The Battle for Britain: Britain and the British Empire by Andrew Stewart

Photograph courtesy of the Australian War Memorial: The King visits the Australian troops in the Eastern Command, United Kingdom, England, 1940.

In 1940, Britain faced the threat of invasion. While Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill fought a verbal political duel throughout the summer months, both sides prepared for what might happen if the two countries continued fighting. In Britain, the consensus was that a land defence against a German invasion would be a potentially impossible challenge with the little equipment left available after Dunkirk. Nevertheless, plans called for a multinational effort made up of troops from across occupied Europe and the British Empire.

Drawing on a chapter in the forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook of World War II, this seminar will explain the defensive plans and assess the contribution by Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Professor Andrew Stewart will join the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at ANU in January 2020 as Principal of the Military and Defence Studies Program at the Australian War College. A graduate of King’s College, London he subsequently joined the university’s Defence Studies Department, where his roles culminated in his appointment as Professor of Modern Conflict History in 2018. A prolific and accomplished historian, his next book will examine the volatile relationship between Winston Churchill and General Archibald Wavell in 1940–1941. He is also co-writing a book examining the effect of the Second World War on the British Empire.

This War Studies Seminar was held on 11 November, 2019 at ANU. The seminar was chaired by Dr Garth Pratten,Acting Head, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Coral Bell School.

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