Vol. 4, No. 2, May 1943

“News Direct from India: India’s War Losses”

  • 2,096 killed, 8,521 injured and 84,833 prisoners (reported on Sept. 23, 1942)

“Roosevelt’s Envoy Not Allowed to See Gandhi”

  • Cites Phillips’ request to visit with Gandhi and Nehru and includes excerpts from American editorials on the subject including:
  • Selwyn James: “to deny him the opportunity to get the other side of the sotry tends to reduce his visit to little less than an escorted tour.”
  • Ernest Lindley: “the attitude of the British authorities in India will not make a favorable impression in the United States. Our interest in India is direct and vital.”
  • Samuel Grafton (New York Post): “Mr. William Phillips, the President’s special envoy in India, had asked permission to interview Gandhi, and had been turned down by the ‘Indian Government’; India suddenly developing a government when one is require for such purposes as this.”

Vol. 3, No. 7, October 1942

“Gandhi’s Latest Message to America”

  • “I have in America perhaps the largest number of friends in the West….In America I suffer from the well-known malady called hero worship.” Later on, Gandhi points to British propaganda and describes being “painted as a hypocrite and enemy of Britain under disguise.”
  • Attempts provide Americans with his theoretical background to the “Quit India” movement without describing the movement itself (assuming that his audience knows what it is?)
  • Acknowledges American alliance with Britain and the argument that Indian independence should not be a priority while fighting a world war, but argues: “this is the psychological moment for that recognition [Indian independence]. For then and then only can there be irresistible opposition to Japanese aggression. It is of immense value to the Allied cause if it is also of equal value to India. I want you to look upon the immediate recognition of India’s independence as a war measure of first class magnitude.”

“Nehru’s Reply to Cripps”

  • Nehru responds to Sir Stafford Cripps’ radio broadcast to America, categorizing it as “full of misrepresentations of the Congress attitude.”
  • Labels the defense of India as the most pressing issue, one that can only be addressed by a free India.
  • “The situation between England and India is bad enough in all conscience. And yet Sir Stafford must needs go out of his way to make it far worse and must constitute himself as the champion of the Muslims and the depressed classes.”

“Wendell Willkie–American Citizen”

  • Though Willkie gave a radio address on his trip to India after the publication of this issue, India Today comments: “his [Willkie] honesty, sincerity and courage have broken through the entangling mass of complexities…and have gone straight to the heart of the whole issue:–namely, India is to the entire Orient a symbol–a symbol of Eastern subjection to Western domination, and the establishing of her freedom is the acid test of the professions of the Western Democratic Powers.”

Louis Fischer (1896-1970)


  • Foreign relations journalist (reported from Soviet Union for 14 years) who worked to promote Indian independence cause in the U.S.
  • Met extensively with Gandhi and later published a biography, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (1950), which the Oscar-winning movie is based on

Primary Sources

The Great Challenge. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946.

  • Includes account of Fischer’s, May 1942 trip to India and his meetings with Nehru and Gandhi
  • “No one imagines that independence will solve all of the problems of India. It will create problems. Freedom merely opens the door to the solution of the problems” (135).

The Life of Mahatma Gandhi. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1950.

  • Ch. 38 “My Week with Gandhi”
  • Gandhi gave Fischer a letter to deliver to Roosevelt. Gandhi later asked if Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: “include the freedom to be free?” (376)