Hu Hanmin (Hu Han-Min)

Hu Hanmin (Hu Han-Min)
Hu Hanmin (Hu Han-Min)

Hu Hanmin was a close political associate of Sun Yatsen, founder of the Chinese Republic. The Hu family were minor civil servants who settled in Guangdong (Kwangtung) province. A brilliant scholar, Hu supported himself and a younger sister by working as a tutor after his parents' death.

China's defeat in the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) turned him into a revolutionary and took him to Japan, where he studied law and joined Sun's newly formed Tongmeng hui (T'ung-meng hui), or United Alliance, dedicated to overthrowing the Qing (Ch'ing) dynasty.

He served as the organization's secretary and wrote for its official publication, the Min Bao (Min Pao), or People's Journal. One article, "The Six Principles," elaborated on Sun's ideals: nationalism, republicanism, and land nationalization, plus three items concerning immediate issues that faced the revolutionists in Japan.


An eloquent writer, Hu played a major role in the pen war between advocates of Sun's ideals and those of Kang Youwei (K'ang Yu-wei), who favored a constitutional monarchy. He also traveled widely throughout South and Southeast Asia to organize support and raise funds for the Tongmeng hui.

Hu was elected military governor of Guangdong province after the outbreak of the October 10, 1911, revolution. He and other followers of Sun were ousted from their positions in 1913 by President Yuan Shikai (Yuan Shih-k'ai), who quashed democracy in an attempt to make himself emperor.

When Sun established a government in Canton in 1923 with the help of a local warlord and began reorganizing the Kuomintang (KMT, Nationalist Party) with the assistance of the Soviet Union, Hu was again by his side, together with Wang Jingwei (Wang Ching-wei) and a rising star, Chiang Kai-shek.

Sun's death in 1925 led to a succession crisis in the Kuomintang. Wang Jingwei led the left wing, who were supported by Soviet advisers and were the immediate winners. Hu led the anticommunist wing of the party; they lost power and were forced out of Canton.

Chiang Kai-shek led the center and remained in Canton, focusing on training a new army. In 1926 Chiang set out as commander in chief of the Northern Expedition to unify China. Military success led him to break with the left and the Soviet-dominated government under Wang Jingwei in 1927 and also led to the return to power of the anticommunist wing of the Kuomintang, including Hu.

After completing the Northern Expedition in 1928, the Nationalists established a government in Nanjing (Nanking). Wang and his supporters lost power, while Hu was appointed president of the legislative Yuan (the legislature), which was charged with drafting legislation, passing the budget, and formulating new legal codes.

Chiang dominated the Nationalist government during the Nanjing era (1928–37) and faced several domestic problems. One was how to deal with the ambitions of his two senior colleagues, Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin. Chiang initially allied with Hu, but they broke in 1931 partly over interpretation of Sun's wishes on how to implement his programs.

Chiang became so angry with Hu that he briefly put him under house arrest. Hu was so infuriated that he rejected all offers to rejoin the government, which forced Chiang to ally with Wang Jingwei. The power struggle between Chiang, Hu, and Wang showed the ideological and personality struggles in the Kuomintang after the death of its founder, Sun Yat-sen.

Hu Shi (Hu Shih)

Hu Shi (Hu Shih)
Hu Shi (Hu Shih)

Hu Shi was the son of an official of modest means. At 13 he switched from a traditional Chinese school to a modern school in Shanghai, where he was introduced to Western learning. In 1910 he won a scholarship to study in the United States, where he was influenced by John Dewey's pragmatism and earned a doctorate in philosophy at Columbia University.

While a student he became interested in Chinese language reform, writing an article titled "Some Tentative Suggestions for the Reform of Chinese Literature," that argued in favor of a new literature that used the vernacular instead of classical Chinese. The enthusiastic response from students and intellectuals led to a wide-ranging reevaluation of Chinese literary and ethical traditions that became known as the New Culture Movement.

A leading academic amid these cultural and political crosscurrents, Hu Shi spoke out on a wide range of topics as editor and cofounder of several magazines during the 1920s and 1930s. He opposed the obsession with political ideology during the warlord era and advocated the concept of "good government."


After 1928 he criticized the newly established Nationalist (Kuomintang) government for its authoritarianism and called for the protection of human rights and free speech. He served as ambassador to the United States between 1938 and 1942, lobbying the Roosevelt administration and the American public to eschew their isolationist policies and to aid China's war of resistance.

He was president of National Beijing (Peking) University for two years after the end of World War II but went to the United States in 1949 when the Nationalist government lost the civil war to the Chinese Communist Party.

He lived in semiretirement in New York until 1958, writing and speaking out as a loyal but critical friend of the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) and an adamant foe of communism. He returned to Taiwan in 1958 to preside over the Academic Sinica, the ROC's leading research institution, until his death in 1962.

Hu Shi was unquestionably the best-known Western-oriented Chinese liberal intellectual in the 20th century. During the long years of political strife in China, his optimistic faith in nationalism, moderation, and democracy was a beacon for a brighter future. Singled out for harsh criticism by the Chinese Communist government in the 1950s, his reputation has had an unparalleled rehabilitation in China since the 1980s.

