During December 1941, Roosevelt devised the name "United Nations" for the Allies, and the Declaration by United Nations, on 1 January 1942, was the basis of the modern UN.[1] At the Potsdam Conference of July-August 1945, Roosevelt's successor, Harry S. Truman, proposed that the foreign ministers of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States "should draft the peace treaties and boundary settlements of Europe," which led to the creation of the Council of Foreign Ministers.[2]


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Cairo conference

The Allied leaders of the Asian and Pacific Theatres: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill meeting at the Cairo Conference in 1943.

After the German invasion of PolandEdit


After the invasion of the USSR Edit

After the attack on Pearl HarborEdit

After the Declaration by United NationsEdit

Main article: Declaration by United Nations

After Operation Bagration and D-DayEdit

Main article: Operation Bagration



Main article: Second Sino-Japanese War

During the 1920s, the Kuomintang (KMT) government led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was aided by the Soviet Union, which helped to reorganise the party, superficially at least, along Leninist lines: a unification of party, state, and army. However, following the nominal unification of China in 1928, Chiang Kai-shek purged leftists from his party and fought against the Chinese Communist Party, former warlords, and other militarist factions. A fragmented China provided easy opportunities for Japan to gain territories piece by piece without engaging in total war. Following the 1931 Mukden Incident, the puppet state of Manchukuo was established. Throughout the early to mid 1930s, Chiang's anti-communist and anti-militarist campaigns continued while he fought small, incessant conflicts against Japan, usually followed by unfavorable settlements and concessions.

In the early 1930s, Germany and China became close partners in military and industrial matters. Nazi Germany provided the largest proportion of Chinese arms imports and technical expertise. Following the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 7 July 1937, China and Japan became embroiled in a full-scale war which continued until 1945. The Soviet Union, wishing to keep China in the fight against Japan, supplied China with some military assistance until 1941, until it made peace with Japan to prepare for the war against Germany.

Even though China had been fighting the longest among all the Allied powers, it only officially joined the Allies after the attack on Pearl Harbor, on 7 December 1941. Chiang Kai-shek felt Allied victory was assured with the entrance of the United States into the war, and he declared war on Germany and the other Axis nations. However, Allied aid remained low because the Burma Road was closed and the Allies suffered a series of military defeats against Japan early on in the campaign. The bulk of military aid did not arrive until the spring of 1945. More than 1.5 million Japanese troops were trapped in the China Theatre; troops that otherwise could have been deployed elsewhere if China had collapsed and made a separate peace with Japan.

Key alliances are formedEdit

File:Allies monument.jpg

On the day 1 September 1939, the German invasion of Poland began World War II. The United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany on the third of September. The British declaration also covered the Indian Empire and other states which were British Crown Colonies at the time.

Following the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the Dominions of the British Commonwealth had independence in foreign policy. Australia and New Zealand accepted and reiterated the British declaration. Nepal, another independent Kingdom, declared war against imperialism on 4 September. The South African Prime Minister, Barry Hertzog, refused to declare war, leading to the collapse of his coalition government on 6 September; the new Prime Minister, Jan Smuts, declared war that same day. Canada declared war on Germany on 10 September; this was necessary as Canada had ratified the Statute of Westminster.

On 17 September, USSR invaded Poland from the East, and on 30 November, the Soviet Union attacked Finland. The following year the USSR annexed the Baltic statesEstonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — together with parts of Romania. The German-Soviet agreement was brought to an end by the German invasion of the USSR on 22 June 1941.

The United States of America joined the Allies following the attack on Pearl Harbor, on 7 December 1941. The Declaration by United Nations, on 1 January 1942, officially united 26 nations as Allies. The informal Big 3 alliance of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States emerged in the later half of the war, and their decisions determined Allied strategy around the world.

Formal alliances during the warEdit

Original AlliesEdit

The original Allies were those countries that declared war on Nazi Germany following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939.

These countries were allied to each other by a net of common defence pacts and military alliance pacts signed before the war. The Franco-British Alliance dated back to the Entente Cordiale of 1904 and the Triple Entente of 1907, active during the World War I. The Franco-Polish Alliance was signed in 1921 and then amended in 1927 and 1939. The Polish-British Common Defence Pact, signed on 25 August 1939, contained promises of mutual military assistance between the nations in the event either was attacked by Nazi Germany.


