The Dominions and British Maritime Power in World War II

Iain Johnston-White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Often undervalued in the existing historiography of the Second World War, the dominions provided assistance to the UK in many ways that proved fundamental to British strategy. This article seeks to demonstrate how important this was in one such area – bolstering British maritime power. The most crucial support was provided by Canada in the North Atlantic. Canada helped maintain the link between North America and the UK, which was essential to both British survival and the capacity to maintain offensives. More surprisingly, the Union of South Africa had a vital role to fulfill on the Cape Route once the Mediterranean was effectively closed to Allied shipping. The island dominions of Australia and New Zealand could do little more than fall in line with Allied strategy, since the direction of the war to some extent marginalized the importance of their role in the British maritime effort. In the long attritional war at sea, the dominions proved foundational in their importance to British maritime power. This effort kept the Commonwealth connected during one of the most challenging phases of its existence
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-120
Number of pages32
JournalGlobal War Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2014


  • Australia
  • Battle of the Atlantic
  • Canada
  • Cape Route
  • Dominions
  • merchant shipping
  • New Zealand
  • Royal Navy
  • South Africa
  • World War II


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