- Participants in World War II
Axis Powersin black, and neutral countries in grey.]
The participants in World War II were those
nations who either participated directly in or were affected by any of the theaters or events of World War II.
World War II was primarily fought between two large alliances. The
Axis Powerswere a group of countries led by Germany, Italy (in the final years only its northern part as Italian Social Republic) and the Empire of Japan, and are considered the aggressors of the conflict. The Allies, led by the United Kingdomand, until its defeat, France, were joined in the European theatre by the Soviet Unionin June 1941 and by the United Statesin December 1941. the Asia-Pacific theater, the Allies were led by the Republic of Chinafrom the invasion of Chinaby Japanin 1937 and then joined by the United States and British Commonwealth following Japanese attacks.
Originally founded on the concept of the Rome-Berlin-axis (the
Pact of Steel), later the Tripartite Pact, the "Axis" was not primarily a formal alliance. Each of the major countries went to war on their own initiative (Nazi Germany in 1939, Italy in 1940, and Japan in 1937 against China and 1941 against the United States and British Commonwealth), and not necessarily to assist each other. There was little sharing of technology or resources, and also little in the way of cooperative strategic planning between the major Axis Powers. [cite book
last = Hakim
first = Joy
title = A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz
publisher = Oxford University Press
date = 1995
location = New York
isbn = 0-19-509514-6 ] With the demise of Italy, Germany and Japan each functioned as wholly separate powers, each conducting the war in their theatre (Germany in Europe and Japan in the Pacific). There were a number of smaller powers on the side of the Axis, although for the most part the war effort was directed and powered by Germany and Japan.
Each country involved in or affected by World War II is listed with a brief description of its role in the conflict.
"Countries are listed alphabetically."
Andorra remained officially neutral for the duration of World War II. At the beginning of the war, a small detachment of French troops was stationed in the country which was left over from the
Spanish Civil War, but these forces were withdrawn in 1940. When France fell, Philippe Pétainof the Vichy regime was declared the new French Co-prince. After the German invasion of Vichy France in 1942, a German military force moved to the Andorran border near Pas de la Casabut did not cross. In response, a Spanish force was established at La Seu d'Urgell, but it too remained outside Andorran territory. In 1944, Charles de Gaulleestablished a new provisional government, and assumed the position of French Co-Prince. He ordered French forces to occupy Andorra as a "preventative measure" to secure order. Throughout the war, Andorra was used as a smugglingroute between Spain and Vichy France, and an escape route for people fleeing German-occupied areas. Argentina
During the period of World War II, Argentina was ruled by a series of fraudulent conservative governments and dictatorial military juntas. While a large majority of the Argentine economic elite was considerably anglophilic and wanted Argentina to join the Allied side, neutralist feelings prevailed in the military, which saw the war as a potential source of economic benefit for the country, by exporting supplies and agricultural products to both sides of the conflict. The government of
Edelmiro Farrelleventually caved in to international pressure, and Argentina joined other Latin American countries and declared war on Germany and Japan, but by this time the war was all but over (March 27, 1945).
It is worth noting that many citizens opposed the nation's official neutralist stance. Over 750 Argentine volunteers, fought in the British, South African and Canadian Air Forces, mainly in the 164 Argentine-British RAF squadron, which saw action in Northern France and Belgium. [ [http://math.fce.vutbr.cz/safarik/ACES/aces1/argentina-ww2.html Air Aces: List of Argentine Participants] ] Nearly 4,000 Argentine volunteers fought on the Allied side. [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2005/08/07/sociedad/s-1028877.htm Clarin: Los argentinos que pelearon en la Segunda Guerra] ]
During World War II, Armenia was part of the
Soviet Unionas Armenian SSR. Over five hundred thousand Armenians fought for the Soviet army, and half of them fell in battles. [83,700 according to Krivosheev] Five Armenian infantry divisions were formed. Armenia gave 4 marshals and 60 generals. The Armenian Church and overseas Armenian donated large sums of money. After the war, the Armenian and Georgian Republics laid territorial claims to Turkey. However, the Soviet government was not willing to return the Armenian lands and shortly thereafter stated to have no claims to Turkey.
Some captured Armenians chose to fight for the Axis. They fought in the following units:
* Armenische Legion (Armenian volunteers)
* 30.Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (russische Nr. 2) (Armenians, Tatars Volunteers units)
* Freiwilligen-Stamm-Regiment 2 (Armenians & Azerbaijanis)
* SS-Waffengruppe Armenien (Armenian volunteers)
Australia was among the first countries to declare war on Germany, on
September 3 1939. More than one million Australian men and women served in the war out of a total population of around seven million. Although it was ill-prepared for war, the Australian government had soon dispatched Royal Australian Air Forcesquadrons and personnel to serve with the Royal Air Force. The Royal Australian Navy(RAN) commenced operations against Italy after its entry into the war in June 1940. Later that year the Australian Armyentered campaigns against Italy and Germany in North Africaand Europe. German submarines and raiding ships operated in Australian waters throughout the war. The most intensive and numerically largest part of Australia's war effort came after the outbreak of hostilities with Japan in late 1941. The Australian mainland came under direct attack for the first time in 1942, when Japanese aircraft launched a major bombing attack on Darwin, and attacked many other towns in northern Australia. Axis covert raiding ships and submarines struck at shipping and shore targets around Australia, including a submarine attack on Sydney Harbour.
For the remainder of the war, the Australian war effort was concentrated in
south-east Asiaand the South West Pacific Area: they were involved from January 1942 in Malaya, the Dutch East Indiesand the Australian territory of New Guinea. Before the bulk of the Australian Army had returned from overseas, from July onwards a small number of Militia troops fought a stubborn rearguard action in the trying conditions of the Kokoda Track. In August 1942, at the Battle of Milne Bay, Australian infantry became the first Allied soldiers to defeat Japanese ground forces during the war. The bitter and deadly New Guinea campaigncame to occupy the attention of most of the Australian armed forces until 1945. Later that year, as the war drew to a close, Australian forces led the campaign to retake Borneo. Austria
Austria became a full part of nazi Germany in 1938 among popular acclaim during the
Anschluss. After the defeat of the Axis Powers, the Allies occupied Austria in four occupation zones set up at the end of World War II until 1955, when the country again became a fully-independent republic under the condition that it remained neutral. The four occupations zones were French, American, British, and Soviet, with Viennaalso divided among the four powers. This paralleled the situation in post-war Germany. Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan was part of the
Soviet Union, therefore on the side of the Allies in June 1941. Around 75% of oil supplies of Soviet Army came from Baku oil stations. Because of this reason Baku was protected by special Air Defense unit. Bahrain
The Sheikh of Bahrain declared war on Germany on
September 10 1939. Bahraini forces foughtFact|date=April 2007 under British command in the Middle East theater. Belgium
Like the Netherlands, Belgium declared its neutrality in an effort to avoid being caught in another war between Germany and France. Germany, however, did not respect Belgium's neutrality and marched through Belgium as part of the invasion of France in 1940. Thus, Belgium joined the Allies and maintained a government-in-exile with control over its colonial possessions until the country was liberated in 1944.
Bolivia Boliviawas one of many Latin American countries to declare war on Germany later on in the war, joining the Allies on April 7, 1943. It was the only country to declare war in 1943. Shortly after war was declared, the President of Bolivia, Enrique Peñaranda, was overthrown in a coup. The new ruler, Gualberto Villarroel, had fascist and anti-Semitic leanings, but foreign pressure compelled Villarroel to remain at war and to purge the more extreme Nazi sympathizers from among his supporters. Bolivian mines were a supplier of the war material, tin, to the Allies. Bolivia has no coastline and no navy, and it did not send any troops or warplanes overseas. Brazil
Brazil was under the dictatorship of
Getúlio Vargasand maintained its neutrality until August 1942. There were several German submarine attacks against Brazilian ships between February and August that year in the Atlantic Ocean. In response, Brazil sided with the Allies, declaring war against Germany and Italy on August 22, 1942. Brazilian naval forces helped to patrol the South and Central Atlantic Oceans, combating Germanys U-boats and commerce raiders. Northeastern Brazil hosted at Natalthe largest single American air base outside of its own territory, and at Recife, the U.S. Fourth Fleet. This air base gave support to the North Africa campaign, and a route for USAAFairplanes to fly to Indiaand Chinato fight the Japanese. In 1944, Brazil sent the 25,000-man Brazilian Expeditionary Force(FEB) to fight in Europe, thus becoming the only Latin American nation to send troops to overseas. This force joined the U.S. Fifth Armyunder American general Mark Clark in Italy, and it participated in the Italian campaign until the end of war. Brazil also sent two Brazilian Air Forcegroups (one of them a fighter group) to Italy, becoming the only South American country to send any air force unit overseas. Bulgaria
Bulgaria was a minor German ally, signing the
Tripartite Pacton March 1 1941, their main contribution being transit rights for German units involved against Yugoslavia and Greece. Bulgaria occupied portions of Greece and Yugoslavia to recreate the 19th century boundaries of Greater Bulgaria, but it did not participate in the Invasion of the Soviet Union.
After the Communist-dominated coup d'état of
September 9, 1944and the simultaneous arrival of Soviet troops in the country, the Bulgarian government declared war on Germany. Four Bulgarian armies attacked the German positions in Yugoslavia. An armisticewas signed with the Allies in Moscowon October 28 1944. After the Nazis fled Yugoslav territory, the 1st Bulgarian Army continued its offensive in Hungary and Austria under the command of Major Georgi Marinov Mandjev from the village of Goliamo Sharkovo (Elhovo). It withstood the Wehrmacht offensive on the DravaRiver. Bulgaria's participation in WW II ended when its soldiers met British troops in Klagenfurt, Austria, in May 1945. Canada
:"At the time of World War II, Newfoundland, including
Labrador, was not part of Canada. See separate Newfoundland section."
Within days of the invasion of Poland, Canada declared war on Germany on
September 10 1939. As in World War I, Canadian formations fought under British theater command, and they played an important role in the Allied campaigns in Europe. Canadian forces contributed heavily with the Royal Canadian Air Force(RCAF) in the Battle of Britain, in the air raids against Germany, by the Royal Canadian Navyin the Battle of the Atlantic, by the army in the Italian campaign, the Raid on Dieppe, the Battle of Normandy(including the landing on Juno Beachon D-Day), and the Scheldt.
