The Independent History Thread

Welcome to this week’s History Thread!

Today’s picture: It’s Independence Day in Bangladesh, commemorating the beginning of their bloody struggle for freedom from Pakistan. When India and Pakistan were partitioned by the British, the latter was originally divided into West and East sections. A mixture of neglect and mistreatment by the West led East Pakistan to demand independence in a referendum; the Pakistani government, led by Yahya Khan, responded with a brutal military crackdown that spiraled into a genocide. Pakistan’s oppression of the Bangladeshis led both to mass murders and a huge influx of refugees into India, which in turn spurred Indian military intervention; the United States, led by that great moral paragon Richard Nixon, supported Yahya on the grounds that he was helping with his opening to China. At least 300,000 Bangladeshis were killed by the time independence was achieved.