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Allied leaders of World War II

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Title: Allied leaders of World War II  
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Allied leaders of World War II

Leaders of the "Big Three" central Allies, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference in February 1945.
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill at the Cairo Conference, 25 November 1943.
Charles de Gaulle sits down with rival Henri Giraud (left) after shaking hands with him in presence of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at the Casablanca Conference, 14 January 1943.

The Allied leaders of World War II listed below comprise the important political and military figures who fought for or supported the Allies during World War II. Engaged in total war, they had to adapt to new types of modern warfare, on the military, psychological and economic fronts.


  • Free Albania 1
  • Belgium 2
  • Brazil 3
  • British Empire & Commonwealth 4
    •  Australia 4.1
    •  Canada 4.2
    •  New Zealand 4.3
    •  Union of South Africa 4.4
    •  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 4.5
      •  Newfoundland 4.5.1
      •  Southern Rhodesia 4.5.2
      • British Malaya 4.5.3
      •  British Mandate for Palestine 4.5.4
      •  British India 4.5.5
  • Empire of Ethiopia 5
  • Kingdom of Egypt 6
  • Free Czechoslovak Republic 7
  • Republic of China 8
  • Kingdom of Denmark 9
  • French Third Republic (Until 1940) 10
    • Free French Forces (and later Fighting France and Provisional government of the French Republic) 10.1
  • Kingdom of Greece 11
  • Empire of Iran 12
  • Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea 13
  • Republic of Liberia 14
  • Grand Duchy of Luxembourg 15
  • Mexico 16
  • Kingdom of the Netherlands 17
  • Kingdom of Norway 18
  • Second Polish Republic 19
    • Polish Government in Exile and Secret State 19.1
  • Soviet Union 20
  • Saudi Arabia 21
  • United States of America 22
    • European Front 22.1
    • Pacific Front 22.2
    • Puerto Rico 22.3
    • Philippine Commonwealth 22.4
  • Kingdom of Yugoslavia 23
  • See also 24
  • References 25

Free Albania


  • Leopold III of Belgium reigned as King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951. Prior to the war Leopold had made extensive preparations against such an invasion of his country. After Belgium's surrender Leopold stayed to face the invaders, while his entire government had fled to Great Britain. King Leopold rejected cooperation with the Nazis and refused to administer Belgium in accordance with their dictates. Despite his defiance of the Germans, the Belgian government-in-exile in London refused to recognize his right to rule. The Germans held him under house arrest at the royal castle in Brussels until the end of the war.
  • Auguste-Édouard Gilliaert was the commander of the Belgian Expeditionary Forces during the East African Campaign. The Belgian Expeditionary Forces was a unit composed of troops from Belgium and the Belgian Congo. In 1941, Gilliaert cut off the retreat of Italian General Pietro Gazzera in Ethiopia and accepted the surrender of Gazzera's 7,000 troops.


  • Getúlio Vargas was the president of Brazil from 1930 until 1945. Despite Brazil's quasi-fascist government of Estado Novo and strong economic ties with Nazi Germany, Vargas eventually sided with the Allies after the sinking of five Brazilian ships by German U-Boats and declared war on the Axis in 1942. Vargas gave economic and military support to the Allies.
  • Euclides Zenóbio da Costa Commander of the 1st Infantry Division Brazilian Expeditionary Force, participated in operations in Italy.
  • Olympio Falconière da Cunha In September 1944 went to Italy, commanding the 3rd Squadron of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force. The following month he was appointed inspector general of the Brazilian forces, a senior management position.

British Empire & Commonwealth

Queen Elizabeth with Eleanor Roosevelt in London.
  • United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The King was, further, a symbol of national and Commonwealth unity during the war, he and his family visiting bomb sites, munitions factories, and with Commonwealth soldiers.[1] Several members of the Royal Family, including the Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), served in the forces.



Queen Elizabeth with Prime Minister of Canada William Lyon Mackenzie King at the Banff Springs Hotel just prior to the outbreak of war in Europe, 27 May 1939

 New Zealand

 Union of South Africa

 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


  • Sir Humphrey Walwyn was governor of Newfoundland and chairman of the Commission of Government from 1936 to 1946. A former Royal Navy Admiral, during World War II he was active in encouraging Newfoundlanders to join the war effort.

