Hitler’s astounding success and the fall of Belgium, Holland and France put England in a conciliatory mood.
In order to win over the sympathies of the Indian masses and political parties during the war, the viceroy announced the August Offer (August 1940) which proposed:
The expansion of the Executive Council to include more Indians
The establishment of an advisory war council, giving full weight to minority opinion
The recognition of Indians’ right to frame their own constitution (after the end of the war)
No future constitution to be adopted without the consent of minorities.
In return, it was hoped that all parties and communities in India would cooperate in Britain’s war effort.
The Congress Working Committee meeting at Wardha on 21August 1940 rejected this offer, and asserted its demand for complete freedom from the imperial power.
It was also rejected by Muslim League. The Muslim League asserted that it would not be satisfied by anything short of partition of India.
Nehru said, “Dominion status concept is dead as a door nail.”
Gandhiji said that the declaration had widened the gulf between the nationalists and the British rulers.