The Canadian Army in Europe after Normandy fought its way up through coastal France, into western
Belgium, overrunning many German V-1and V-2bases, and then into southern and eastern Holland. The Canadian Army received the surrender of all German forces The Netherlandsin May 1945. In Italy, a Corpswas fielded beginning in January 1944, and the Canadian Army in Normandy built up from a single division in June 1944, to a full Corps in July 1944, and next, to a field Armyin August 1944, under which several foreign national formations were under its command, including at various times British, Polish, Dutch, and American forces. The Canadian Army in western Europe was a part of the British 21st Army Groupunder Field Marshall Bernard L. Montgomery.
In March 1945, both I and II Canadian Corps came under command of the
First Canadian Armyin Belgium and The Netherlands. From 1941, Canadian forces ahd also participated in the defense of British territories against Japanese forces, especially Hong Kongwhere an understrength brigade had been deployed before the war broke out in the Pacific, and it was ultimately destroyed/captured. As the war in Europe wound down, from late 1944, many Royal Canadian Navyships and personnel were transferred from the Atlantic to join the British Pacific Fleet. About one million Canadians served in uniform during WW II. Ceylon
Ceylon (later known as
Sri Lanka), was a British colony and a major Allied naval base. On April 5 1942over 300 aircraft from Japanese carriers bombed the island. Winston Churchillcalled it "the most dangerous moment" of World War II, because the Japanese wished to replicate a grander success of the attack at Pearl Harbor. The British ships, however, were moved to Addu Atoll, MaldivesIslands, 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) southwest of Ceylon. Nevertheless, the British lost an aircraft carrier, two cruisers, and two destroyers, while the Royal Air Forcesquadrons on Ceylon suffered severe losses. The British fleet retreated to East Africauntil 1944.
The Ceylon Garrison Artillery Regiment was stationed on Horsburgh Island in the
Cocos Islands, to defend it from Japanese attack. However, following agitation by the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, the regiment mutinied on the night of 8 May 1942, intending to hand the islands over to the Japanese. The mutiny was suppressed and three of the Ceylonese soldiers became the only British Commonwealth troops to be executed for mutiny during World War II. Bombardier Gratien Fernando, the leader of the mutiny, was defiant to the end.
Following the Cocos Islands Mutiny, no Ceylonese combat unit was deployed in a front-line combat situation, although Supply & Transport Corps troops were used in rear areas in the Middle East. The defences of Sri Lanka were beefed up to three Allied army divisions because the island was strategically important, as a producer of
rubber. Rationing was instituted so that Sri Lankans were comparatively better fed than their Indian neighbours, in order to prevent disaffection among the ordinary people.
Sri Lankans in Japanese-occupied Malaya and Singapore were recruited by the Japanese for the
Lanka Regimentof the Indian National Army, to fight against the Allies. While there was a plan to land them in Sri Lanka to start a guerrilla war, they never actually saw action. Chile
Initially, Chile chose to remain neutral in the war, having close trading links with Germany. Later in the war, however, Chile distanced itself from the Axis powers, and the Chilean government took steps to dismiss pro-German military officers. Relations with Axis countries were broken in 1943, and in 1945, Chile declared war on Japan. As with
Argentina, by this time the war was almost over. China
The Republic of China had been fighting Japan intermittently since the 1931
Mukden Incident, when Japan annexed Manchuria. On July 7 1937, the Marco Polo Bridge Incidentled the two countries to full-scale war. Already engaged in war with Japan, as well as enduring a civil conflict between the Kuomintang(KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) and the Communist Party of China, the Chinese Nationalist Government's full attention was within its borders in resisting the Japanese during the war. However, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shekstill managed to send troops to Britain's aid in Burma, in early 1942. China's participation in the war was also pivotal in a sense that more than 1.5 million Japanese military personnel were sent to China and bogged down. Japanese casualties in China are estimated at 1.1-1.9 million.
While China had rather warm relations with Germany (see
Sino-German cooperation), following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, China formally joined the Allies and declared war on Germany on December 9, 1941.
Many of China's urban centers, industrial resources, and coastal regions were occupied by Japan for most of the war. China suffered a large death toll from the war, both military and civilian. The Chinese Nationalist army suffered some 3.2 million casualties, and 17 million civilians died in the crossfire. After the war, China became one of the main victorious countries and gained one of the permanent seats in the
United Nations Security Council.
After the war ended, the
Chinese Civil Warresumed between the Nationalists and the Communists. The Nationalist government, with its military strength greatly reduced and its economy devastated by the war against Japan, was defeated by the Communists in 1949. The Republic of China retreated to Taiwan while the communist People's Republic of China was established on the mainland. Colombia
After the attack on Pearl Harbor,
Colombiabroke diplomatic relations with the Axis powers. Colombia provided the Allies with petroleum products. Then, in 1943, the German submarine U-505destroyed a Colombian schooner, which caused Colombia to declare a "status of belligerency" against Germany on November 26. The German ambassadorleft the country, and measures of control were implemented, including internment of German citizens in designated areas. Photographs and reconnaissance airplanes belonging to the Colombian-German company Scadta, who used to take aerial shots of Colombian and German cities were also handed to the United States. During the recovery years, Colombia sent Nestleproducts (coffee, baby food, etc.) and carbon for heating all over Europe. Costa Rica Costa Ricajoined the Allies on December 8 1941. The leftist administration of President Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardiawas hostile to Nazism and introduced numerous measures to decrease German influence in the country. Costa Rica declared war on Japan the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and on Germany and Italy shortly afterwards. It allowed the United States to establish an airfield on Cocos Island. Cuba
Cuba joined the Allies on
December 8 1941, when it declared war on Japan. On December 11, it also declared war on Germany and Italy. The United States naval station at Guantanamo Bay served as an important base for protecting Allied shipping in the Caribbean, and on May 15 1943, a Cuban warship sank a German submarine in waters near Havana. Cuba began to plan a conscriptionprogram in order to contribute troops, but this had not materialized by the end of the war. Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia was dismembered by Nazi Germany, starting with
Neville Chamberlain's Munich Agreementwith Hitler in 1938 and the German–Italian Vienna Awards. The Czech part (western) of the country became the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moraviaunder so-called State-President Emil Hácha, the newly separated Slovak Republic, a Nazi-dependent puppet regime, led by Roman Catholic priest Jozef Tisowas ultimately inserted in Slovakia. Part of southern Slovakia as well as the complete Ruthenia (the former most eastern part of Czechoslovakia) was annexed by Hungary. Zaolziewas annexed by Poland, only to be snatched from them by the Germans 11 months later. In 1945 the victorious Soviet Union returned Zaolzie to Czechoslovakia. From 1940, a government-in-exile in London under former Czechoslovak President Edvard Benešwas recognized as an Allied power. The Slovak National Uprising, commenced in August 1944, was suppressed by German forces at the end of October, however partisans continued fighting in the mountains till the end of the war. In April 1945, the Red Armydefeated the Germans and ousted Tiso's government, annexing Carpathia Ruthenia to the USSR. Denmark
Denmark remained neutral from the outbreak of the war. It was invaded and occupied by Germany on
April 9 1940, as part of Operation Weserübung, surrendering after a few hours of fighting and never declaring war on the Germans. The Danish government remained in office in Copenhagenuntil 1943 and signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. On August 29 1943, the government handed in its resignation to the King as a response to German demands for more concessions. Each Permanent Secretarytook control of his own ministry. On May 10 1940, the British occupied Iceland. Shortly before they had occupied the Faroe Islands. The United States occupied Greenland, a position later supported by the Danish envoy in Washington, Henrik Kauffmann. Iceland, which was later transferred from British to American control, declared its independencein 1944. On May 4 1945, the German forces in Denmark surrendered to the British army. Since the German commander on Bornholmrefused to surrender to the Soviet Union, two local towns were bombed and the garrison forced to surrender. Bornholm remained under Soviet control until 1946. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic declared war on Germany and Japan following the attacks of Pearl Harbor and the Nazi declaration of war on the U.S. However, it did not contribute with troops, aircraft, or ships.
Ecuador was another of the South American nations to join the Allies late in the war (joined against Germany on
February 2 1945). Ecuador let the U.S. use Baltra Islandfor a naval base. [http://www.feldgrau.com/february.html] , [http://travel.mongabay.com/ecuador/galapagos.htm] Egypt
Egypt had become fully independent in 1936, but British troops remained to protect the
Suez Canal, and a treaty provision allowed British troops to use the country as a military base in time of war. Egypt was seen by both the Axis and the Allies as a vital strategic point, because of access to the Suez Canal. The Egyptian government remained officially neutral during the war, but King Farouk allowed British troops to use Egypt as a base of operations and placed his Navy at the disposal of the British. Initially Egypt was targeted by Italy, but after a heavy defeat by the British forces under the command of General Wavell, the Germans were compelled to enter the fray with a division under the command of General Erwin Rommel.
Rommel's successes in the deserts of Libya and west Egypt, and the fact that they came to within 160 kilometres (100 mi) of
Cairo, gave the Allied forces (in particular the British) a major fright. The revolutionary officers that eventually came to power in 1952 (led by Colonel Abdel Nasser) plotted to support the Germans in their push for Cairo, seeing a German victory as an opportunity to liberate Egypt from the British colonial occupation. El Salvador
From 1931 to 1944,
El Salvadorwas ruled by Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez, an admirer of Hitler and Mussolini. Nonetheless, the dictator declared war on both Japan ( December 8 1941) and Germany ( December 12 1941) shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, for economic reasons. El Salvador's economy depended heavily on the United States. Martinez removed Germans from the government and interned Japanese, German, and Italian nationals. The Second World War made Salvadorans leery of their dictatorship, and a general national strike in 1944 forced Martinez to resign and flee to ariva los salvis Guatemala. [http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/sab86/Mart.htm] Estonia
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pactbetween Germany and the Soviet Union left Estoniain the Soviet sphere of interest. The Soviet Union threatened Estonia with war if Estonia did not agree with the mutual assistance pact, which required allowing the Soviet Union to build military bases into Estonia. Estonian government, convinced that winning a war against the Soviet Union was impossible, agreed on September 28 1939.
The Soviets conducted a
coupwith support of the Red Army in June 1940, and an election was held with great Soviet political influence. The new government took command and the Estonian Socialist Republic (ESR) was proclaimed on July 2 1940. The ESR was formally accepted into the Soviet Union on August 6, and the official name of the country became the "Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic". Estonia was occupied by Germany in 1941 after war broke out between Germany and the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation over Estonia was restored in 1944. Estonia was formally part of the USSR until 1991. Ethiopia
At the outbreak of the war,
Emperor Haile Selassiewas in exile in England trying in vain to obtain Allied support for his nation’s cause. The Ethiopian Patriots Movementhad begun its guerilla war against the occupying Italian forces the day Addis Ababafell in May 1936.
