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How far do you agree that the Amritsar masscare of 1919 was the turning point in Britain's relationship with it's empire in India in the years 1919-45? (20 marks)
It is clear that the Amritsar masscare was the turning point in Britain's relationship with it's empire in India between the years 1919-45. However, other events could be considered the turning point.
At the Amritsar masscare, Dyer fired 1,650 rounds in 10 min which killed 379 people. This was a clear turning point as Gandhi stated that Britain should not rule India which harmed the relationship between Britain and India. The masscare clearly affected the relationship as nationalism increased after the event. This is evident as the membership of Congress increased from under 100,000 in 1918 to over 2 million in 1921. This proves that to the Indians it was obvious Britain did not want to give them purna swaraj so it is the turning point in Britain's relationship with India. The action of Dyer implementing Martial law in Amritsar furthered the damage the relationship with India. It humiliated Indians as any Indian who passed an European had to salaam. This makes Amritsar a turning point as it emphasizes British superiority over the Indians. One thing which really cemented that the British had damaged the relationship was the crawling order. It stated that any Indian who wished to walk down Kucha Tawarian had to walk on all fours as Maria Sherwood was killed there. This proves Amritsar was the turning point as they clearly was no need for such a law which would damage the relationship with India. However, Dyer was forced to resign however the damage had been done so it was too late.
The Round table conferences (1930-32) was a turning point in Britain's relationship with India. The first Round table conference seemed like progress was made and so maybe it helped the relationship of India and Britain so a positive turning point. The second round table conference was attended by Gandhi due to the Gandhi- Irwin pact- (1931) and wanted purna swaraj so that went against the first round table conference. This was a problem as the British we're not willing to give purna swaraj so it affected the relationship. Gandhi did not want the untouchables to be given a separate electorate as they were Hindus. The third round table conference was a failure as only 46 delegates attended. The round table conference were a turning point as it conveys that no agreements can be made by the British and Indians.
World war two (1939-45) was a turning point in the relationship. Viceroy Linlithgow announced war on the behalf of Indians which would damage the relationship. It is a key turning point as it demonstrated that the British still considered its self as the ruler of India. Indians we're not prepared to fight unless given immediate swaraj. The Bengal famine (1943-44) was a turning point as it highlighted what the British considered more important. 1-3 million people died due to poor harvests, loss of imports and weather conditions. It was clear that help was needed for the starving thousands. However, Churchill concentrated on the war effort and Roosevelt refused to lead ships to bring wheat to India. It highlighted that the war effort was more important than Indian problems which would be a turning point as it would feel Indian nationalism. Jinnah accused the British government of being irresponsible which made sense considering that the British were diverting food to troops.
In conclusion, all the events such as Amritsar massacre, Round table conference and World war two are turning points. However, the biggest one appears to be Amritsar masscare as after this event British and Indian relations seemed to be worse. The Indians saw Amritsar as the British holding on to India which is evident from the rise of nationalism after the event so it is the turning point in Britain's relationship with it's empire in India.