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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This is for the sake of easy reading and is not intended to overlook the fact that
the Dominions were autonomous states . “ The Commonwealth ' refers to Britain
and the Dominions of Canada , South Africa , Australia and New Zealand .
Dominion opinion was therefore a major factor in British diplomacy and in Britain '
s reactions to the twists and turns of ... of politically independent countries that the
Commonwealth had become by the 1930s , only the people of the Dominions ...
Canada and the other ' white ' Dominions were the cornerstones of the British
imperial world . As in Britain and Australia , the coming of war in 1939 was
greeted with resignation in Canada . Its people remembered with pain the