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Participants in World War II involves all nations who either participated directly or were affected by any of the theaters or events of World War II.



World Map with the participants in World War II.
The Allies depicted in green (those in light green entered after the Attack on Pearl Harbor), the Axis Powers in orange, and neutral countries in grey.

World War II was primarily fought between two large alliances. The Axis Powers were a group of countries led by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Empire of Japan, and are considered the aggressors of the conflict. The Allies, led by the United Kingdom and, until its defeat, France, were joined in the European theatre by the Soviet Union in June 1941 and by the United States in December 1941. In the Asia-Pacific theater, the Allies were led by the Republic of China from the invasion of China by Japan in 1937 and then joined by the United States in 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Axis[]

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 USA), 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.

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.

The Allies[]

The original Allied countries, bound by their commitment to the security of Poland, were led by the United Kingdom and France. The fall of France left the United Kingdom as the sole remaining major country of the Allies. Most of the remainder consisted of the British Commonwealth and forces commanded by various governments-in-exile.

While the European war did not officially start until the 1939 invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, the war began much earlier in Asia and Africa with the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1936 and the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. Subsequently, with the war spreading to Europe and the Pacific Ocean, China, with one-third of the country under occupation, dispatched its forces to help the British defend India against Japan and recapture Burma (now Myanmar) in 1944.

In 1941, with Nazi Germany's attack on the Soviet Union, the British accepted the Communist Soviet Union into their alliance. Previous to the attack, the United Kingdom was unsure of how to deal with the Soviet leadership, as it had been viewed as an aggressor against Britain's ally Poland, though the British prime minister, Winston Churchill in 1939 said that the new Soviet-German border formed an anti-Nazi front, which Hitler could never break. This passage many consider as an attempt to provoke Hitler against the USSR. However, once the Soviet Union joined the Allies, it mounted the major effort to eliminate the main forces of German Wehrmacht.

Following the Japanese Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, the United States formally entered the war, committing itself to assisting the Allies in both theaters of war. The United States had been a major contributor of resources and production for the war effort prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor (see Lend-Lease), shipping material to most of the Allies to assist their forces, but after the Japanese attack, the United States began contributing its own forces to combat.

A much larger number of countries joined the Allies during the war than joined the Axis. Not only did the countries attacked by the Axis join, but later in the war, many smaller countries not directly involved in the war joined the Allies to ensure their own security as well as to gain the support of the Allies economically and militarily during and after the war.

National impacts[]

Each country involved in or affected by World War II is listed with a brief description of its role in the conflict. For those who were major participants, a further sub-article is provided to give detailed history on their participation.

  • Note: Countries are listed alphabetically.*


King Mohammed Zahir Shah successfully kept his isolated kingdom out of the war. Oil prices went up and increased trade with Afghanistan making it richer throughout the war.


Main article: Military history of Albania during World War II

Albania was forcibly annexed by Italy in 1939 shortly after Germany had seized Czechoslovakia. Albania had no ability to withstand the invasion, and ultimately became Italy's launching point for its later invasion of Greece. When this failed, Greek troops launched a counter-offensive and sought to capture some Albanian territory from Italy. Once the German Balkan Campaign was completed in 1941, Albania served as the base for the Italian garrison in the Balkans, which was replaced by German forces when Italy switched sides in 1943.


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 due to the Spanish Civil War, but these forces were withdrawn in 1940. When France fell, Philippe Pétain of 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 Casa, but 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 Gaulle established 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 smuggling route between Spain and Vichy France, and an escape route for people fleeing German-occupied areas.


During the period of World War II, Argentina was ruled by a series of fraudulent conservative governments and dictatorial military juntas. The Argentine army and population (comprising large groups of Italian and Spanish immigrants) was at the time divided between pro-allied and pro-axis sentiments. While a large majority of the Argentine economic elite was considerably anglophilic and wanted Argentina to join the Allied side, neutralist and even pro-axis 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. Eventually, the militaristic government of Gral. Edelmiro T. Farrell caved in to international pressure, and Argentina joined other Latin American countries and declared war on Germany and Japan late in the conflict (March 27, 1945).

It is worth noting that many citizens opposed the nation's official neutralist stance. As many as 800 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.[1]


During the World War II, Armenia was part of the Soviet Union as Armenian SSR. Over 500 thousand of Armenians fought for the Soviet army, and half of them fell in battles (83700 according to Krivosheev). 5 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 WW II, 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 (Armenians volunteers)


Main article: Military history of Australia during World War II

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 Force squadrons 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 Army entered campaigns against Italy and Germany in North Africa and 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 made a major bombing attack on Darwin. They also attacked many other towns in northern Australia, and Axis covert raiding ships and submarines struck at shipping and shore targets around Australia, including a minor submarine attack on Sydney Harbour.

For the remainder of the war, the Australian war effort was concentrated in south-east Asia and the South West Pacific Area: they were involved from January 1942 in Malaya, the Dutch East Indies and 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 campaign came 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 became part of Germany in 1938 amongst popular acclaim during the Anschluss. After the defeat of the Axis Powers, the Allies occupied Austria at the end of World War II in Europe until 1955, when the country again became a fully independent republic under the condition that it remained neutral.


The Sheikh of Bahrain declared war on Germany on September 10 1939. Bahraini forces fought under British command in the Middle East theater.


Like the Netherlands, Belgium declared its neutrality in an effort to avoid being caught in another war between Germany and France. Nazi 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 was one of many Latin American countries to declare war on Germany late in the war, joining the Allies on 4 December 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. Bolivia was a supplier of vital war material, tin, to Allied militaries.


Brazil was under the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas, and maintained its neutrality until the beginning of 1942. After the German attack against Brazilian ships in the Atlantic Ocean and in Pearl Harbor, Brazil sided with the Allies, declaring war against Germany and Italy in 1942. Brazil helped to patrol the South Atlantic, opened their ports for Allied naval forces and sent the 25,000 strong Brazilian Expeditionary Force to fight in Europe in 1944, being the only Latin American nation to send troops to Europe. This army joined the U.S. Fifth Army under General Mark Wayne Clark and participated in the Italian campaign until the end of war. Brazil sent the 1st Fighter Group to fight in Italy with P-47's.


Main article: Military history of Bulgaria during World War II

Bulgaria was a minor German ally, signing the Tripartite Pact on 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 didn't participate in the Invasion of the Soviet Union.

After the Communist-dominated coup d'état of September 9, 1944 and 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 armistice was signed with the Allies in Moscow on October 28, 1944. After the Nazis fled Yugoslav territory, the 1st Bulgarian Army continued its offensive in Hungary and Austria. It managed to withstand the Nazi offensive on the Drava.

Bulgaria's participation in WWII ended when its soldiers met their British comrades-in-arms in Klagenfurt in May 1945. More than 10,000 Bulgarian troops died in the battles against the Nazis; about 30,000 were wounded.[citation needed]


Main article: Military history of Canada during World War II

(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 theatre command, and played an important role in the Allied campaigns in Europe. Canadian forces contributed heavily in the air raids against Germany, the Battles of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic, the Italian campaign and Normandy, the Scheldt and the fighting before and after the Rhine crossings. In Italy, an army corps was fielded beginning in January 1944, and forces in Normandy built up from a single division in June 1944 to a full corps in July 1944, and the activation of an Army in the field in August 1944, under which several foreign national formations were under command, including at various times British, Polish, Dutch and American forces. In addition, Canada was the key participant in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan where the British Commonwealth members' aircrew were trained.

In March 1945, both I and II Canadian Corps came under command of First Canadian Army in The Netherlands after the former was repatriated from Italy in February. From 1941, Canadian forces also participated in the defense of British territories against Japanese forces, especially Hong Kong where an understrength brigade was deployed and ultimately destroyed. As the war in Europe wound down, from late 1944, many Royal Canadian Navy ships and personnel were transferred from the Atlantic to join the British Pacific Fleet. About one million Canadians served in uniform during WWII.


Main article: Participation of Ceylon in World War II

Ceylon (later known as Sri Lanka), was a British colony and a major Allied naval base. On 5 April 1942 over 300 aircraft from Japanese carriers bombed the island. Winston Churchill called it "the most dangerous moment" of World War II, as the Japanese wished to replicate a grander success of the attack at Pearl Harbor. The British ships, however, were moved to Addu Atoll, 600 miles south-west of Ceylon. Nevertheless, the British Eastern Fleet lost an aircraft carrier, two cruisers and two destroyers, while Royal Air Force squadrons on Ceylon suffered severe damage. The British fleet retreated to East Africa until 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 8–9 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 Regiment of 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.


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.


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 Incident led the two countries onto full-scale war. Already engaged in war with Japan, as well as enduring a civil conflict between the Kuomintang (Nationalists, KMT) 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, Chiang Kai-shek still 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 in order to finalise its conquest. Japanese casualties in China are estimated at 1.1 million.

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 seventeen 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 War resumed 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.


After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Colombia broke diplomatic relations with the Axis powers. Then, in 1943, the German submarine U 505 destroyed a Colombian schooner, which caused Colombia to declare a "status of belligerency" against Germany. The German ambassador left the country and measures of control were implemented, including concentration of German citizens in designated areas. Colombia sent an expeditionary force of 2,000 to the German battle front and provided the Allies with Petroleum. Colombia also gifted the Americans pictures and reconnaissance airplanes that used to belong to the Colombian-German company Scadta, who used to take aerial shots of Colombian and German cities. During the recovery years, Colombia sent Nestle products (coffee, baby food, etc.) and carbon for heating all over Europe.

Costa Rica[]

Costa Rica joined the Allies late in the war. The leftist administration of President Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia was hostile to Nazism, and introduced a number of 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 joined the Allies on the 8th of December 1941, when it declared war on Japan. On the 11th, 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 15 May 1943, a Cuban warship sank a German submarine in waters near Havana. Cuba began to plan a conscription program in order to contribute troops, but this had not eventuated by the end of the war.


Czechoslovakia was dismembered by Nazi Germany, starting with Neville Chamberlain's Munich Agreement with Hitler in 1938 and the German–Italian Vienna Awards. The Czech portion of the nation became the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia under President Emil Hácha. A Nazi-dependent puppet regime led by Jozef Tiso was ultimately inserted in Slovakia. Part of southern Slovakia was annexed by Hungary. From 1940, a government-in-exile in London under former Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš was recognized as an allied power. The Slovak National Uprising, commenced in August 1944, was put down by German forces at the end of October, however partisans continued fighting in the hills till the end of the war. In April, 1945, the Red Army defeated the Germans and ousted Tiso's government, annexing Carpathia Ruthenia to the USSR.


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 Copenhagen until 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. The country was now administered by the German Foreign Ministry[citation needed] and each Permanent Secretary took control of his own ministry. On May 10 1940, the British occupied Iceland and shortly after that the Faroe Islands. The United States occupied Greenland, a position later supported by the Danish envoy in Washington, Henrik Kauffmann. Iceland, which was later not transferred from British to American control, declared its independence in 1944. On May 4 1945, the German forces in Denmark surrendered to the British army. Since the German commander on Bornholm refused 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 either troops, aircraft or ships.