Upon the emperor's flight into exile, remnants of Ethiopia's disbanded imperial army had transformed into guerilla units. Urban city residents throughout the country formed underground movements to aid the Patriots as the overall population led a passive resistance campaign aimed at stifling Mussolini's economic agenda for the region. As a result, the Italians were never able to successfully occupy and secure the entire country including the emperor's relocated capital at Gore in the southwest. Throughout the occupation and into the beginning of the Second World War, the constant harassment of Italian columns and communication and supply lines reduced their fighting capabilities and their morale. A state of paranoia among Italian troops and civilians alike had sunk in as they became increasingly isolated from
Rome. Fascist retaliation to Patriot attacks were brutal and often targeted the civilian population, which only further filled the ranks of the Patriots creating a cycle that lead to the eventual demise of Mussolini’s Italian East Africa.
Britain’s declaration of war against Italy reinvigorated the Patriot movement and paved the way for the final ousting of the Italians in Ethiopia and in the
Horn of Africa. The Allied liberation campaign of Ethiopia began in the winter of 1940. Emperor Haile Selassie, with the support and cooperation of the British, was transported to the Sudan to work alongside Major Orde Wingateto organize and lead the main Ethiopian Patriot divisions that had fled fascist-controlled Ethiopia upon news of Britain’s declaration of war.
East African Campaignwas conducted by a largely multi-African force and consisted of Ethiopian, Eritrean, British, Sudanese, Kenyan, Rhodesian, South African, Indian, Nigerian, Ghanaianand Free Frenchunits. Within months, the liberation of Ethiopia was achieved, and on May 5 1941, five years to the day that the Emperor fled his capital, Haile Selassie was restored to his throne. The defeat of fascists in Ethiopia marked the first victory for the Allies in the Second World War and allowed for the remaining forces to be quickly moved up to Egypt to confront the Axis advance towards Cairo. Fiji
Fiji was a British colony during World War II. The Fiji Defence Force served with
New Zealand Armyformations, under the Allied Pacific Ocean Areascommand. Finland
Finland was left to the Soviet sphere of interest in
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and when it refused to allow the Soviet Union to build bases on its territory, it was attacked by Soviet forces in the Winter War(30 November 1939 - 13 March 1940). After this war, Finland unsuccessfully sought protection from the United Kingdomand from Sweden. Next, Finland pursued better relations with Nazi Germany to counter the continued Soviet pressure. This produced cooperation between the countries, which led to a Soviet pre-emptive air attack on Finland after the start of Operation Barbarossa, thus beginning the Continuation War(25 June 1941 - 4 September 1944), where Finland was a co-belligerentof Nazi Germany. The United Kingdom declared war on Finland on 6 December 1941, but the United States never did. To secure military support needed to stop the Soviet offensive coordinated with D-day, the Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreementwas signed on 26 June 1944, in which Finland and Nazi Germany became active allies. An armistice was signed after the Soviet offensive was stopped and the Wehrmacht was retreating from the Baltic States. The treaty required Finland to expel all German troops, which led to the Lapland War(15 September 1944 - 25 April 1945). This was shortly before the complete surrender of Nazi forces all over Europe on 7 - 8 May 1945 V-E Day. Complete peace with the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union was concluded in the Paris Peace Treaties, 1947. France
France was one of the original guarantors of Polish security and as such was one of the first countries to declare war on Germany. In 1940, following the
Battle of France, the French government sign an armistice with Germany, leading to the foundation of Vichy Franceand Free French Forcesin exile. Free french leader, De Gaulle took control of France in 1944 and ended the war as an ally. Free France
The Free French Forces of the "French National Committee", a London-based exile group led by
Charles de Gaulle, were formed in 1940 to maintain the French commitment to the Allies and liberate French territory occupied by Germany. Together with the French resistance, they played a part in the Mediterranean Theatre and the liberation of western Europe, including France in 1944. By 1943, free France had a vast land (but no war industry, it remained dependent on US aid) and then changed it's name into fighting France (which regrouped the Free French, the Vichy authority that joined it and the interior resistance) with a sort of government, the CFLN which officially became french government in June 1944 and took control of France in august and September 1944. Vichy France
When France signed armistice agreements with Germany and Italy, the country was split into two parts, an occupied sector and an unoccupied sector. The government was located in unoccupied Vichy, and became known as the Vichy regime. The Vichy regime was led by Marshal
Pétain. Vichy France remained officially neutral during the conflict but helped Germany as a puppet state. Prime Minister Pierre Lavalrepeatedly sought France's entry into the war on the Axis side, but was vetoed by Pétain. On several occasions Vichy forces were attacked by the Allies during the war, most notably in the invasion of Syria in 1941, during landings in French North Africa in November 1942 and the Madagascar campaign of 1942. In the fall of 1942 the Germans occupied all of continental France but allowed the Vichy government to continue operating as a result of Vichy North Africa violating the terms of the 1940 armistice by calling a cease-fire following Operation Torch. Vichy North Africa's government and military joined the Allies and De Gaulle afterward. Laval was executed for high treasonafter the war. Germany Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, was the primary Axis Power in the European Theatre. The surrender of the German forces between May 4and May 8 1945signaled the end of the war in Europe. Even after losing two World Wars, Germany has rebuilt its economy and prestige through the " Wirtschaftswunder" movement in the 1950s and reunification in 1990.
Azerbaijanoilfields became one of the main objectives of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. But the armies of the Axis powers never got as far as the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic(Georgian SSR). The Georgian SSR contributed almost 700,000 fighters (about 20% of the total 3.2-3.4 million citizens mobilized), out of which 79,500-170,000 were killed. [79,500 according to Krivosheev] It was also a vital source of textiles and munitions.
Some captured Georgians and emigrants chose to fight for the Axis. They fought in the following units:
* Georgische Legion (Georgian volunteers but also included volunteers from other peoples of the region)
* Freiwilligen-Stamm-Regiment 1 (Georgians volunteers)
* SS-Waffengruppe Georgien (Georgian volunteers)
* I. Sonderverband Bergmann Battalion (Georgian volunteers)One Georgian battalion in Holland (822nd Infantry Battalion) staged what has sometimes been described as Europe's last battle of World War II. This event was the
Georgian Uprising of Texel. Gibraltar
The British overseas territory of Gibraltar has been a British fortress and bulwark for over 300 years. From the first days of World War II, the Rock became a pivot of the Mediterranean,
Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa, was coordinated from the Rock. Operation Tracer, a top-secret mission in which six men were to be buried alive inside the Rock of Gibraltarso that they could monitor enemy movements if the Rock was captured. Greece
Greece dealt the first victory for the Allies by resisting the Italian invasion on
28 October 1940and pushing Mussolini's forces back into Albania. Hitler was reluctantly forced to send forces to bail out his ally and subdue Greece ( Operation Marita). The resulting Battle of Greecein April 1941 may have delayed the invasion of the Soviet Union by six weeks, and the heavy losses of the German " Fallschirmjäger" over Crete effectively put a halt to large-scale German airborne operations for the remainder of the war.
The country was occupied by Germany, Italy and Bulgaria, while the government and the King fled the country to Egypt, from where they continued to fight alongside the Allies. Inside the occupied country, the Axis installed a series of puppet governments, which commanded little allegiance from the population and had little real authority. A vigorous Resistance movement developed from 1942 on, dominated largely by the leftist National Liberation Front (EAM). Throughout 1943, the guerrillas succeeded in liberating much of the country's mountainous interior, establishing a free zone called "Free Greece". After the Italian capitulation in September 1943, the Germans took over the Italian zone, often accompanied by bloodshed and atrocities, as the Italians tried to resist (as in Cephallonia), or as the Allies tried to occupy Italian-held areas (the
Dodecanese Campaign). As the tide of the war turned, and Liberation approached, the Resistance became divided along political lines, and a mini civil war ensued between EAM, rightist resistance groups and the collaborationist government's Security Battalions. An agreement establishing a national unity governmentwas reached in the May 1944 Lebanon conference, which eased tension somewhat in the final months of the Occupation.
After the German forces withdrew from the Greek mainland in October-November 1944, the returning government, backed by British forces, soon clashed with EAM forces in Athens, in what was the first episode of the
Greek Civil War, a conflict that would last until 1949 and leave a divisive legacy in Greek politics and society that lasted until the 1970s. Guatemala
Guatemala initially stayed out of World War II, with President
Jorge Ubicodeclaring the country's neutrality on September 4 1941. This pronouncement was reinforced on September 9with another declaration. Ubico implemented strong prohibitions on Nazi propaganda in Guatemala, which had one of Latin America's largest German immigrant populations. Later, Guatemala moved into the Allied camp — on December 9 1941, it declared war on Japan, and three days later, it declared war on Germany and Italy. Haiti
Haiti remained neutral in World War II until the bombing of Pearl Harbor, declaring war on Japan the day after the attack, and on Germany and Italy shortly afterwards. Haiti gave food supplies to Allied forces and hosted a detachment of the
United States Coast Guardbut did not contribute troops. The President of Haiti, Élie Lescot, introduced several unpopular emergency measures during the war, which critics claimed were designed to increase his power. Lescot was deposed the year after the war ended. Honduras
Honduras was initially neutral in the war but joined the Allied side after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It declared war on Japan on
December 8 1941, and on Germany and Italy on December 13. It contributed food and raw materials to the Allied war effort but did not send troops. Hong Kong
Hong Kong was under the jurisdiction of the British but came under the control of the Japanese after the gruelling
Battle of Hong Kongdrew to a close on Christmas Dayof 1941. The city was liberated in 1945. Hungary
Hungary was a significant German ally. It signed the
Tripartite Pacton November 20 1940, and joined in the invasion of the Soviet Union the next year. When, in 1944, the government of Regent Miklós Horthywished to sign a ceasefire with the Allies, he was overthrown by the Nazis and replaced by a government run by the fascist Arrow Crossmovement, which ruled the country until it was overrun by the Soviets. Iceland
Iceland was a free state at the outbreak of war in personal union with the King of Denmark acting as head of state. After the invasion of Denmark by German forces, Iceland lost all contact with the King. Following this, British forces landed on Iceland on 10 May 1940, primarily to deny Germany the same option. Though most of
Reykjavík's modest police force was absent, preparing for a potential German landing, a small armed force was present, but it was ordered not to resist the British. The British proceeded to arrest a number of German citizens, including the German Consul, Werner Gerlach. They also seized radio and telephone services, and blocked roads leading into Reykjavík, effectively isolating the city from the rest of the country. The Icelandic government formally protested the occupaton, on the grounds of Icelandic neutrality and national sovereignty, but it provided the British with "de facto" cooperation.
