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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32 During the war , army commands across the Empire coordinated the fighting
and the logistics needed to sustain it on land ... The largest army commands were
India Command and Middle East Command ( MEC ) , with headquarters in Delhi
Africa was home to major imperial military and naval command structures . West
Africa Command recruited 200 , 000 soldiers and supervised the transformation
of the region into one capable of providing support for frontline theatres further ...
The newly - formed Persia and Iraq Command was subordinate to India
Command and consisted mainly of Indian Army troops . Indian animal transport
companies served in France before Dunkirk , and Indian infantrymen attacked the