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The Allied Powers

The Allied Powers

Even though China had been fighting longest among all the Allied powers, it only officially joined the Allies after the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 9, 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.

France and the United Kingdom were already linked by the Entente Cordiale (since 1904) and had been members of the Triple Entente during The Great War.

In 1938, Czechoslovakia had formal alliances with the Soviet Union (USSR) and France, but when Nazi Germany sought to annex the Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia, neither France nor the USSR was willing and/or able to offer military support. France and the United Kingdom instead approved the annexation, under the Treaty of Munich. Other areas of Czechoslovakia were subsequently annexed by Poland (in October 1938) and Hungary (in November 1938). The remaining territory was occupied by Nazi Germany in March 1939.

The British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared that if Hitler attacked Poland, which was considered to be at risk of an assault by the Third Reich, then Britain and France would give Poland "all support in their power". This promise was extended to Greece and Romania, after Italy's conquest of Albania on April 7th, 1939. A formal military alliance was concluded between the UK, France and Poland on April 6th, 1939.

Meanwhile, attempts by the Soviet Union to negotiate an alliance with France and Britain proved unsuccessful. Furthermore, in both mid-1938 and between May-August, 1939, the Soviets were involved in localised conflicts with Japan (see Battle of Lake Khasan and Battle of Halhin Gol). Wishing to avoid war with Germany, on August 23rd, 1939, the USSR signed the German-Soviet non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany.

On September 1st, the German invasion of Poland began World War II. Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand all declared war on Germany on September 3rd. Nepal, Newfoundland, Tonga, South Africa and Canada followed suit within days. On September 17, the Soviets invaded Poland from the East. The following year, the USSR annexed the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) together with parts of Romania, and attacked Finland. The German-Soviet agreement was brought to an end by the German invasion of the USSR on June 22nd, 1941.

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