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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.
The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. "Head of government" is often differentiated from "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.
The Allies of World War II, called the "United Nations" from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Enver Halil Hoxha was an Albanian communist politician who served as the head of state of Albania from 1944 until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania. He was chairman of the Democratic Front of Albania and commander-in-chief of the armed forces from 1944 until his death. He served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Albania from 1944 to 1954 and at various times served as foreign minister and defence minister as well.
The Party of Labour of Albania (PLA), sometimes referred to as the Albanian Workers' Party (AWP), was the vanguard party of Albania during the communist period (1945–1991) as well as the only legal political party. It was founded on November 8, 1941 as the Communist Party of Albania, but its name was changed in 1948. In 1991, the party was succeeded by the Socialist Party of Albania. For most of its existence, the party was dominated by its First Secretary, Enver Hoxha, who was also the de facto leader of Albania.
The National Liberation Movement, also translated as National Liberation Front, was an Albanian communist resistance organization that fought in World War II. It was created on 16 September 1942, in a conference held in Pezë, a village near Tirana, and was lead by Enver Hoxha. Apart from the figures which had the majority in the General Council it also included known nationalists like Myslim Peza. The Albanian National Liberation Front was later transformed in May 1944 into the government of Albania and its leaders became government members. It was replaced in August 1945 by the Democratic Front.
Leopold III was the King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951, when he abdicated in favour of the heir apparent, his son Baudouin. From 1944 until 1950, Leopold's brother, Charles, served as prince regent while Leopold was declared unable to reign. Leopold's controversial actions during the Second World War resulted in a political crisis known as the Royal Question. In 1950, the debate about whether Leopold could resume his royal functions escalated. Following a referendum, Leopold was allowed to return from exile to Belgium, but the continuing political instability pressured him to abdicate in 1951.
The Constitution of Belgium dates back to 1831. Since then Belgium has been a parliamentary monarchy that applies the principles of ministerial responsibility for the government policy and the Trias Politica. The Constitution established Belgium as a centralised unitary state. However, since 1970, through successive state reforms, Belgium has gradually evolved into a federal state.
The Royal Question was a major political crisis in Belgium that lasted from 1945 to 1951, coming to a head between March and August 1950. The "Question" at stake surrounded whether King Leopold III could return to the country and resume his royal role as King of the Belgians amid allegations that his actions during World War II had gone contrary to the provisions of the Belgian Constitution. It was eventually resolved by the abdication of Leopold in favour of his son, Baudouin, in 1951.
Getúlio Dornelles Vargas was a Brazilian lawyer and politician, who served as President during two periods: the first was from 1930 to 1945, when he served as interim president from 1930 to 1934, constitutional president from 1934 to 1937, and dictator from 1937 to 1945. After being overthrown in a 1945 coup, Vargas returned to power as the democratically elected president in 1951, serving until his suicide in 1954. Vargas led Brazil for 18 years, the longest of any President, and second in Brazilian history only to Emperor Pedro II among heads of state. He favored nationalism, industrialization, centralization, social welfare and populism – for the latter, Vargas won the nickname "The Father of the Poor". Vargas is one of a number of populists who arose during the 1930s in Latin America, including Lazaro Cardenas and Juan Perón, who promoted nationalism and pursued social reform. He was a proponent of workers' rights as well as a staunch anti-communist.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
The Brazilian Expeditionary Force or FEB consisted of about 25,700 men arranged by the army and air force to fight alongside the Allied forces in the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II. This air–land force consisted of a complete infantry division, a liaison flight, and a fighter squadron.
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death on 6 February 1952. He was the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies,, was an Australian politician who twice served as Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He played a central role in the creation of the Liberal Party of Australia, defining its policies and its broad outreach. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total.
The Prime Minister of Australia is the head of government of Australia. The individual who holds the office is the most senior Minister of State, the leader of the Federal Cabinet. The Prime Minister also has the responsibility of administering the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is the chair of the National Security Committee and the Council of Australian Governments. The office of Prime Minister is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia but exists through Westminster political convention. The individual who holds the office is commissioned by the Governor-General of Australia and at the Governor-General's pleasure subject to the Constitution of Australia and constitutional conventions.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
Michael 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.
Lord Bernard Cyril 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.
During this era he attempted to suppress Zionist and Arab nationalists but had to change this policy during the war.
Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it organised and supported the Resistance in occupied France.
The European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA) was a United States Army formation which directed US Army operations in parts of Europe from 1942 to 1945. It referred to Army Ground Forces, United States Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces operations north of Italy and the Mediterranean coast, in the European Theater of World War II. It was bordered to the south by the North African Theater of Operations, US Army (NATOUSA), which later became the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTOUSA).
Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, & Bar, was a senior officer of the British Army. He was Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), the professional head of the British Army, during the Second World War, and was promoted to field marshal in 1944. As chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Brooke was the foremost military advisor to Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, and had the role of co-ordinator of the British military efforts in the Allies' victory in 1945. After retiring from the British Army, he served as Lord High Constable of England during the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. His war diaries attracted attention for their criticism of Churchill and for Brooke's forthright views on other leading figures of the war.
The military history of France during World War II covers three periods. From 1939 until 1940, which witnessed a war against Germany by the French Third Republic. The period from 1940 until 1945, which saw competition between Vichy France and the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle for control of the overseas empire. And 1944, witnessing the landings of the Allies in France, expelling the German Army and putting an end to the Vichy Regime.
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force was the headquarters of the Commander of Allied forces in north west Europe, from late 1943 until the end of World War II. U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the commander in SHAEF throughout its existence. The position itself shares a common lineage with Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Atlantic, but they are different titles.
Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay, KCB, KBE, MVO was a Royal Navy officer. He commanded the destroyer HMS Broke during the First World War. In the Second World War, he was responsible for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 and planning and commanding the naval forces in the invasion of France in 1944.
Ugo Cavallero was an Italian military commander before and during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.
Hermann Balck was a highly decorated officer of the German Army who served in both World War I and World War II, rising to the rank of General der Panzertruppe.
The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma, Ceylon, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore. Conflict in this theatre began when the Empire of Japan invaded French Indochina in September 1940 and rose to a new level following the raid on Pearl Harbor, and simultaneous attacks on Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaya on 7 and 8 December 1941. The main landing at Singora on the east side of the Isthmus of Kra preceded the bombing of Pearl Harbor by several hours. Action in the theatre officially ended on 9 September 1945.
The Mediterranean Theater of Operations, United States Army (MTOUSA), originally called the North African Theater of Operations (NATOUSA), was the American term for the theater of operations covering North Africa and Italy during World War II. American operations in the theater began with the Allied Expeditionary Force, which landed on the beaches of northwest Africa on November 8, 1942, in Operation Torch. They ended in the Italian Alps some 31 months later with the German surrender in May 1945.
General Joseph Lawton Collins was a senior United States Army officer. During World War II, he served in both the Pacific and European Theaters of Operations, one of a few senior American commanders to do so. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the Korean War.
Middle East Command, later Middle East Land Forces, was a British Army Command established prior to the Second World War in Egypt. Its primary role was to command British land forces and co-ordinate with the relevant naval and air commands to defend British interests in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region.
The military career of Dwight D. Eisenhower encompassed over forty six years of active service.
Masakazu Kawabe was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army. He held important commands in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and during World War II in the Burma Campaign and defense of the Japanese homeland late in the war. He was also the elder brother of General Torashirō Kawabe.
Hans von Salmuth was a German general and war criminal during World War II. Salmuth commanded several armies on the Eastern Front, and the Fifteenth Army in France during the D-Day invasion. Following the war, he was tried in the High Command Trial, as part of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 20 years. He was released in 1953.
The Axis leaders of World War II were important political and military figures during World War II. The Axis was established with the signing of the Tripartite Pact in 1940 and pursued a strongly militarist and nationalist ideology; with a policy of anti-communism. During the early phase of the war, puppet governments were established in their occupied nations. When the war ended, many of them faced trial for war crimes. The chief leaders were Adolf Hitler of Germany, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Unlike what happened with the Allies, there was never a joint meeting of the main Axis heads of government, although Mussolini and Adolf Hitler did meet on a regular basis.
Lieutenant General Jean-Baptiste Piron was a Belgian military officer, best known for his role in the Free Belgian forces during World War II as commander of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade, widely known as the "Piron Brigade", between 1942 and 1944.
The involvement of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in World War II began with its invasion by German forces on 10 May 1940 and lasted beyond its liberation by Allied forces in late 1944 and early 1945.
The following are articles about the topic of France during World War II: