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 performed this role from the dark days of early 1942 until 1944 , when its
increased strength , and the weakening of Japanese naval power , enabled it to
also take more offensive action against Japanese forces and Japanese -
Its bread - and - butter was escort duties to protect convoys crossing the Indian
Ocean - the vital role on which the Middle Eastern and South Asian war theatres
depended . The fleet attempted to sink enemy warships when they entered the ...
Showing amazing resilience – or , some would say , a startling reluctance to
engage in the kind of root - and - branch reappraisal of Britain ' s world role
justified by the results of the Second World War – British imperial defence policy