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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It was part of the land route from the Mediterranean to India, and of the land route
piping Iraqi and Persian oil to the oilers of the Mediterranean Fleet. These land
routes were considered vital should the Suez Canal be lost or closed. Palestine ...
The ships of the East Indies Station gave continuous support to the land
operations of imperial forces in East Africa in early 1941. Enemy ships flushed
out of East African ports by land operations were intercepted, troops were ferried
along the ...
The most southerly atolls had the added attraction of being so remote as to be
immune from land-based air power. With this in mind, Lieutenant Colonel W. B. F.
Lukis of the Royal Marines was put in command of a reconnaissance party ...