|Full Name||82 Portuguese Republic|
|Alliance||Neutral or Non-Belligerent|
|Population in 1939||7,595,000|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseIn 1926, the 16-year-old Portuguese democracy was overthrown, replaced by the nominally-republican Ditadura Nacional (National Dictatorship), later renamed Estado Novo (New State). In 1932, António de Oliveira Salazar rose to power as the Prime Minister; he would remain in this role until 1968. Although Salazar's rule was anti-communist, nationalistic, and with fascist leanings, he avoided being viewed in the same ranks as other fascist regimes of the era, namely, Germany, Italy, and Japan. In fact, he respected and upheld the Treaty of Windsor of 1386, which binded England and Portugal in an alliance. Although Portugal had sent fascist Francisco Franco support during the Spanish Civil War, when the European War began in Sep 1939, Portugal announced its neutrality, refusing to be directly involved. Salazar's leanings in favor of Britain would slowly be revealed however. In 1940, Portugal allowed Britain to use the Portuguese islands of Madeira to house refugees from Gibraltar. Later, Portuguese military aircraft, based at Lajes Field in the Azores islands, conducted flights in support of Allied supply convoys. In 1943, British aircraft were allowed to be based at the Azores. In 1944, the same rights were granted to the Americans. All these actions indeed risked possible retaliation from Germany. In fact, Germany did prepare invasion plans against Portugal, but ultimately none of them would be executed, largely due to the fact that British troops never set foot on mainland Portugal. In terms of trade, however, Portugal's activities were not limited to the Allies; Portugal openly traded tungsten, rubber, sugar, and other products with nations of both sides of the conflict.
ww2dbasePortugal held some overseas colonies during this time, some of which saw minor involvement in the war. Portuguese Timor (now East Timor) was occupied by Australian and Dutch troops at the start of the Pacific War, and the Japanese invaded shortly afterwards. Timor would be occupied by the Japanese until 26 Sep 1945. In 1943, the Calcutta Light Horse regiment, sponsored by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), attacked and destroyed the German ship Ehrenfels at the Portuguese colony of Goa on the Indian subcontinent.
ww2dbaseSimilar to other non-belligerent countries in Europe, the capital city of Lisbon became a center for spy activities. Among many other well known spies of the WW2 period who had operated from Portugal included Juan Pujol Garcia ("Garbo") and William Colepaugh.
ww2dbaseThe Estado Novo remained in power until 1974.
Last Major Update: Jun 2014
|Territories, Possessions, and Nations Under the Influence of Portugal|
|Portuguese India||Portuguese Mozambique|
|Portuguese Macau||Portuguese Timor|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939