Asian Nationalism in the Twentieth Century by J. Kennedy M.A. (auth.)

By J. Kennedy M.A. (auth.)

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The presence of American forces in China was a further complicating factor. The merging of the war in China with the wider war which broke out in Europe in 1939 and in the Pacific in 1941 brought help to and further recognition of Chiang Kai-shek but, as the war progressed, the Nationalists were weakened by the strain of the war itself, by inflation and loss of revenues and by increasing corruption within the party. The Kuomintang became more committed to the conservative landlords of west China while the communists directed their attention to winning large-scale peasant support.

The war brought its strains, too, and these included shortages, high prices and a flu epidemic in 1918 which killed five million people. British prestige suffered with the long duration of the war and with reverses such as those of Kut-al-Amara in Iraq, and Gallipoli. Indian Muslims had mixed feelings about the British Empire's war with Turkey, for the Sultan of Turkey was also the Khalifa or chiefpolitical figure of the Muslim world. Gokhale died in 1915, leaving a vacuum in the leadership of the Congress 'moderates'.

Even at this period, however, another element in Indian nationalism occurred from time to time; this was terrorism, the use of the bomb and the gun against government officials and others. Political agitation in Bengal had earlier produced outbursts of terrorism, Japan, China, the Indian Subcontinent 37 and similar incidents in the Punjab were due mainly to social and economic grievances. Even in the comparative calm of 1912 there was an attempt to assassinate the Viceroy in New Delhi. The First World War had a marked effect on Indian nationalism.

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