Allied leaders of World War II

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Leaders of the "Big Three" central Allies, (from right to left) Churchill, Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at the Tehran Conference, 29 November 1943.
Generalissimo of China Chiang Kai-shek, Roosevelt, and Churchill at the Cairo Conference, 25 November 1943.
US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the Casablanca Conference, January 1943.
The final leaders of the Allies at the Potsdam Conference in 1945: Clement Attlee, Harry S. Truman, and Stalin.

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[edit]

Kingdom of Belgium[edit]

Hubert Pierlot, the prime minister of Belgium between 1939 and 1945, and leader of the Belgian government in exile
  • 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 but, although he rejected cooperation with the German occupiers he also refused to actively resist many of their policies. He was held under house-arrest in Belgium for much of the war. Because the refusal to follow the orders of his government violated the Constitution, he was declared "unable to rule" and the issue sparked a post-war political crisis.
  • Hubert Pierlot was the prime minister of Belgium from 1939 until 1945. Pierlot became the leader of the government during the Phoney War until the German invasion. Pierlot fled to Britain where he led the Belgian government in exile and presided over the formation of the Free Belgian forces. Despite his conservative politics, Pierlot denounced the surrender of Leopold III and officially suspended his reign in 1940 by invoking a clause in the Belgian Constitution. The disagreement created a lasting animosity between the Royalist faction in Belgium and the exiled government in London.
  • Pierre Ryckmans was Governor-General of Belgium's principal African colony, the Belgian Congo, for the duration of the war. Along with the Minister of the Colonies, Albert de Vleeschauwer, Ryckmans brought the Congo into the war on the Allied side, amid worries that the colony might follow the lead of Leopold III in Belgium and attempt to remain neutral. During Ryckmans' period in office, Congolese troops were sent to support British forces in East Africa and the Congo made a substantial economic contribution to the Allied war effort.
  • Victor van Strydonck de Burkel was a general of the Belgian Army who commanded the 1st Military Zone during the invasion of Belgium. After Belgium's surrender in 1940, he became the Commander of Belgian forces in Great Britain, and presided over the formation of the Free Belgian forces. After the liberation of Belgium he became the Chief of the Belgian Military Mission to Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.

United States of Brazil (1942–1945)[edit]

  • Getúlio Vargas was the president of Brazil for two periods, first from 1930 to 1945. Between 1937 and 1945 he ruled as dictator under the Estado Novo regime. Despite Brazil's strong economic ties with Nazi Germany, Vargas sided with the Allies after the sinking of Brazilian merchant ships by German U-boats, and declared war against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in August 1942. Vargas gave economic and military support (Brazilian Expeditionary Force) to the Allies.
  • João Baptista Mascarenhas de Morais was the commander of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force. He arrived in Italy with the first Brazilian troops in 1944 and commanded the Brazilian forces until the surrender of the Axis forces in Italy. After the end of the war he was given the rank of Field Marshal.
  • Euclides Zenóbio da Costa was the Commander of the first contingent of Brazilian troops to arrive at Italy, the 6th infantry RCT.

British Empire and Commonwealth[edit]

  • King George VI was the reigning monarch of the British Commonwealth during the war, and thus acted as Commander-in-Chief of a number of states within that organization, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand. 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.


Three of Australia's World War II prime ministers – Forde, Curtin and Menzies – plus World War I prime minister Billy Hughes


King George VI and 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[edit]

  • Michael Joseph Savage was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 6 December 1935 until his death on 27 March 1940. His government joined Britain in declaring war against Germany in 1939.
  • Peter Fraser became Prime Minister (27 March 1940 until 13 December 1949) after the death of Michael Savage. He led the country during the Second World War when he mobilised New Zealand supplies and volunteers to support Britain while boosting the economy and maintaining home front morale. He formed a war cabinet which included several erstwhile political opponents.
  • Bernard Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg (Lieutenant General), a veteran of the First World War where he won the Victoria Cross and three Distinguished Service Orders, he led the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Battle of Crete, the North African Campaign and the Italian Campaign.

British Raj India[edit]

Union of South Africa[edit]

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland[edit]

Malayan Union British Malaya[edit]


  • 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.

