Home Intro People Events Equipment Places Maps Books Photos Videos Other Reference FAQ About

World War II Database


Full Name 82 Portuguese Republic
Alliance Neutral or Non-Belligerent
Population in 1939 7,595,000


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.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Jun 2014

Territories, Possessions, and Nations Under the Influence of Portugal
Portuguese IndiaPortuguese Mozambique
Portuguese MacauPortuguese Timor


WW2-Era Weather Data for Portugal

Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments
Security Code


Note: We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

Change View
Desktop View

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
Famous WW2 Quote
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937