Another of the South American nations to join the Allies late in the war (joined against Germany on February 2 1945; let USA use Baltra Island for a naval base). [1], [2]


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 100 miles 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 Salvador was 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 Salvadoreans leery of their dictatorship and a general national strike in 1944 forced Martinez to resign and flee to Guatemala. [3]


The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union left Estonia in 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 coup with 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 control over Estonia was restored in 1944, at September 1944 then German troops were leaving and Red Army had not yet arrived there was short-lived attempt in Tallinn to restore independence of Estonia. Estonia remained a part of the USSR until 1991.


At the outbreak of the Second World War, Emperor Haile Selassie was in exile in England trying, though in vain, to obtain Allied support for his nation’s cause. The Ethiopian Patriots Movement had begun its guerilla war against the occupying Italian forces the very day Addis Ababa fell in May 1936.

Upon the emperor's flight into exile, remnamts of Ethiopia's disbanded imperial army had transformed into guerilla units, which carried out a very effective guerilla campaign. 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 Ethiopia's 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 not only their fighting capabilities tremendously, but more importantly, their morale. A state of paranoia among Italian troops and civilians alike had sunk in as they became increasing 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, now with the full support and cooperation of the British, was transported to the Sudan to work alongside Major Orde Wingate to organize and lead the main Ethiopian Patriot divisions that had fled Fascist-controlled Ethiopia upon news of Britain’s declaration of war.

The East African Campaign was conducted by a largely multi-African force and consisted of Ethiopian, Eritrean, British, Sudanese, Kenyan, Rhodesian, South African, Indian, Nigerian, Ghanaian and Free French units. 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 very 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. It must be noted that the quick and relatively easy collapse of the Italians would not have been possible had it not been for the relentless and continuous armed resistance by the Ethiopian Patriots through the years leading up to world war.


Fiji was a British colony during World War II. The Fiji Defence Force served with New Zealand Army formations, under the Allied Pacific Ocean Areas command.


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, was attacked by Soviet forces in the Winter War (November 30, 1939 - March 13, 1940). After the war Finland sought security from the United Kingdom and Sweden but was thwarted by Soviet threats and German actions. Then 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 (June 25 1941 - September 4 1944), where Finland was a co-belligerent of the Nazi Germany. The United Kingdom declared war on Finland in December 6 1941, but the United States never did. To secure military support needed to stop Soviet offensive coordinated with D-day, the Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement was signed on June 26, 1944, in which Finland and Nazi Germany became active allies. An armistice was signed after the Soviet offensive was stopped and Wehrmacht was retreating from the Baltic States. The treaty required Finland to expel all German troops, which led to Lapland War (September 15 1944 - April 25 1945). Peace with the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union was concluded in the Paris Peace Treaties, 1947.


Main article: Military history of France during World War II

France 1939-40[]

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 surrendered to Germany, leading to the foundation of Vichy France and Free French Forces in exile.

Free France[]

Main article: Free French Forces

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 itself in 1944.

Vichy France[]

After France was invaded by Nazi forces, the country was split into two parts, an "occupied sector" and a "sovereign 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 is generally considered to have been an Axis state, although it remained officially neutral during the conflict. Prime Minister Pierre Laval, repeatedly sought France's entry into the war on the Axis side, but was vetoed by Petain. 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 1943. In the fall of 1942 the Germans occupied all of continental France, but allowed the Vichy government to continue operating. Laval was executed for high treason after the war.


Main article: Military history of Germany during World War II

Nazi Germany was the primary Axis Power in the European Theatre led by Adolf Hitler. The surrender of the German forces May 4–8 signalled the end of the war in Europe.


Reaching the Caucasus oilfields became one of the main objectives of German dictator Adolf 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 out of which 350,000 were killed (79500 according to Krivosheev). It was also a vital source of textiles and munitions.

Some captured Georgians 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 staged what has sometimes been described as Europe's last battle of World War II. This event was the Georgian Uprising of Texel.


Greece dealt the first victory for the Allies by resisting initial attempts of Italian invasion and pushing Mussolini's forces back into Albania. Hitler was reluctantly forced to send forces and delay the invasion of the Soviet Union by six weeks. The Germans also met fierce resistance on the island of Crete as the paratroopers suffered almost 7,000 casualties. These heavy losses eliminated the option of a massive airborne invasion of the Soviet Union and further expansion in the Mediterranean saving Malta, Gibraltar, Cyprus, and the Suez Canal from airborne invasion.


Guatemala initially stayed out of World War II, with President Jorge Ubico declaring the country's neutrality on 4 September 1941. This pronouncement was reinforced on 9 September with 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 9 December 1941, it declared war on Japan, and three days later, it declared war on Germany and Italy.


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 Guard but did not contribute troops. The President of Haiti, Élie Lescot, introduced a number of 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 was initially neutral in the war, but joined the Allied side after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It declared war on Japan on 8 December 1941, and on Germany and Italy on 13 December. It contributed food and raw materials to the Allied war effort, but did not send troops.

Hong Kong[]

Main article: Japanese Occupation of 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 Kong drew to a close on Christmas Day of 1941. The city was liberated in 1945.


Hungary was a significant German ally. It signed the Tripartite Pact in November 20 1940, and joined in the invasion of the Soviet Union the next year. When, in 1944, the government of Regent Miklós Horthy wished to sign a ceasefire with the allies, he was overthrown by the Nazis and replaced by a government run by the fascist Arrow Cross movement, which ruled the country until it was overrun by the Soviets.

