Imperialism, Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill, Indian Autonomy


On 2 February 1927, the young Labour Representative and future Prime Minister Clement Attlee found himself, much to his own surprise, on the shores of Bombay, sent to find solutions to a problem he later termed "virtually insoluble. " His ship arrived to a confused reception of both noisy protesters, waving banners of "Go Back," juxtaposed by a welcoming rain of flowers and leaves by supporters of the visit.' These polar reactions to perceived British intent in India during the late 1920s no doubt showed Attlee the energy of the debate surrounding Indian independence, which only intensified through the coming years. Uncertainty and pessimism permeated Indian politics; proposed solutions were quickly rejected by both the British Parliament and the Indian Congress. As a member of the Simon Commission sent to India for Parliamentary reconnaissance, Attlee witnessed firsthand the inherent native distrust of British intentions, as well as the ever-present hope that Britian would indeed grant India's long-promised autonomy.