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 Japanese embarked upon the ambitious Burma - Thailand railway project
because of the need to supply their extensive forces in Burma . Plans were first
tabled by the headquarters of Southern Army in February 1942 , receiving
north from Nong Pladuk in Thailand , through 260 miles of mountainous jungle to
Thanbyuzayat in Burma . Though renowned for its horror and the death of a
worker for every sleeper laid , experiences on the Burma - Thailand railway were
Many of these prisoners were soon to be sent north through Malaya by rail , on
foot and by lorry to Siam and Burma to work on Japanese construction projects
including the Burma - Thailand railway . Camps in Singapore became transit ...