Western Allies

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The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the First World War and Second World War. It generally includes the British Empire, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and the Kingdom of Serbia and Kingdom of Montenegro and their successor state, Yugoslavia due to different economic, geographic and political circumstances, some of which arose after the wars. Similarly, Poland and Czechoslovakia are often excluded from the term, because of their post-war forced inclusion in the Eastern Bloc, even though Polish and Czechoslovak armed forces fought alongside Western Allies (Poland fought against Germany before any of the Western Allies joined the war). Most African and Asian allies not part of the British Commonwealth or France are often excluded from the term, though irregular Arabian and Ethiopian forces fought along the Western Allies. France is also often counted among the Western Allies, because although the Vichy Regime collaborated with the Axis powers and fought the Allies, the Free French military forces played a major role against the Axis Powers throughout the war, similarly to many nations that endured military occupation and collaboration.

After the Second World War, some of the territory of the defeated Axis powers came under occupation by the Western Allies. Germany and Austria were divided among American, British, French and Soviet control. In 1949 the American, British and French sectors in Germany became the Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany, while the Soviet sector became the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. All four of the Austrian occupation sectors became the Republic of Austria, or Second Austrian Republic. Austria became a neutral state but Italy, West Germany and a mix of wartime Western Allies and some formerly neutral states taking in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Iceland, Portugal, Spain and Greece became the Western Bloc. Canada, the United States, and the European countries among this group formed a military alliance called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, to oppose the Eastern Bloc and their military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, which was composed of the wartime Allies Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union, the ex-Axis powers of Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary and Romania as well as Albania. The conflict between the Eastern and Western Blocs became known as the Cold War. Though initially politically close to the Soviet Union, Albania, China, and Yugoslavia became nonaligned over the course of the Cold War. Cuba, another one of the Allies during World War II, became aligned with the Eastern Bloc after 1959 as did Ethiopia after 1974.

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