Victoriano Huerta

Victoriano Huerta
Victoriano Huerta
Victoriano Huerta seized power to become the second president of postrevolutionary Mexico, serving from 1913 to 1914. These two years witnessed the most violent stage of the revolution and its downward spiral into full civil war. Huerta was born in Colotlán, Jalisco, in 1845. With a limited education, he had few prospects in life until he became the personal secretary of General Donato Guerra.

Guerra used his position to smooth Huerta's admission into the National Military College, where he excelled at astronomy and mathematics. In 1877 he received his military commission and went on to lead a distinguished career putting down rebellions under the Porfirian regime. In 1901 he was promoted to brigadier general.

During the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the besieged president Porfirio Díaz dispatched Huerta to the south to quell Emiliano Zapata's revolt, but the general was called back to Mexico City before engaging the rebels in combat when Díaz fell from power. Huerta then served as the military escort for the ousted Díaz from Mexico City to Veracruz.

Francisco Léon de la Barra, the interim president, sent Huerta south again to disarm and defeat Zapata's forces, a mission in which he failed. When Francisco Madero took office he expressed disappointment in Huerta's inability to defeat Emiliano Zapata and in his connections with Bernardo Reyes, Madero's only serious political opponent in the 1911 election.


In 1912 Madero grudgingly sent Huerta to suppress a revolt initiated by Pascual Orozco in the north. Huerta defeated Orozco and almost put Pancho Villa, then serving under Huerta, before the firing squad for theft. Only Madero's intervention saved Villa, and the incident strained relations between the two men.

Stationed in Mexico City, Huerta knew of the growing conspiracy to oust Madero headed by Generals Bernardo Reyes and Félix Días, the nephew of the former dictator. Huerta declined to join the rebels, but as they attacked the National Palace in February 1913 and the tide of the battle increasingly pointed toward a successful rebellion, Huerta saw an opportunity for personal political gain.

He made a secret deal with Félix Días and switched sides in exchange for the position of provisional president. On February 19, 1913, he arrested Madero and his vice president and demanded their resignations. Three days later, as the men were being transferred from the palace to a military prison, they were shot and killed, an assassination that many scholars believe Huerta ordered.

Almost immediately, domestic and foreign opponents to Huerta's presidency sprung up. Rebellions throughout Mexico erupted, and in the face of congressional criticism, Huerta disbanded the congress and arrested many of its members. He resorted to a system of mandatory military service that forced the poor, with little or no training, to fight his opponents. This forced conscription failed, as many deserted or joined the rebellions.

The United States, under the leadership of Woodrow Wilson, took offense to Huerta's violent seizure of power and attempted to convince him to hold elections and declare peace with the his internal adversaries, the Constitutionalists. Huerta ignored these requests, and the United States actively assisted his opponents by supplying them with arms.

The northern states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Sonora refused to recognize Huerta's presidency, and their leader, Venustiano Carranza, declared himself president of Mexico. At the same time Alvaro Obregón, also from the north, led forces south toward Mexico City to force Huerta's surrender.

Obregón's forces engaged Huerta's troops during the summer of 1914, taking several key areas, including the city of Guadalajara. Huerta, perhaps sensing impending defeat, resigned the presidency on July 15, 1914, and fled to Europe. With the help of the German government, Huerta conspired to regain his presidency through a revolution based out of El Paso, Texas.

He joined forces with his former adversary, Pascual Orozco. The two men met in Newman, New Mexico, on June 28, 1915, and federal authorities who had been monitoring Huerta were waiting for them. Huerta and Orozco were arrested, and Huerta died on January 13, 1916, while in the custody of U.S. federal authorities.

Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud

Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud
Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud

Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud was the first monarch of Saudi Arabia. He was born in Riyadh to Abd al-Rahman bin Faisal bin Turki al-Saud and Sara bint Ahmad al-Kabir al-Sudairi. In 1890 he and his family were exiled to Kuwait after the Rashidi tribe conquered their lands.

Upon the death of his father in 1901, the 22-yearold Ibn Saud succeeded as the leader of the Saud dynasty and took the title of the sultan of the Nejd. Ibn Saud set out to recapture his ancestral lands from the Rashidis. In 1902 Ibn Saud assassinated Ibn Rashid and recaptured Riyadh.

By 1912 he had consolidated his control over the Nejd and then founded the Ikhwan, a militant religious group that he used to aid him in future conquests. At this time he also revived the traditional al-Saud alliance with Wahhabism, a puritanical Islamic movement dating from the 18th century.


In 1915 during World War I, the British signed a treaty with Ibn Saud whereby the lands of the Saud dynasty became a British protectorate. Britain asked for Ibn Saud's support in fighting against Ibn Rashid, who supported the Ottoman Empire, which had allied with the Central powers in the war.

As a consequence of this alliance, Ibn Saud received financial support from the British. By 1922 Ibn Saud had defeated the Rashidis and had doubled his territorial holdings. In 1926 he defeated another rival, Sherif Husayn of the Hashemite dynasty, and captured the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Sherif Husayn was forced into exile, and Ibn Saud effectively became the ruler of Arabia. The British formally recognized the power of the Saud dynasty in the Treaty of Jeddah, which was signed in 1927. Under this treaty Ibn Saud's title was changed from sultan to king.

Ibn Saud consolidated the Saud family's control over the Arabian Peninsula between 1927 and 1932, when he renamed the conquered territories Saudi Arabia and proclaimed himself king of the new nation. The discovery of petroleum in 1938 gradually brought vast revenues into the previously impoverished country. Ibn Saud used the moneys to enrich both his family and the country, encouraging his nomadic subjects to settle in permanent cities and villages.

Saudi Arabia's contributions to World War II were mostly token, but, although officially neutral, the Saudis did provide the Allies with significant oil supplies. Saudi Arabia remained on good terms with the Allies largely because of King Abd al-Aziz's personal friendship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Ibn Saud fathered between 50 and 200 children, and into the 21st century all Saudi kings were his sons. The Saudi Basic Law of 1992 stipulated that the king of Saudi Arabia must be a son or grandson of Ibn Saud. He died in Taif in 1953 and is commemorated as the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.

India Act (1935)

India Act (1935)
India Act (1935)

The first Government of India Act (1858, after the Sepoy Rising of 1857) abolished the British East India Company and put India under British government administration. A second act in 1909 introduced the concept of elected government.

Still, Indian troops served in World War I because Britain, not India, declared India at war with Germany. In 1917 Secretary of State for India Edwin Montagu promised that India's government would gradually permit increased Indian participation in the administration of India, with the goal of eventual self-rule.

Then the war ended. Although a third Government of India Act in 1919 gave local control of "nation building" areas such as education, it retained law and order and finance for Parliament-appointed governors and officials responsible to them.

This system of power sharing was called dyarchy. Britain's harsh measures against alleged political extremists and the Punjab disturbances of 1919, including a massacre of 400 at Amritsar, led to the creation of a national Indian movement against British control. A nationalist leader, Mohandas K. Gandhi, rose to the fore.

Gandhi led a movement of noncooperation against Britain in 1920–22 and a civil disobedience effort in 1930–31. In 1942 he called for the British to "Quit India." He led the first negotiations for independence in 1930 at the Round Table Conferences in London.

Motilal Nehru, father of Jawaharlal Nehru, was also active in the movement for Indian self-government. He chaired a committee of the All Parties Conference that included Muslims. It issued the "Nehru Report" of 1928 that called for a dominion constitution for India written by Indians.

When the all-British Simon Commission visited India in 1927–28, it generated protests that the Indian police repressed violently, leading to the death of Punjabi leader Lalal Lajpat Raj and rallying a new generation of Indian nationalist leaders.

Its report in 1930 rejected dyarchy and determined that local autonomy was in order. It proposed the retention of communal electorates for Muslims and Hindus until tensions calmed. The British government drafted legislation to provide the reforms. The Round Table Conferences decided that

Britain would unite the princely states with the provinces directly under its administration and eventually give the combined government of India dominion status. The congress and the Muslims split over details, leaving the decisions to the British.

The Government of India Act provided autonomy to the 11 Indian provinces it created. It separated Aden and Burma from India, increased the pool of eligible voters from 7 million to 35 million, and created two new provinces—Sind, split from Bombay, and Orissa, split from Bihar.

Provincial assemblies included more elected Indian representatives. The governor, often British, retained the rights of intervention in emergencies. The first elections under the act occurred in 1937.

The act was the longest bill the British parliament ever passed. Parliament did not trust Indians, particularly Indian politicians, and wanted to be sure there was no room for interpretation or adjustment.

Theoretically, it provided self-government in all areas but defense and foreign affairs. In practice, it reserved extensive powers for British intervention in Indian affairs through the British-appointed viceroy and provincial governors who were responsible to the secretary of state for India.

The act also had provisions for the formation of a federal government, but because half the states never agreed to its terms, a federation never occurred. It also failed to address the religious problem.

Hindus were two-thirds of India's population, leading to concerns by the minority Muslims that they would be treated unfairly. When the Hindu-dominated Congress Party won eight of the 11 provincial elections in 1937 the Muslims led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah began demanding a separate state, Pakistan.

Althought the British parliament thought it was realistic to federate states of widely diverging size, sophistication, and structure, it did not happen. The princes failed to recognize that they could control the federation if they united in support of it. Instead, they pursued their own interests with the restult that the federation never received the requisite majority.

The act failed to attract significant support from moderates, in large part because they did not trust the British. The Hindu electorate preferred the Congress Party, and the Congress Party wanted dominion status equal to that granted to the white dominions, which included control over foreign as well as internal affairs.

The first viceroy after the act was passed was Lord Linlithgow. He was intelligent, honest, hardworking, serious, and committed to the success of the act. He was also stolid, unimaginative, legalistic, and unable to deal with people other than those in his own circle. Under pressure he turned to administrative details while becoming rigid on strategy. He struggled unsuccessfully to deal with Gandhi, Nehru, and Jinnah. Compromise between the four men was impossible.

Indian provinces enjoyed self-rule after 1937 for two years, until the onset of the war. Linlithgow tried and failed to get the princes to accept the federation, but neither the British government nor the princes supported him. In 1939, when Britain and Germany declared war, India was automatically included.

His failure to consult with Indian leaders, while constitutionally correct, offended Indian public opinion. The congress ministers, who were not consulted, resigned, while Muslim leaders in provinces where they had a majority cooperated with Britain in war. Thus, chances for Indian unity died.

