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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On 8 December , the Admiralty ordered that the China Station be merged with the
Eastern Fleet and all naval forces in the Far East then came under Phillips ' s
command . On that day Phillips ' s fleet consisted of the two capital ships , the ...
Until the hoped for victories that would enable the white ensign to return to the
waters of the Far East and its bases in Singapore and Hong Kong , the Eastern
Fleet ' s primary task was to patrol the world ' s third largest ocean and protect the
At the high - water mark of Japanese power in 1941 - 42 the Eastern Fleet was
powerful , but not nearly powerful enough to contest the issue with the Imperial
Japanese Navy . The Eastern Fleet was one of the largest British fleets to