Indian Empire[]

The Indian Empire (including the areas covered by the later Republic of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) was controlled politically by Britain during the war and 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 Khan placed 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 2.5 million Indian Empire citizens fought with the Indian Army, Royal Indian Air Force and Royal Indian Navy, forming the largest army raised by voluntary enlistment. Part of the Indian Empire was occupied by Japanese forces during the war, and India suffered 1.5 million civilian casualties. Over 36,000 Indian members of the armed forces were killed or went missing in action, and 64,354 were wounded during the war. Indian personnel received 4,000 awards for gallantry, including 31 Victoria Crosses.

About 40,000 Indians fought on the side of the Japanese in the Indian National Army, about 2,000 were recruited by Nazi Germany for the Tiger Legion.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands[]

On 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 Sawaraj Islands. Andaman & Nicobar Islanders fought alongside the Japanese during this time. The islands were not re-occupied by the British until 6 October 1945.


See Netherlands East Indies.


During the start of the war the Allies demanded that Iran remove German nationals from Iran fearing they might be Nazi spies or harm the British owned oil but, Reza Shah refused 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 Iran 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 Pahlavi to 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 Comintern affiliate Tudeh Party in 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 Republic not 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. [4]


Iraq was 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.

Due to the United Kingdom's weakness early in the war, Iraq backed away from its Anglo-Iraqi Alliance 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).


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 and on 17. June 1944 became an independent republic and cut all ties with Denmark. Despite being invaded by Allied forces in 1940 Iceland was and remained neutral during the Second World War.


The island of Ireland was divided politically between Éire (as the Republic of Ireland was officially called at the time) and Northern Ireland.


  • See main article The Emergency

At the outbreak of war, Éire was still a member of the then British Commonwealth but chose to remain neutral, the only such member state to do so. Despite this Éire could be described as a neutral sympathetic to the Allies during the period.

Irish citizens were free to fill manpower shortages in Britain and join the British armed forces. A total of 38,554 Irish citizens living in Éire joined the British Army.[2] Éire exported desperately needed food and labor to Britain and even went so far as to relax restrictions on the over-flying by British warplanes in Irish airspace.[3] Belligerent personnel, Allied and Axis, were interned by the government of Éire, although the Irish Government exercised its discretion when dealing with Allied belligerents 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 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 the island from air attack and/or land invasion did not exist[4] and setting government policy on the same path of the British would make invasion more likely. The war did reach the island however; Dublin along with other areas were bombed by the Luftwaffe.[5] 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 mines, convoy shipping, and submarines. All infringements were protested vociferously by the de Valera government. Belfast was also bombed (Belfast blitz) and the dispatch of Dublins 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.

  • See main article on IRA Nazi Links IRA Abwehr WW2.

Harsh policing measures including military tribunal and internment were employed to entirely stamp out the activities of the IRA.[6] 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.

Northern Ireland[]

As a part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland participated fully as a belligerent. The particular contributions were manpower (about 37,000 Northern Ireland residents volunteered for the British Armed forces), food, industry and geographical position. Despite urgings from the Stormont government, conscription was never implemented in the region. The British Government had decided not to conscript in Northern Ireland following mass protests in 1941.[7] 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.


Main article: Military history of Italy during World War II

Italy had completed two conquests (Ethiopia and Albania) prior to its entry into World War II. Despite the Pact of Steel with 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, and the Mediterranean Sea. Italy was invaded by the Allies in 1943 and Mussolini's government collapsed. The new royal government of Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed 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). The Italian army surrendered to the Germans without putting up a fight. The royal government remained in control of the south, and was eventually re-established as the government of all of Italy shortly before the end of the war in the spring of 1943. Italy would become a member of NATO after the war, but lost the regions of Istria and Dalmatia to Yugoslavia.


Japan was leader of the Axis Powers in 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 Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan has built back and is now one of the leading countries in industrial production.


While the Korean peninsula was occupied by Japan, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in 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 Army participated in the allied side in Chinese and Southeast Asian Theatre. 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 conclusion of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Latvia was compelled to accept Soviet garrisons.[8] On June 16, 1940, threatening an invasion,[9] Soviet Union issued an ultimatum demanding that government be replaced and that unlimited number of Soviet troops be admitted.[10] Knowing that Red Army had entered Lithuania a day before, 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. After the outbreak of German-Soviet hostilities, the territory of Latvia was occupied by Nazi Germany, which held Latvia from 1941 to 1944, when it was retaken by the Red Army. Both occupation powers recruited volunteers and drafted conscripts for their armies from the local population. More than 110,000[11] Latvian nationals served in various units on the German side, two divisions of the Waffen SS[12] among them. Latvian Auxiliary Police units took part in the Holocaust[13] and other atrocities against civilians[citation needed]. Some Latvian units formed in the Red Army notably participated in the defense of Moscow, and experienced heavy casualties. According to Krivosheev, in 1941-1945 11600 people of Latvian nationality lost their lives while serving in the RKKA.


Lebanon was 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. De Gaulle declared Lebanon independent on November 22 1943.


Liberia granted 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 rubber during the war, as 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 its 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 27 January 1944.


Shortly following the end of World War I, Liechtenstein concluded 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.

It is interesting to note that many of the theories that exist concerning the Papacy, Pope Pius XII, and Nazi Germany include Liechtenstein as a component. One such theory talks of a planned German invasion of the Vatican and establishing a "puppet-papacy" in neutral Liechtenstein.


As a result of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and Soviet Union Lithuania was annexed into the Soviet Union along with Latvia and Estonia, without giving any military resistance. This made some Lithuanians side with the Germans when Hitler eventually invaded the Soviet Union in hope 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, 11600 Lithuanians died fighting for the RKKA.


Main article: Military history of Luxembourg during World War II

When Germany invaded France by way of the Low Countries in the spring of 1940, Luxembourg, despite its neutrality, was quickly invaded, and occupied having put up no resistance and immediately surrendered. 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.


Under British rule; occupied by Japan in 1942-45. The Malayan Communist Party (MCP), became the backbone of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), which was the most effective resistance force in the occupied Asian countries.


Malta was 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. 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 Cross to the island of Malta in a letter dated 15 April 1942 from King George VI to 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 and can been seen wherever the flag is flown, for example at the United Nations and more recently at the European Parliament.


Established in 1931 as a puppet state of Japan, the state of Manchukuo was 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. Roughly half the state was returned to China whilst the Korean peninsula was partitioned to form North Korea and South Korea.


Mexico declared war on Germany on 1 June 1942, due to political pressure from the US government following the sinking of two Mexican oil ships in the Gulf of Mexico (it is said that a U-boat was responsible for both ships, but others say that US sunk them to pressure the Mexican government to declare war on Germany.) Towards the end of the war, the Mexican Air Force's Escuadron Aereo de Pelea 201 (201st Fighter Squadron) served with the US Fifth Air Force in the South West Pacific Area.[5]


While Prince Louis II's sympathies were strongly pro-French, he tried to keep Monaco neutral during World War II, and supported the Vichy France government of his old army colleague, Philippe Pétain. Nonetheless, his tiny principality was tormented by domestic conflict partly as a result of Louis' indecisiveness and also because the majority of the population was of Italian descent and they supported the fascist regime of Italy's Benito Mussolini.[citation needed] 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 Opera, who died in a Nazi concentration camp. Under Prince Louis' secret orders, the Monaco police, often at great risk to themselves, warned people in advance that the Gestapo was about to arrest them.[citation needed]


During the war, Mongolia was ruled by the communist government of Horloogiyn Choybalsan, and was closely linked to the Soviet Union. The Mongolian Army frequently fought alongside the Red Army, and Mongolia provided supplies and raw materials to the Soviet military. Fighting broke out between Mongolia and Japan in 1939, when Japanese troops stationed in northern China launched an invasion of eastern Mongolia.

A joint Soviet-Mongolian counter-offensive, led by Soviet general Georgy Zhukov, heavily defeated the Japanese, and a pact was signed in which Japan recognised Mongolia's "territorial integrity". Japan did not attempt to invade Mongolia again, but kept a considerable number of troops stationed along the Mongolian border. As the Soviet Union withdrew troops from the east to focus on the German Operation Barbarossa, Mongolian forces became more strategically important. Towards the end of the war, on 10 August 1945, Mongolia declared war on Japan once again, and took part in the Soviet invasion of Japanese-occupied northern China.


Most of Morocco was a protectorate of 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.


Nepal declared war on Germany on 4 September 1939, and offered Gurkha troops to Britain.


Like the Belgians the Dutch declared neutrality in 1939. In May 1940, after the capitulation of Norway, the Netherlands was invaded after fierce resistance against the Nazis. Rotterdam and Middelburg were 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 US 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 Navy and the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army were part of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ADBACOM), until the Allied forces in the Netherlands East Indies were defeated by Japan, in March 1942. Some Dutch personnel and ships escaped to Australia, from 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 country of Newfoundland was a dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations and not a part of Canada. It joined the war on September 4 1939, declaring war on Germany. Fearing that a German invasion of Newfoundland could be used as a prelude to an attack on Canada, in 1940 Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and Newfoundland Governor Sir Humphrey T. Walwyn entered into negotiations regarding the strengthening of defense positions along the Newfoundland coast. Notwithstanding their separate political identity, the defense of Newfoundland and the Newfoundland Home Guard armed forces were integrated with the Canada military and both governments agreed to the formation of a joint coastal defense battery. As part of the Anglo-American Lend Lease agreement, the United States was granted military air and naval bases on Newfoundland territory at Argentia, Stephenville and St John's.

Newfoundlanders were encouraged to enlist in the forces of the United Kingdom and Canada. The Royal Navy enlisted some 3500 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 (later 166th) Newfoundland Field Regiment which saw action in North Africa and Italy and 59th Newfoundland Heavy Artillery which began service as coastal artillery unit in England and later participated in the campaigns 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 work of the Merchant Navy. Some 900 Newfoundlanders (including at least 257 merchant mariners) lost their lives in the conflict and over 100 Newfoundland civilians were killed in the sinking of the SS Caribou by a German U-boat.

Newfoundland was 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 carriers S.S. Saganaga and the S.S. Lord Strathcona were sunk by U 513 on September 5 1942, while the S.S. Rosecastle and P.L.M. 27 were sunk by U 518 on November 2 1942 with the loss of 69 lives.

New Zealand[]

Main article: Military history of New Zealand during World War II

One of the original countries to declare war on Germany, it declared war before Britain due to the time zones (on September 3 1939), New Zealand sent a division to the European Theatre as well as participating in the Pacific. 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 Britain.


During the war, Nicaragua was 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 11 December, Nicaragua declared war on Germany and Italy, and on 19 December, it declared war on Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.


