For a variety of reasons the activities at the India House in London gradually came to a practical halt. The earlier leaders had shifted particularly to Paris. The wrath of the British Govt. fell on it mainly after the action of Madanlal Dhingra who had shot dead Col. Wylie to become India's first martyr in England. By the time the Great War started in 1915. There were big sized placards in Berlin displaying it in their own language. 'CROSS BRITANIEN ERKLARET UNS KRIEG' (Great Britain had declared war).
Two young Indian revolutionaries, Dr. Abinash Bhattacharya and Virendranath Chattopadhyaya (Chatto) met in Halle where Chatto was studying. They discussed the situation in an agitated mood. A War in Europe with Britain as a participant was a godsend for the Indians. Some Indian residents in Germany issued a statement condemning England and France for siding with Czar, the arbitrary ruler of Russia, Abhinash and Virendra wanted to issue a similar statement and went with their draft to an old lady, friendly to India's aspiration to independence. She was Frau Anna Mario Simon. She did some moderation of the language and also helped in its release in various countries like Germany, Austria-Hungary, Switzerland, Netherlands etc. There were some editorial comments also. But the German foreign office expressed no opinion. The Indian duo was somewhat depressed.
A new idea struck the minds of the indomitable young men, to approach the Foreign Minister who was very close to Frau Simon. Early next morning they went to the old lady again. Without much wasting time her reaction was instantaneous. She sent a telegram to Dr. Delbrook "Can you ask your Uncle State Secy. to receive Herr Chattopadhayay, Indian patriot, for important political negotiations". By 3' O Clock in the afternoon the crucial and encouraging reply came; "Send Chattopadhayay Berlin Foreign Office, Meet Baron Bertheim. Instructions given". The old lady met Chatto, and gave him 20 Mark Crown to cover the journey expenses. What a timely help and a noble gesture. The two friends in the foreign land held each other in warm embrace. He also gave Abhinash 23 Crown out of the 500 that he had received from Baron Bertheim. They were so excited that they spent the whole night in continuous conversation. Early in the morning Herr Neumann came to Hotel Waldorf where they were staying over-night and took them to a four storeyed building in the suburb-Schoenberg. It was to be their permanent residence.
On the 3rd Sept. 1915, they were taken in a taxi to Baron Bertheim. With pleasantries over, they were asked to have detailed discussion as to what they expected of the German Government. The Steno was called in and Virendranath went on dictating the demands:
1.a) With a view to starting a revolution in India, money, arms ammunition as well as expert advice were needed.
b) They should be carried to the Indian coast.
c) Early arrangement should be made to send them back to India.
2. A large number of 10 Rupee notes were to be forged and sent to India to create some confusion in their money market.
3. An Indo-German Committee should be constituted to co-ordinate and carry on these activities.
T search for fellow Indians, then in Germany, now started. They should be inspired by the same idea of carrying on similar work for the coming revolution in India or for India's liberation from outside. Many outstanding Indians were located, such as Dr. Dhiren Sarkar and Chanji Kersasp. They met the Baron in the evening and requested him to send the message to like-minded Indians in various universities. There already was a list. People were called not only from Germany but also from Switzerland, Austria and Holland. Next morning Dhiren Sarkar joined them during talk. There was one firebrand Maharashtrian, N. S. Marathe, Dr. J. N. Dasgupta from Basel and C. Padmanabhan Pillai came from Zurich. His brother, Champak Raman Pillai was quick to step in. It was now that the 'Champak-Chatto' Berlin Committee came into existence.
Immediate activities of the Committee included not only visits to the armament and explosive factories but also to meet the Indian prisoners of war with a view to winning them over to the cause of Indian revolution. Muslims were sent back to their respective countries and work there on the same lines. More immediate concern was to reach some money, arms and ammunition to India. It was decided to send two members to Washington and with the help of German Ambassador there to send some arms and ammunition also, along with a few Indian revolutionaries. Dr. Dhiren Sarkar and N.S. Marathe were chosen to meet Von Berstoff, the German Ambassador to Washington. They left Berlin on the 22nd Sept. 1915. On arrival there, they met not only the German Ambassador but also a few Indian revolutionaries. Some on them, along with a few Ghadrites were planning to reach India about the time that arms and ammunition would be dispatched. The Turkish Govt. was sympathetic to the Indian revolutionaries and allowed them to contact Indian P.O.Ws there, even to form the Indian Revolutionary Volunteer Corps, a precursor of Netaji's I.N.A later. There was a further attempt through Afghanistan. Raja Mahendra Pratap was the leader of the mission which also had a German, Dr. Heins by name. The Amir welcomed it. But not much could be done. The leaders returned to Berlin via Moscow in 1918.
Came the Russian revolution in 1917. When Trotsky went to Brest Litovak, he raised the question of Indian Independence there and insisted on its inclusion in Wilson's famous Fourteen Points. With the war in Europe over, Trojansky invited the Berlin Committee to send two representatives to the Soviet Union. At the close of the War the International Socialist Conference was held at Berne in Switzerland. The Berlin Committee sent a memorandum there pleading for India's case of self-determination. With the spectacular success of the Russian Revolution, the center of gravity of Revolutionary politics naturally shifted to Moscow. There was a two-way traffic- Members of the Berlin Committee being invited to Russia for discussion and Borodin going to Berlin to induce Indian revolutionaries to form a Communist Committee there. Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, Panduranga Khankoje, Bhupendranath Datta, (the younger brother of Swamy Vivekanand) and a few others were associated with it. Berlin Committee, almost unnoticed, yielded place to the new Communist Committee. The attempt of earlier revolutionaries abroad ended in failure. With it also ended the era of revolutionary romanticism. But we should always remember with reverence the band of patriots who stake their lives for the cause of the country's independence.