Allies and neutrals in WW2


General Jan Smuts, prime minister of South Africa (1919-1924,1939-1948). A veteran of the south african Boer War, in world war 1 he fought in the african campaigns and became a british army general and was a member of the british war cabinet. After world war 1 he returned to South Africa and became prime minister. When world war 2 started he led to South Africa's decision to join the war beside Great Britain and became prime minister again and minister of defence and commander in chief of the south african military. Churchill appreciated Smuts as a strategist and as a friend.
William King, prime minister of Canada joined world war 2 beside Great Britain when the war started.

Robert Menzies, prime minister of Australia, joined world war 2 beside Great Britain when the war started.

Michael Savage, prime minister of New Zealand joined world war 2 beside Great Britain when the war started.

Austria is a german speaking sister country of Germany. Most austrians supported the unification with Hitler's nazi Germany in 1938. Hitler himself was originally austrian. So during world war 2 Austria was a fully integrated part of nazi Germany.

King Boris III of Bulgaria allied with Hitler's Germany in March 1941. Bulgaria participated in the german invasion of its former enemies Greece and Yugoslavia, but refused to participate in Hitler's invasion of Russia. Boris III also refused to Hitler's request to transfer bulgarian jews to germany, knowing that they will be mass-murdered as part of the nazi genocide of jews. Boris III died in 1943, shortly after a meeting with the furious Hitler in which he persisted in his refusal to participate in the war against Russia. In 1944 Bulgaria was invaded by Russia and later became a communist dictatorship under russian influence.

Mao Tse Tung and Chiang Kai Shek, the two rival leaders in China's civil war, suspended their domestic struggle when Japan, which already occupied north-east China and Korea, invaded China's coastal region and heartland in 1937 and occupied a large part of them. After Japan attacked the US in december 1941, the US allied with China and supported its war against the japanese invaders. Japan held a huge army force in China during the war, but when US forces were getting close to Japan, it could no longer transfer reinforcements from China to the pacific islands, because by then its navy and merchant shipping were decimated by US forces. After the end of world war 2 the China civil war resumed. It ended in 1949 with the communists, led by Mao Tse Tung controlling the entire continental China, and Chiang Kai Shek and his party controlling the large island Formosa, where they established a separate independent country, Taiwan

General Francisco Franco, the fascist military dictator of Spain (1939-1975) wisely managed to keep his country neutral. Spain was exhausted from a long civil war (1936-1939) in which Franco's side received massive military support from Hitler's germany. Despite this support, Franco refused Hitler's request to join the war against Britain. Hitler then said he would "prefer to have 3 or 4 teeth extracted than suffer another meeting" with Franco.

Antonio Salazar, the dictator of Portugal (1932-1968), remained neutral in world war 2. He ignored the japanese invasion of Portugal's colonial territory in the far east. In October 1943 he allowed the allies to use the strategic Azores islands in the center of the atlantic ocean as a base for long range aircraft.

Ion Antonescu, the defense minister of Romania was made prime minister in September 1940. Shortly after becoming prime minister he met Adolf Hitler, allied with him, mainly to protect Romania from a possible russian invasion because of their hostile territorial conflict, and allowed the german military to deploy in Romania. Four months later the romanian fascist party rebelled against him, but Hitler favored Antonescu and ordered the german military to support him. Since then Antonescu was practically a nazi-backed dictator. In June 1941 the romanian army participated in the german invasion of Russia, and suffered heavy losses in the major russian counter-attack near Stalingrad. In august 1944 the russian army occupied Romania. Antonescu was arrested, and was later executed as a war criminal.

Admiral Miklos Horthy, the dictator of Hungary (1920-1944) initially remained neutral, but his fear of Stalin's communist russia pushed him to ally with Hitler's germany and join the war beside it in late 1940. In 1941 Hungary participated in the german invasions of Yugoslavia and Russia. As germany began to lose the war Horthy began negotiating with the allies. As a result, the germans occupied Hungary, but Horthy still maintained a limited control. When russian forces invaded Hungary in october 1944 Horthy declared armistice and was immediately imprisoned (in germany) by the retreating germans. After the war he retired to Portugal and Hungary became a communist dictatorship puppet of Russia until communism collapsed in the late 1980s.

King Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, the only african country never colonized by europeans, fled to Britain when Ethiopia was occupied by 400,000 italian soldiers which invaded from their nearby colony in east Africa. The only reason for the italian invasion was Benito Mussolini's desire to demonstrate his power and expand his territory. The performance of the invading italian military was so poor that even with 400,000 men, tanks and aircraft, and even the use of forbidden chemical warfare, it needed six months to occupy the poorly armed Ethiopia. In 1941, already in world war 2, the italian forces in Ethiopia were beaten by a smaller but much more capable british force, and Haile Selassie returned to his country.