During the height of the occupation, 25,000 British soldiers were stationed in Iceland, compared to roughly 40,000 inhabitants of Reykjavík. On 7 July 1941, control of Iceland was transferred from Britain to the
United States of America, since the British troops were required elsewhere. The United States was not at war with anyone, but it had established a defense zone and Neutrality patrols in the Western Atlanic. Iceland needed to be denied to the Germans, and it provided valuable air and shipping bases to the American Air Force, Navy, and Merchant Marine.
Iceland experienced an economic boom during the occupation, since many Icelanders took jobs working for the foreigners, and some say that "bretavinnan" (roughly, the British Jobs) provided some of the successes of the post-war Icelandic economy. On 17 June 1944, with American encourragement, Iceland became a permanently independent republic, and it cut all ties with Denmark. Despite being occupied by Allied forces starting in 1940, Iceland remained officially neutral throughout the duration of the Second World War. Iceland did provide important air bases and naval facilities to the Allies. Icelandic air bases such as at
Keflavikwere important to the Allied fight against the German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. With its small population, Iceland was in no position to raise any armed forces.
The close cooperation between the Americans and the Icelanders lead to Iceland's giving up a position of neutrality and becoming a charter member of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) in 1949. Iceland has not had any armed forces, but its contribution was bases for its allies: the American Air Force Base and Naval Air Station at Keflavik. Iceland was also a vital link in the SOSUSanti-submarine network. India
British Raj(including the areas covered by the later Republic of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), controlled by Britain during the war, was covered by Britain's declaration of war. On September 12 1939, the Upper House of the Central Legislature of India sent a formal message of admiration to Poland. On the same day, the Aga Khanplaced his services at the disposal of the Government of India.
The Indian 5th Division fought in the Sudan against the Italians before being moved to defend Libya against the Germans. The Division was then moved to Iraq to protect the oilfields. After this the division was moved to the Burma front, together with eight other Indian Divisions, and then occupied Malaya. It was finally moved to Java to disarm the occupying Japanese garrison. The Indian 4th Division fought in North Africa, Syria, Palestine and Cyprus before being sent into Italy. Together with the 8th and 10th Divisions it participated in the taking of
Monte Cassino, after which it was moved to Greece. India also provided the Allies with assault and training bases, and provided huge quantities of food and other materials to other Commonwealth forces, and to people on the British home front.
Over 6.8 million Indian citizens fought with the Indian Army,
Royal Indian Air Force, and Royal Indian Navy, forming the largest army raised by voluntary enlistment. Part of India was occupied by Japanese forces during the war, and India suffered 1.5 million civilian casualties, as well as up to 4 million dead from famine in the Bengal region, which was created by both the Japanese military actions and the British administrationFact|date=August 2008. Over 96,000 Indian members of the armed forces were killed or went missing in action, and 74,354 were wounded during the war. Indian personnel received 2,000 awards for gallantry, including 31 Victoria Crosses. About 40,000 Indians, mostly POWs, fought on the side of the Japanese in the Indian National Army, and about 1,000 more were recruited by Nazi Germany for the Tiger Legion.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands
March 23 1942, Japanese forces invaded the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. In December 1943, the Japanese-sponsored Free India Movement (Provisional Government of Free India) was formed. The Andaman Islands were renamed Shaheed Islands, and the Nicobars were renamed Swaraj Islands. Andaman & Nicobar Islanders fought alongside the Japanese during this time. The islands were not re-occupied by the British until October 6 1945.
:"See Netherlands East Indies"
During the start of the war the Allies demanded that
Iranremove German nationals from Iran fearing they might be Nazi spies or harm the British-owned oil facilities, but Reza Shahrefused, stating that they had nothing to do with the Nazis.
German demand for oil rose and the Allies worried that Germany would look to neutral Iran for help. Soon the Allies questioned themselves about Iranian neutrality and they gave Reza Shah a final warning to remove the German workers. He refused once again. In August 1941, the British and Soviet troops invaded Iran (
Operation Countenance) and, in September 1941, forced Reza Shah Pahlavito abdicate his throne. He was replaced by his son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was willing to fight the Axis Powers. Within months Iran entered the war on the side of the Allies and became known as "The Bridge of Victory".
Iran's geographical position was also important to the Allies. It provided a 'blue water' supply route to the Soviet Union via the port of Bandar Abbas and a specially constructed railway route. The supply routes were known collectively as the
Persian Corridor. Soviet political operatives known " agitprops" infiltrated Iran and helped establish the Cominternaffiliate Tudeh Partyin early in 1942.
By January 1942, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union agreed to end their occupation six months after the end of the war. The Soviet Union fomented revolts among Azeris and Kurds in Iran and soon formed the
People's Republic of Azerbaijan(December 1945) and the Kurdish People's Republicnot long after, both being run by Soviet-controlled leaders. However, Soviet troops remained in Iran following the January 1946 expiration of a wartime treaty providing for the presence of American, British, and Soviet troops in Iran during the war. [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-azeri.htm]
Iraqwas important to Britain through its position on a route to India and the strategic oil supplies that it provided. After the ejection of the Ottoman Turks at the end of the First World War, these were protected by a significant Royal Air Force base at Habbaniya and the maintenance of sympathetic governments. Because of the United Kingdom's weakness early in the war, Iraq backed away from its Anglo-IraqiAlliance with the country. When the British High Command requested to send reinforcements to Iraq, the country's Prime Minister, Nuri-es Said, allowed a small British force to land. Consequently he was forced to resign after a pro-German coup under Rashid Ali in April 1941. Later British requests to reinforce Iraq were denied by the new leadership.
The new regime secretly began negotiations with the Axis Powers. The Germans quickly responded and sent military aid by Luftwaffe aircraft to Baghdad via Syria. Indian troops consequently invaded in mid-April 1941 and reached Baghdad and RAF Habbaniyah in May. The Iraqi army attacked Habbaniyah but quickly capitulated and Rashid Ali fled the country. The United Kingdom forced Iraq to declare war on the Axis in 1942. British forces remained to protect the vital oil supplies. British and Indian operations in Iraq should be viewed in conjunction with events in neighbouring Syria and Persia (Iran).
The island of
Irelandwas divided politically between Éire(as the Republic of Irelandis officially known; it was the Irish Free Stateuntil 1949), and Northern Ireland, a full part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and a full participant in the U.K.armed forces.
Irish citizens were free to fill manpower shortages in Britain and join the British armed forces. "In January 1942 it was found that in the whole of the British Army 23,549 men were born in Éire and 28,287 in Northern Ireland ... [I] n 1944 the Éire figure had increased to 27,840 and that for Northern Ireland had reduced to 26,579." ["The Cross of Saint Patrick - The Catholic Unionist Tradition in Ireland", The Kensal Press: Kensal House, Abbotsbrook, Bourne End, Bucks, p. 360, written by Biggs-Davison, John & Chowdharay-Best, George] Éire exported desperately needed food and labour Fact|date=June 2007 to Britain and relaxed restrictions on the over-flying by British warplanes over
County Donegal's airspace. The Catalina flying boat that located the German battleship Bismarckwas based inland at Lough Ernein County Fermanagh. Irish airspace was used en route to the Atlantic. "Hot-pursuit" into Irish territorial waters of German U-boats by Royal Naval warships also occurred. Fact|date=November 2007 Both Allied and Axis personnel were interned from time-to-time by the government of Éire, although the Irish Government exercised its discretion when dealing with Allied personnel - often allowing them to "escape" - and eventually releasing them all back to British custody by 1943. Daily weather, shipping, and aircraft reports were also afforded the Allied side as was the breaking of diplomatic protocol with the seizure of a radio transmitter in the German legation.
While the British did not have access to sea and air bases that would have helped to protect its convoy shipping in the western approaches there was a political consensus in Ireland that neutrality was a wise policy. The Irish government knew that the resources to protect their Island from air attack and/or land invasion didn't exist, although there was strong opinion that the Axis would not attack Éire due to perceived Irish-American political influence - before the Japanese
Attack on Pearl Harborand the German declaration of war thrust the Americans into to World War. The war did reach the island however; a total of some 40 Irish people were killed in Dublinand County Carlowin apparently accidental bombings by the Luftwaffe. [See "The War Room" website for a listing of bombing attacks on Free State soil, available [http://www.csn.ul.ie/~dan/war/bombings.html here] . The bombing attacks are claimed to have been either deliberate attacks, accidental, errors in navigation, or the result of British electronic countermeasures ECMagainst the Luftwaffe. See "Why the Nazis bombed Dublin" Independent, The (London), January 24, 1999 by Robert Fisk available [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19990124/ai_n9658899 here] and counter arguments available [http://www.csn.ul.ie/~dan/war/theory.htm here] .] Irish shipping was also a constant target for attack by both Axis and Allies. Other infringements of neutrality included the use of Irish territorial waters for laying of German mines, use by German submarines ( U-boats). All infringements were protested vociferously by the de Valera government. Belfast, Northern Ireland, was also bombed ( the Belfast blitz) and the dispatch of Dublin's fire brigades to assist in the rescue work has been lauded as an act of solidarity since then. Éire also suffered via restrictions of certain strategic materials, such as coal, and in the establishment of a state of emergency.
Harsh policing measures including military tribunal and
internmentwere employed to entirely stamp out the activities of the IRA. [German Intelligence had been in furtive contact with the IRA during the period leading to fears that a popular armed insurrection might occur. These contacts reached their zenith with the IRA plan for an invasion of Northern Irelandknown as Plan Kathleen. What most people don't know is that Germans in Leenane, a small village on the border between County Mayo and County Galway, were re-supplying U-Boats that came into the Killary Harbour, Ireland's only Fjord. The nature and extent of these contacts continues to be a source of public recrimination to this day. ] Substantive contacts between the British and Irish authorities came in the form of Plan W- the British reoccupation of Ireland in response to a feared German invasion (Case Green).
In 1945, the "
Taoiseach" (Prime Minister) of Éire, Eamon de Valera, paid a visit to the German Minister in Dublin to express sympathy over the death of the Führer, Adolf Hitler. This action has been defended as proper given the state's strict adherence to a policy of neutrality. But on the other hand, no such consideration was extended to the United Statesupon the death of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
As a part of the
United Kingdom, Northern Irelandparticipated fully as a belligerent. The particular contributions were manpower (see above), food, armaments, and its unique geographical location. Despite urgings from the Stormont government, conscriptionwas never implemented in the region as the British Government could not impose conscription in Northern Ireland due to nationalist opposition, which echoed nationalist agitation against conscription during World War I. [ [http://www.theirpast-yourfuture.org.uk/server?show=nav.00n00h003&timeline=n_ireland Northern Ireland at War] ] As part of fears over the invasion of Northern Ireland via Plan Kathleen, or the invasion of Éire via Plan Green, the British and Irish conducted joint planning to repel a German invasion under the guise of Plan W. Joint training between Irish Defense Force personnel and British special operations personnel also took place in County Down.
