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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And of course , had Britain been defeated , every territory of the Empire would
have changed hands and fallen under the sway of new imperial masters , as the
largest imperial estate in history went under the auctioneer ' s hammer . Different
The oceans of the world were as much a part of the imperial structure as were the
islands and continents painted imperial red on the map . Since the Revolutionary
and Napoleonic Wars the Indian Ocean had been a ' British Lake ' , though ...
the runes of the imperial future . If we avoid gazing into the future from the
pinnacle of August 1945 and simply focus on the moment of ultimate victory it is
to imperial strength and confident hopes that we must look . The bunting went up