Government of India Act (1919)

World War I was important for India's nationalist movement. Indians of all persuasions overwhelmingly supported Great Britain and the Allied cause during the war. Nearly 800,000 Indian soldiers plus 500,000 noncombatants served in Europe and the Middle East.

Communal relations between Hindus and Muslims took several turns between the passage of the India Councils Act in 1909 and 1919. The reunion of Bengal in 1911 (which canceled its partition into two provinces) pleased the Hindus but antagonized the Muslims.

The All-India Muslim League began to attract younger and bolder leaders, most notably a brilliant lawyer named Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1946). Similarly Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) and Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1967) emerged as leaders of the Indian National Congress.

Many in India's Muslim minority became concerned with the ultimate fate of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, which fought in the opposing Central Powers camp. World War I also aroused both the congress and the league to demand significant constitutional reforms from Britain. In 1916 they concluded a Congress League Scheme of Reforms, known as the Lucknow Pact.

It made wide-ranging demands for greater self-government, equality of Indians with other races throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth (in response to racial discrimination in South Africa and Canada), and greater opportunities for Indians in the armed forces of India.

In response, the new secretary of state for India, Edwin Montagu, officially announced the British government's commitment to "the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India" in August 1917.

He then toured India, met with Indian leaders, and together with Viceroy Lord Chelmsford drafted a Report for Indian Constitutional Reform in 1918, popularly called the Montagu Chelmsford Report. A modified version of the report was embodied in the Government of India Act of 1919.

It introduced partial self-government to India's nine provinces in a system called dyarchy, whereby elected representatives controlled the departments of agriculture, sanitation, education, and so on, while the British-appointed governor and his advisers retained control of finance, the police, prisons, and relief.

This was intended as a step toward complete responsible government. The viceroy, however, retained control of the central government, and the role of the mostly elected bicameral legislature remained advisory. The electorate was expanded, and separate electorates (Muslims elected their own representatives) were kept in place, on Muslim insistence.

The Government of India Act was a significant advance in India's freedom movement. Others included a separate Indian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, in the same manner as the self-governing dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa). India also became a member of the League of Nations.

But these advances did not satisfy Indian nationalists, who were inflamed by the continuation of wartime laws that abridged civil freedoms, and acts of peaceful and violent resistance continued. Hindu-Muslim accord continued during the Khalifat movement, when Indians supported the Ottoman emperor's religious leadership as caliph of Islam.

The cooperation collapsed when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk established a republic in Turkey and abolished the caliphate in 1923 and also due to increasing competition between the two communal groups for power in a future independent India.

India Councils Act of 1909 (Morley - Minto Reforms)

Lord Minto
Lord Minto

During the late 19th century British-educated Indians began to demand a role in their government, which later developed into the independence movement. In 1885 an Englishman founded the Indian National Congress, although most of its members were highcaste Hindus. The congress met annually to promote the goal of greater participation of Indians in government.

By the early 20th century a radical wing had developed in the congress that was not content with the slow pace of reform. They were energized by the partition of the huge province of Bengal into two in 1905: East Bengal (including Assam) with a Muslim majority, and West Bengal (including Bihar and Orissa) with a Hindu majority.

A storm of protest against the partition ensued and included an economic boycott of British goods and acts of terrorism. The congress was split over this issue, and a radical wing split off to form the New Party.



The new viceroy, Lord Minto (1845– 1914), on the one hand acted to repress the unrest, while on the other he worked to enact reforms with the secretary of state for India of the newly elected Liberal government in Great Britain, John (later Lord) Morley (1838–1923).

The partition of Bengal was a catalyst for Muslim political consciousness. Since the decline and fall of the Muslim Mughal dynasty, Indian Muslims had fallen behind Hindus in attaining a modern education and adjusting to new conditions. Unlike Hindus, Indian Muslims were encouraged by the formation of East Bengal.

Realizing that constitutional reforms were in the works and that they would be a minority in a representative government, Western-educated Muslims led by Aga Khan organized the All-India Muslim League in 1905 and lobbied Minto for a "fair share" for the Muslim community in any representative system. Like the congress, the league also met in annual conventions to formulate goals.

John Morley
John Morley

In 1909 the British parliament passed the Indian Councils Act. It increased membership of legislative councils in both the central and provincial governments (all appointed up to then) to make elected members the majority in the provincial legislatures.

Importantly, educated men who paid a certain sum of taxes were allowed to vote for the first time in Indian history. Some seats were reserved for Muslim candidates, and only Muslims could vote for them. Moreover, the elected members were also empowered to question officials; to debate legislation, including the budget; and to introduce laws.

However, the viceroy and the governors still had total control and could veto any laws that were passed. The first elections were held in 1910 and elected 135 Indian representatives, who took their seats at various legislatures throughout India.

This act and other measures gradually restored calm to India. The act is important because it established representative responsible government as the goal for India and introduced the elective principle to a nonwhite possession of Great Britain.

Indian National Congress (1885 - 1947)

First Indian National Congress 1885
First Indian National Congress 1885

The Indian National Congress (INC) was a leader of the Indian freedom movement against British colonial rule. One of the success stories of the nationalist struggle in Asia, the congress was established in 1885.

