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 1944 the ever-mobile Mitchell was offered a return to Africa as Governor of
Kenya, where he was to remain for over seven years. In the early years of the war
Kenya was preoccupied with military affairs. So long as Italian military power ...
The Mediterranean supply route was closed because of Italian and German air
and naval activity until 1943; and, as Harold Macmillan put it, 'every shipment
from Kenya to Egypt saved a long and hazardous voyage from Liverpool to Suez
consumer as war caused multifarious trade realignments, East African intra-
regional trade grew, as Kenyan sugar, for example, was sent by road to the
Sudan to save shipping space, and maize was especially grown in Uganda to
help Kenya ...