Struggle for independence, from World War II

When World War II began, Viceroy Linlithgow had unilaterally declared India a belligerent on the side of Britain, without consulting the elected Indian representatives.

Nehru hurried back from a visit to China, announcing that, in a conflict between democracy and fascism, "our sympathies must inevitably be on the side of democracy, ... I should like India to play its full part and throw all her resources into the struggle for a new order". After much deliberation, the Congress under Nehru informed the government that it would cooperate with the British but on certain conditions.

First, Britain must give an assurance of full independence for India after the war and allow the election of a constituent assembly to frame a new constitution; second, although the Indian armed forces would remain under the British Commander-in-chief, Indians must be included immediately in the central government and given a chance to share power and responsibility. When Nehru presented Lord Linlithgow with these demands, he chose to reject them.

A deadlock was reached: "The same old game is played again," Nehru wrote bitterly to Gandhi, "the background is the same, the various epithets are the same and the actors are the same and the results must be the same".

On 23 October 1939, the Congress condemned the Viceroy's attitude and called upon the Congress ministries in the various provinces to resign in protest. Before this crucial announcement, Nehru urged Jinnah and the Muslim League to join the protest, but Jinnah declined.

As Nehru firmly placed India on the side of democracy and freedom during a time when the world was under the threat of fascism, he and Bose would split in the late 1930s when the latter agreed to seek the help of fascists in driving the British out of India. At the same time, Nehru had supported the Republicans who were fighting against Francisco Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War.

Nehru and his aide V. K. Krishna Menon visited Spain and declared support for the Republicans. When Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, expressed his desire to meet, Nehru refused him

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