A political consciousness was arising in the latter part of the 19th century among Indian intelligentsia, and various people emerged to raise their voices against foreign rule. The sincere endeavor of Allan Octavian Hume (1829–1912), along with the efforts of Indian leaders, resulted in the emergence of the INC on December 25, 1885.

From its first meeting, held in the city of Bombay (now Mumbai), the INC worked relentlessly to end alien rule in India. In its initial phases the INC was very modest in its demands, such as expansion of legislative councils and an increase in governmental grants to indigenous industries. It even pledged loyalty to the British Empire. It increased sentiments of national unity and rose above religious, caste, and regional divisions.


Dadabhai Naoroji (1825–1917), the president of the INC in its second and ninth sessions, argued that the British government was responsible for poverty in India. The true character of the British Empire was revealed by various demands by the congress. A base also was created for the Congress Party, from which later leaders could work for the cause of Indian independence.

But a gradual disillusionment developed against the moderate leadership. A rift occurred, and the radical, or extremist, phase (1905–19) began in the history of the INC. The new generation was drawn from the lower middle class in urban areas.

It was more radical in nature and sometimes took recourse to Hindu religious symbols like the Ganapati Festival, which became mass based under Bal Gangadhar Tilak's direction. The terrorist movement of Bengal invoked the name of the goddess Kali. The extremist brand of politics was aggressive in nature, and it was indigenous, with no attachment to Western ideals.

The goal of the extremists was swaraj (self-rule), and their efforts were imbued with swadeshi (indigenous) sentiment directed against foreign goods, dress, and education. The Punjab group was led by Lajpat Rai; the Bengal one was represented by Aurobindo (1872–1950) and Pal.

The administration (1899–1905) of Viceroy Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859– 1925) decided to partition the province of Bengal in October 1905, leading to the antipartition movement, which engulfed most of the country. Goods from British factories were boycotted, and the use of swadeshi was advocated.

A split occurred between the moderates and extremists at the Surat session of 1907, and the moderate leader, Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866–1915), did not endorse Tilak as president for the 1908 session. The split harmed the INC and the nationalist movement. There was also a rise of communalism in Indian politics and a sizable section of the Muslims did not adhere to the congress ideology. The All-India Muslim League (AIML) was established on December 30, 1906.

The INC and the AIML would chart out separate courses, resulting in a vivisection of the country 41 years later. The congress was revived in the Lucknow session of 1916, where both the extremists and the moderates realized that the split was not serving the cause of the nationalist movement. In the same year the Lucknow Pact, which brought Hindu-Muslim rapprochement for the time being, was signed between the congress and the league.

Meanwhile, World War I had broken out, and Great Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914. The INC supported the British war efforts in the hope that India would be suitably rewarded in its path toward self-government. But this hope was dashed. The ideals of self-determination presented by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference were not applied to colonies in Asia. Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) was emerging as a mass leader in India and gave a new direction to the Indian freedom movement under the INC.

General Strike

Gandhi called for a general strike in April 1919, after the draconian Rowlatt Act that empowered the authorities to arrest and detain without trial, was enacted. A large numbers of Muslims began to participate in the activities of the INC.

The INC became an umbrella organization drawing support from all classes of the population. The revamping of the internal organization of the congress was retained with some modifications in independent India. The Pradesh (Provincial) Congress Committee (PCC) was formed at the state level, with 10 to 15 members belonging to the working committees. At the apex was the All-India Congress Committee (AICC), composed of state leaders from the PCC. The Congress Working Committee, consisting of senior party leaders, was in charge of important decisions.

The president of the INC was the national leader, presiding over annual sessions generally held in the month of December. These sessions spelled out the party programs and discussed measures to be taken in the ongoing struggle against British rule. Gandhi's emphasis on ahimsa (nonviolence) and satyagraha (nonviolent protest) became successful in shaking the foundation of the British Empire.

The INC entered a new phase in its struggle against the British raj between 1919 and 1922. The noncooperation movement, with its technique of non-violent struggle, was launched. At a special session of the AICC held in Calcutta in September 1920, it was decided to initiate noncooperation with the British government by boycotting educational institutions, law courts, and legislatures.

The use of hand spinning for producing khadi (cloth) was emphasized. A violent mob, after a police firing on February 5, 1922, at Chauri Chaura, attacked the police station, resulting in the deaths of 22 police personnel. Gandhi was aghast at this violent path, and the Congress Working Committee meeting at Bardoli suspended the noncooperation movement seven days afterward.

Although Congress leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) as well as a large section of the populace were stunned by the Working Committee resolution, they abided by the decision. Gandhi was arrested in March 1922 and given six years' imprisonment for treason.

The INC was opposed to the formation of the Simon Commission in 1927–28, which was constituted to look into the constitutional reforms and appointed a committee headed by Motilal Nehru to prepare a constitution for a free India.

Dominion status for India was the main feature of the Nehru Report. The All-Party Conference, convened in Calcutta in December 1928, did not agree with the report. Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1948), the leader of the AIML, also was against the report because his demands were not met.

The radical wing of the congress, led by Motilal's son Jawaharlal, also was opposed to the report. It was decided to launch civil disobedience for the cause of purna swaraj (complete independence). The congress passed the resolution for complete independence in the historic Lahore session of 1929.

