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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Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Arbuthnot ordered all shipping in harbour to disperse,
as tightly-packed ships would have little chance against air attack in Ceylon's ill-
defended harbours. Forty-eight ships left Colombo, though twenty-one ...
Diego Garcia was a frequent stop-off for vessels traversing the Indian Ocean, and
a base at which rescued seamen would be deposited after their ships had been
sunk. Unremarkable, though providing important imperial service-station ...
This stipulation required the British to maintain a host of support ships and base
facilities in Australia. Among other things, it also necessitated the dispatch of a
floating dock to Leyte in the Philippines. The BPF was operating 12,000 miles
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The Approach of War
The Home Front
The Caribbean 177
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