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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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
Numerous other countries not officially part of the Empire also supplied major
military resources . ... Though they were nowhere near as powerful as America or
Russia , the Empire and Commonwealth ' s contribution to the British war effort ...
allies Australia and New Zealand , and the dozens of Pacific islands that were
part of the British Empire and Commonwealth rarely get a look in . Whilst there
can be no doubt that American military and industrial power was the