The following year the civil disobedience movement started when Gandhi launched the salt satyagraha with his famous Dandi March in March 1930. Gandhi was arrested in May, and altogether 90,000 people were put behind bars.

The British realized the need for congress participation and initiated a dialogue. As a result Lord Irwin (1881–1959), the viceroy, signed a pact with Gandhi in March 1931 by which the civil disobedience movement was suspended, and the congress agreed to join the Round Table Conference. In the Karachi session of the INC, talks with the British were endorsed.

The session was important as the congress passed resolutions on basic fundamental rights and launched key economic programs. The British did not accept the congress demand of complete independence, and Gandhi was arrested in January 1932 after returning to India.

The congress took part in the elections of 1937 per the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1935 and performed very well in the general constituencies. At the time of World War II it sympathized with the victims of Nazism and fascism. The blitzkrieg by Japan in Southeast Asia had brought the war to India's doorstep. The AICC passed the famous resolution of "Quit India" on August 8, 1942, and Nehru said that it was a "fight to finish."

With a motto to "do or die," the Quit India movement began and was suppressed with the utmost force. The postwar scene was marked by devastating economic consequence of the war, the spread of communalism and communal riots, Jinnah's indomitable quest for control of Pakistan, and the congress's desire for a compromise.

Great Britain finally decided to leave India, which it could not hold with diminished resources, and ordered elections to central and provincial legislatures. The congress captured all the general seats in the center and obtained a majority in all the provinces except Sind, the Punjab, and Bengal.

Between 1945 and 1947 there were serious revolts by peasants and workers. The league was determined in its demand for partition of the country. In September 1946 an interim government was formed by the congress.

The British prime minister, Clement Attlee (1883–1967), had declared that the British would quit India. A compromise formula was finally worked out by the viceroy Lord (Louis) Mountbatten (1900–79) in his talks with the leaders of the congress and the league. It was announced in June 1947 that India and Pakistan would be independent from British colonial rule on August 15, 1947.

U.S. Indian Reorganization Act

U.S. Indian Reorganization Act
U.S. Indian Reorganization Act

This 1934 legislation, also known as the Wheeler Howard Act, was a New Deal program that significantly reshaped, in mostly positive ways, federal policies concerning the Native American population. Spearheaded by reformer John Collier, the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) empowered tribal leaders, recognized the legitimacy of Indian customs and culture, and preserved Indian land rights. It was not, however, a final "fix" in the tortured four-century history of white and Native interaction.

By 1900, 10 years after the last battle between federal troops and Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the U.S. Native population had dwindled to 237,000. By 1934 Native land holdings had declined by two-thirds, to 7,500 square miles.

Although in 1924 all Natives had been granted U.S. citizenship, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) continued to supervise every aspect of Natives' lives, while states with large native populations regularly imposed special restrictions on them. Efforts to separate and "civilize" Indian children continued at places like the Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, Indian Schools.


Sympathetic whites, beginning with Helen Hunt Jackson in 1881 and Charles Lummis in the 1890s, took up the Indian cause in books and articles that caused a sensation but had minimal effect on actual Natives except often to romanticize their history and plight. Lummis was able to interest his Harvard classmate Theodore Roosevelt in some Indian issues.

John Collier, likewise born to wealth, was educated at Columbia University and in Paris. In 1919 he first encountered the "Indian problem" while visiting artist and heiress Mabel Dodge Luhan in New Mexico. (She had married Tony Luhan, a Pueblo Indian.) Collier soon came to oppose forced Americanization programs and attacked the competence and honesty of BIA officials.

At the urging of Collier and his Indian Defense Association, a two-year study, the Meriam Report, was released in 1928. It revealed vast failures in previous federal programs, especially the assimilationist 1887 Dawes Act.

Named commissioner of Indian affairs by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, John Collier created a special public works program for Natives—the Indian Civilian Conservation Corps. Serving as BIA head until 1945, Collier sought out more Indian staff for his agency. The BIA instituted new health programs and encouraged Native practices, including communal living and farming practices that the Dawes Act had tried to wipe out.

Less successful were efforts to turn tribal leadership into formal constitutional governing bodies. An estimated 60 percent of tribal units chose not to create governments sanctioned by the IRA. Suspicion kept some tribes from working effectively with their members or with mixed-blood relatives who were no longer tribally affiliated. Traditional Indians did not always appreciate the involvement of "progressive" tribal members who often lived in cities or later fought in World War II.

Despite infusions of aid during the Great Depression, Natives, already one of the poorest groups in the United States, saw little meaningful improvement in living conditions. Sometimes other New Deal programs ignored or harmed tribal groups. One such massive project to install dams along the Northwest's Columbia River flooded tribal hunting and fishing lands.

By 1950 the IRA, although still considered a huge improvement over previous relationships between whites and Native peoples, had seemingly reached the limits of its ability to truly improve the lives and autonomy of America's original inhabitants.

Industrial Workers of the World

IWW logo
IWW logo
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was a U.S. workers' movement that had a significant impact on organized labor during the first two decades of the 20th century. IWW members were commonly known as Wobblies (one story holds that this moniker came from the wobble saw used by lumberjacks).

