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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Focused specifically on the war in the desert and cooperation with the army , the
Western Desert Air Force was formed in October 1940 with a strength of three
Wellington , five Blenheim , three Hurricane , one Gladiator and three Lysander ...
New Zealand ' s two cruisers , HMNZS Achilles and Leander , formed the New
Zealand Division of the Royal Navy , though in October 1941 the Royal New
Zealand Navy was officially established . Early in the war , Achilles took part in
An Allied Works Council was formed to direct labour towards war - related
construction projects . There was also a Civil Construction Corps which by June
1943 numbered 53 , 500 men , 16 , 600 of whom were conscripts . The
construction of ...