Subhash Bose was a unanimous choice as the Congress President in 1938. He decided to contest for the post in 1939 too. He had many ideological differences with Gandhiji and other moderates. This time, he spoke for radical groups in the Congress. Since the post of Congress President was only nominal and he had no role in policy-making, Gandhiji and other leaders felt that the talk of programmes and policies by Bose was irrelevant. Gandhiji and others put up Pattabhi Sitaramayya as a rival candidate against Bose. Of course, Bose was elected with a small margin.
Bose believed that the Congress was strong enough to launch am immediate struggle, while Gandhiji felt otherwise and wanted to mobilize masses before launching a full-scale movement. The Bose-Gandhi debate ultimately resulted in the resignation of Bose from the Presidency in 1939. Bose left the Congress and founded the Forward Bloc, a communist outfit within the Congress.
World War II broke out on September 1, 1939 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. The Congress decided not to support the British in the war and called upon its ministries to resign in protest. The patience of both the Congress and the masses was getting exhausted. Near the end of 1940, Nehru asked Gandhiji to take command again. Gandhiji decided to start the Individual Satygraha in 1940 in which each satyagrahi would preach against participation in war, and if he was not arrested, he would repeat the performance in villages and start a trek towards Delhi, thus participating in "Delhi Chalo" movement. Vinoba Bhave was the first individual satyagrahi and Nehru the second one under this programme. By 1941, 25000 satyagrahis had been convicted by the British for offering individual civil disobedience.
A major change occurred in international political situation in December, 1941. Japan, after overrunning the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaya, occupied Rangoon. The Indian leaders were now worried regarding the safety of India. To secure the Indians' help in the war, the British Government sent in 1942 a mission called the Cripps Mission. Even though Cripps had announced that the British policy in India was to give self-government in India, the declaration he brought was disappointing. The declaration promised Dominion Status to India after the war. The demand for Pakistan, first made by the Muslim League in 1940 in Lahore, was accepted implicitly in the declaration. Negotiations between the Congress and the Cripps Mission soon broke down because the Congress wanted complete independence instead of Dominion Status. The British Government also declined the demand for immediate transfer of power to Indian hands and an effective share in political control in India.