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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At its peak , its war industry employed 1 . 2 million people – over 13 per cent of
Canada ' s population . Heavy industry experienced exponential growth . By
1943 Canada ' s rate of output of merchant vessels was only fractionally less than
industry ' s concentration on war production . South Africa was one of the main
founder - members of the Eastern Group Supply Council ( EGSC ) , created to
relieve Britain of some of the burden of maintaining the fighting front in the Middle
The war marked the start of a phase of expanded economic growth based mainly
on the secondary sector , as secondary and tertiary industry supplanted farming
in terms of GDP and employment for the first time in Australia ' s history . As the ...