Main article: Norwegian resistance movement

Norway was strategically important as it was a route for the transport of iron ore from Sweden to Germany, via Narvik. The German Kriegsmarine had 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 invaded by Germany on April 9 1940 as part of Operation Weserübung. The Norwegian government fled the capital and after two months fighting went to Britain and continued the fight in exile.

After the occupation the Germans began producing a critical component of atomic bombs in Norway, most notably deuterium oxide, also known as 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 deuterium oxide 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.

In 1944 Finnmark was invaded by the Soviet Union, and (together with Northern 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 NATO.


The Sultan of Oman declared war on Germany on September 10, 1939. Omanese forces fought under British command in the Middle East theatre.


Panama was under continued American control throughout the war; the Panama Canal provided the U.S. military with the ability to move troops and materiel rapidly between the Pacific and European theaters.


Paraguay's authoritarian government under Higinio Morínigo was 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 Roosevelt managed to avoid this happening with aid and military hardware in 1942. Despite this Paraguay did not declare war on Germany until 2 February 1945 when it was clear the Allies were going to win.


Peru remained neutral until 1942, but when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, President Manuel Prado Ugarteche became the first South American leader to declare war on the Axis Powers. Because of its ability to produce aviation fuel and proximity to the Panama Canal, the oil refinery and port city of Talara, in north west Peru, became a very major United States of America air base. Also, the Peruvian Navy, bravely defended the canal against the Japanese Imperial Navy.


Template:See also In 1941, the Philippine Commonwealth was a semi-independent commonwealth of the United States. The Philippine Army was commanded by the U.S. 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 (see: Philippines campaign of 1941-42). MacArthur withdrew his headquarters to Australia, where he made his famous statement "I came out of Bataan and I shall return". Allied forces in the Philippines officially surrendered at Corregidor, on May 8 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 then fifty provinces. Other groups such as the Hukbalahap were also involved. Meanwhile, while in exile President Quezon continued to represent the Philippines until his death in 1944. Allied forces under MacArthur made their return from October 1944, beginning with the landings at Leyte.


Main article: Polish contribution to World War II

Poland was the first allied power to fall. In September 1939 it 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 Britain 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 along with the Greek and Yugoslavian resistance movements is remembered for its daring and brave methods of resisting occupation, often facing German forces in pitched battle. Polish armies have also been formed on the Soviet territory. Poles were considered to be a threat to "the master race", and thus millions of Poles were sent to concentration camps. Poland was the 4th largest contributor to the Allied cause after the U.S., Britain and Soviet Union.


For the duration of World War II, Portugal was under the control of the dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, who led a government bearing many similarities to the Franco regime in neighbouring Spain. Early in September 1939, Portugal proclaimed its neutrality as 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 Hilter to bring unanticipated pressures on Portugal and Spain. Following the Nazi invasion of Russia which cut-off their supply of wolfram (tungsten) from Asia, Germany initiated tactics to extract wolfram from Portugal. Initially Germany artificially ran up prices in an attempt to get the people to by-pass 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. Germany torpedoed 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 wolfram to Germany. In June 1943, Britain invoked the long standing Anglo-Portuguese Alliance requesting the use of the Azores to establish a naval 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 wolfram to Germany. Although the German Ambassador in Lisbon protested sharply the Azores agreement, Germany never retaliated against Portugal. Even while under intense German pressure and the presence of Nazi spies in Portugal, Lisbon became a safe haven to Jews from all over Europe. At the outbreak of World War II, Jewish refugees from Central Europe were granted resident status. After the German invasion of France, Portugal adopted a liberal visa policy allowing thousands of Jewish refugees to enter the country. As the war progressed, Portugal gave entry visas to those 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 Jewry. More than 100,000 Jews and refugees were able to flee Nazi Germany into freedom via Lisbon. By the early 1940s, there were hundreds of thousands of Jews arriving in Lisbon and leaving weeks later, to the United States. Of those, only a minority decided to stay in Portugal. All of the Jews and Jewish refugees living in Portugal survived the war.

Portuguese Colonies[]


Although the Japanese military invaded and occupied the neighbouring British colony of Hong Kong in 1941, they initially avoided direct interference in the affairs of Macau. Although it remained neutral territory — in much the same fashion as Portugal itself — 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 it was never occupied.

Portuguese Timor[]
Main article: Battle of Timor (1942-43)

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 neighbouring Dutch Timor, Australian and Dutch forces landed in Portuguese Timor and occupied the territory. There was no armed opposition from Portuguese forces or the civilian population. 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.[6]


Romania had 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-belligerent for the remainder of the war. Romania became a key member of the Warsaw Pact after the war.

San Marino[]

Ever since the times of Garibaldi, San Marino has 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 21 September 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 Arabia[]

Saudi Arabia's contribution to the war effort was mainly in the form of resources. Although officially neutral the Saudis did provide the Allies with large supplies of oil. King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, despite resenting the British and French colonial presences in the Middle East was a personal friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt (in fact the President gave King Abdul Aziz a wheelchair as a present during a 1945 visit to the kingdom). As a result Saudi Arabia remained on favourable terms with the Allies.


Singapore was a crown colony under 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 Singapore from February 7, 1942 to February 14, 1942. The city was renamed Syonan and kept under Japanese occupation until the end of the war in September, 1945.

South Africa[]

As a member of the British Commonwealth, the Union of South Africa declared 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 Tobruk on June 21, 1942.

There was significant pro-Nazi sentiment among much of the Afrikaner population, but this was suppressed by the Prime Minister, Jan Smuts.

Southern Rhodesia[]

Southern Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) was a British colony. As such it was covered by the British declaration of war. Rhodesian units served in 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 their constituted a significant part of the settler population. A significant number of Southern Rhodesian troops, especially in the Rhodesian African Riffles were not of white origin (mainly Ndebele and mixed race). Their service has never been recognised by the ZANU (PF) government in Harare.

Future Prime Minister, like most of his white contemporaries, Ian Smith, served under British command, as a fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain.

Soviet Union[]

Main article: Military history of the Soviet Union during World War II

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 Agreement with supplies of raw materials significantly weakening the British naval blockade.

Following 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), 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, where 90% of all German resources and manpower were concentrated and depleted on the Eastern Fronts.Template:Verify source

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 itself 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. 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 influence was 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.


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The Franco government of Spain had 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. Spain however did send volunteers to fight alongside Germans against the Soviet Union in the form of the División Azul. However, Spain was considered a non-belligerent country. As the Allies emerged as possible victors, the regime became more neutral, finally declaring its neutrality on July 1943.

Sri Lanka (see Ceylon)[]


Sweden maintained neutrality throughout the war, though some Swedish volunteers participated in the Winter War as well as in the Continuation War against 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 bearings which were crucial for fighter planes, almost as tribute to avoid invasion. It should be noted that the Allies put a lot of effort into the Norwegian theatre simply to force Sweden into joining the war.


Main article: Switzerland during the World Wars

Switzerland intended 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 September 1 1939, the country was completely mobilized within three days. Though a Nazi invasion of Switzerland, codenamed Operation Tannenbaum was planned for 1940, the event never ultimately occurred as 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 hosilites. Early in the war, several German aircraft were shot down by Swiss fighters for violating Swiss airspace. Hundreds of aircraft on both sides, which were forced to land in Switzerland, were interred at Swiss airports and their crews held until the end of the war. Several Swiss cities were accidentally bombed by the Allies.

Although the Swiss government was anti-Nazi, Swiss troops did not directly intervene into the European conflict. Switzerland is thus usually regarded as the only Western European country that was able to maintain some semblance of uncontested neutrality during the entire conflict. It became embroiled in post-war controversies regarding the appropriation of assets belonging to Holocaust victims and Nazi Officials use of Swiss banks to keep their money safe.


Syria was 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 Iskanderoun was given to Turkey to keep them neutral in the war.

Tannu Tuva[]

Tannu Tuva was under effective Soviet control for the duration of the war. It entered the conflict on 25 June 1941, three days after the Soviet Union itself. Tannu Tuva was integrated directly into the Soviet Union on 11 October 1944, before the war concluded.


Thailand was an ally of Japan during the war. At the time, the country was ruled by Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, a military dictator with nationalist leanings. Thailand remained uninvolved when war broke out in Europe, but 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 invaded the country; Phibun, while reluctant, believed that Japan's superior military power gave Thailand no choice but to order an armistice and 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 December 21, a formal alliance was concluded. At noon on January 25 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 Movement to resist. Eventually, when the war turned against the Japanese, Phibun was forced to resign, and a Free Thai-controlled government was formed. On August 16 1945, Thailand rescinded its declarations of war.


The Queen of Tonga put all the country's resources at the disposal of Britain, and was a loyal supporter of the Allied cause throughout the war.


Transjordan was nominally a British protectorate, and the Transjordanian forces were under British command during the war.


Throughout most of the war, Turkey proclaimed neutrality while providing Germany with raw materials such as its sole supply of chromite. It was not until February 1945 that Turkey declared war on Germany in order to secure a seat in the United Nations. Turkey did not participate in any military operations.

United Kingdom[]

Main article: British military history of World War II

The United Kingdom was 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 Commmonwealth and often incorporated their forces into British military operations.

Channel Islands[]

Main article: Occupation of the Channel Islands

These islands are self-governing British dependences, off the French coast and were the only British territory occupied by Germany. Although, legally, the Channel Islands are not a part of the United Kingdom, it is convenient to consider them here.

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 Jewish people managed to flee the islands before the German occupation, but those who remained were deported to Auschwitz.

United States of America[]

Template:Seealso The United States of America was 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. Germany and Italy declared 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 would retain military commitments to European security while providing economic investment to rebuild nations suffering devastation during the war. Politically, the U.S. would become the leader of the western Allies in forming NATO, and hoist the United Nations in which it gained one of the permanent seats on the Security Council.


Uruguay was neutral for most of World War II, although later joined the Allies. It declared its neutrality on 4 September 1939, although the President of Uruguay, Alfredo Baldomir, was poorly disposed towards the Axis powers. Uruguay's neutrality included a 300-mile 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 itself 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 15 February 1945, near the end of the war, Uruguay dropped its policy of neutrality and joined the Allies.


After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Venezuela severed 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 resources 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.


The 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 remained neutral for the duration of the war. The southern portion of modern Yemen, known as the Aden Protectorate, was under British control.



At 05:15 on April 6 1941, German, Italian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian forces attacked Yugoslavia. The Luftwaffe bombed Belgrade and other major Yugoslav cities. On April 17, representatives of Yugoslavia's various regions signed an armistice with Germany at Belgrade, ending eleven days of resistance against the invading German Wehrmacht. More than three hundred thousand Yugoslav officers and soldiers were taken prisoners.

The Axis Powers occupied Yugoslavia and split it up. The Independent State of Croatia was established as a Nazi puppet-state, ruled by the Catholic fascist militia known as the Ustaše that came into existence in 1929, but was relatively limited in its activities until 1941. German troops occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as part of Serbia and Slovenia, while other parts of the country were occupied by Bulgaria, Hungary and Italy.

Yugoslavs opposing the Nazis organized resistance movements. Those inclined towards supporting the old Kingdom of Yugoslavia joined the Chetniks, a mostly Serb-composed nationalistic royalist guerilla army led by Colonel Draža Mihajlović that fought Germans till 1942 when they allied with them. Those inclined towards supporting the Communist Party (and against the King) joined the Yugoslav National Liberation Army, led by Josip Broz Tito, a Croat-Slovenian member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia.

The NLA initiated a guerrilla campaign which was developed into the largest resistance army in occupied Western and Central Europe. The Chetniks initially made notable incursions and were supported by the exiled royal government as well as the Allies, but were soon restrained from taking wider actions due to German reprisals against the Serb civilian population. For every killed soldier, the Germans executed 100 civilians, and for each wounded, they killed 50. Following Chetniks' termination of war activities against the Germans, reported atrocities against non-Serb population and frequent collaboration with Italians and (less frequently) Germans against the NLA, the Allies eventually switched to support the NLA.

However, NLA carried on its guerrilla warfare. This led to great civilian loss of life in most regions of Yugoslavia. The demographic loss is estimated at 1,027,000 individuals by Vladimir Žerjavić and Bogoljub Kočović, an estimate accepted by the UN, while the official Yugoslav authorities claimed 1,700,000 casualties. Very high losses were among Serbs of Bosnia and Croatia, and members of non-aryan (according to the German racist theory: Jews, Gypsies) minorities, high also among all other non-collaborating population.

During the war, the communist-led partisans were de facto rulers on the liberated territories, and the NLA organized people's committees to act as civilian government. In Autumn of 1941, the partisans established the Republic of Užice in the liberated territory of western Serbia. In November 1941, the German troops occupied this territory again, while the majority of partisan forces escaped towards Bosnia.

On November 25, 1942, the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia was convened in Bihać. The council reconvened on November 29, 1943 in Jajce and established the basis for post-war organisation of the country, establishing a federation (this date was celebrated as Republic Day after the war).

The NLA was able to expel the Axis from Serbia in 1944 and the rest of Yugoslavia in 1945. The Red Army aided in liberating Belgrade as well as some other territories, but withdrew after the war was over. In May 1945, NLA met with allied forces outside former Yugoslav borders, after taking over also Trieste and parts of Austrian southern provinces Styria and Carinthia. This was the territory populated predominantly by Slovenians (and Croats in Istria). However, the NLA withdrew from Trieste in June of the same year.

Westerner attempts to reunite the partisans, who denied supremacy of the old government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the emigration loyal to the king, led to the Tito-Šubašić Agreement in June 1944, however Tito was seen as a national hero by the citizens and so he gained the power in post-war independent communist state, starting as a prime minister.

Further reading[]

  • 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


  1. http://math.fce.vutbr.cz/safarik/ACES/aces1/argentina-ww2.html Air Aces: List of Argentine Participants
  2. Enlistment figures for Irish citizens living in Britain are not documented but likely to have been large.
  3. The Catalina flying-boat that located the Bismarck was based inland at Lough Erne in County Fermanagh. Irish airspace would have been used en route to the Atlantic. "Hot-pursuit" into its territorial waters of German U-boats by Royal Naval warships also occurred.
  4. This was demonstrated by the total lack of air defenses for Belfast.
  5. See The War Room website for a listing of bombing attacks on Free State soil, available here. The bombing attacks are claimed to have been either deliberate attacks, accidental, errors in navigation, or the result of British counter measures against the Luftwaffe. See Why the Nazis bombed Dublin Independent, The (London), Jan 24, 1999 by Robert Fisk available here and counter arguments available here.
  6. 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 Ireland known as Plan Kathleen. The nature and extent of these contacts continues to be a source of public recrimination to this day.
  7. Northern Ireland at War
  8. "Latvia". Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica Online). (2006).
  9. 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: I.Grava-Kreituse, I.Feldmanis, J.Goldmanis, A.Stranga. (1995). Latvijas okupācija un aneksija 1939-1940: Dokumenti un materiāli. (The Occupation and Annexation of Latvia: 1939-1940. Documents and Materials.). Preses nams, 348–350.
  10. see text of ultimatum; text in Latvian: I.Grava-Kreituse, I.Feldmanis, J.Goldmanis, A.Stranga. (1995). Latvijas okupācija un aneksija 1939-1940: Dokumenti un materiāli. (The Occupation and Annexation of Latvia: 1939-1940. Documents and Materials.). Preses nams, 340–342.
  11. On July 1, 1944, Latvian Waffen SS Volunteer Legion consisted of 87550 men, of them 31446 serving in units subordinated to Waffen SS, 12118 in Border Guard regiments, 42386 in various Police Forces, and 1600 in other units. 22744 men served in units outside Legion such as Wehrmacht Auxiliaries. Report of General Inspectorate of the Latvian Legion on Latvian nationals in German armed forces. Retrieved on 2006-12-12.
  12. On 12 September 1950, Harry N. Rosenfield, the United Nations Refugee Relief Association Commissioner, wrote the following to Latvian Ambassador J. Feldmanis, minister plenipotentiary, charge 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."Template:Cite news
  13. Andrew Ezergailis estimates the number of criminally guilty between 500 and 600, 1000 being the high estimate. Ezergailis, Andrew. Introduction to "The Holocaust in Latvia, 1941-1944 : The Missing Center". Retrieved on 2006-12-12.