British Mandate for Palestine[edit]

Southern Rhodesia[edit]

Republic of China[edit]

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek and Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell in Burma in 1942.
  • Chiang Kai-shek was the Generalissimo of the National Revolutionary Army and the chairman of the National Military Council, the highest political organ of the nation at the time. He was also the Director-General of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and, from 1943, Chairman of the National Government. He took the nation into the full-scale war with Japan after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on 7 July 1937. After China joined the Allies in 1942, he was the Supreme Commander of the China Theatre, which also included Burma.
  • Soong Mei-ling was First Lady of the Republic of China and the wife of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. During the Second Sino-Japanese War she rallied her people against the Japanese invasion. Educated in the United States and speaking in eloquent English, she played an instrumental role in the formation of the Sino-American co-operation and conducted a speaking tour in the United States to gain international support.
  • Lin Sen, as Chairman (or President) of the National Government, was China's titular head of state but had no real power. Lin died in 1943, after which Chiang Kai-Shek assumed the role himself.
  • He Yingqin was the Chief of the General Staff of the National Military Council. He was also the Commander of the Fourth Military Region and led in the victorious Battle of West Hunan in 1945. He became the representative of both the Chinese Government and the Southeast Asia Allied Forces at the September 9th ceremony in Nanjing to accept the statement of surrender from Japan in 1945.
  • Chen Cheng was a General of the National Revolutionary Army and political figure in the National Military Council. He was one of Chiang's most trusted allies. He led in the Battle of Wuhan and he went on to command during the Battle of Changsha, Battle of Yichang and Battle of West Hubei in the latter years. In 1943, he was appointed the commander of the Chinese Expeditionary Force in Burma campaign. After the war, he became the Chief of the General Staff.
  • Bai Chongxi was a close ally of Guangxi warlord Li Zongren and the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the National Military Council. He was a key strategist who convinced Chiang to adopt a "Total War" strategy. He was also involved in many key campaigns including the first major victory at the Battle of Tai'erzhuang and also the Battle of Wuhan in 1938. He also commanded another victorious First Battle of Changsha in 1939. Bai also directed the Battle of South Guangxi and Battle of Kunlun Pass to retake South Guangxi in the later stage.
  • Li Zongren was a former Guangxi warlord who fought in alliance with Chiang Kai-shek in the war against Japan. He was the commander of the Battle of Xuzhou and famously won the Battle of Tai'erzhuang, the first major Chinese victory in the war, and commanded one of the largest and relatively better equipped regional armies that comprised the bulk of the Chinese armed forces during the war.
  • Yan Xishan was a former Shanxi warlord who fought in alliance with Chiang Kai-shek. During the early stage of the Japanese invasion, he invited Communist military forces to enter Shanxi to fight with the Japanese and defended Taiyuan in 1937. He was a member of the National Military Council and the Commander of the Second Military Region.
  • Wei Lihuang was a General of the National Revolutionary Army and the Commander of the Chinese Expeditionary Force in 1943 and 1944 which was responsible for the major ground operations in support of U.S. General Joseph W. Stilwell's offensive in Northern Burma and Western Yunnan and the construction of Ledo Road.
  • Xue Yue was a General of the National Revolutionary Army and the Commander of the Ninth Military Region. He was known for defending Changsha from Japanese offensives for three times in 1939, 1941 and 1942.
  • Claire Lee Chennault was the commander of the Flying Tigers. Originally a military advisor to Chiang Kai-shek, Chennault was asked to establish American squadrons to aid the Republic of China. Chennault spent the winter of 1940–1941 in Washington, helping to negotiate the establishment of the American Volunteer Group. The AVG began their service with the Chinese Air Force in 1941 until it was disbanded in 1942.[10]
  • Mao Zedong was the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party who formed the "United Front" with the Nationalist Government against Japanese aggression. The Red Army was reorganized into the New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army, which were placed under the nominal command of the National Revolutionary Army despite the Communist Party remained full control of the armies. The cooperation between the Nationalists and the Communists began to break down by 1939 as the two forces clashed and effectively ended after the New Fourth Army Incident in 1941.
  • Zhu De was commander-in-chief of the Eighth Route Army and a top military leader within the Chinese Communist Party.
  • Peng Dehuai commanded the Hundred Regiments Offensive, the largest Communist offensive during the war.

Republic of Cuba (1941-1945)[edit]

Free Czechoslovak Republic[edit]

Kingdom of Denmark (1940–1945)[edit]

Thorvald Stauning, Prime minister of Denmark 1924–1942.