Main article: Polish contribution to World War II

The invasion of Poland started the war in Europe. Poland fielded the third biggest army[5] among the European Allies, after the Soviet Union and Great Britain, but before France. The country never officially surrendered to the Third Reich and continued the war effort under the Polish government in exile. Home Army, the biggest underground force in Europe, and other resistance organizations in occupied Poland provided intelligence that enabled successful operations later in the war and led to uncovering the Nazi war crimes (i.e., death camps) to the Western Allies. Notable Polish units fought in every campaign in Europe and North Africa (outside the Balkans). Polish Armed Forces in the West were created in France and, after its fall, in the United Kingdom. The Soviet Union recognized the London-based government but broke diplomatic relations after the revelation of the Katyn massacre. In 1943, the Soviet Union organized the Polish People's Army under Zygmunt Berling, around which it constructed the post-war successor state People's Republic of Poland. The Polish People's Army took part in the Battle of Berlin, the closing battle of the European theater of war.

British Commonwealth/British EmpireEdit

The United Kingdom and territories controlled by the Colonial Office (the Crown Colonies) and the British Indian Empire[6] were controlled politically by Britain and therefore also entered hostilities with Britain's declaration of war.

Apart from these were the independent members of the British Commonwealth known as the Dominions. These declared war on Germany separately, either on the same day, or soon afterwards. These countries were: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. Newfoundland had given up self-rule and was at the time under effective rule from the UK; it did not become part of Canada until 1949.

The British Indian Empire contributed about 2,500,000 personnel. It suffered 1,500,000 civilian casualties (more than the United Kingdom), mainly from the Bengal famine of 1943 caused by the fall of Burma to the Japanese,[7] and 87,000 military casualties (more than any Commonwealth country but fewer than the United Kingdom). The UK suffered 382,000 military casualties.


Main article: Military history of France during World War II

France experienced several major phases of action during World War II:

Oslo GroupEdit

The Oslo Group was an organisation of officially neutral countries. Four members later joined the Allies, as governments in exile: the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The Republic of Finland was attacked by the USSR on 30 November 1939.[8] Later Finland and the Kingdom of Denmark officially joined the Axis Anti-Comintern Pact. The Kingdom of Sweden remained officially neutral. Following the Moscow armistice of September 1944, Finland effectively joined the Allies and expelled German forces. This led to a series of armed clashes called the Lapland War.

Denmark was invaded by Germany on 9 April 1940. The Danish government did not declare war and it surrendered the same day, on the understanding that it retain control of domestic affairs. No government-in-exile was formed. Danes fought with both Allied and Axis forces. Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland, which were respectively in union with Denmark and a Danish colony, were occupied by the Allies for most of the war. British forces took control in Iceland on 10 May 1940, and it was used to facilitate the movement of Lend Lease equipment. Forces from the United States, although they were officially neutral at the time, occupied Greenland on 9 April 1941. The U.S. also took over in Iceland on 7 July 1941. Iceland declared full independence from Denmark in 1944, but never declared war on any of the Axis powers.

Portuguese CaseEdit

Although Portugal remained officially neutral, and the Salazar Dictatorship admired Fascist regimes, there was the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance — the world's oldest military alliance (1373) — reactivated by the United Kingdom during World War II, leading to the establishment of an Anglo-American base in Lajes, Terceira Island, Azores, which Salazar finally accepted (December 1943), though he was not in position to refuse anyway. Since 1940, both Churchill and Roosevelt were facing the possibility of a preventive occupation of Azores.[9] Portugal also protested the occupation of Portuguese Timor by Allied forces in 1942 but did not actively resist. The colony was subsequently occupied by Japan. Timorese and Portuguese civilians assisted Australian commandos in resisting the Japanese.

Pan American UnionEdit

The members of the Pan American Union, who were all neutral between 1939 and 1941, formed a mutual defense pact at a conference of foreign ministers at Havana, on 21 July 1940 – 30 July 1940. The "Declaration on Reciprocal Assistance and Cooperation for the Defense of the Nations of the Americas" was part of the Final Act of the Second Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics at Havana, Cuba, July 30, 1940.[10] There were twenty-one signatories:

From this group, three countries participated in the War taking military actions against the Nations of Axis Powers:

  • USA, as one of the Big Three, the leader group of Allies Nations (at the side of the British empire - which was led by United Kingdom - and the then USSR) played the major role in defeat and surrender of Japan as well as a decisive ones in defeat of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany;

The other 18 countries from this group contributed given support in many ways on lesser degrees or limited to war declaration.


