August Offer


August offer was proposed by that time Viceroy of India and it was suggested in August month of 1940 for this reason this offer was named August offer. The August offer mainly originated in May 1940 when a modification was going on in the government in Britain. The Prime minister of Britain was changed and France also falls that altered the characteristics of the Indian Congress from stunning to delicate. At that time Britain was in fear that the Nazi occupation would take over. The Congress government determined to give a hand to the British government in that tough time if they gave Indian complete freedom.

What is August Offer?

August Offer is a document that was issued for the foundation in which India will get a definite Constituent Assembly for the country. This agreement was done between the indigenous articulation and these diplomats' power to develop the forthcoming Constitution. The August offer was created by Lord Linlithgow on 8th August 1940. Lord Linlithgow made this offer auspicious to build a war council and add more Indians to the Viceroy Executive Council that would be an Indian body representative to construct the Constitution of India. The British in return wanted the backing of Indians in World War II.

August Offer: Background

World War II is a destructive in history that began in 1939 and around 100 million humans from thirty countries were engaged in this war. The British Government pushed the Indians into the war with Germany without their consent. The administration of Congress was busted into anger with the British government for this reason. At that time a change happened in the British government and in 1940, Winston Churchill was selected as Britain’s Prime minister. France was an ally of Britain but during that time they were fallen under the axis power of Hitler. Due to this reason Britain eagerly wanted the assistance of Indians in the war. The Indian National Congress guaranteed to help them in war but in exchange for complete freedom from colonial rule. The reply to the demand of Indians of the British government is known as the August Offer. The first time Indians got the right to write their constitution.

August Offer: Proposal

The British Government in response to the demand proposed the dominion status as an intention for India. An Indian body would be created as a representative to make a draft for a constitution for the nation after the war. The council of Viceroy would be enlarged and would allow more Indians to join and after the war, a council for advising about war would be created.

Figure 1: Proposals given in the August offer

However the British government refused to give complete freedom and they would retain control of the finance, defences, home affairs and the Republic services of Indi. Viceroy also stated that the friction between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League would be mentioned before the reformation of any constitute. It was also guaranteed that the views of minorities would be bear in mind in the eventual constitution.

August Offer: Responses

The Indian National Congress denied the August offer because they wanted full independence but instead of that, the Britain government suggested Dominion status. The Muslim League also rejected the offer and stated that they would not take less than the separation of the country. At that time Mahatma Gandhi launched Satyagraha to declare the right to free expression because he was against violence. Vinoba Bhave, Nehru, and Brahma Datt were the three satyagrahis that were first ordered to prison. These satyagrahis also begin the Delhi Chalo Movement that was a march towards Delhi. This movement did not get any attraction and was discarded in December 1940. After the failure of the August offer the British government decided to deposit the Cripps Mission to India, thinking to obtain aid from the Indians for the war.

August Offer: Evolution

India was recognised for the first time to write its constitution by itself and the Indian National Congress appealed for an assembly for the constitution and it was granted. The offer for Dominion status was explicitly made. The Executive council of the Viceroy was enlarged in July 1941 and for the first time the Indians had a majority of 8 out of 12 but the British government become in charge of home affairs, finance and defence. A National Defence Council was built with an advisory function.


August Offer was made by Lord Linlithgow, the viceroy of India in 1940 but it was widely denied by the Indians because the proposal of it was against their demand of the Indians. The British government always begin to negotiate with the leaders of India whenever they engaged in a war in order to get the support of the Indian population. The August offer was also a negotiation where the British promised to enlarge the Executive Council and recognise the right of India to create its constitution. This offer assured that India would get Dominion status after the war whereas the Indians demanded freedom and this is the main reason behind the rejection of this offer.


Q1. What is the Satyagraha Movement?

The Satyagraha movement was by Mahatma Gandhi and the ideology of this movement was to accentuate the truth’s power and appeal to search for truth. The practitioners are known as satyagrahis

Q2. When and by whom the Indian National Congress was founded?

The Indian National Congress was formed in the year of 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume. The Indian National Congress directed its first session from 28 to 31 December 1885 in Bombay.

Q3. When and by whom the Muslim League was founded?

The Muslim League was founded in the year of 1906 by Nawab Khwaja Salimullah. The full name of the Muslim League was All India Muslim League that was founded in Dhaka, British India.