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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The Battle of Malta was a Battle of Britain played out in the skies above a much
smaller island. As was the case in the Battle of Britain, Malta's battle was a war of
survival against apparently overwhelming odds, and against an official German ...
Almost inevitably, the Axis decided to bomb Malta to defeat, and nearly
succeeded in doing so. An American pilot in the RAF said of Malta that he 'had
never been to a place before or since that had such a visible atmosphere of
doom, violence ...
This period of Malta ascendant brought the inevitable iron-fisted Axis response.
Malta needed to be reduced as a naval base for British warships operating in the
Mediterranean, and its dock infrastructure, valuable for repairing damaged ships,
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The Approach of War
The Home Front
The Caribbean 177
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