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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Gibraltar had an important role as one of the main convoy assembly ports that
dotted the sea lanes of the world, pens into which merchant ships were herded
by the corvettes and destroyers responsible for their safe passage. It played an ...
Like East Africa, West Africa was a region whose contribution to the war effort
was of much more than peripheral importance in British eyes, and it was itself
affected by the war in many different ways. West Africa was an important
... harbours like Penang and important seaways like the Malacca Strait. The
fleet's minelaying and minesweeping role became more important. The Eastern
Fleet's submarines played an important role in inserting behind-the-lines forces ...