Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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In August 1914, the Indian subcontinent was the most important pillar of the British Empire.

After the start of the First World War India’s importance to the war effort was apparent in the considerable numbers of Indian soldiers employed on the Allied fronts in Europe, Africa, and Asia. By the end of 1918, some 1.5 million Indians had been mobilized for the war. Of these, almost 900,000 belonged to fighting units. More than 60,000 Indian soldiers died in the war and about the same number suffered wounds.

It was originally envisaged that only restricted use should be made of I…

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Cornelissen, Christoph, “India”, in: Brill’s Digital Library of World War I. Consulted online on 21 March 2023 <>
First published online: 2015

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