Britain and the Protection of the Gulf During the Second World War: The Ad hoc Defence of a Peripheral Theatre

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    Abstract

    The Gulf, a little-studied theatre of the Second World War, grew in importance to the area's leading power, Britain, as well as the Allies, as war progressed. All three Axis powers at one time or another tested Britain's ability to discharge its defence obligations, which included the protection of tiny Arab shaikhdoms and guarding nearby waters. With Britain's strategic imperatives lying elsewhere, British officials on the spot received scant resources to enact a scheme of defence for the Gulf and instead largely relied on makeshift measures. This article provides the first account of Britain's ad hoc defence arrangements in the region, and, in doing so, offers a window into the organisational, manpower and materiel attention major powers with overseas possessions give peripheral theatres.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)60-79
    Number of pages20
    JournalWar in History
    Volume30
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 2023

    Keywords

    • Arab shaikhdoms
    • Axis powers
    • Britain
    • Gulf
    • peripheral theatres
    • Second World War

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