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India and Germany in historical perspective

Use of Swastika by Nazi Germany during 2nd World War shows some deep seated relation between India and Germany from the past. During both World Wars, German government gave indirect help to Revolutionary Movement in India’s freedom struggle.

Sequence of events during World War I

During World War I, Pro-independence activists sought German assistance for the cause of India’s freedom resulting in the Hindu German Conspiracy.

  • Hindu German Conspiracy: It was a series of plan executed by Indian nationalist groups from 1914 to 1917 that attempted Pan – India rebellion against British Raj during World War I. It was planned by underground revolutionaries, Ghadar Party of USA and Indian Independence Committee of Germany with the support from German Foreign office. They also got support of Ottoman Turkey and Irish Republican Movement.
  • Series of events which were executed under the conspiracy:
  1. February Mutiny
  2. 1915 Singapore Mutiny
  3. Jugantar-German Plot
  4. Mutiny of Connaught Ranger
  5. 1916 Black Tom explosion
  6. Annie Lrsen Affairs- a gun running plot in the USA
  • Ghadar Party was an organization founded by Punjabis of USA and Canada. Its aim was to secure independence of India from British raj. Key members of the Party were Sohan Singh Bhakna, Kartar Singh Sarabha, A. Barkatulla and Rasbehari Bose.
  • Indian Independence Committee/ Berlin Committee was an organization formed in Germany in 1914 during World War I BY Indian students and political activists residing in Germany. Key members of the Committee were Virendranath Chattopadhyay alias Chatto, Chempakaraman Pillai and Abinash Bhattacharya.
  • Hindu-German Conspiracy Trial: It commenced in the District Court in San Francisco on 12 November, 1917 following the uncovering of Hindu-German plot to dethrone Britain from India. 8 Indian nationalists of Ghadar Party were indicted by the federal grand jury. However, U. S. Department of Justice turned down the British request to deport them to India.
  • 1st Lahore Conspiracy Trial: After the Pan-India plan to rebel was crushed due to its early detection and arrest of several of their leaders, a case was started in Lahore. The trial was held by Special Tribunal constituted under Defense of India Act, 1915. Out of 291 convicts, 42 were sentenced to death and were subsequently executed.

Sequence of events during World War II

During World War II, Subhash Chandra Bose tried to secure India’s independence from Britain by seeking military assistance from the Axis powers against the Allied Powers.

In this effort Indische Legion was formed to serve as an Indian liberation force against British raj.

  • Indische Legion: officially called Free India Legion or Infantry Regiment 950 (Indian) and later came to be known as Indian Volunteer Legion of the Waffen-SS.
  1. It was a military unit raised in Germany during World War II, with the visit of Subhash Chandra Bose in 1941.
  2. It was constituted by Indian prisoners of war and expatriates in Europe
  3. Initially it was raised as part of Waffen- SS regiment of German Army
  4. It was also known as “Tiger Legion” or “Azad Hind Fauj” because of its origin during Indian independence movement.

After World War II

  • India did not claim any reparation from Germany although 24,000 soldiers serving in British Army died.
  • India maintained diplomatic relationship with both East and West Germany.
  • India and Germany have common objective in the G4, along with Japan and Germany
  • However, Germany condemned India on several occasions like
  1. Liberation of Goa from Portugal. Germany supported dictator Salazar of Portugal
  2. Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 from Pakistan
  3. Pokharan nuclear test in 1998
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