 Southern Rhodesia

British Malaya

 British Mandate for Palestine

 British India

Empire of Ethiopia

Kingdom of Egypt

Free Czechoslovak Republic

Republic of China

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
  • Xi'an Incident Chiang made a temporary truce with the communists to form a united front against Japan. After that war the truce ended and hostilities continued until his government retreated to Taiwan.
  • Zhang Xueliang was warlord of Manchuria after the death of his father. Nicknamed the "Young Marshal"; he was a strong opponent of the Japanese occupation of Manchuria after the Mukden Incident. He was responsible for the Xi'an incident which established a truce between the Nationalist and Communists. He fled the mainland with Nationalist government to Taiwan after the communists seized the mainland.
  • Peng Dehuai was confirmed as a general in the unified command structure of the NRA. He was given overall command of the largest communist operation of the anti-Japanese war, the Hundred Regiments Offensive.
  • Li Zongren was the former Guangxi warlord that fought in alliance with Jiang Jieshi during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He was the commander of the battle of Xuzhou, and commanded one of the largest and relatively better equipped regional armies that comprised the bulk of the Chinese armed forces during the war.
  • Xue Yue was the military commander that led the many successful defenses of Changsha.

Kingdom of Denmark

Thorvald Stauning, Prime minister of Denmark 1924–1942.
  • Vilhelm Buhl Prime minister of Denmark in 1942. Adolf Hitler personally ordered him removed in 1942.
  • Erik Scavenius Prime minister of Denmark from 1942–1943. Dissolved the Danish government in 1943, and the government was then replaced by total German military rule in Denmark.

French Third Republic (Until 1940)

  • Albert François Lebrun was the last President of the Third Republic. In 1940, he was forced to accept the German terms of surrender of France and was replaced by Philippe Pétain as head the French state (see Vichy France). In 1944, Lebrun acknowledged de Gaulle's leadership of the restored French, provisional, government. In 1945, since he had not resigned from his presidential office, and that Pétain was not president, Lebrun thought he could be able to return to power after the liberation.[11]
  • Édouard Daladier was Prime Minister from 1938 to 1940. He led his country during the opening stages of the war. Daladier resigned on 9 May 1940, the day before the German invasion of France, because of his failure to aid Finland's defence in the Winter War.
  • Paul Reynaud succeeded Daladier as Prime Minister in 1940 and led France during the Battle of France. After Germany had occupied large parts of France, Reynaud was advised by his newly appointed Minister of State Philippe Pétain to come to separate peace with Germany. Reynaud refused to do so, and resigned.
  • Maurice Gamelin commanded the French military during the critical days of May 1940, before being removed from his position after failing to defend France from the Germans.
  • Maxime Weygand replaced Gamelin as commander of the French army in May 1940. He eventually favoured an armistice with Germany.

Free French Forces (and later Fighting France and Provisional government of the French Republic)

  • Charles de Gaulle was the leader of the Free French and as such head of the French government-in-exile following the Fall of France. A vehement opponent of collaboration, he eventually took nominal command of the French resistance and headed the French Army of Liberation from its foundation to the war's end.
  • Henri Giraud was de Gaulle's rival and the Western Allies' favourite. He escaped from Germany where he was a prisoner of war and co-founded the Free French movement with de Gaulle, though soon found himself relegated to second in command of the Free French Forces after the Casablanca Conference of 1943. He was the chief of staff of the French Army of Liberation from 1943 to July 1944.
  • Alphonse Juin became chief of staff of the French Army in July 1944 after being the commander of the French Expeditionary Corps (130,000 men) in Italy.
  • Jean de Lattre de Tassigny was the commander of the First French Army which invaded southern France with 260,000 men. His army numbered more than 320,000 men when he entered in Germany with the integration of the FFI.
  • Operation Dragoon (34 warships including one battleship and eight cruisers).

Kingdom of Greece

  • Germany invaded Greece, the King and the government fled the Greek mainland for Crete but after the Battle of Crete he was evacuated to Egypt and went to Great Britain. During the war he remained the internationally recognized head of state, backed by the exiled government and Greek armed forces serving in the Middle East.
  • Ioannis Metaxas was the dictator and Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941. Despite his quasi-fascist tendencies and strong economic ties to Nazi Germany, he pursued a policy of pro-British neutrality. On 28 October 1940 he rejected an Italian ultimatum, and ordered the Greek Army to repel the Italian invasion of the country.
  • Italy along the Albanian border and later against the invading German army. When the Greek government fled to Crete, Papagos remained behind and with other generals, was arrested and sent to concentration camps in Germany. In 1945 he was repatriated and rejoined the Army.

