Re: a quote from American journalist David Fairbanks White, …
I strongly disagree that it's a pernicious myth that Britain stood alone.
Partly just from the practical sense that people said it at the time, but were pretty loose in their terminology. Saying Britain when they meant the empire, or if you were Hitler often saying England when you meant the whole lot of the UK + empire and dominions.
Saying England when you meant the UK was also commonplace at the time. There's even a dig at this in 'The Man Who Never Was' (1956), where an officer says how this will do great service for England, and the father of the dead man says that we're Scottish - but we're used to you saying that.
I don't really like to use the word pernicicious about any honest attempt to do history, but I'd argue there's at least as much bad faith in their arguments from the revisionist types as the original (perhaps more jingoisitic) ones who they're reacting against.
Britain had the Empire and Dominions (principally Oz, NZ, Canada and South Africa). This was clearly a massive part of the war effort. But they were a long way away. And of course, in the case of the Empire, they didn't get a choice about joining in the war. Though the Dominions' governments did.
In 1940 it was Britain that was under threat of invasion. And the bulk of the forces in play were British - both in terms of personnel, manufacture and funding.
After Dunkirk, when the bulk of the British army came back disorganised and with no heavy weapons I believe one Canadian division made it to the UK. Which was dead useful, seeing as Churchill sent most of the remaining organised troops (and the only armoured division) off to North Africa. Which is where the first available ANZAC and Indian troops were also sent.
For example, of the 3,000-odd pilots counted as having fought in the Battle of Britain a bit less than 600 were foreign. Although only one Canadian squadron fought as such. All the rest were integrated into the RAF - or had already been in it for years - given that "British" forces always had a number of recruits from around the empire.
I think to call it a pernicious myth is utterly ludicrous. Certainly context needs to be added, but it wasn't Canadian cities getting bombed, nor was Australia under immediate threat of invasion.
Obviously I've no right to take any kind of smug, self-satisified kudos from having fought the Nazis alone. I wasn't born yet. I suppose my Mum could - although as she was a child in the war Hening Wehn argues that all she was doing was using up resources vital to the war effort - so she was actually on Hitler's side...
I'd argue Hening Wehn is much better at puncturing that pomposity with humour - than any number of revisionist historians are with their own self-righteous twisting of the narrative.