Published date: 27 June 2017

The National Archives education team’s film of the month relates to current events, anniversaries or key topics that you may be covering in the classroom.

Fifty years ago the partition of India led to the creation of two independent republics, India and Pakistan. The plan for division of British India was announced at a press conference by Earl Mountbatten on 3 June 1947: the two self-governing countries of Pakistan and India legally came into existence at midnight on 14 August. The line of demarcation chosen split the two countries along the Punjab and Bengal borders. This event was to result in the biggest mass migration in history: over 18 million people migrated to join their particular religious majority. At least a million people died in communal violence during the process.

Students could consider questions such as:

Why was partition accompanied by so much bloodshed?

Clement Attlee’s new Labour government in 1945 wanted to grant independence – was this because they could not afford to support and finance an empire after the Second World War?

Take a look at our themed collection of original documents: The Road to Partition.

Author: The National Archives

Duration: Not available

Release date: 1947

Producer: British Pathé

Source: British Pathé

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