Empire of Iran

Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea

Republic of Liberia

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg


  • Manuel Ávila Camacho was Brigade General and President of Mexico from 1940 till 1946. Ávila declared war against the Axis powers in 1942 after two of Mexico's ships were destroyed by German submarines. Ávila Camacho cooperated in the war effort, providing the United States with 15,000 soldiers and 300,000 workers under the Bracero Program.
  • Antonio Cárdenas Rodríguez was Colonel and Commander of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Expedicionaria Mexicana (FAEM)) since January 1, 1945. He and 300 elements from the FAEM arrived on May 1 in Manila, in Luzon, principal island of Philippines, and established in Clark Field under the 5th Air Force of the USAAF, commanded by General Douglas MacArthur. He represented Mexico at the signing of the Japanese surrender document on the USS Missouri on September 1.
  • Radamés Gaxiola Andrade was Captain and Commander of the 201st Squadron (Escuadrón 201) of the FAEM, under the 58th Group of the 5th Air Force of the USAAF. He commanded Mexican air operations on Luzon and recognition flies on Formosa from June 7 to August 26, 1945. In total, the FAEM performed 59 combat missions.[12]

Kingdom of the Netherlands

  • Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy was Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1940 until 1945. After the Fall of France and Dirk Jan de Geer's resignation, Gerbrandy was appointed the office of Prime Minister by Queen Wilhelmina in London. After the liberation, he returned to form a new cabinet but ended up resigning.

Kingdom of Norway

  • Haakon VII of Norway was King of Norway and the formal head of state from 1905 to his death in 1957. Following the German invasion of Norway in 1940, Haakon refused to meet the demands of the attackers, and went into exile in London, where he stayed for the rest of the war.
  • Johan Nygaardsvold was Prime Minister during the war. His government agreed with the King not to meet the German demands, and went into exile in London. Nygaardsvold resigned shortly after the war.
  • Carl Gustav Fleischer was the commander of the Norwegian 6th Division during the Norwegian Campaign. He led the allied recapture of Narvik on May 28, 1940, later heading into exile in the United Kingdom, where he was named commander of the Norwegian Army in exile. He was the first commander to win a major victory against the Germans.

Second Polish Republic

  • Felicjan Sławoj Składkowski was a Polish physician, general and politician who served as Polish Minister of Internal Affairs from 1936 to 1939 and was the last Prime Minister of Poland before World War II. After the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, he fled to Romania and was interned there. After the German occupation of Romania in 1940, he went to Turkey and thence to Palestine. In 1947, he went to London, where he died in 1962.
  • Henryk Sucharski was a major in the Polish Army. At the outbreak of World War II, he was the commander of the Westerplatte position. Troops under his command defended Westerplatte for seven days against overwhelming odds. Sucharski survived the war and was posthumously promoted to the rank of General. Despite his efforts to improve the defences, he later tried to persuade his fellow officers to surrender and suffered a nervous breakdown which required his deputy to assume command.

Polish Government in Exile and Secret State

  • Tomasz Arciszewski succeeded Mikołajczyk as Prime Minister, serving in this post from 1944–1947.
  • Kazimierz Sosnkowski succeeded Sikorski as Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, serving in this capacity from 1943–1944.
  • Marian Kukiel commander of the 1st Polish Corps from their formation in 1940 until 1942. He was Minister of War in exile from 1943–1944.

Soviet Union

Marshal Zhukov reading the German capitulation. Seated on his right is Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder.
  • Joseph Stalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during World War II. From 1941 onwards, he was also Chairman of the Committee of the People's Comissars (Premier) of the Soviet Union. It was during Stalin's reign that the USSR emerged as a superpower that rivaled the United States. As the supreme commander of the Red Army, Stalin led the Red Army to liberate the Soviet Union from Nazi occupation. After the war Stalin put communist leaders in power in Eastern Europe, setting up the Eastern Bloc and leading to the Cold War.
  • Eastern Europe and to conquer and capture Germany's capital, Berlin. After the war Zhukov was the supreme Military Commander of the Soviet Occupation Zone in Germany.
  • Vyacheslav Molotov was Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union from 1939–1949. He was responsible for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which governed Soviet-German relations until June 1941 when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. Molotov conducted urgent negotiations with Britain and, later, the United States for wartime alliances. He secured Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill's agreement to create a "second front" in Europe.
  • Mikhail Kalinin was during the whole war period the Chairman of the Praesidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the nominal Head of State of the Soviet Union. Although he was the Head of State, he remained mostly in the background, while Stalin was the undisputed war leader with supreme authority over the Soviet Union. A Communist Party elder, Kalinin was a key member of Stalin's inner circle of power until his death. He signed the order authorizing the Katyn massacre.

