The British Empire and the Second World War
In 1939 Hitler went to war not just with Great Britain; he also went to war with the whole of the British Empire, the greatest empire that there had ever been. In the years since 1945 that empire has disappeared, and the crucial fact that the British Empire fought together as a whole during the war has been forgotten. All the parts of the empire joined the struggle and were involved in it from the beginning, undergoing huge changes and sometimes suffering great losses as a result. The war in the desert, the defence of Malta and the Malayan campaign, and the contribution of the empire as a whole in terms of supplies, communications and troops, all reflect the strategic importance of Britain's imperial status. Men and women not only from Australia, New Zealand and India but from many parts of Africa and the Middle East all played their part. Winston Churchill saw the war throughout in imperial terms. The British Empire and the Second World War emphasises a central fact about the Second World War that is often forgotten.
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Preface The British Empire defined Britain's war between 1939 and 1945. It was
a war fought in imperial theatres by imperial forces, all of which were dependent
upon sea power and Britain's capacity to move food, goods, munitions and troops
Note on the British Empire and Commonwealth Place names are rendered as
they were known to the British at the time of the Second World War. Thus '
Bechuanaland' not 'Botswana', 'Bombay' not 'Mumbai'. The terms 'the British
Empire' or ...
'80 our poor Empire is alone in the world', remarks the first soldier. 'Aye, we are',
replies the second, 'the whole five hundred million of us.'1 In Britain the war is
primarily remembered as a European struggle, an understandable perspective ...
The Approach of War It was not because of any criminal oversight that Britain was
so poorly placed to meet the ... To achieve their several aims, Britain's naval
power had to be crippled, and its Empire fundamentally weakened and at least ...
In his lectures on The Expansion of England, Seeley pronounced that 'the British
Empire was acquired in a fit of absence of mind'. His point was that there was no
central blueprint for Empire, no 'Plan of Global Dominance' mulled over and ...
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11 The Islands of the Indian Ocean
12 India and Burma
13 SouthEast Asia and the Far East
14 Australia and New Zealand
15 The Pacific
9 SubSaharan Africa
10 The Indian Ocean