In September 1939, after the German invasion of Poland, and the accession of Great Britain and France, World War II broke out. Southern Rhodesia joined the war on Britain's side like the other colonies of the British Empire.
The Jewish community numbered several hundred, among them immigrants from Britain, Lithuania, Rhodes and Germany.
 26,121 fighters from Rhodesia fought in many theaters, including the Mediterranean, France, East Africa, and Burma. In these battles nearly a thousand of its fighters were killed. It was the largest contributor of manpower to the war, relative to the size of its population, among the colonies of the British Empire and Britain itself.
 Rhodesia ended the war with a stronger and more independent economy and a more capable military.