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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First, the government of Malaya was not effectively subordinated to military
authority, and so a kind of dual rule persisted in which the military went about its
business whilst the civilian rulers continued to pursue theirs. Thus the
government of ...
Malaya had to limit exports to the as-yet-undeclared enemy without provoking a
Japanese reaction, a continuation of the pretence ... Japan's influence in the
neighbouring kingdom of Siam affected Malaya, as most of Siam's tin and rubber
Malaya and Singapore during the Japanese Occupation (Singapore, 1995); Paul
Kratsoka, The Japanese Occupation of Malaya 1941-1945: A Social and
Economic History (London, 1998); Cheah Boon Kheng, Red Star Over Malaya: ...
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The Approach of War
The Home Front
The Caribbean 177
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