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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Opposition to participation in the war , however , did not come from the country ' s
indigenous African inhabitants . ... South Africa was brought into the Second
World War in the teeth of fierce resistance from Afrikaners who wanted no part in
Some nonEuropeans recognized the greater evil of Nazism , and hoped that in a
war situation the South African government ... The smaller settler communities of
Southern Rhodesia , Northern Rhodesia and Kenya viewed South Africa as a ...
industry ' s concentration on war production . South Africa was one of the main
founder - members of the Eastern Group Supply Council ( EGSC ) , created to
relieve Britain of some of the burden of maintaining the fighting front in the Middle