India in World War II

India In World War II

India was ruled by Britain and thus India officially declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939. The Provinces of British India, being colonies of the United Kingdom, were by default, a part of the Allied Nations and sent over three million troops (who volunteered) to fight alongside Allied Forces against the Axis powers. Additionally, several Indian Princely States provided large donations to support the Allied campaign during the War. Indians fought with distinction throughout the world; in the European theaters of Germany and Italy, in the deserts against Rommel and in the Asian region defending India against the Japanese, and liberating British colonies such as Singapore and Hong Kong when the Japanese surrendered after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The British Indian Empire was declared as a belligerent against the Axis powers by the United Kingdom without consulting prominent Indian leaders. Several leaders of the Indian independence movement, including Mahatma Gandhi, expressed strong opposition against Nazism and Fascism but termed Britain's "war to save democracy" as hypocrisy since it was denying democratic rights and individual liberties to Indians. Additionally, some leaders of the revolutionary Indian independence movement collaborated with the Axis powers to overthrow the British Raj. With Japanese assistance, the Indian National Army was formed which fought against the Allied nations. Other notable examples of such military alliances with Axis nations included the Legion Freies Indien in Nazi Germany and the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan in Fascist Italy.

Despite the popular resentment against the British Raj, 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. India's strategic location at the tip of the Indian Ocean, its massive 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. 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 and the Italian Campaign. At the height of the World War, more than 2.5 million Indian troops were fighting Axis forces around the globe. After the end of the World 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.

Read more about India In World War II:  The Indian Stance, Indian Army Involvement, Collaboration With The Axis Powers, Bengal Famine, Funding of Britain By Indian Princely States During The War

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