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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Before the month was out five Uboats had sunk 330 , 000 tons of merchant
shipping without loss . ... This led the USAAF AntiSubmarine Command to base B
- 18s on Edinburgh Field , Trinidad , for eight months . U - boat supply
The command structure was not aided when a new big - wig entered the
equation in the months before the start of war with ... The incumbent , Duff Cooper
, was in position for barely a month before the imminent Japanese attack forced
Menzies spent months in London hoping to be able to better put Australia ' s case
, though there is little evidence that his presence , though reassuring to the British
public , made much difference , except to damage his standing with politicians ...