Founded in 1905, the organization was always small, with a peak membership numbering in the tens of thousands during the 1910s, but the Wobblies successfully agitated among many more workers. Influenced by European syndicalist ideas about remaking society, they sought to create "one big union" that would bring together all laborers. They offered the vision of a nation in which wages and private profits were abolished, and business-dominated government gave way to "industrial democracy."

Ferocious opponents of the American Federation of Labor, which organized only craft workers, the IWW focused on the semiskilled and unskilled: mass-production factory hands, loggers, longshoremen, migrant farm workers, and domestic servants. Their interest in organizing African Americans and newly arrived immigrants was particularly unusual in an era of racial and ethnic polarization.

Unlike other organized labor groups, the IWW rejected the idea of collective bargaining to improve wages and working conditions. They refused to sign contracts, arguing that this would impede workers' ability to take action.


They also were uninterested in traditional political activism, because many of the groups to whom they appealed were unable to vote. Instead, they wanted to foment change by creating a revolutionary proletarian culture.

Wobblies typically went out in "flying squadrons" of mobile agitators, riding the rails, sleeping in hobo "jungles" on the outskirts of towns, and preaching the IWW message to all those among whom they lived and worked. The Wobblies were known for their constant singing while they traveled or were in jail.

Although they often used inflammatory rhetoric, this was paired with acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. One attention-grabbing tactic was their "free speech" fight. The point was to educate onlookers about their constitutional rights and the unjustness of authorities.

A Wobbly would stand on a soapbox on a street corner, delivering a harangue. If he or she was arrested, another Wobbly would immediately take up the speech and be arrested in turn, until the local jail was flooded and the public expense became prohibitive.

The IWW also taught various forms of nonviolent resistance on the job. Workers would surreptitiously slow down their pace of production, or they might deliberately feed a machine too quickly so that the wheels became clogged.

IWW Poster
IWW Poster

The IWW pioneered the use of the sit-down strike; the first recorded in U.S. history occurred in 1906 in Schenectady, New York, when 3,000 workers trained by Wobblies simply sat down in their factory and refused to leave.

While most labor organizations have a formal structure with elected officials, a central headquarters, and union locals, the IWW was the opposite: Members often boasted that they were all leaders and that their "locals" could be found under any traveling member's hat.

This decentralization made it possible for the Wobblies to agitate among a wide variety of laborers across the country. In 1912 they enjoyed a major success when they led a strike at textile mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

They managed to sustain cross-ethnic solidarity among 23,000 workers during the difficult winter months, not only winning concessions on pay and work hours but also highlighting issues such as dangerous workplace conditions and child labor. In 1913 they led a similar strike in Paterson, New Jersey, which became a cause célèbre among New York City's leftist intellectuals, culminating with a dramatic worker pageant held at Madison Square Garden.

The Wobblies ultimately failed to build a long-term movement. Workers gravitated to the IWW when they wanted to fight for "bread and butter" issues, but upon attaining these immediate material goals they rarely stayed committed to the Wobbly call for revolution.

The IWW was viewed as a dangerous organization by business interests, and Wobbly agitators were sometimes subject to brutal repression. For example, in 1916 in Everett, Washington, a deputized crowd at a dock fired on a steamship full of singing Wobblies, killing or wounding several dozen.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the IWW had succeeded in organizing copper mines in the West to the extent that national production was threatened. In the heated wartime atmosphere, the IWW was denounced on the Senate floor as standing for "Imperial Wilhelm's Warriors." The Woodrow Wilson administration decided to prosecute Wobblies for espionage and "criminal syndicalism."

In September 1917 the Justice Department conducted raids on every significant IWW hall, and by the end of the year more than a hundred prominent organizers were locked up. In a mass trial in 1918, the government was unable to show that the Wobblies had committed any crimes, instead focusing on their "seditious and disloyal" teachings.

Most were convicted, and over the next several years the organization expended its energies and meager financial resources fighting the convictions. Internal schisms and further legal repression left the IWW impotent by the mid-1920s.

Influenza Pandemic (1918)

Influenza Pandemic (1918)
Influenza Pandemic (1918)

The influenza pandemic of 1918 was, in terms of loss of life, the most catastrophic illness to have ever afflicted the world's population. Nothing before or since has approached its effects in terms of the number of fatalities or in the speed with which it spread.

From the latter part of the 19th century until World War I (1914–18), many Europeans and Americans had taken comfort in the idea that technical, scientific, and medical progress had created a better world. The war shattered most of that illusion, but any comfort that might have been derived from advances in medical science were not to be found as millions died from the disease.

The influenza of 1918 was often referred to as the Spanish influenza. It struck Spain, where it was reported on in detail. Because Spain was neutral in the war, there was no press censorship, and so the reports gave many the impression that it had started there. Where it came from is still unknown.


Whatever its point of origin, the pandemic killed between 25 million and 100 million people. Even at the lower number, it was a catastrophe; total casualties resulting from World War I were 15 million. One estimate is that 500,000,000 people were infected, one-third of the world's population in 1918.

Fatality rates were generally more than 2.5 percent of those infected. In Asia and Africa any public health statistics were partial or nonexistent. All estimates have to be taken as approximate with a great variance on which numbers can be considered reliable.