Italyhad completed two conquests (Ethiopia and Albania) prior to its entry into World War II. Despite the Pact of Steelwith Nazi Germany, Italy did not join in the war until June 1940, planning to get a share of Allied territory with the defeat of France. Italy's war effort went poorly, resulting in defeats in Greece, North Africa, Ethiopia, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Allies started to invade Italy in the summer of 1943 and Mussolini's government collapsed. The new royal government of Marshal Pietro Badogliosigned an armistice with the allies, but most of the country was quickly occupied by the Germans, who established a puppet government under Mussolini in the north, the Italian Social Republic(also known as the Salò Republic, from its headquarters). Badoglio and the king escaped to Brindisi without giving any order to the army which surrendered to the Germans without putting up a fight. The royal government remained in control of the south, declared war on Germany, and was eventually re-established as the government of all of Italy shortly before the end of the war in the spring of 1945. Partisan actions took place in northern Italy.Italy would become a member of NATOafter the war, but lost the regions of Istriaand Dalmatiato Yugoslavia, and all its colonies.
Japanwas leader of the Axis Powersin the Pacific Theatre. Some people consider that World War II actually began with the invasion of China by Japan. The war ended with the capitulation of Japan after the atomic bombings of Hiroshimaand Nagasaki by the US. It should also be noted that the advancing Soviet forces also played a part in the surrender of Japan.fix|text=citation needed
While Korea was annexed and occupied by Japan in 1910, the
Provisional Government of the Republic of Koreain exile in China was recognized by the allies after 1941 of holding the "de jure" sovereignty of the Korean people. The provisional government declared war against Japan and Germany on December 9 1941, and its small Korean Liberation Armyparticipated in the allied side in the Chinese and Southeast Asian Theatres. As well, many civilians were involved in active resistance movements against the Japanese occupation, supporting the allied cause. In 1945, the KLA was preparing for the incursionary operation into Korea with the cooperation of United States, but days before the departure of the leading unit, the war had ended. After the surrender of the Japanese emperor to the allied forces in August 15, 1945, Korea was jointly occupied by Soviet and American forces, with political disagreements leading to the separation of the peninsula into two independent nations.
Prince Phetxarāt, however, opposed this position, and thought that Lao independence could be gained by siding with the Japanese, who made him Prime Minister of Luang Phrabāng, though not of Laos as a whole. In practice the country was in chaos and Phetxarāt's government had no real authority. Another Lao group, the Lao Sēri (Free Lao), received unofficial support from the Free Thai movement in the Isan region.
Thailand re-annexed a small portion of Laos following the conclusion of the
French-Thai Warin 1941. The territories were only returned to French sovereignty in October 1946.
After the conclusion of
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Latvia was compelled to accept Soviet garrisons. [cite encyclopedia
encyclopedia = Encyclopædia Britannica
title = Latvia
url = http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-37317
edition = Encyclopædia Britannica Online
year = 2006] On
June 16 1940, threatening an invasion, [While presenting the ultimatum and accusations of violation by Latvia of the terms of mutual assistance treaty of 1939, Soviet foreign minister Molotov issued an overt threat to "take action" to secure compliance with the terms of ultimatum – see report of Latvian Chargé d'affaires, Fricis Kociņš, regarding the talks with soviet Foreign Commissar Molotov; text in Latvian: cite book
last = I.Grava-Kreituse, I.Feldmanis, J.Goldmanis, A.Stranga.
title = Latvijas okupācija un aneksija 1939-1940: Dokumenti un materiāli. "(The Occupation and Annexation of Latvia: 1939-1940. Documents and Materials.)"
publisher = Preses nams
year = 1995
url = http://www.historia.lv/alfabets/L/la/okupac/dokumenti/kocins/1940.21.06..htm ] Soviet Union issued an ultimatum demanding that government be replaced and that unlimited number of Soviet troops be admitted. [see text of ultimatum; text in Latvian: cite book
last = I.Grava-Kreituse, I.Feldmanis, J.Goldmanis, A.Stranga.
title= Latvijas okupācija un aneksija 1939-1940: Dokumenti un materiāli. "(The Occupation and Annexation of Latvia: 1939-1940. Documents and Materials.)"
publisher = Preses nams
year = 1995
pages = 340-342
url=http://www.historia.lv/alfabets/L/la/okupac/dokumenti/1940.06.16.ultim.htm ] Knowing that the Red Army had entered Lithuania a day before, and that its troops were massed along the eastern border and mindful of the Soviet military bases in Western Latvia, the government acceded to the demands, and Soviet troops occupied the country on
June 17. On August 5 1940, following mock parliamentary elections, Latvia was annexed into USSR. The following year, August 1940 to June 1941 is known as the Year of Terror in Latvia; USSR security agencies "Sovietized" Latvia, in the process killing or deporting to their deaths in slave labor camps between 35,000 and 50,000 residents of Latvia. [the exact figures are not known since Russia will not make the relevant documents public]
After the outbreak of German-Soviet hostilities, Soviet forces were quickly driven out of the territory of Latvia by German forces, with Riga being liberated from the Soviets on
July 1 1941(eight days after the start of hostilities). Initially, the German forces were almost universally hailed as liberators, but Nazi occupation policies gradually changed that. With the gradual defeat of the German Armies on the Eastern Front, the Red Amy started reoccupying Latvia in the late summer of 1944. Riga was retaken by Soviet forces on October 13 1944, and a major part of the German Army Group North (Heersgruppe Nord) was cut off in Kurzeme, the peninsula that forms the north western part of Latvia. There they locally raised Latvian units formed the "Kurland Fortress", which successfully held out until the end of the war and only surrendered because it was ordered to by Admiral Donitz as part of the overall German surrender. Both occupation powers recruited volunteers and drafted conscripts for their armies from the local population, but for both practical reasons and the staunchly anti-communist inclination of the population, the vast majority of men fought on the Axis side. The Latvian Waffen SS Volunteer Legion was officially formed on March 16 1943, but the first Latvian Security Police Battalions had been formed more than a year earlier. Despite the word "volunteer" in the name of the Legion, the German Occupation Government soon resorted to conscription to increase it size, and Latvia became one of two countries (the other was Estonia) from where the Waffen SS soldiers were draftees. By July 1, 1944, more than 110,000 men were under arms in German controlled units. The Latvian Legion consisted of 87,550 men, of them 31,446 serving in the combat units that were directly part of the Waffen SS (the 15th and 19th Waffen-Grenadier Divisions), 12,118 in Border Guard regiments, 42,386 in various Police Forces, and 1,600 in other units. 22,744 men served in units outside Legion such as Wehrmacht Auxiliaries. [cite web | title = Report of General Inspectorate of the Latvian Legion on Latvian nationals in German armed forces | url=http://www.historia.lv/alfabets/L/la/latviesu_legions/dokumenti/1944.07.01.htm | accessdate = 2006-12-12 ] On September 12 1950, Harry N. Rosenfield, the United Nations Refugee Relief Association Commissioner, wrote the following to Latvian Ambassador J. Feldmanis, minister plenipotentiary, chargé d'affaires of Latvia: "That the Baltic Waffen SS. Units (Baltic Legions) are to be considered as separate and distinct in purpose, ideology, activities, and qualifications for membership from the German SS, and therefore the Commission holds them not to be a movement hostile to the Government of the United States under Section 13 of the Displaced Persons Act, as amended." [cite news
title = Analysis: Estonian War Veterans Provoke Russian Reaction
publisher = RFE/RL
date = 2004-07-22
url = http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2004/07/33240e40-e844-436b-8351-e4579496c78d.html
accessdate = 2006-12-12 ] Some Latvian personnel did take part in the Holocaust however, working as part of both the Soviet and the Nazi occupation governments. [
Andrew Ezergailisestimates the number of criminally guilty working for the German side, to be between 500 and 600, with 1,000 being the high estimate. cite web
last = Ezergailis
first = Andrew
title = Introduction to "The Holocaust in Latvia, 1941-1944: The Missing Center"
accessdate = 2006-12-12 ] . Some Latvian units formed in the Red Army participated in the defense of
Moscowand experienced heavy casualties. According to Krivosheev, between 1941 and 1945, 11,600 people of Latvian nationality lost their lives while serving in the RKKA.
Lebanonwas under the control of France during the war and thus controlled by the puppet Vichy government after France's capitulation. Lebanon was wrested from Vichy France by Allied forces during the Syria-Lebanon campaign. De Gaulle declared Lebanon independent on November 22 1943.
Liberiagranted Allied forces access to its territory early in the war. It was used as a transit point for troops and resources bound for North Africa, particularly war supplies flown from Parnamirim(near Natal) in Brazil. Perhaps more importantly, it served as one of the Allies' only sources of rubberduring the war; the plantations of Southeast Asia had been taken over by the Japanese. The importance of this resource led to significant improvement of Liberia's transport infrastructure and a modernisation of its economy. Liberia's strategic significance was emphasised when Franklin Roosevelt, after attending the Casablanca Conference, visited Liberia and met President Edwin Barclay.
Despite its assistance to the Allies, however, Liberia was reluctant to end its official neutrality and declare war on Germany. This did not occur until
January 27 1944.
Shortly following the end of World War I,
Liechtensteinconcluded a customs and monetary agreement with neighboring Switzerland. In 1919, the close ties between the two nations were strengthened when Liechtenstein entrusted Switzerland with its external relations. At the outbreak of war, Prince Franz Josef II, who had ascended the throne only months before, promised to keep the principality out of the war and relied upon its close ties to Switzerland for its protection.
Attempts to sway the government did occur. After an attempted coup in March 1939, the National Socialist "
German National Movement in Liechtenstein" was active but small. The organization, as well as any Nazi sympathies, virtually disappeared following the eruption of war.
As a result of
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pactbetween Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Lithuaniawas occupied by the Red Army and forcibly annexed into the Soviet Union along with Latviaand Estonia, without giving any military resistance. This made some Lithuanians side with the Germans when Hitler eventually invaded the Soviet Union in the hopes to restore Lithuania's independence. Some of the collaborators were involved in the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity. A Lithuanian division was also formed in the Red Army. According to Krivosheev, 11,600 Lithuanians died fighting for the DNA.Clarifyme|date=September 2008
When Germany invaded France by way of the Low Countries in the spring of 1940,
Luxembourg, despite its neutrality, was quickly invaded and occupied (despite attempts by the government to slow the advancing German forces), having put up little resistance and immediately surrendering. The Luxembourgeois government never declared war on the Axis, and Luxembourg was effectively annexed by Germany. Luxembourg remained under German control until liberated by the Allies at the end of 1944.
