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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Unfortunately, it was beyond Britain's capacity, given its global strategic
balancing act in the face of so many potential aggressors, to go to the aid of
Abyssinians, Czechoslovaks or Chinese when called upon to do so. Because
... India and containment of Russia, and the lucrative trading business of the
British imperial world, were all traditionally served by the Suez Canal, making the
eastern Mediterranean a strategic nodal point without equal outside of home
American air power became overwhelming, in a war that relied on air drops to
supply isolated island garrisons, and a strategic bomber offensive was sustained
against Japan causing the mass destruction of Japanese cities. Meanwhile the ...