Maintaining racial boundaries
Greater Britain in the Second World War and beyond
in The break-up of Greater Britain
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‘Together’ was the slogan of British imperial propaganda during the Second World War, and propagandists put in considerable effort to show a togetherness that crossed differences of race and ethnicity. This chapter looks at the racial hierarchies and definitions of Britishness which gave the lie to this official rhetoric of togetherness. It demonstrates that racism ran like a deep scar through the policies of governments in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. In different places and at different moments, white people were privileged in decisions about who could enlist in the armed forces, who could serve as combatants, who received promotion and who was evacuated from colonies invaded by the Japanese. The chapter traces some of the experiences and feelings of people assigned different places in the racial hierarchy and the continued impact of racial exclusion and definitions of Britishness in the aftermath of war.

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