Saudi Arabia

Ibn Saud converses with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (right) on board the USS Quincy.
  • Ibn Saud was the King of Saudi Arabia from 1932 until 1953. Ibn Saud positioned Saudi Arabia as neutral during the war until 1945. However he was generally in favor of the Allies and supplied the Allied forces with oil.[14]

United States of America

  • General of the Army and the Chief of Staff during the war. As Chief of Staff, Marshall oversaw the largest military expansion in American history. Marshall coordinated Allied operations in Europe and the Pacific. After the war Marshall became Secretary of State and led the post-war reconstruction effort in Europe, which became known as the Marshall Plan. For his role in the recovery he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • GDP on the Army and the Air Forces, helped formulate military strategy, and took personal control of building and using the atomic bomb.
  • Cordell Hull was Secretary of State from 1933 until 1944. Hull was responsible for foreign relations before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He sent the Hull note to Japan prior to the attack, which was part of the United States attempt to open Chinese markets to U.S. goods against Japanese interests there. After the war he was the key architect for establishing the United Nations and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

European Front

Pacific Front

Puerto Rico

Left to right: Major General Geiger, Corps Commander; Colonel Silverthorn, Corps Chief of Staff and Brigadier General del Valle, Corps Artillery Commander, examine a plaster relief map of Guam on board the USS Appalachian.
  • Okinawa.[16][17][18]

Philippine Commonwealth

  • Sergio Osmeña was the second Filipino president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. As Vice President, he ascended to the presidency after Quezon's death in 1944. He returned to the Philippines the same year with General Douglas MacArthur and the liberation forces.
  • Basilio J. Valdes was the commanding general of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Valdes was given the rank of Major General of the Commonwealth Army. After the Japanese Invasion, he was evacuated to Washington D.C. and he was returned to the Philippines the same year with General Douglas MacArthur and the liberation forces.
  • Vicente Lim commanded the Philippine Commonwealth Army during the early days of the war. Lim was given the rank of Brigadier General and became the top ranking Filipino under General MacArthur. He was placed in command of the 41st Infantry Division, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFFE tasked with the defense of Bataan. After the fall of the Philippines, he led resistance against Japanese occupation.

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

  • Josip Broz Tito was a leader of Yugoslav Partisans resistance movement, which was the largest in Europe. Communist by political orientation, Tito was nevertheless able to gather nation-wide support for anti-fascist cause, and to persuade Allied governments that only his forces were mounting credible resistance to Axis powers in Yugoslavia. By the end of war, occupied Yugoslavia had drawn attention of no less than 20 German divisions alone, prompting several major operations in the 1942–1944 period, which were futile. Finally, with help from advancing Soviet forces, the Partisans liberated Yugoslavia, reaching at the final days of operations a respectable size of 800,000 soldiers.
  • Peter II was the last King of Yugoslavia reigning from 1934 till 1945. An opponent of Nazi Germany, he participated in a British-supported coup d'état opposing the pro-fascist Prince Paul. Peter was forced to leave the country following the Axis invasion. In 1944, he signed the Treaty of Vis which was an agreement to share power with Josip Broz Tito. But, after the war, Peter was deposed in a referendum held by the communist government.
  • Draža Mihailović was the leader of the so-called Chetniks, the monarchic resistance movement, supported by the exiled royal government. Mihailović was decorated with highest war medals by France and the USA (Legion of Merit). After being initially engadged in fighting the occupying Axis forces and their internal allies, his forces ended up engaged also in fighting the Partisans and collaborating with the Axis. After the war, he was executed by the newly formed communist government of Josip Broz Tito in 1945 for high treason, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 2004, Chetniks were rehabilitated by the democratic National Assembly of Serbia.

See also


  1. ^ "The History of the Commonwealth". The Commonwealth Secretariat. Archived from the original on 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2007-02-26. 
  2. ^ "Robert Menzies. In office.". Australia's prime ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  3. ^ "Arthur Fadden". Australia's prime ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  4. ^ "John Curtin". National Archives of Australia. Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  5. ^ "Francis Forde". Australia's prime ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  6. ^ "Ben Chifley". Australia's prime ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. 
  9. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "General Sir Archibald Percival Wavell". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. 
  10. ^ Caidin, ibid., dates the departure of the first AVG pilots 10 December 1941.
  11. ^ Albert Lebrun's biography on the French Presidency official website
  12. ^ Flores, Santiago A. (1999–2000). "201st Mexican Fighter Squadron". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. 
  13. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Vice-Admiral Conrad Emil Lambert Helfrich". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. 
  14. ^ A Country Study: Saudi Arabia. Library of Congress Call Number DS204 .S3115 1993. Chapter 5. World War II and Its Aftermath
  15. ^ Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration (1940). "Education". Puerto Rico: A Guide to the Island of Boriquén. New York: The University Society, Inc. 
  16. ^ Puerto Rico Archives
  17. ^ Sontag, Blind Man's Bluff.
  18. ^ "Lieutenant General Pedro A. Del Valle, USMC". History Division. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved October 10, 2006. 
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