Malaya was under British rule before the war began. It was occupied by Japan in 1942 through 1945. The
Malayan Communist Partybecame the backbone of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army.
Maltawas a British colony during World War II. The Legislative Council of Malta reaffirmed the people's loyalty to Britain on September 5 1939.
Between June 1940 and December 1942, Malta was one of the most heavily bombed places on earth.Fact|date=June 2007 Malta became the besieged and battered arena for one of the most decisive struggles of World War II, with some historians calling this battle "The Mediterranean Stalingrad". The UK awarded the
George Crossto the island of Malta in a letter dated April 15 1942, from King George VIto the island's Governor William Dobbie: "To honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history".
The fortitude of the population under sustained enemy air raids and a naval blockade which almost saw them starved into submission, won widespread admiration in Britain and other Allied nations. The George Cross is woven into the
Flag of Malta.
Established in 1931 as a puppet state of Japan, the state of
Manchukuowas led by Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China, who reigned as Emperor Kang De. The state contributed little to the war but remained a loyal ally to Japan until 1945. In 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and Manchukuo was subsequently invaded and abolished. The former puppet state was returned to China.
Originally built as the Italian tanker "Lucífero", the "
Potrero del Llano" had been seized in port by the Mexican government in April 1941 and renamed in honor of a region in Veracruz. She was attacked and crippled by the German submarine " U-564" on 13 May 1942. The attack killed 14 of 35 crewmen. On 20 May 1942, a second tanker, " Faja de Oro" (which was formerly the Italian "Genoano", seized by Mexico one day after the Pearl Harbor attack) was attacked and sunk by the German " U-160", killing 10 of 37 crewmen, and the Mexican government was prompted to declare war on the Axis powers on 22 May 1942. The Mexican Air Force's "Escuadron Aereo de Pelea 201" (201st Fighter Squadron) served with the U.S. Fifth Air Forcein the Philippinesduring the final year of the war. [http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:a14LQh7I75AJ:www.geocities.com/dutcheastindies/201squadron.html] Not to mention 100 of thousands of mexican americans who fought for the allies wearing the american uniform.
While Prince Louis II's sympathies were strongly pro-French, he tried to keep
Monaconeutral during World War II, and he supported the Vichy Francegovernment of his old army colleague, Philippe Pétain. In 1943, the Italian army invaded and occupied Monaco, setting up a fascist government administration. Shortly thereafter, following Mussolini's collapse in Italy, the German army occupied Monaco and began the deportation of the Jewish population. Among them was René Blum, founder of the Ballet de l'Opera, who died in a Nazi extermination camp.
During the war,
Mongoliawas ruled by the communist government of Khorloogiin Choibalsanand was closely linked to the Soviet Union. After the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pactof 1941, Mongolia remained neutral throughout most of the war, but its geographical situation meant that she in fact served as a buffer between Japanese forces and the Soviet Union. In addition to keeping around 10% of the population under arms, Mongolia provided supplies and raw materials to the Soviet military, and financed several units, for example the "Revolutionary Mongolia" tank squadron.
Mongolian troops took part in the
Battle of Khalkhyn Golin Summer 1939 and in Operation August Stormin August 1945, both times as small part in Soviet-led operations against Japanese forces and their Manchu and Inner Mongolian allies. For Mongolia, the most important result of World War II was the recognition of its independence by China, as provided by the Yalta agreement.
Moroccowas a protectorateof France during World War II. When France was defeated, Morocco came under the control of the Vichy regime, and therefore was nominally on the side of the Axis powers, although an active resistance movement operated. In November 1942, it was invaded by the Allies as part of Operation Torch. From that point, Moroccan volunteers (the Goumiere) fought on the side of the Allies.
A small area in northern Morocco,
Spanish Morocco, was a Spanish protectorate and remained neutral throughout the war, as did the international city of Tangier.
Nauruwas administered by Australia under a League of Nations mandate. Nauru was shelled by a German surface raiderin December 1940, aiming to incapacitate its phosphatemining operations (this action was probably the most distant military activity carried out by Germany during the entire War). Phosphates are important for making ammunitionand fertilizers. Nauru was occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945, and it was the target of shelling by American battleships and cruisers, and aerial bombing by the Allies. For example, Nauru was bombarded by the " USS North Carolina (BB-55)", " USS Washington (BB-56), " USS South Dakota (BB-57)", USS Indiana (BB-58)", " USS Massachusetts (BB-59)", and the " USS Alabama (BB-60)", on 8 December 1943, and also bombed by U.S. Navycarrier airplanes on the same day. See the article on the "USS Washington".
Nepaldeclared war on Germany on September 4 1939, and offered Gurkhatroops to Britain.
Like the Belgians, the
Netherlandsdeclared neutrality in 1939. In May 1940, after the capitulation of Norway, the Netherlands was invaded after fierce resistance against the Nazis. Rotterdamand Middelburgwere heavily bombed. The Dutch joined the Allies and contributed their surviving naval and armed forces to the defense of East Asia, in particular the Netherlands East Indies. Until their liberation in 1945, the Dutch fought alongside the Allies around the globe, from the battles in the Pacific to the Battle of Britain. On the island of Aruba(Netherlands West Indies) a large oil-refinery was of major importance for the war-effort in Europe, especially after D-day. As protection, a considerable U.S. military force was stationed on the island.
Netherlands East Indies
The rich oil resources of the Dutch East Indies were arguably a prime objective of the Japanese military in its attack on the Allies from
December 7 1941. The Royal Netherlands Navyand the Royal Netherlands East Indies Armywere part of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command, until the Allied forces in the Netherlands East Indies were defeated by Japan in March 1942. Some Dutch personnel and ships escaped to Australia, where they continued to fight the Japanese. The Dutch East Indies was occupied by the Japanese for the remainder of the war.
During World War II the
dominionof Newfoundland was a part of the Commonwealth of Nations. It joined the war on 4 September 1939, declaring war on Germany. Aware that a German invasion of Newfoundland could be used as a bridgestone to an attack on Canada, in 1940 the Canadian Prime Minister William Mackenzie Kingand the Newfoundland GovernorSir Humphrey T. Walwynentered into negotiations regarding the strengthening of defensive positions along the Newfoundland coast. Notwithstanding their separate political identities, the defenses of Newfoundland, and the Newfoundland Home Guard forces, were integrated with the Canada military, and both governments in agreement to the formation of a joint coastal defense organization. As part of the Anglo-American Destroyers for Bases agreement, the United States was granted Air Force and U.S. Navybases on Newfoundland's territory at Argentia, Stephenville, and St John's.
Newfoundlanders were encouraged to enlist in the large armed forces of the
United Kingdomand of Canada. The Royal Navyenlisted some 3,500 from the Newfoundland Naval Reserve of those whom Churchill called, "the best small boat sailors in the world." The Royal Artillery raised two regiments, the 57th Newfoundland Field Regiment, which fought in North Africaand Italy, and the 59th Newfoundland Heavy Artillery, which fought in Normandy and northwestern Europe. Another 700 Newfoundlanders served in the Royal Air Force, most notably with the 125th Newfoundland Squadron. In all, some 15,000 Newfoundlanders saw active service, and thousands more were engaged in the hazardous duty of the Merchant Navy. Some 900 Newfoundlanders (including at least 257 Merchant Mariners) lost their lives in the conflict, and over 100 Newfoundlanders were killed in the sinking of the SS "Caribou" by a German U-boat.
Newfoundland might have been the only location in North America to be subject to direct attack by German forces in World War II when German U-boats attacked four Allied ore carriers and the loading pier at
Bell Island. The cargo ships S.S. "Saganaga" and S.S. "Lord Strathcona" were sunk by the " U-513" on 5 September 1942, and the S.S. "Rosecastle" and "P.L.M. 27" were sunk by the " U-518" on 2 November 1942, with the loss of 69 lives. However, Allied ships (including American and Mexicanones) were sunk within sight of the North American shoreline (inside the territorial waters), and teams of German saboteurs landed via U-boats in New York Stateand in Florida. Also, German troops were landed on Greenlandto establish weather stations, and they were prepared to shoot.
New Zealandwas one of the first countries to declare war on Germany, if measured by the local time. It declared war on 9:30 p.m. (N.Z. time) on 3 September 1939, with Prime Minister Savage declaring war from his bed:
:"With gratitude for the past and confidence in the future, we range ourselves without fear beside Britain. Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand. We are only a small and young nation, but we march with a union of hearts and souls to a common destiny."
New Zealand sent one Army division that served in
Greece, North Africa, and Italy, and it offered a fair number of pilots and aircrewmen to the Royal Air Forcein England. Royal New Zealand Navywarships fought in the South Atlantic, including in the Battle of Rio de la Plata in 1939, before being called back to defend the homeland. New Zealand fought in the Pacific Warthrough warships of the Royal New Zealand Navy( RNZN}, the Royal New Zealand Air Force( RNZAF), and independent army brigades, such as on Vella Lavella. While New Zealand's home islands were not attacked, the casualty rate suffered by the military was the worst per capita of all Commonwealth nations, except for Great Britain.Fact|date=June 2007
South PacificTheater, the RNZAFparticipated in a unique force, AirSols, in the Solomon Islands, consisting of squadons from the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, USAAF, and RNZAF, sometimes with help from the RAAF, too.
During the war,
Nicaraguawas ruled by Anastasio Somoza García, who had assumed the presidency after a military coup in 1937. Somoza was an ally of the United States, and Nicaragua declared war on Japan immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Three days later, on December 11, Nicaragua declared war on Germany and Italy, and on December 19, it declared war on Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.
Northern Rhodesia(later Zambia) was a British colony. As such, it was covered by the British declaration of war. Northern Rhodesian units served in East Africa.
Norwaywas strategically important because it was a route for the transport of iron orefrom Sweden to Germany, via Narvik. Churchillhad from the beginning of the war stated his wish for fighting Nazi Germany on Norwegian and Scandinavian soil, to prevent damages to central Europe as was seen in the previous war. The German Kriegsmarinehad also promoted the advantages of naval bases in Norway. The integrity of her territory was further compromised when the German tanker "Altmark" was boarded, in Norwegian waters, from the British destroyer HMS "Cossack" in order to release British merchant seamen held captive ( Altmark incident).
Despite this, Norway remained neutral until it was invaded by Germany on
April 9 1940, as part of Operation Weserübung. The Norwegian government fled the capital and after two months of fighting went to Britain and continued the fight in exile.
