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In general, allies are people or groups that have joined an alliance. In general English usage, a formal treaty is not required for being perceived as an ally - co-belligerence, to fight alongside someone, is enough. According to this usage, allies become allies not when concluding an alliance treaty but when struck by war.

When spelt with a capital A, Allies usually denotes the countries that fought together against the Central Powers in World War I and against the Axis powers in World War II. The term is generally used in the generic sense of "all who opposed the enemy". In addition, it is usually used in a strict dichotomy of them vs. us, reflecting wartime propaganda, with no account taken of nuances of countries that were occupied as neutrals, changed sides or participated in concurrent wars.

Table of contents
1 World War I
2 World War II

World War I

Main Allies

(US President Woodrow Wilson and his administration was however keen not to define USA as an ally. The U.S. entered the war as an "associated power" rather than as an ally of France and Britain, and maintained that distance through the war and the Paris Peace Conference, 1919.)

Other Allies

(Norway is at times referred to as "The Neutral Ally". While theoretically a neutral country, British pressure and anti-German sentiment in the population enabled the government to highly favour Britain in matters concerning the large Norwegian shipping fleet and vast fish supplies.)

World War II

After Nazi-Germany in March 1939 had occupied the remains of Czechoslovakia, the British ambassador was recalled from Berlin and Neville Chamberlain declared that if Hitler attacked Poland, considered next in turn for an assault by the Third Reich, then the UK and France would give Poland "all support in their power", a promise soon also given to Greece and the later Axis member Romania after Italy's conquest of Albania on April 7, 1939.

A formal military alliance was concluded between the UK, France and Poland on April 6th, 1939, whereafter also the Soviet Union initiated alliance negotiations, although unsuccessfully. The Soviet Union would instead agree with Nazi-Germany in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939.

The dates given below are for entry into the war.

Main Allies

(These countries later became the permanent members of the UN Security Council.)

Other Allies

The War in Europe effectively began when Poland was invaded on 1 September, 1939.

Several countries of the British Commonwealth declared war on Germany separately, either on the same day, or soon after Britain:

Most countries occupied by the Central powers continued the fight with resistance movements under governments in exile:

Poland was technically a government in exile after 1939, but the Polish contribution to World War II included up to 225,000 members of her armed forces.

British, Dutch and French colonies fought alongside their mother countries, and continued their contribution also when the mother countries were defeated.

From July 1944 a Brazilian Expeditionary Force (with at most 25,000 men) participated in the Allied invasion of Italy.

Other allies: