Asia in the Great War

Asia in the Great War

Asia in the Great War
48:12

Asia in the Great War

India: The Forgotten Army

Between the Lines

Over 100 years ago, nearly two million men in Asia were recruited to fight in the greatest war humanity has ever witnessed.

They were Indian soldiers from remote communities, Chinese farmers from rural outposts, Vietnamese fishermen participating on behalf of their French colonial masters, and Japanese sailors in service of their emperor.

Today, few remember their sacrifice. But their participation in World War I heralded the start of great change in their homelands.

In India, it was the first time Punjabis and Tamils from Hindustan became aware of their shared Indian identity. In China, the war had a role in the formation of the Chinese Communist Party. In Vietnam, it created entrepreneurial opportunities in industries then firmly controlled by the French. And in Japan, it brought the country even closer to the perils of empire.

In 2018, as the world commemorates the centenary of the end of WWI, this series will examine Asia’s contribution to the war, and how the war changed Asia forever. 

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