At the same time that the Cold War was unfolding, a global independence movement was reshaping the world. The European colonial powers, especially Britain and France, had been weakened by World War II. Their military and financial resources were exhausted, and so was their will to hold on to their colonial empires. While nationalists in the colonies were ready to fight for their freedom, many war-weary Europeans had no desire for further conflict.
Indians celebrated independence from Britain during this parade in Mumbai on August 15, 1947.
Among the first new nations to win independence were the former British colonies of South Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. Nationalists in British-ruled India had demanded self-rule since the late 1800s. As independence neared, however, a long-simmering issue surfaced. What would happen to the Muslim minority in a Hindu-dominated India?
Like Mohandas Gandhi, most of the leaders and members of the Congress Party were Hindus. However, the party wanted a unified India that would include both Muslims and Hindus.
The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had a different view of liberation. Although they had cooperated with the Congress Party in the drive for independence, they feared discrimination against the Muslim minority in a unified India.