After the occupation, the Germans began producing a critical material used in the manufacture of
atomic bombs in Norway: heavy water. An Anglo-Norwegian operation to destroy the facility at " Norsk Hydro" Heavy Water Plant was aborted after the loss of British airborne engineers. A subsequent operation by Norwegian commandos in February 1943 successfully destroyed stores of heavy water and equipment. A raid of American heavy bombers in November persuaded the Germans that the area was unsafe, and they decided to move heavy water supplies to Germany. While en route, Norwegian agents planted explosives and sank a ferry carrying the heavy water and other machinery needed for bomb development.
The Allies maintained a deception of a planned invasion of Norway and commando raids on coastal installations supported this. As a result, additional German troops were held there and the German surface fleet were kept in Norwegian waters to repel any attempts.
Finnmarkwas liberated by the Soviet Union, and (together with the northern parts of Troms) totally destroyed by the retreating Nazis, while the German forces in the rest of Norway surrendered on May 8 1945.
After the war, Norway became one of the founding members of
The Sultan of
Omandeclared war on Germany on September 10 1939. Omanese forces foughtFact|date=April 2007 under British command in the Middle East theatre.
Panamawas somewhat under American control throughout the war. The small Panama Canal Zonewas United Statesterritory back then, and American forces from the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Armyand Howard Air Force Base, the USAAF, inside the Canal Zone, guarded the Panama Canalfrom both ends. This Canal provided the United States and its Allies with the ability to move warships and troops rapidly between the Atlantic Oceanand the Pacific Ocean. Since most of the American shipbuilding capability was on the American East Coastand on the Gulf of Mexico, the Canal was vital for moving new warships to the Pacific to fight the Japanese Navy and to take the war to the Japanese.
Paraguay's authoritarian government under Higinio Morínigowas sympathetic to the Axis powers early in the war; the country's large German community in particular were supporters of Nazism. Serious thought was given to joining the war on Germany's side, however Franklin Rooseveltmanaged to avoid this happening with aid and military hardware in 1942. Despite this, Paraguay did not declare war on Germany until February 2 1945, when it was clear the Allies were going to win.
Perubroke off relations with the Axis on January 24, 1942. Due its ability to produce aviation fuel and its proximity to the Panama Canal, the oil refinery and port city of Talara, in northwest Peru, became an American air base. Although Peru did not declare war with Germany and Japan until 1945 (actually, Peru declared a "state of belligerency"), the Peruvian Navypatroled the Panama Canal area.
In 1941, the
Philippine Commonwealthwas a semi-independent Commonwealth of the United States. The Philippine Armywas commanded by the American General Douglas MacArthur, and the Philippines was one of the first countries invaded by Japan. Filipino forces and the U.S. Army maintained a stubborn resistance. General MacArthur was ordered by the President to withdrew his headquarters to Australia, where he made his famous statement "I came out of Bataan, and I shall return". American forces in the Philippines surrendered at Corregidor, on 8 May 1942. Despite the surrender, resistance in the Philippines continued. Elements of the Philippine Army continued their activity and were able to free all but twelve of the fifty Provinces of the Philippines. Other groups such as the Hukbalahapwere also involved. While in exile, President Manuel L. Quezoncontinued to represent the Philippines until his death from tuberculosis in 1944. American forces under General MacArthur made their return in October 1944, beginning with amphibious landings on Leyte island.
Second World War started in September 1939, as Poland suffered an attack by Nazi Germany and later by the USSR. Many Polish troops and servicemen escaped the country, reorganized in France and took part in the Battle of France. Later Poles organized troops in the United Kingdom and were integrated into the forces of the British with Polish pilots serving with distinction in the Battle of Britain. The Polish resistance was also established and is remembered for its extreme size and daring and brave methods of resisting occupation, often facing German forces in pitched battle. Polish armies have also been formed on the Soviet territory. Polish-Jewish community was mostly exterminated in the
Holocaust in Poland, and Poles themselves were considered to be a threat to German "the master race", and thus millions of Poles were sent to concentration camps or were killed in other fashion in occupied Poland.
For the duration of World War II,
Portugalwas under the control of the dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, who led a similar government to the Francisco Francoregime in neighbouring Spain. Early in September 1939, Portugal proclaimed its neutrality because its sympathies were clearly on the side of the Allies. This action was welcomed by Great Britain and reaffirmed historic Anglo-Portuguese treaties with England dating from 1373 ( Anglo-Portuguese Alliance) and 1386 ( Treaty of Windsor). Germany's invasion of France brought the Nazis to the Pyrenees, which allowed Hitler to bring unanticipated pressures on Portugal and Spain. Following the Nazi invasion of Russia which cut-off their supply of tungstenmetal from Asia, Germany initiated tactics to extract tungsten from Portugal. Initially, Germany artificially ran up prices in an attempt to get the people to bypass the Portuguese government and sell directly to German agents. Salazar attempted to limit this, and in October 1941, Germany sank a Portuguese merchant ship, the first neutral ship to be sunk in World War II. A German U-boattorpedoed a second Portuguese ship in December.
Despite efforts to resist, and because of the German threat to Portuguese merchant trade, in January 1942 Salazar signed an agreement to sell tungsten to Germany. In June 1943, Britain invoked the long-standing Anglo-Portuguese Alliance requesting the use of the
Azores, to establish an air force and naval air base. Salazar complied at once. The Allies then promised all possible aid in the event of a German attack against Portugal. Additionally, the United States and Great Britain guaranteed the integrity of Portugal's territorial possessions. In 1944, Portugal declared a total embargo of tungsten shipments to Germany. Although the German Ambassador in Lisbonprotested the Azores agreement, Germany never retaliated against Portugal.
Even while under intense German pressure, and with the presence of Nazi spies in Portugal, Lisbon became a safe-haven to a scattering of
Jewsfrom all over Europe. At the outbreak of World War II, Jewishrefugees from Central Europe were granted resident status. After the German invasion of France, Portugal adopted a liberal visa policy, which allowed thousands of Jewish refugees to enter the country. As the war progressed, Portugal gave entry visas to people coming via rescue operations, on the condition that Portugal would only be used as a transit point. Portugal also joined other "neutral" countries in the efforts made to save Hungarian Jews. More than 100,000 Jews and other refugees were able to flee Nazi Germany into freedom via Lisbon. By the early 1940s, there were thousands of Jews arriving in Lisbon and leaving weeks later to other countries, such as in South America and Africa. Only a small minority decided to stay in Portugal.
Although the Japanese military invaded and occupied the neighboring British colony of
Hong Kongin 1941, they initially avoided direct interference in the affairs of Macau. Although it remained neutral territory, belonging to Portugal, Portuguese authorities lacked the ability to prevent Japanese activities in and around Macau. In 1943, Japan ordered the government of Macau to accept Japanese advisors. The limited Portuguese military forces at Macau were also disarmed, although Macau was never occupied.
In early 1942, Portuguese authorities maintained their neutrality, in spite of warnings from the Australian and Dutch East Indies governments that Japan would invade. To protect their own positions in neighboring Dutch Timor, Australian and Dutch forces landed in
Portuguese Timorand occupied the territory. There was no armed opposition from Portuguese forces or the civilian population. However, within a matter of weeks, Japanese forces landed but were unable to subdue substantial resistance, in the form of a guerrilla campaign launched by Allied commandos and continued by the local population. It is estimated that 40,000 - 70,000 Timorese civilians were killed by Japanese forces during 1942-45. [http://www.defence.gov.au/army/asnce/history.htm]
Romaniahad its first involvement in the war in providing transit rights for members of the Polish government, its treasury, and many Polish troops in 1939. During 1940, threatened with Soviet invasion, Romania ceded territory to the Soviet Union, Hungary, and Bulgaria, and following an internal political upheaval, Romania joined the Axis. As a member of the Axis, the Romanian war effort was almost entirely spent on the Eastern Front, with its forces taking part in the capture of Odessa. With the entry of Soviet troops into Romania near the end of the war, a pro-Soviet government was installed, and Romania joined the Allies as a co-belligerentfor the remainder of the war. Romania became a key member of the Warsaw Pactafter the war. Samoa American Samoa
American Samoa is American territory and a
U.S. Navybase. This was used during the War.
Ever since the times of
Giuseppe Garibaldi, San Marinohas maintained strong ties with the Italian state. San Marino joined Italy in declaring war on Great Britain in 1940. Following the Italian surrender, San Marino immediately declared its neutrality. On September 21, 1944, San Marino declared war on Germany, which eventually occupied the nation while retreating northward. Following the war, San Marino provided for nearly 100,000 refugees.
Saudi Arabiadid sever diplomatic contacts with Germany on September 11, 1939, and with Japan in October 1941. Although officially neutral, the Saudis did provide the Allies with large supplies of oil. Diplomatic relations with the United States were established in 1943. King Abdul Aziz Al-Saudwas a personal friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Americans were then allowed to build an air force base near Dhahran. On February 28, 1945, Saudi Arabia declared war on Germany and Japan, but there was no military participation.
Singaporewas a crown colonyunder British rule and is in a strategic location for shipping routes connecting Asia to Europe. For these reasons, Japan invaded Singapore in the Battle of Singaporefrom February 7, 1942to February 14, 1942. The city was renamed "Syonan" and kept under Japanese occupation until the end of the war in September 1945.
As a member of the British Commonwealth, the Union of
South Africadeclared war on Germany shortly after the United Kingdom, on September 6 1939. Three South African infantry divisions and one armoured division fought under Allied commands in Europe and elsewhere, most notably in the North African campaign. Most of the South African 2nd Division was taken prisoner with the fall of Tobrukon June 21, 1942.
Southern Rhodesia(later Zimbabwe) was a self governing British colony. As such, it was covered by the British declaration of war. Rhodesian units served in East Africa, Europe, North Africa and notably Burma.
Southern Rhodesian troops were not allowed to serve as a composite unit (unlike their Australian, Canadian, or South African counterparts) because they constituted a significant part of the settler population. A significant number of Southern Rhodesian troops, especially in the Rhodesian African Rifles, were not of white origin (mainly
Ndebeleand mixed race). Their service has never been recognised by the ZANU (PF) government in Harare. Ian Smith, the future Prime Minister, like most of his white contemporaries, served under British command, as a fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain.
oviet Union / Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Soviet participation in World War II began with a short border war with Japan in Mongolia in 1939. Later that year, protected with the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it invaded eastern Poland about three weeks after the Germans invaded the west of the country. During the next eleven months the Soviets occupied and annexed the Baltic states ( Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). Soviet Union supported Germany in the war effort against Western Europe through the German-Soviet Commercial Agreementwith supplies of raw materials, significantly weakening the British naval blockade.