Carl Mannerheim, was a key figure and the top military leader of Finland for three decades in various roles. Mannerheim was chairman of the national defense council in 1931-1939, then commander in chief until 1944 under president Risto Ryti, when he finally agreed to be a candidate and was elected president of Finland until his retirement in 1946. At the end of 1939 russia invaded Finland only because Russia's 2nd largest city, Leningrad, was considered too close to the finn border. The small finn army very skillfully held their line of fortifications designed by Mannerheim, using a variety of commando tactics against the invaders, until they were defeated by the overwhelming mass of the much larger russian invasion force. This war convinced Adolf Hitler and others that the huge russian military became ineffective after the political "purges" by Stalin, which eliminated most of russia's high ranking officers. When Hitler invaded Russia a year later, Finland was a natural ally, and it participated in the german attack, retook the territory it lost to Russia in the 1940 cease fire agreement, and participated in the lengthy german siege of Leningrad. In mid 1944, the much stronger and more experienced russian army invaded Finland again and defeated the finn army. Mannerheim, then president, signed a peace agreement and ended the war for Finland.

Per Hansson was the prime minister of the neural Sweden. Sweden's military was not modern and with neighbors like Hitler and Stalin neutrality was no guarantee. Sweden was also the strategically important source of more than half the iron consumed by the german military industry. Sweden's neutrality was saved by its remoteness and its willingness to continue to provide the german military industry with all the iron it needed. A military buildup which began before the war and continued until the end of the war also helped keep Sweden out of the war.

Switzerland is a federation led in rotation by a group of seven elected members. Famous for its neutrality, its high mountains, and as a banking and diplomatic center, the swiss government knew that with highly aggressive neighbours like Hitler and Mussolini they must backup neutrality with a strong military position, and immediately when the war started the swiss military fully deployed in defensive positions along the expected path of a german invasion and negotiated calling for french military support in such case. The mountains make Switzerland a natural fortress and its capable army is known to be highly trained in mountain warfare, so Hitler preferred to leave it in peace, surrounded from all sides by axis territory.

Pibul Songgram was the pro-japanese military dictator of Thailand during world war 2. Initially Thailand declared neutrality and signed non-aggression pacts with France and Britain, but in 1941, after France surrendered to Germany, Thailand invaded the french colonies in Laos and Cambodia. Japan was accepted by both sides as a mediator and, like the romans did 2000 years ago, Japan exploited its role for its own interest and practically took control over both Thailand and the french colonies, and Pibul became a japanese puppet and joined the war beside Japan, although the thai public was more in favor of Britain. In summer 1944 Pibul was replaced by a pro-american government.

Reza Pahlavi, the dictator (self-declared king) of oil-rich Iran declared neutrality but maintained strong commercial relations with Germany which worried its neighbors Russia and Britain (which then controlled Iran's neighbors Iraq, Pakistan, and India). After the german invasion of Russia in June 1941, Britain and Russia demanded that germans will be expelled from Iran, and when Pahlavi refused, British and Russian forces rapidly invaded Iran in August 1941 and as a result Pahlavi exiled and was replaced as king by his 22 years old son Mohamad Reza Pahlavi. Iran was used until the end of the war as a route for transferring british military support to Russia. After the war the young Pahlavi became a very corrupt king who spent the endless richness of irani oil, until he was removed in 1979 by a popular uprising led by religious fundamentalists, which replaced Pahlavi's corrupt and oppressive dictatorship with a much worse new type of highly oppressive and aggressive islamic-totalitarian dictatorship which lost its initial popular support and made the formerly peaceful Iran one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

Manuel Quezon was re-elected as president of the Philippines in November 1941, but a month later his country, a US ally with US military presence, was invaded and occupied by the japanese. Quezon formed a exiled government in the US where he died in 1944. The Philippines were liberated in 1945 by US forces.

Prince-Regent Paul of Yugoslavia was an ally of Germany and Italy. In March 27, 1941 he was replaced in a pro-allies military coup, and ten days later the german Luftwaffe massively bombarded Belgrade, the capital of its former ally, and the german military invaded and occupied the country until the end of the war.
"In mid 1944, the much stronger and more experienced russian army invaded Finland again and defeated the finn army. Mannerheim, then president, signed a peace agreement and ended the war for Finland."

