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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Although victory in 1945 saw the Empire at its apogee, the war was the key to the
United States becoming a superpower, eclipsing Britain in Europe and in its
former imperial strongholds. The British Empire and the Second World War seeks
Note on the British Empire and Commonwealth Place names are rendered as
they were known to the British at the time of the Second World War. Thus '
Bechuanaland' not 'Botswana', 'Bombay' not 'Mumbai'. The terms 'the British
Empire' or ...
Prologue The image of Britain standing alone after the fall of France in June 1940
is embedded in the public awareness of the Second World War, epitomized by
New Zealander David Low's famous Evening Standard cartoon of the defiant ...
It was just that, as a sated power, recovering from the First World War and the
effects of the depression, with a population that would not hear of another war
and that elected governments only too pleased to translate this into cost—cutting
A striking feature of the Second World War was that this rag-tag British Empire,
this conglomeration born of disparate motives sprawled pink across the maps of
the world, fought as a unit, and a streamlined one at that. Presence of mind was ...
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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