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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American landings , supported by New Zealand forces , took place on the
Solomon Islands of Bougainville and New Georgia . The New Zealand 3rd
Division had been formed specifically for service in the Solomons Campaign .
Other Australian units took part in the invasion of New Britain , the Philippines ,
Burma and Borneo , and several passenger ships were converted to become
armed merchant cruisers . Late in the war Australian naval forces served with the
At the end of the war , ships of the BPF , along with those of the East Indies
Station , took Japanese surrenders throughout the region . Ships of the BPF were
amongst the 250 vessels that gathered in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945 to