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How far do you agree that the First World War was a marked turning point in Britain's relations with India?

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Introduction

How far do you agree that the First World War was a marked turning point in Britain's relations with India? The First World War was a definite turning point in Britain's relations with India. The worldwide conflict between 1914 and 1918 was widely regarded as a disaster for European civilisation, ten million men were killed and twice as many were wounded, it changed the political social and economic issues behind British politics in a way not seen since. To show that it was a turning point in Britain's relation with India Britain's relations with India before the war must first be explained. British occupation of India had seen the rise and fall of the East India Company, the Indian Mutiny revolting against the British Policy of Westernisation to be followed by the Policy of Appeasement; all this had led to the slow rise of Indian Nationalism. The Indian National Congress was set up in 1885 and rapidly attracted the support of educated Indians, all with criticisms of British rule they wished to voice and aims of eventual self-government of India. ...read more.

Middle

This expense placed a heavy burden on the Indian taxpayer and pushed the budget into deficit. Although this united the Indian people into a nationalist movement it put them at a disadvantage to achieve this being a debtor of Britain. Britain in 1914 was the home of 'business as usual' believing in the policies of free trade, free currency and free enterprise. Asquith's Government was strongly opposed to interference in the free play of the market, this decision was strongly supported by the business community and meant that the frequent government interventions in the financial field were regarded as short-term emergency measures. This policy continued until March of 1915 when a coalition Government was brought into office under Asquith after the Shell Crisis of Neuve Chapelle, One of the coalitions first acts was to create the Ministry of Munitions. The advantage that the all-party coalition gave was that it could pass measures that were in violation of beliefs previously held firmly by most liberals and conservatives with almost impunity. In this way Britain moved slowly towards wholesale nationalisation under Asquith's leadership until he resigned in December 1916. ...read more.

Conclusion

However far from considering abandoning colonial expansionism Britain seized upon the defeat of Germany and Turkey to add to its overseas Empire. As a result of the treaty of Versailles Britain made significant colonial gains in Africa taking control of German East Africa as a British mandate. The Empire seemed to be at its peak, British control continued her ability to keep order in her formal empire and the Navy remained strong. The general opinion of the country was one of pride as the empire was seen to bring peace, prosperity and happiness to less fortunate areas. By 1919 some countries had however, acquired a large degree of independence, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were now known as part of the Commonwealth rather than part of the Empire, the traditional balance of power had been destroyed. In this sense the First World War was a significant turning point in Britain's relations with India, it strengthened the determination of Indian nationalists to press Britain for independence at a time of economic crisis in Britain in the interwar years and it was this that eventually led to Britain's complete withdrawal from India. ...read more.

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