Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


Krishna Kumar
What caused the collapse of the British Empire? Did it start from India? Why were the British forced to leave India in 1947? The answers to all these questions are in the events of 1942. The British Rule of India was established by Clive with arms, deceit, and bribery and expanded by Marquess Wellesley via wars and subsidiary alliances to become an Empire. After the British overcame the first significant threat to them in 1857, they put policies of divide and rule and obnoxious laws in place. The army and police imposed the government's will, administered by a civil service. In 1942, the British faced the biggest threat to their rule and even started making plans to evacuate from India. 1942: The British lost Asia. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Malaya almost simultaneously, and soon British had to surrender Malaya and Singapore. Earlier, Japan had attacked Siam ( Thailand) and had entered into a treaty with them to be allowed to operate freely. Indochina (Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam) was under Vichy French, who had given complete freedom to Japan to operate from there. 1942: With the above surrender, the British Indian Army became P.O.W.s, and more than 45000 soldiers were handed over to the Japanese by the British. Major Mohan Singh and I. Fujiwara asked them to volunteer for the Indian National Army, and the initial Nehru Brigade, Gandhi Brigade, and Azad Brigades were formed from them. Later, in ’43, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose took over the leadership of the I.N.A. 1942: The Sinking of British Naval Ships ‘Repulse’ and ‘Prince of Wales’ by Japan shattered the superiority myth of the Royal Navy and left the sea route to India and Singapore, from which 25% of the Empire's cargo passed, indefensible. 1942: The loss of Burma to Japan brought the Japanese to India's doorstep. India was practically indefensible from this side. If the Japanese had attacked -they would have had a walkover, but the monsoon made it impossible. The loss of Burma meant that Rice and Oil exports to India stopped, and the Burma Road for sending supplies to China by the Allies became inoperable. Almost 100,000 soldiers and 400,000 civilians came to India- diseased and demoralized, most walking through the extremely hazardous land route with an estimated 25-50,000 dead. 1942: The Japanese bombed Calcutta, Vizag, and Madras. Eastern India Ports were closed. Shipping to Europe could then be done via Bombay and Karachi only. 1942: After the bombing, the British sent their families to the interior. They started making plans to evacuate from India to Australia and sent Cripps delegation, under U.S. pressure, to work out some deal to get Indian cooperation. The mission failed, sabotaged, it is believed by the British themselves, as they were not prepared to give up India. 1942: Congress launched Quit India, which was the last agitation launched by Gandhiji, but it was suppressed by arrests before the launch and savagery on the people and crushed by the British in about two months. Consequences: 1.\tThe cumulative results were the destruction of the carefully built British superiority and invincibility myth. 2.\t I.N.A. gave hope and inspiration to millions of Indians, causing them to rise against the British in 1946 after the Red Fort trials brought out the I.N.A. details in the open. 3.\t The British faith in the army /civil structure was destroyed after the I.N.A. trials and Naval rebellion. 4.\t India had to be made free with the loyalties of control structure and means to control under severe doubt. 5.\tAfter the Indian freedom, one by one, all countries of the Empire had to be made free. Thus, twenty years after Indian Independence, a carefully assembled empire was over.