The following socialist and pro-Soviet forces fought against the Axis powers before or during the Second World War:

Atlantic CharterEdit

The Atlantic Charter was negotiated at the Atlantic Conference by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, aboard warships in a secure anchorage at NS Argentia, Newfoundland (located on Placentia Bay) and was issued as a joint declaration on 14 August 1941.

The Atlantic Charter established a vision for a post-World War II world, despite the fact the United States had yet to enter the war.

In brief, the nine points were:

  1. no territorial gains sought by the United States or the United Kingdom;
  2. territorial adjustments must be in accord with wishes of the people;
  3. the right to self-determination of peoples;
  4. trade barriers lowered;
  5. global economic cooperation and advancement of social welfare;
  6. freedom from want and fear;
  7. freedom of the seas;
  8. disarmament of aggressor nations, postwar common disarmament;
  9. defeat of Germany and other Axis powers.

The Atlantic Charter proved to be one of the first steps towards the formation of the United Nations.

United NationsEdit

Declaration by United NationsEdit

Naciones Unidas 3

Wartime poster for the United Nations, created in 1943 by the U.S. Office of War Information.

Main article: Declaration by United Nations

The alliance was formalised in the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942. There were 27 signatories, as follows:

  • Flag of Australia Australia
  • Flag of Belgium (civil) Belgium
  • Flag of Brazil Brazil
  • Flag of the Republic of China Republic of China
  • Flag of Canada 1921 Canada
  • Flag of Colombia Colombia
  • Flag of Costa Rica Costa Rica
  • Flag of Cuba Cuba
  • Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
  • Flag of the Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
  • Flag of El Salvador El Salvador
  • Hellenic Kingdom Flag 1935 Greece
  • Flag of Guatemala Guatemala
  • Flag of Haiti Haiti
  • Flag of Honduras Honduras
  • British Raj Red Ensign India
  • Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg
  • Flag of Mexico Mexico
  • Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands
  • Flag of New Zealand New Zealand
  • Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua
  • Flag of Norway Norway
  • Flag of Panama Panama
  • Flag of Peru Peru
  • Flag of the Philippines Philippines
  • Flag of Poland Poland
  • Flag of South Africa 1928-1994 South Africa
  • Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • Flag of the Soviet Union 1923 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
  • Flag of the United States United States
  • Yugoslav Partisans flag 1945 Yugoslavia

Later in 1942, Mexico, Philippine Commonwealth and Ethiopia adhered to the declaration. During 1943, it was signed by Iraq, Iran, Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia. In 1944, Liberia and France signed . During the early part of 1945, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, Uruguay, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and Ecuador became signatories.

Charter of the United NationsEdit

Main article: Charter of the United Nations
The Charter of the United Nations was agreed to during the war at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, held between April and July 1945. The Charter was signed by 50 nations on 26 June (Poland had its place reserved and later became the 51st "original" signatory), and was formally ratified shortly after the war on 24 October 1945. The five leading Allied nations, namely China, France[citation needed], the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States met repeatedly during the war, such as at the 1944 conference at Dumbarton Oaks where the formation and permanent seats of the United Nations Security Council were decided. The Security Council met for the first time in the immediate aftermath of war on 17 January 1946.[11]
Flag of the United Nations (1945-1947)

The first version of the UN flag, introduced in April 1945.

These are the original 51 signatories (Security Council Permanent members are asterisked).:


On 29 January 1946, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union agreed to end their occupation of Iran, six months after the end of the war. The Tripartite Treaty of Alliance also formalised Iran's assistance to the Allies.[12]

See also Edit


  1. Douglas Brinkley, FDR & the Making of the U.N.
  2. Churchill, Winston S. (1981) [1953]. The Second World War, Volume VI: Triumph and Tragedy. Houghton-Mifflin Company. p. 561. 
  3. Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was founded on 29 November 1943, by the Yugoslav Partisans, who were recognised as an Ally at the Tehran Conference.
  4. effectively the British Empire but excluding the Dominions.
  6. including the areas covered by the later Republic of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
  7. Gordon, Leonard A., Review of Prosperity and Misery in Modern Bengal: The Famine of 1943-1944 by Greenough, Paul R., The American Historical Review, Vol. 88, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), p. 1051 (
  9. Kenneth G. Weiss, The Azores in Diplomacy and Strategy, 1940-1945, Center for Naval Analyses, 1980, Alexandria, VA
  11. United Nations Security Council: Official Records: First Year, First Series, First Meeting

External linksEdit

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