Southern Asia 1942: Quit India Movement

Political map of South & Southwest Asia on 06 Oct 1942 (World War II: The South-East Asian Theater: Quit India Movement), showing the following events: Fall of Burma; Battle of Madagascar; Battle of Midway; Case Blue; Quit India Movement; End of Soviet influence in Xinjiang.

The Japanese raid into the Indian Ocean and their conquest of Burma brought the Second World War to the very borders of India. Alarmed by the inability of the British to defend their empire, the Indian National Congress launched the Quit India Movement, demanding immediate independence. The British responded by quickly arresting Congress leaders, but outbreaks of rioting and disorder would persist for the rest of the war.


Changes to the map 5 April 1942–6 October 1942

Japanese invasion of Burma: The Japanese have completed their conquest of Burma, including advancing up the Burma Road to capture Wanding in neighboring Yunnan province, China.

Xinjiang: Xinjiang has thrown off Soviet influence in favor of the Nationalist government of China.

Case Blue: The German invasion of the Soviet Union has reached its furthest extent, with German troops at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains.

British Protectorates in the Persian Gulf

The British Residency of the Persian Gulf maintained British India's influence in a number of Gulf states from the 19th Century until 1947. These states were nominally independent - and shown as such in most atlases from the period - but all signed treaties guaranteeing British control over their foreign affairs.

The Sultanate of Muscat and Oman was the only one of these states with significant international relations, having obtained trade agreements with the US and France before it signed its treaty with Britain. Maps of the time often show Trucial Oman and even Qatar as regions of Oman.

Trucial Oman was the region to the west of Oman which collectively signed treaties with Britain. The sheikhdoms of this region were often called the Trucial States, and later became the United Arab Emirates. However at this time they had little unity, with no regional council until 1952.

Indian Empire

The British Indian Empire, also known as the British Raj, was comprised of a complex of presidencies, provinces, protectorates, and agencies. Only the top level subdivisions are shown here.

The area under direct British rule was known as British India and made up of presidencies and provinces - a presidency simply being the name for an older province.

Outside British India, but often included within the sphere of the presidencies/provinces, were the hundreds of protectorates or 'princely states'. These were indirectly ruled states, the largest being Hyderabad, Kashmir, and Mysore. The others were either collected into agencies - which might in turn contain other smaller agencies - or fell under the sway of the provinces.

Main Events

15 Apr–20 May 1942 Fall of Burma

Under threat of being cut off by the Japanese invasion of Burma, the British Burcorps destroys the oil fields and refineries at Yenangyaung before being extricated with the aid of the Chinese 38th Division. This small victory does little to stop the Japanese, who capture Lashio, cutting the Burma Road, on 29 April and seize Mandalay on 1 May. However the onset of the monsoon on 12 May ends the Japanese pursuit, allowing the British and Chinese to escape across the border into Assam, wikipedia

5 May–5 Nov 1942 Battle of Madagascar

In Operation Ironclad, British troops land on northern tip of Vichy French Madagascar, occupying the port of Diego Suarez to prevent its use by the Japanese. After several months holding that position, they launch Operation Streamline Jane on 10 September, advancing to occupy the rest of the island. The last Vichy French forces on Madagascar surrender on 5 wikipedia

4–7 Jun 1942 Battle of Midway

In an attempt to lure the US Pacific Fleet’s few remaining aircraft carriers into a trap, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an offensive against Midway Atoll. Warned of Japanese plans by its code-breakers, the US was prepared for the attack and successfully ambushed the Japanese force, sinking all four of its major aircraft carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu—and a heavy cruiser for the loss of just the carrier Yorktown and a wikipedia

28 Jun–19 Nov 1942 Case Blue

The Germans began Case Blue, their great Summer Offensive of 1942, by advancing on Voronezh and Rostov, along the Don River in Soviet Russia. After securing the lower Don in July, they swept across southern Russia, moving on Stalingrad and the Volga in the north and the oilfields of the Caucasus in the south. However by late August they had lost their momentum, facing difficulties across the front—especially in their attempt to capture wikipedia

8 Aug 1942 Quit India Movement

In Bombay, British India, the Indian National Congress ratifies a resolution demanding the immediate British withdrawal from India. That day Mohandas Gandhi delivers a speech at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, launching the ‘Quit India’ movement and calling for passive resistance. The British authorities respond by arresting Gandhi and the Congress leaders within hours of the speech, but disorder and demonstrations will continue across the country until independence in wikipedia

5 Oct 1942 End of Soviet influence in Xinjiang

Believing that Germany is about to defeat the Soviet Union, Sheng Shicai, the warlord of Xinjiang, expels his Soviet advisors. On 5 October 1942 Xinjiang is officially reincorporated into the Nationalist Chinese fold following negotiations that began in wikipedia