Kingdom of Egypt[edit]

Ethiopian Empire[edit]

Haile Selassie with Orde Wingate (right)

French Republic[edit]

  • Albert 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.
  • Philippe Pétain was prime minister in 1940.
  • 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)[edit]

Kingdom of Greece (1940–1945)[edit]

Imperial State of Iran (after Anglo-Soviet Invasion)[edit]

Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea[edit]

Republic of Liberia[edit]

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg[edit]

United Mexican States (1942-1945)[edit]

  • 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]

Mongolian People's Republic[edit]

Kingdom of the Netherlands (1940–1945)[edit]

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands gives a radio speech, 1940

Kingdom of Norway[edit]

  • 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.
  • Otto Ruge was Chief of Defence of Norway from May to June 1940, leading the Norwegian forces in the Norwegian Campaign. After the Germans had conquered Norway, Ruge was arrested and sent to Germany. He resumed his position for a short time after the war.
  • Crown Prince Olav was Chief of Defence, leading the Norwegian forces in exile from 1 July 1944.
  • 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[edit]

  • Ignacy Mościcki was President of Poland from 1926 until 1939. After the Invasion of Poland he was forced to resign and went into exile in Switzerland.
  • 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.
  • Edward Rydz-Śmigły was Marshal of Poland and commander of the Polish armed forces during the invasion of Poland. After the invasion; Śmigły-Rydz took complete responsibility for Poland's military defeat. He later resigned and joined the resistance movement as a common underground soldier.
  • 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[edit]

Soviet Union (1941–1945)[edit]

Marshal Zhukov reading the German capitulation. Seated on his right is Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder.

United States of America (1941–1945)[edit]

European and North African Front[edit]

Pacific Front[edit]

Puerto Rico[edit]

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.
  • Rexford Tugwell, Tugwell served as the last appointed American Governor of Puerto Rico, from 1941 to 1946. He worked with the legislature to create the Puerto Rico Planning, Urbanization, and Zoning Board in 1942. Tugwell supported Puerto Rican self-government through amendment to the Organic Act in 1948. He publicly supported Luis Muñoz Marín's Popular Democratic Party, the PPD, which wanted a Commonwealth status. As he prepared to retire from the Governorship, Tugwell was instrumental in getting the first Puerto Rican appointed to the job, Jesús T. Piñero, then serving as Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. Tugwell also served as Chancellor of the University of Puerto Rico.
  • Virgil R. Miller, Colonel, U.S. Army, was the Regimental Commander of the 442d Regimental Combat Team (RCT), a unit which was composed of "Nisei" (second generation Americans of Japanese descent), during World War II. He led the 442nd in its rescue of the Lost Texas Battalion of the 36th Infantry Division, in the forests of the Vosges Mountains in northeastern France.[14]

Commonwealth of the Philippines[edit]

Manuel L. Quezon
  • Manuel L. Quezon was the first Filipino president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines under U.S. rule in the early period of the 20th century. After the Japanese invasion, he was evacuated to Washington D.C. where he died of tuberculosis in 1944.
  • 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[edit]

  • 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 Prince Regent, 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 Chetniks, the royalist resistance movement, supported by the exiled royal government until August 1944, when the government switched support to Josip Broz Tito's Partisans under British pressure. Mihailović was decorated with the highest war medals by France and the United States (Legion of Merit). After the war, he was executed by the newly formed Communist government of Tito in 1945 for high treason, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 2015, he was rehabilitated by the High Court of Serbia.
  • 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 nationwide 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.
  • Dušan Simović was the Chief of the General Staff of the Royal Yugoslav Army and Prime Minister.
  • Slobodan Jovanović was the prime minister of the Yugoslav government in exile during World War II from January 11, 1942, to June 26, 1943.
  • Ivan Šubašić was the prime minister of the Yugoslav government in exile when the Treaty of Vis (or Tito-Šubašić Agreement) was signed on June 14, 1944.

See also[edit]


  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. Archived from the original on May 1, 2003. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  3. ^ "Arthur Fadden". Australia's prime ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 2008-09-25.[dead link]
  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. Archived from the original on July 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  6. ^ "Ben Chifley". Australia's prime ministers. National Archives of Australia. Archived from the original on June 18, 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  7. ^ "machine code facts, information, pictures". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  8. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "General Sir Archibald Percival Wavell". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942.
  9. ^ L, Klemen (1999–2000). "Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942. Archived from the original on 2011-09-24.
  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 Archived April 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  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. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26.
  14. ^ Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration (1940). "Education". Puerto Rico: A Guide to the Island of Boriquén. New York: The University Society, Inc. Archived from the original on 2000-07-07.
  15. ^ "RootsWeb: PUERTORICO-L Re: Navy Admirals from Puerto Rico". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  16. ^ Sontag, Blind Man's Bluff.
  17. ^ "Lieutenant General Pedro A. Del Valle, USMC". History Division. United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on October 23, 2006. Retrieved October 10, 2006.