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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India was a separate imperial entity, an empire within an empire, ruled by a
Viceroy and the India Office in London, and responsible for maintaining
numerous 'British' interests in areas such as Burma, the Persian Gulf, Nepal and
In one of many examples of the colonial world reflecting developments in Britain,
government information offices were created, ... The Colonial Office, for example,
financed a Moslem centre in Cardiff, a mosque in East London and a seamen's ...
the Colonial Office considered Jews to be 'enemies'.) To many in the British
government, it seemed clear that, given the threat of war in the Middle East and
the demand for Arab cooperation that war would entail, there was little choice ...
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The Approach of War
The Home Front
The Caribbean 177
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