Do You Know How These Smaller Countries Sided in WWII?


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: Jones W A (Sgt), Royal Air Force official photographer

About This Quiz

When human nature takes a turn for the worst, it looks a lot like the Axis. In the late 1930s, conquest was the name of the game for Germany, Japan and Italy, as they succumbed to fanatical leaders who were obsessed with seizing land and resources no matter the price in human lives. The Allies rose to oppose the fanaticism – and the lines of the Second World War were drawn. Do you know which countries joined which side during this apocalyptic conflict?

Everyone knows the major players of the war. The Axis, led by Adolf Hitler and his mad dreams of racial superiority, spared no expense in men and machines in its conquest of Western Europe and North Africa. France, Britain, and other Allied nations banded together to stop them. Do you know which other nations joined the fight on the side of both good ... and evil?

America dodged the war for as long as possible. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, though, flung the U.S. into the violence. Do you know which countries used the attack on Hawaii as reasoning to declare war on the Axis?

By the time the gunpowder and bombs were gone, nearly every country in the world was a participant in World War II. Let’s see if you can name which side these nations joined during WWII!


Italy, of course, was one of the countries to sign the Tripartite Pact in 1940. And with this pact, Italy was firmly part of the Axis.



Italy invaded Greece in late 1940 -- and the Greeks stopped them. Unfortunately, Germany came to Italy's rescue and completed the occupation, and Grecians suffered for years until they were liberated in October 1944.



In both WWI and WWII, Switzerland managed to remain neutral. It was perhaps a wise move, as the nation found itself trapped, time and again, between the Axis and Allies.



After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Bulgaria declared war … on the Allies. The Allies eventually bombed numerous Bulgarian cities to smithereens, and the country was ultimately regarded as a vanquished foe at the end of the conflict.



With the conflict mostly far from its shores, Brazil opted to partake in the fighting. Its soldiers joined other Allied forces, particularly in Mediterranean Theatre of the war.



As part of the British Empire, Australia sided with the Allies. Tens of thousands of Austrialian troops became casualties in both theaters of the war.



Hungary hungrily joined the fray of the Tripartite Treaty, becoming a signatory in late 1940. Hundreds of thousands of its soldiers took the field against the USSR.



Had Mexico allowed the Axis to use any of its ports during the war, the results could have changed many of the conflict's dynamics. But Mexico sided with the Allies and even provided some military assistance.



The Republic of Ireland -- even though it was attacked by both sides at various times during the war -- remained officially neutral. The Irish did, however, offer assistance to the Allies on numerous occasions.



Oddly, Romania had friendly ties to both Britain and Poland at the war's outset, yet the kingdom slowly gravitated toward fascist ideals. It signed the Tripartite Pact and aligned with Germany, and participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union.



Unlike the United States, Canada wasted no time, immediately declaring war on Germany following the Nazi invasion of Poland. More than 1 million Canadians took part in the Allied cause.



Although Sweden was just north of the bloody European Theater, it managed to remain neutral. It made exceptions for both sides from time to time, but stayed out of the fray, and allowed refugees to hide within its borders.



Germany violated Belgium's borders and jailed its leaders in 1940, so it's no surprise the Belgians supported the Allies.



It's hard to fault Yugoslavia for its participation in the Axis. It was surrounded on all sides by Axis members, so if you can't beat them, join them. But its leaders weren't at all excited about Axis adventures.



Slovakia teamed up with Germany for its invasion of Poland in 1939. In 1942, the nation declared war on both the U.K. and U.S. Its leader, Josef Tiso, was executed following the war.



Iceland wanted no part of WWII, so it was neutral. Britain actually invaded the tiny country in early 1940, but the area was never really a factor in the war's outcome.


Costa Rica

Costa Rica's leaders were loudly anti-Nazi. They became part of the Allies immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor and declared war against the Axis.



Japan created a puppet stated called Manchukuo in 1932, and the area was essentially part of the Axis during the war. In 1945, the USSR attacked Manchukuo … and the Japanese flinched.



Tiny Ecuador had no stake in the fight of WWII. As the conflict boiled to its climax in 1945, the nation joined the Allies and allowed U.S. ships to ply its waters.



Like some other countries, Albania was never sold on Germany's war goals, but they did align with the Axis in part to appease German leaders. They also helped to hide Jews from the Germans, and thus, it prevented innocent people from being killed in the Holocaust.



Bolivia declared war on Germany in 1943, and shortly thereafter suffered a major coup. Its new leader actually preferred Hitler's evil, but pressure from other countries prevented Bolivia from turning heel.



Finland didn't really care about Germany's aspirations -- but it did want to retake the lands it lost to Soviet aggression. Its leaders didn't sign the Tripartite Pact, but the country did align itself with German forces against Stalin.



Better late than never. Argentina, far removed from most of the war's violence, was mostly neutral. But just a month before the war ended, it conveniently declared war on Germany, thus winding up on the right side of history.



It was one of the first countries conquered by the Japanese -- and it happened even though America tried to stop it. But the Philippines survived Japanese aggression and ultimately triumphed.



In early 1945, Japan created the Kingdom of Cambodia as a puppet state to strengthen its control of the area. But as soon as Japan surrendered, a new government was immediately installed.



Crushed by Axis aggression at the start of the war, Polish resistance fighters joined the Allies by the droves. But it would be four agonizing years before Poland would find liberation from the Nazis.



Afghanistan was virtually unscathed by WWII, but made up for the lack of violence in later decades. It was neutral during the conflict.



Let's call a spade a spade. Devastated by civil war in the late '30s, Spain was still an Axis member at heart, but didn't have the resources to participate in Hitler's insanity. It was -- in the technical sense -- neutral.



Once Yugoslavia had been invaded, gutted, and sawed into various pieces, the Independent State of Croatia (which was not really all that independent) became part of the Axis.


Dominican Republic

After Japan's attack on Pearl Harber, the Dominican Republic declared war on Germany and Japan. Just over 100 of its soldiers joined U.S. forces in combat.


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