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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As a global economic community, the transfer of resources by sea was the
lifeblood of the British Empire, in war as in ... the world were also vital for the
movement of martial resources to and from Britain, North America and the
Empire's many ...
To achieve their several aims, Britain's naval power had to be crippled, and its
Empire fundamentally weakened and at least partially dismantled. Germany
would then emerge as an overwhelmingly powerful European superpower, with a
After victory had been won in 1945, Churchill told a London audience that 'the
British Commonwealth and Empire stands more united and more effectively
powerful than at any time in its long romantic history'. This was indeed true,
though the ...
But you must not think that Britain holds these posts from any wish to go to war;
quite the opposite: Britain has become a sort of policeman of the world and aims
to prevent other nations fighting.13 The British Empire was a thalassocracy, ...
Similarly, the temporary eradication of American naval power in the Pacific after
Pearl Harbor was a bolt from the blue, and Russia's official neutrality — towards
both Germany and Japan — further loaded the dice against the Empire and ...
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11 The Islands of the Indian Ocean
12 India and Burma
13 SouthEast Asia and the Far East
14 Australia and New Zealand
15 The Pacific
9 SubSaharan Africa
10 The Indian Ocean