The great heroic myth of 20th century British history is that after the fall of France in June 1940 Britain stood alone . This does a great disservice to the millions of men and women from around the world who rallied to the British cause. As in 1914-18 Britain in 1939-45 could call on the human and material resources of the world s greatest empire, and without them could not have held off Germany and Italy, and later Japan. In the First World War Britain initially depended on volunteers to form Kitchener s New Army, but from 1916 it had to resort to conscription. The imperial forces were mainly raised voluntarily although, as in Britain, various forms of social and economic pressure were applied to get men into uniform. In both wars some Commonwealth and Empire territories applied formal conscription. In 1939-45 these countries doubled the military manpower available from Britain itself. This book draws on official documents, diaries, memoirs and other sources to describe how, alongside Britain s own forces, men and women drawn from the Americas to the Pacific served, fought, and suffered injury and death in Britain s cause."
Roger Broad is the author of Conscription in Britain 1939-64 (2006) and of The Radical General: Sir Ronald Adam and Britain's New Model Army 1941-46 (2013). After military service he graduated in Modern History at the Queen's College, Oxford, and became a journalist for British and foreign media. For 22 years he was an official of the European Union; from this experience he wrote Labour's European Dilemmas: from Bevin to Blair (2000).