One estimate, for example, puts the number of deaths in India at 17 million. In the United States estimates of influenza-related deaths range from 500,000 to 675,000. Britain's figures of dead were said to be 200,000 and France's twice that.

Earlier recorded pandemics of influenza had occurred in 1781, 1830–32, 1847, and 1889. These had crossed from east to west, from Asia to Europe and, to a lesser extent the Western Hemisphere. Although serious, they never approached the level of destruction of life found in 1918. The world was a far different place in 1918 than it was earlier, even far different from 1889.

The World War had caused large numbers of people to move from one country to another, from one continent to another. It is fairly certain that soldiers from Europe brought the influenza virus back to America on troop ships. That war-driven mobility caused the virus to move farther and more rapidly than had ever been the case.

Another factor was that the war had displaced large numbers of people who had to live with decreased food supplies, no sure housing, lack of medical care, and susceptibility to infections or sickness. Another factor was the soldiers themselves who were cramped in barracks that were not healthy and who, because of the stress of combat, were physically susceptible to infections.

The influenza usually struck very quickly. There are many accounts of people appearing to be perfectly healthy and suddenly, within hours, becoming completely debilitated. From that point they could die, often the next day. Those stricken would cough up blood.

The coughing was so severe that bodies that were autopsied showed serious tears of internal muscles due solely to severe coughing. Pneumonia combined with the influenza, and many essentially drowned because their lungs were filled with liquid they could not be rid of.

In many cases, a blue tinge would develop at the ears and spread to the rest of the face, darkening it. Doctors and nurses in the United States mentioned that it was often difficult to tell Caucasians from African Americans, as patients of both races would become so dramatically discolored. Doctors and nurses generally believed that the most serious cases, the ones who would die, were those that showed the discoloration.

The British army's medical department, as part of its record keeping during the pandemic and in order to educate doctors and nurses what to look for, commissioned artists to draw pictures of soldiers who had been stricken. These illustrations would show the coloration to look for. Even many years after the pandemic, these portraits of ill soldiers, many of them about to die, provide an excellent idea of what they were suffering.

The time that the pandemic began has generally been agreed to have been in the spring of 1918. This was the first wave. It was reported and treated in several U.S. Army camps in the Midwest, primarily in Kansas in March. Those soldiers eventually transferred to France, where it is believed they spread the disease.

In August sailors from Europe reached Boston and brought the infection to that city. From there it traveled almost immediately to an army post in central Massachusetts, Fort Devens, where it killed 100 soldiers a day.

Influenza traveled very rapidly down the East Coast, following the transportation corridor created by the railroads. Of the cities on the east coast of the United States, Philadelphia was the hardest hit. By October influenza was so serious there that 4,600 people died in one week. The second wave of the pandemic hit hardest through November 1918. Despite the efforts of doctors and nurses, there was very little that could be done.

One of the effects of the pandemic was that in many places in the world, especially the United States, the public health service was mobilized. In the end that intervention did not significantly halt or affect the spread of the disease.

It did, however, lead to the practice of mobilizing all resources and taking steps by the government to try to halt the disease. Bans and quarantines were put into place. In many communities citizens were forced to wear face masks, or they would not be allowed on trolleys or might even be fined or jailed. Reporting on the incidences of disease as well as the quality of reporting changed.

Influenza had never been reported as a health issue until 1918. Record keeping was more stringent and included tissue samples, some of which would be used over 70 years later to support research on the spread of influenza and reconstruct the genome of the 1918 virus.

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

International Court of Justice logo
International Court of Justice logo

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), often referred to as the World Court, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN) and was formally established by the Charter of the United Nations in 1945 under articles 92–96. The ICJ is the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) established in 1920 by the League of Nations to address the issues raised after the cessation of World War I.

The ICJ is located at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, and is the only body of the UN not located at UN headquarters in New York. The statute of the ICJ is similar to that of its predecessor and is the main constitutional document regulating the court.

The court operates in two official languages, French and English, and all judicial activity is published in both languages. The ICJ as such has no criminal jurisdiction, and consequently it cannot try individuals charged with war crimes; these cases fall to national jurisdictions and to criminal tribunals established by the UN.


Jurisdiction is often a crucial question for the ICJ, whose key principle is consent. The issue of jurisdiction is considered in only two types of ICJ cases: those pertaining to legal disputes submitted by member states on contentious issues, which often pertain to boundary disputes, and the provision of advisory opinions on specific legal questions raised.

Unlike contentious issues, an advisory opinion is an opportunity for a UN member or agency to address a question before the ICJ. The court typically seeks out useful information pertaining to questions raised and provides a forum to present such questions. A nonbinding opinion on the matter is then published to the UN member states.

Under article 93 of the UN Charter, all UN members fall under the court's statute. Non-UN members may also become parties to the court's statue under article 93(2). The court comprises 15 judges elected to nine year terms by the UN General Assembly and Security Council, with only one judge per any nationality sitting at one time on the court.

ICJ Building
ICJ Building

Judges sitting on the court do not represent their respective countries and are free to vote against their national self-interests in pursuit of the goals of the UN Charter. Sources of law applied by the court include using international customs and procedures, current conventions and treaties, judicial decisions and teachings of highly qualified individuals, and application of general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.