Allied leaders of World War II

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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.

Albania Free Albania[edit]

Belgium 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. 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.
  • 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. 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 and, although some conciliation was achieved, it led to a major political crisis after the war.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Brazil Brazil[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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 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.

United Kingdom British Empire & 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 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.



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]

The then Brigadier Stevens greets Peter Fraser, Prime Minister of New Zealand, at Naples Airport, May 1944

 Union of South Africa[edit]

 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland[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.

 Southern Rhodesia[edit]

Malaysia British Malaya[edit]

 British Mandate for Palestine[edit]

Ethiopia Empire of Ethiopia[edit]

Egypt Kingdom of Egypt[edit]

Czechoslovakia Free Czechoslovak Republic[edit]

Taiwan Republic of China[edit]

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Denmark Kingdom of Denmark[edit]

Thorvald Stauning, Prime minister of Denmark 1924–1942.
  • Thorvald Stauning Prime minister of Denmark from 1929 to his death in 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.
  • Christian X of Denmark Danish king from 1912–1947.

France French Third Republic (Until 1940)[edit]

  • 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.
  • Philippe Pétain was Prime Minister in 1940.
  • 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 France Free French Forces (and later Fighting France and Provisional government of the French Republic)[edit]

  • 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.
  • Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque was a leader of the Free French forces, and commanded forces both in Africa and in France. After the war ended, he commanded the French Far East Expeditionary Corps in the First Indochina War. He signed the armistice with Japan on behalf of France on September 2, 1945.
  • 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.
  • Marie-Pierre Kœnig became commander in chief of the French Forces of the Interior which effectively helped the Allies in the invasion of France.
  • 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.
  • Georges Catroux was the main French military leader in Syria and Lebanon before entering De Gaulle's government.
  • André Lemonnier was a French Admiral who served as the French Navy chief of staff in 1943 and led the French Navy's participation in Operation Dragoon (34 warships including one battleship and eight cruisers).

Greece Kingdom of Greece[edit]

  • George II of Greece was King of Greece from 1922 to 1924 and from 1935 to till his death in 1947. King George was pro-British, and this stance greatly influenced the country's policy. When 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.
  • Alexander Papagos was a Greek General who led the Greek Army in the Greco-Italian War and the Battle of Greece. As head of the Army from 1935, he played an active role in the attempts at its reorganization and modernization. When war was declared he was named Commander-in-Chief and led Greek forces against 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.
  • Aris Velouchiotis was the creator and chief leader of the Greek People's Liberation Army, the country's largest guerrilla force, aligned to the leftist National Liberation Front.

Iran Imperial State of Iran[edit]

Korea Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea[edit]

Liberia Republic of Liberia[edit]

Luxembourg Grand Duchy of Luxembourg[edit]

Mexico Mexico[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]

Mongolia Mongolian People's Republic[edit]

Netherlands Kingdom of the Netherlands[edit]

Norway 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.

Poland 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 Soviet Union[edit]

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

United States United States of America[edit]

European Front[edit]

Pacific Front[edit]

Puerto Rico 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.

Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippine Commonwealth[edit]

  • 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 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 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 Chetniks, the monarchic resistance movement, supported by the exiled royal government. Mihailović was decorated with the highest war medals by France and the United States (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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Retrieved 2008-09-25. [dead link]
  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. Retrieved 2008-09-25. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Ben Chifley". Australia's prime ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 2008-09-25. [dead link]
  7. ^
  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. 
  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. ^ Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration (1940). : "Education"] Check |url= scheme (help). Puerto Rico: A Guide to the Island of Boriquén. New York: The University Society, Inc. 
  15. ^ Puerto Rico Archives
  16. ^ Sontag, Blind Man's Bluff.
  17. ^ "Lieutenant General Pedro A. Del Valle, USMC". History Division. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved October 10, 2006.