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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There were many other examples of major feats of war-related infrastructural
work requiring the sweat of thousands of African brows and the organizational
skill of British military and civilian personnel. As in Nigeria, the colony's African
The major naval component was to be provided by the Gibraltar-based Force H
and came under Rear-Admiral E. N. Syfret. The land and sea commanders had
their first chance to discuss the operation in Freetown as the troopships and ...
With Japan in occupation of its eastern borderland, India had to be developed as
the major offensive base for the imperial war effort against Japan. American
efforts to supply the forces of Chiang Kai-shek in southern China meant that ...