THE SECOND World War began in Europe in 1939 and in Asia in 1941. By then, the Dominions had fully secured constitutional equality with Britain.1 They joined the Second World War on the same side as Britain, but, unlike in the First World War, they did so of their own volition. Éire remained symbolically neutral. Although the British Empire emerged territorially intact in 1945, Britain’s position was considerably weakened both financially and militarily2 In the post-war world, furthermore, the UN appealed to member countries for ‘friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples’.3 It was clear to Westminster that the colonial empires, including Britain’s, had to adjust themselves to this new international environment. Consequently, it was inevitable that the method of maintaining the common status within the British Empire should be changed.