This fascinating book explores British imperial unity at the outbreak of the Second World War and how this ultimately led to its own dissolution in post-war years. In September 1939, four of the five dominions took the decision to support Neville Chamberlain's London-based government and declare war on Nazi Germany. This was to be the last great outpouring of British imperial unity. Entering the fray as 'self-automous' they finished it as fledgling states whose long-held political, military, ecomic and cultural ties with the Mother Country were w uncertain. The Second World War brought military triumphs and catastrophes for the Imperial Coalition. More importantly, it also brought political awareness and a weakening of central power. The war that defeated the Nazi Reich also helped destroy the historically accepted unity of the British Empire.Using government records, private letters and diaries and contemporary media sources, this book examines the key themes affecting the relationship between Britain and the Dominions during the Second World War, the Empire's last great conflict. It asks why this political and military coalition was ultimately successful in overcoming the challenge of the Axis powers but, in the process, proved unable to preserve itself. Although these changes were inevitable the manner of the evolution was sometimes painful, as Britain's wartime ecomic decline left its political position exposed in a changing post-war international system.
Andrew Stewart is a Lecturer in Defence Studies, King's College London (at the Joint Services Command and Staff College).