Finland's refusal of Soviet demands for military bases and a territorial swap, the Soviet Union attacked on November 30 1939, in the Winter War. The Soviet Union also annexed Bessarabia(a Romanian province since 1918), leading Romania to ally with Germany. Germany launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union in 1941. Thereafter, most of the German forces were concentrated on the Eastern Front. The USSR played a crucial role in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
The Soviet Red Army mounted a successful counter-offensive during the winter, and gained the initiative with a series of major victories in 1943, culminating in the ultimate advance of Soviet forces into Eastern Europe and Germany in 1945, concluded with the
Battle of Berlin. The Soviet Union suffered greater losses, both among civilians and military forces, than any of the other participants in the war. However, the RKKAtook out almost two times more axis soldiers than all other allies together. Following the end of the war in Europe and the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the USSR declared war on Japan in 1945. The Soviet Union became one of the main victors and gained one of the permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. After the war, the Soviet sphere of influencewas widened to cover most of Eastern Europe, formalized in the Warsaw Pact, to counter the western Allies and NATO. The Soviet Union came to be considered one of the two superpowers of the Cold War.
The Franco government of
Spainhad risen to power as a result to a significant degree of Italian and German intervention and support. Spain, which was suffering the aftermath of the recently-finished Spanish Civil War, did not have the resources to join the war on its own, and Franco and Hitler did not achieve an agreement about the terms of the Spanish participation. Despite of Spain was considered a non-belligerent country it sent volunteers to fight alongside Germans against the Soviet Union in the form of the División Azul. As the Allies emerged as possible victors, the regime became more neutral, at least in theory, finally declaring its neutrality in July 1943 although the complete removal of Spanish troops from Eastern Front was completed just in March 1944.
Swedenmaintained neutrality throughout the war, though some Swedish volunteers participated in the Winter War as well as in the Continuation Waragainst the Soviet Union. Sweden also supplied many materials for Germany, in particular high-quality iron ore which enabled Germany to build up its army, and ball bearings which were crucial for military hardware, almost as tribute to avoid invasion. The Allies put much of effort into the Norwegian theater simply to encourage Sweden to join the war.Fact|date=June 2007
Switzerlandintended to be a neutral power during the war, but German threats and military mobilizations towards its borders prompted the Swiss military to prepare for war. Following the German invasion of Poland on 1 September [1939, this country was completely mobilized within three days. Though a Nazi invasion of Switzerland, codenamed Operation Tannenbaumwas planned for 1940, the event never ultimately occurred because Hitler decided such a conflict would be a waste of resources at a time when he preferred to concentrate on the invasion of Britain. Unlike the Netherlands, Belgium, and other western European nations which had easily fallen under Nazi invasion, Switzerland had a strong military and a mountainous geographic terrain that would have likely made an invasion long and difficult.
Despite its neutrality, Switzerland was not free of hostilities. Early in the war, several German aircraft were shot down by Swiss fighters for violating Swiss air space. Hundreds of aircraft on both sides, which landed in Switzerland, such as with battle damage, were interned at Swiss airports and their crews held until the end of the war. Allied airmen were interned, in some cases, contrary to Swiss Law and some were subject to abuse in internment camps. Several Swiss cities were accidentally bombed by both sidesFact|date=August 2008.
Although the Swiss government was anti-Nazi, Swiss troops did not directly intervene into the European conflict. It became embroiled in post-war controversies regarding the appropriation of assets belonging to Holocaust victims and Nazi officials' use of
Swiss banksto keep their money safe.
Syriawas under French control throughout the war. From the French surrender in 1940, this was the 'Vichy' government that was sympathetic to the Nazi regime. Churchill had fears about the use of Syria to threaten Britain's Iraqi oil supplies. These appeared to be substantiated when Luftwaffe supply flights to the new pro-German Iraqi regime (under Rashid Ali) refuelled in Damascus.
In June 1941, British and Free French forces invaded Syria, and after giving effective opposition, the Vichy forces surrendered in July 1941. British occupation lasted until the end of the war.
The province of
Iskanderounwas given to Turkeyto keep them neutral in the war.
Thailandwas nominally an ally of Japan at the beginning of the war. The country was ruled at first by Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, a military dictator with nationalist leanings, underneath the Thai King. Thailand remained uninvolved when war broke out in Europe, but it took the opportunity of France's defeat to settle historical claims to parts of French Indochina. The conflict between Thailand and the Vichy regime is known as the French-Thai War. In 1941, the Japanese entered Thailand, and they used it as a bridgestone to invade Burmaand eastmost Indian. Phibun, while reluctant, believed that Japan's superior military power gave Thailand no choice but to order an armistice, and he allow the Japanese to pass through. The Premier became more enthusiastic about co-operation with Japan when the Japanese performed well in Malaya, and on 21 December, a formal "alliance" was concluded. At noon on 25 January 1942, Thailand declared war on the United States and Great Britain. Some Thais supported the alliance, arguing that it was in the national interest, or arguing that it was better sense to ally oneself with a victorious power. Others formed the Free Thai Movementto resist. Eventually, when the war turned against the Japanese, Phibun was forced to resign, and a Free Thai-controlled government was formed. On 16 August 1945, Thailand rescinded its declarations of war.
The Queen of
Tongaput her tiny island country's meager resources at the disposal of Britain and was a loyal supporter of the Allied cause throughout the war.
Transjordanwas nominally a British protectorate, and the Transjordanian forces were under British command during the war.
Turkey was neutral until just several months before the end of the war, at which point it joined the Allies. The president Ismet Inonu did his best to keep Turkey out of the war, despite to all pressure from Nazi-Germany and the Western Allies sides. In the meantime, during the War, Turkey helped to the Jewish Community by protecting the ones who made it to Turkey through the end of the war. Most of the Jewish people who lived in Turkey during the War moved to Israel or USA later on.
United Kingdomwas one of the original Allies, entering the war in 1939 to honour its guarantees to Poland. After the fall of France, the United Kingdom was the only Allied nation left in Europe until the invasion of Greece. It remained the only one of the Big Three in the war until 1941 when the Soviet Union was invaded. The United Kingdom was heavily engaged in the Western European, Atlantic, Mediterranean, African and South East Asian theatres, and was considered one of the Big Three during Allied conferences in the second half of the war. The United Kingdom maintained close ties with the nations of the British Empire, and the forces of those countries were often incorporated into British military operations.
Channel Islandsare self-governing British dependences, off the French coast and were the only British territory occupied by Germany.
They were occupied by German forces after the fall of France and after British forces had been withdrawn. They played little active part in the war. Strong German defences were set up, but the islands were not assaulted, except by occasional hit-and-run commando raids. German forces surrendered at the end of the war.
Almost all he Jewish people here fled the islands before the German occupation, but those who remained were deported to extermination camps and killed.
United States of America
United States of Americawas neutral early in the war, although it steadily grew ties with the Allies and began providing increased levels of assistance to them. The United States joined the Allies in December 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when war on Japan was declared by Congress on December 8. Germanyand Italydeclared war on the United States 3 days later. The United States subscribed to the Allied plan of making German defeat the priority, where it operated in coordination with the United Kingdom in most major operations. However, it also maintained a strong effort against Japan, being the primary Allied power in the Pacific Theatre. The U.S. played an important role in providing valuable industrial production to support the Allied war effort. After the war, the United States retained military commitments to European security while providing economic investment to rebuild nations suffering devastation during the war. Politically, the U.S. became the leader of the western Allies in forming NATO, and hosts the United Nationsin which it gained one of the permanent seats on the Security Council.
Uruguaywas neutral for most of World War II, although later joined the Allies. It declared its neutrality on September 4 1939, although President Alfredo Baldomirwas poorly disposed towards the Axis powers. Uruguay's neutrality included a 500-kilometre (300-mi) exclusion zone extending from its coast, established as part of the Declaration of Panama. Neither side of the conflict acknowledged the exclusion zones established by the declaration, and in December, British warships and the German ship "Admiral Graf Spee" fought a battle not far off Uruguay's coast. This prompted a joint protest from several Latin American nations to both sides. ("Admiral Graf Spee" took refuge in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, claiming sanctuary in a neutral port, but was later ordered out.) Later, in early 1942, President Baldomir broke off diplomatic relations with the Axis Powers. On February 15 1945, near the end of the war, Uruguay dropped its policy of neutrality and joined the Allies.
It should also be noted that Uruguayan pilots, along with volunteers from other countries, joined the
French Free Forces.
Maintained a very strict policy of war-time neutrality.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor,
Venezuelasevered diplomatic relations with Italy, Germany, and Japan, and after implementing (with help from the United States) defenses on the oil wells (there was information that Germany had plans to invade the American continent from Venezuela and seize its oil production) produced vast oil supplies for the Allies. It maintained a relative neutrality until the last years of war, when it finally declared war on Germany and the rest of the Axis countries.
Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, which occupied the northern portion of modern Yemen, followed an isolationist foreign policy under King Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din. It formed an alliance with Italy in 1936, and yet it remained neutral for the duration of the war. The southern portion of modern Yemen, known as the Aden Protectorate, was under British control.
:See also "Yugoslavia during the Second World War"
The Axis Powers occupied Yugoslavia in 1941 and created several
puppet states. The Independent State of Croatiawas a German and Italian puppet state. The Nedić's Serbiawas a German client state. The Independent State of Montenegrowas an Italian puppet state from 1941 to 1943 and a German puppet state from 1943 to 1944. Other parts of Yugoslavia were occupied directly by Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Hungary.
Yugoslavs opposing the Nazis organized resistance movement People's Liberating Army of Yugoslavia (NOVJ), led by
Josip Broz Titoand Communist Party of Yugoslavia.
Communist Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia was convened in
Jajcein 1943 and established the basis for post-war organization of the country as a federative republic. After heavy bloodshed in the war which was in the same time liberation, ethnic and civil war, Yugoslavia was reestablished in 1945, expanding territories on areas previously ruled by Kingdom of Italy ( Istriaand parts of Dalmatia).
Near the end of the war, Western governments attempted to reconcile the partisans and the government-in-exile loyal to the king, which led to the
Tito-Šubašić Agreementin June 1944 but, effectively, Communist Party gained the exclusive power in post-war state. After the war, gen. Mihailović and other royalists were rounded-up and executed for collaboration with the Nazis. Mihailović was posthumously awarded the Legion of Meritby President Harry S. Truman.
* "Nazi Germany and Neutral Europe During the Second World War" by Christian Leitz
* "Neither Friend Nor Foe: The European Neutrals in World War II" by Jerrold M. Packard
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