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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In Africa the numbers of Italian men at arms dwarfed those of the British : there
were 450 , 000 Italians and colonial troops in Italy ' s African Empire , compared
to 88 , 500 British , Dominion and colonial troops in British Africa . This figure ...
Following British victories against Italian forces on the Libyan front in December
1940 , a demoralized Duke of Aosta , Commander - in - Chief of Italian forces in
East Africa , asked for permission to withdraw from the Sudanese border .
all sorts of proposals flying around , from British acquisition plain and simple , to
the creation of a ' Greater Somalia ' carved from the British , French and ex -
Italian colonies , to international trusteeship under whatever body succeeded the