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During WWII, Gandhi said that Indians should adopt a compromising attitude towards the British due to the stresses of war. Did this prolong the (near) inactivity of the Indian National Movement? Or did the economic and military losses suffered by Britain cause it to grant India Dominion Status a little earlier than it would have, without the war?

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Please add reference links to Gandhi's statement. –  coleopterist Nov 11 '12 at 18:31
    
I don't have a link, but I read it in a book. It says, "We do not seek our independence out of British ruin." - Gandhi. June 1, 1940. A explanation is provided elsewhere, saying that this was a cause for a rift of Gandhi with Subhas Chandra Bose and the division of the right and left wings of the Indian National Congress. –  Graviton Nov 11 '12 at 18:48
    
If you google that statement, you should be able to source some notable reference links. Integrating the quote into your question is also a good idea. –  coleopterist Nov 11 '12 at 18:51
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2 Answers 2

Frankly, this is something that could be argued either way.

On the pro side, the war years did put a lot of other political activity on hold for the duration. The war also sucked up rather a lot of Indian manpower that might otherwise have been jobless and looking for something to do.

On the anti side, the crucial part played by Indian soldiery, and the self-confidence that had to have provided an entire generation, made independence pretty much certian at the end of the war. In fact, the war even moved British Government in 1942 to offer India full independence bost-bellum in exchange for full political cooperation. The offer was not taken up, but that's the kind of offer you can't really take off the table once its been placed there.

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My guess is that World War II accelerated Indian independence. The proof is found that ALL of British colonies (except Hong Kong and Singapore) gained independence shortly thereafter.

World War II exposed the excesses of German and Japanese "colonialism" in Eastern Europe and East Asia. But it also highlighted the abuses of the milder versions of British and French colonalism.

World War II also destroyed the myth of British superiority. Even my (Chinese born) father was impressed when Japanese aviators sank the British battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse, and captured Singapore. (Not to the mention the successful attack on America's Pearl Harbor.)

Asians were also given a chance to prove themselves. A Chinese "counterinvasion" of Burma (Myanmar) in 1942 allowed the British Burma army escape destruction in that country, indirectly helping to protect India from Japanese invasion. The performance of "Asian" (Chinese, Burman, Indian) troops in the subsequent Allied counteroffensive in Burma did not go unnoticed in India.

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