Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Bose had come to realize that Gandhi's doctrine of non-violence was not doing much in forcing the British to retreat. He went to Germany to seek Hitler's assistance in India's struggle for freedom.

Was Bose welcome in Germany? Did Hitler agree to support Bose's cause? Was there anything that Hitler really did to help Bose?

share|improve this question

6 Answers 6

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Yes, Bose was welcome in Germany. The Germans could have denied him entry if they wanted to, and so there are no doubts that they were happy to see him in their country. However, Hitler repeatedly refused to issue a declaration supporting India's independence, and this suggests that he personally did not support Bose's cause. It also has to be remembered that Hitler had written in Mein Kampf that he preferred to see India under the British than under any other country. Bose had asked Hitler to withdraw this in their meeting, but Hitler pointedly refused. Bose also openly attacked the invasion of Russia, and had called it an act of unprovoked aggression.

Thus, it can be concluded that the support that Bose received in Germany was due to the efforts of the Germany's foreign ministry and its intelligence wing, Abwehr. Hitler personally did not like or encourage Bose as a leader.

share|improve this answer
Answered well. Thanks. But I can't vote up since I don't yet have the required reputation. –  Elzee Feb 11 '13 at 4:31
Indeed, and the lukewarm support Bose received in Germany explains why he moved on to Japan - where he was appreciated much more and given his own puppet army and state to play with. –  Felix Goldberg Feb 11 '13 at 9:35
@FelixGoldberg Glad that you agree with my stance. But I would beg you to note that neither the Indian National Army nor the provisional government was a puppet of any country. Calling Bose the leader of a puppet state would be similar, in my humble opinion, to calling someone like Charles de Gaulle a puppet. –  Arani Feb 11 '13 at 10:35
@Arani Yes, the state of Charles de Gaulle was a puppet state. Even if he personally was independently thinking, it was the British who choose whom to place in charge. –  Anixx Feb 11 '13 at 16:52
@Anixx I guess the definition of a "puppet state" differs among people, but very few believed then that France, if liberated with the help of de Gaulle, would be ruled by the British or Americans. That is what I meant by saying that it was not a puppet state. –  Arani Feb 11 '13 at 18:05

The biography of Adam von Trott A Good German by Giles MacDonogh has a chapter on Bose and his involvement with nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.

Trott headed up the India Department within Germany's wartime Foreign Ministry and looked after Bose's 18-month stay in Germany during the war.

Bose had visited Germany in 1933 but Hitler refused to see him. Those senior nazis who would see him and wanted to cooperate (an arms shipment to Indian revolutionaries was promised) tended to be on the left wing of the party which was of course wiped out a year later in the Night of the Long Knives.

Hitler approved of British rule in India and said so in Mein Kampf "I would rather see India under British domination than under that of any other nation". And he scoffed at the idea of an Indian uprising. Before the war he suggested to Lord Halifax that the British have Bose shot.

Bose returned to Germany in April 1941. He pressed the Germans to sponsor an Indian government-in-exile and to help him recruit an Indian Army from prisoners taken in North Africa, but initially got only evasive answers. However Trott was allowed to make "generous amounts of money" available to Bose and his cronies. Bose set himself up in a palatial villa near Berlin. He was also allowed to set up a "Free India Centre" in the German capital. Towards the end of 1941 the Germans at last began to build up the "Indian Legion" that Bose had asked for 6 months earlier. The legion numbered a few thousand men but was dismissed by one of Trott's colleagues as "a piece of comic opera which no one took seriously".

But Bose never hit it off with senior nazis. His meetings with Ribbentrop were frosty. His one meeting with Hitler (May 1942) was "anything but cordial". Bose believed the meeting had been a failure and left for Japan towards the end of 1942.

share|improve this answer
Thank you for giving a German perspective. It is true that Bose was allotted a generous amount of money. After all, for much of the time, members of the Indian Legion were paid from his personal allowance. Since you have read something on this, I am asking a related question (on Bose's submarine journey), and I would be grateful if you could answer. –  Arani Feb 13 '13 at 22:47
Thanks for the brief account you have given of Bose' visits to and stays in Germany. Very informative. –  Elzee Feb 14 '13 at 2:41

Hitler supported Bose enough to send him to Japan on U-180 with 3 tons of Gold to raise an army from Indian POWs in Thai/Malay POW camps.

In return Hitler got an effective spy network in India codenamed Trompeta, which sent intelligence home via radio on German merchant vessels interned in the Harbour at Goa.


Bormann Brotherhood, 1974 by William Stevenson (WW2 RN intelligence officer)

share|improve this answer
sources for this? –  Felix Goldberg Jun 20 '14 at 8:23
True, but Bose was allowed to go based on the request of the Japanese. Unlike the Japanese, Hitler never allowed Bose to develop a provisional government as long as he was in Germany. And about the spy network in India, it was not at all effective. Bose was close to a lot of people who were sympathetic to the USSR in India, making it easy for the communists to infiltrate this spy network. –  Arani Jun 21 '14 at 11:11
Also, Indian PoWs had already formed an army -- but they lacked a leader who had the stature of Bose. Bose was an extremely respected leader in India, and had even defeated Gandhi's candidate once in Congress. –  Arani Jun 21 '14 at 11:13

hitler was never interested in india..the foreign office was to some extent,the likes of ribbentrof and gobbels,the only Nazi serious and knowledgable about india was Himmler.Hitler belivede that Germany and Russia could have been friend in the ist war had Russia not recognized Poland as a free country.he didn't want to commit the same mistake wit britian.he belived there was every possibility of an agreement with britian and didn't want to screw it.moreover he was ok with british rule in india if the brits gave him an free hand in eastern Europe.

share|improve this answer

Mr.Bose's mission can be consider as an action of desperation...to find a solution for British Occupation...He mistook the Nazi Germany as a lesser evil than the British...in turn jumping into a greater foolery...German's sticking on their expansion plans and given lesser consideration to Mr.Bose except the luxury of his life he was enjoying in Germany.. As a professional working with Europeans I realise how isolated one will be if we are not able to speak German or Italian in their country...!! Bose was a projected hero an enthusiastic freedom fighter who is more projected than actually he was...!!

share|improve this answer
But Bose could converse fluently in German! As for more projection than what he was, could you cite an example? From what I know, if anything, the Indian government has tried to avoid naming Bose for most things because his supporters refused to join the government. –  Arani Aug 11 '13 at 8:18
There seems to be more opinion than evidence in this answer; if you could add enough citations to change that ratio, the quality of the answer would increase significantly –  Mark C. Wallace Aug 11 '13 at 19:45

In February 1946, British Indian Navy mutinied and began bombarding Bombay, Karachi. RAF mutinied in Khasmir and Calcutta. In the Indian National Army trial, Subhas Bose was not present. But his long shadow was ever present. When Bose left India, he was under no illusion. He was aware, he could not possibly raise enough men,money, material to defeat British/American Imperialism. He rightfully hoped, his action/sacrifice will encourage Indian masses specially the armored forces to rise up. That's exactly what happened. In that respect, Bose's effort was a resounding success. It will take hundred years to evaluate Bose's contribution truly, dispassionately. The process has already begun.

share|improve this answer
Not really an answer to the question, is it? –  Eugene Seidel Aug 25 '13 at 5:14
Totally irrelevant to the question so -1 and vote to delete. –  Felix Goldberg Aug 25 '13 at 13:18

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.