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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Given India ' s apparent rejection of as reasonable an offer as it could expect to
get in the middle of a war crisis ( including even an offer to appoint an Indian to
be Defence Coordination Member ) , it was not hard to justify vigorous repression
From this point of view , given the pressing demands of desperate fighting fronts
in Europe and the Middle East , distant colonies like Burma and Malaya actually
did rather well in gaining the substantial military resources that they did . But they
Yet Thomas emerges as a humane and selfless man , and clearly one who
believed that he had done all he could to support Malaya ' s preparations for war ,
especially given the parameters of his instructions from Whitehall . He was also ...