The Highlights of the United Kingdom in World War II is no longer available here. Please visit instead.

The important role of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom was a major player in World War II. On this page, find about the British Empire's contribution, and how the war unfolded.

Pre-War Period

As early as 1930, the signs of war were obvious. Britain was under possible threat from Japan, Germany, and Italy. Germany had directly threatened Britain while Italy and Japan were compromising Britain's interests in East Asia and the Mediterranean.

While the UK was aware of the imminent danger, it was hard to tell which was the most significant threat until Germany pulled the trigger on Poland.

Declaration of War

After Germany attacked Poland, it was clear that Hitler was planning to take the conquest further. The UK gave Germany an ultimatum to cease military action.

But after the ultimatum was ignored, Britain declared war on Germany, on 3 September 1939. This meant India, and the Crown colonies were on the UK's side. France did the same, and in no time, they were joined by Australia and New Zealand.

By 1940, the war had intensified, and because of the Axis alliances, Italy declared war on Britain alongside France. In the same year, The Battle of Britain began and marked a new chapter of the war with the US and Soviet Alliance joining the UK's side.

Allied Victory

The success of the Allied forces depended heavily on the contribution of the British Empire and the Commonwealth. With the support of the US, Britain started making significant gains. In 1945, they overturned the war at The Battle of the Bulge. This was the last major Nazi offensive and marked the beginning of the end of the war.