Today the most of that invading russian force rest in peace under the dirt of Karelian isthmus. The most important and the biggest battles were fought at Tali-Ihantala, Vuosalmi and the gulf of Viipuri where russian attacks were finally stopped.

The biggest dirty work was done by finnish artillery wich used "korjausmuunnin" wich was developed in 1943 by general Nenonen and gave ability to adjust indirect fire fast and accurate and concentrate even 21 artillery battalions to shoot at one point at the same time wich was extremely effective tactic against russian formations preparing for an assault.

Forces at Tali-Ihantala:

Finnish IV corps
3rd Brigade "Blue Brigade"
3rd Division
4th Division
18th Division, since June 27 11th Division.
6th Division
Armoured Division

Soviet: 21st Army's 15 Divisions.
XXX Guards Corps
CIX Corps

The Battle

Soviet attack was concentrated on the area east of Vyborg, from the southern village of Tali to north towards Ihantala. This was the only suitable terrain for armoured forces in Karelian Isthmus, 10 km wide and limited by lakes and the river Vuoksi on the east.

By this time the Finnish army had concentrated half of its artillery in the area, along with the army's only armoured division with StuG III assault guns and German 303. assault gun brigade. The troops finally had new German anti-tank weapons that were previously kept in storage.

Fighting in the area began June 25 and June 30 Finnish forces retreated from Tali. Heaviest fighting tooks place between July 1-July 2 when Finnish lost 800 men per day.

On July 2 Finnish captured a radio message, according to which theSoviet 63rd Division and 30. Armored Brigade were to launch attack on July 3 0400. The following morning, 2 minutes before the supposed attack, 40 Finnish and 40 German bombers bombed Soviet troops and 250 guns fired 4000 artillery shells into the area.

On the same day, beginning at 06:00, 200 Soviet planes and infantry attacked Finnish troops. By 19:00 the Finnish troops had restored their lines.

On July 6 Soviet forces had some success despite Finnish 6th Division's support of 18 artillery battalions and one heavy battery. Soviets were thrown back the following day and their counterattacks at 13:30 and 19:00 did not succeed. By July 7 focus of the attacks was already changing to Vuoksi and Soviets started transferring their best troops to Estonia to fight the Germans. By July 9 Soviet troops no longer attempted break-through despite smaller fighting continued.


The Soviet army has been reported to have lost from 400 to 600 tanks in Tali-Ihantala area, mainly to air attacks and close defence weapons. 120-280 Soviet planes were shot down.

Finnish army lost 8561 men wounded, lost or killed. Soviet estimates is 18000-22000 killed.

Majority of losses were due to artillery fire.

The battle of Vuosalmi

After Russians saw that they had failed in Ihantala, they tried to break Finnish positions in Vuosalmi and encircle the left part of Finnish forces in the Isthmus. Finnish positions were in a very unfavourable place in the
ridge of Äyräpää, the wide river Vuoksi behind. Russian 115th Corps soon forced Finns across the river, but despite the
fields on the other side, which were advantageous to Russian armor, they made no further advances. The depleted Armoured Division was sent to help the 2nd Division, as the situation in Ihantala had become more stabile. Russians had lost massive losses, there are more than 15000 Russians buried in the ridge of Äyräpää alone. Finnish counterattacks had no success and the both sides were on defensive in mid-July.

There were also battles in the northern Karelia like Ilomantsi in summer -44.

Two enemy divisions, the 176th and 289th, had advanced to the area of Ilomantsi in the end of July. Finnish troops attacked Russians and organised an attack attempting to encircle and destroy these divisions on 30th July. After nine days both division had been defeated and their heavy equipment fell into Finnish hands, men fled through woods. This was the last major battle in the Continuation War.

Special thanks for all germans and their material aid: Panzerfausts, panzerschrecks, PaK40s, StuGIIIs, ME109G6s, JU88s, JU87s were really needed during summer 1944 to stop russian invasion once again. Damn itself would have taken us all without that.
General Francisco Franco, the fascist military dictator of Spain (1939-1975) wisely managed to keep his country neutral. Spain was exhausted from a long civil war (1936-1939) in which Franco's side received massive military support from Hitler's germany. Despite this support, Franco refused Hitler's request to join the war against Britain. Hitler then said he would "prefer to have 3 or 4 teeth extracted than suffer another meeting" with Franco.

Read Hitler Stopped By Franco, for the behind the scenes story. BTW, Franco was an authoritarian Monarchist, not a Fascist, or even a fascistic falangist like his brother-in-law Sereno Sunar.