the strategy to achieve Indian Independence, and to some degree the form which the post-Independence state should take: Gandhi was hostile to industrialisation, while Bose saw it as the only route to making India strong and self-sufficient. Jawaharlal Nehru disagreed with Gandhi on this point as well, though not over the tactics of protest.

Indian National Army trials the British Indian trial by courts-martial of a number of officers of the Indian National Army (INA) between November 1945 and May 1946

The Indian National Army trials, which are also called the Red Fort trials, were the British Indian trial by courts-martial of a number of officers of the Indian National Army (INA) between November 1945 and May 1946, for charges variously for treason, torture, murder and abetment to murder during World War II. The first, and most famous, of the approximately ten trials held in the Red Fort in Delhi. In total, approximately ten courts-martial were held. The first of these, and the most celebrated one, was the joint court-martial of Colonel Prem Sahgal, Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon, and Major General Shah Nawaz Khan. The three had been officers in the British Indian Army and were taken as prisoners of war in Malaya, Singapore and Burma. They had, like a large number of other troops and officers of the British Indian Army, joined the Indian National Army and later fought in Imphal and Burma alongside the Japanese forces in allegiance to Azad Hind. These three came to be the only defendants in the INA trials who were charged with "waging war against the King-Emperor" as well as murder and abetment of murder. Those charged later only faced trial for torture and murder or abetment of murder. The trials covered arguments based on Military Law, Constitutional Law, International Law, and Politics. These trials attracted much publicity, and public sympathy for the defendants who were considered patriots of India and fought for the freedom of India from the British Empire. Outcry over the grounds of the trial, as well as a general emerging unease and unrest within the troops of the Raj, ultimately forced the then Army Chief Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck to commute the sentences of the three defendants in the first trial.

Rani of Jhansi Regiment womens regiment of the Indian National Army

The Rani of Jhansi Regiment was the Women's Regiment of the Indian National Army, the armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 in Southeast Asia with the aim of overthrowing the British Raj in colonial India, with Japanese assistance. It was one of the very few all-female combat regiments of the Second World War on any side. Led by Captain Lakshmi Swaminathan, the unit was raised in July 1943 with volunteers from the expatriate Indian population in South East Asia. The unit was named the Rani of Jhansi Regiment after Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi.

Mohammed Zaman Kiani Indian general

Major-General Mohammed Zaman Kiani was an officer of the British Indian Army who later joined the Indian National Army and was appointed its Chief of General Staff. He earned Soward-of-Honour from IMA and joined 14/1 Punjab Regiment . While at Burma front, he alongwith his regiment joined the Azadi Movement, led by Neta Jee Subhash Chandar Bose; and fought against the British Raj. After partition he shifted to Pakistan, he served as political agent of Gilgit Agency and also remained Minister of Information in Zia Government. After his death, his contributions for Azad Hind were acknowledged and he was awarded with Neta Jee Medal,by Indian Government.

S. A. Ayer Minister in Azad Hind Government

Subbier Appadurai Ayer was the Minister for Publicity and Propaganda in Subhas Chandra Bose's Azad Hind Government between 1943 and 1945, and later a key defence witness during the first of the INA trials. Ayer had travelled to Bangkok in November 1940 as a Special correspondent for Reuters before joining the Indian Independence League. In October 1943, Ayer was appointed the Minister of publicity and propaganda in the nascent Azad Hind Government.

The First Indian National Army was the Indian National Army as it existed between February and December 1942. It was formed with Japanese aid and support after the Fall of Singapore and consisted of approximately 12,000 of the 40,000 Indian prisoners of war who were captured either during the Malayan campaign or surrendered at Singapore and was led by Mohan Singh. It was formally proclaimed in April 1942 and declared the subordinate military wing of the Indian Independence League in June that year. The unit was dissolved in December 1942 after apprehensions of Japanese motives with regards to the INA led to disagreements and distrust between Mohan Singh and INA leadership on one hand, and the League's leadership, most notably Rash Behari Bose.Rash Behari Bose handed over Indian National Army to Subhas Chandra Bose. A large number of the INAs initial volunteers, however, later went on to join the INA in its second incarnation under Subhas Chandra Bose.

The Azad Brigade or the 3rd Guerrilla Regiment was a unit of the Indian National Army that formed a part of the First INA and later part of the 1st Division after the INA's revival under Subhas Chandra Bose.

The Subhas Brigade, or the 1st Guerrilla Regiment was a unit of the Indian National Army (INA). The unit was formed in 1943 and unofficially referred to as Subhas Brigade after the Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose, who at the time was also the supreme commander of the army. The unit was the first and major commitment of the second INA in the Imphal Offensive, and along with Azad, Gandhi and Nehru Brigade, the Army's contribution to the Imperial Japanese Army's U-go offensive.

The Battles and Operations involving the Indian National Army during World War II were all fought in the South-East Asian theatre. These range from the earliest deployments of the INA's preceding units in espionage during Malayan Campaign in 1942, through the more substantial commitments during the Japanese Ha Go and U Go offensives in the Upper Burma and Manipur region, to the defensive battles during the Allied Burma Campaign. The INA's brother unit in Europe, the Indische Legion did not see any substantial deployment although some were engaged in Atlantic wall duties, special operations in Persia and Afghanistan, and later a small deployment in Italy. The INA was not considered a significant military threat. However, it was deemed a significant strategic threat especially to the Indian Army, with Wavell describing it as a target of prime importance.

The Azad Hind Dal was a branch of the Indian Independence League that was formed during World War II to take administrative control of the Indian territories to fall to the Indian National Army starting with the latter's Imphal campaign. The branch was created by Subhas Chandra Bose to replace the Indian Civil Service in areas of British India, and is also thought to have been the nascent concept of a one-party political, bureaucratic and civil administrative system similar to that of the Soviet Union or the Fascist states of the time. During the brief period that Azad Hind was in possession of small Indian territories around Imphal and Kohima during the U Go offensive between April and May 1944, parties of the Azad Hind Dal were sent along with the INA contingents to take administrative charge and rehabilitation of these areas.

The integral associations of the Indian National Army's history with that of the war in South East Asia, especially the Japanese occupation of South East Asian countries, the renunciations of the oath to the King, as well as war-time propaganda and later allegations of torture by INA soldiers have inspired a number of controversies. Principal among these is the Intelligence propaganda during the war implied alleged torture at a massive scale of Indian and Allied prisoners of war by the INA troops in collaboration with the Japanese.

Propaganda and India in World War II

Throughout World War II, both the Axis and Allied sides used propaganda to sway the opinions of Indian civilians and troops, while at the same time Indian nationalists applied propaganda both within and outside India to promote the cause of Indian independence.

Malik Munawar Khan Awan was a Major rank officer in the Pakistan Army, whose career had begun in the British Indian Army and included spells in the Imperial Japanese Army and the revolutionary Indian National Army that fought against the Allies in World War II where he commanded 2nd INA Guerrilla Battalion during famous Battle of Imphal. He received a gallantry award for his work during Operation Gibraltar in 1965.

The Indian National Army (INA) and its leader Subhash Chandra Bose are popular and emotive topics within India. From the time it came into public perception in India around the time of the Red Fort Trials, it found its way into the works of military historians around the world. It has been the subject of a number of projects, of academic, historical and of popular nature. Some of these are critical of the army, some — especially of the ex-INA men — are biographical or autobiographical, while still others historical and political works, that tell the story of the INA. A large number of these provide analyses of Subhas Chandra Bose and his work with the INA.