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Portugal and WW2.


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#1 Owen

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:04 PM

If Portugal is know as Britain's oldest Ally and had troops on the Western Front in WW1, why did they remain out of WW2?
Or did they secretly help?
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#2 plant-pilot

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:13 PM

Something I've also wondered. Maybe if Portugal ahd been an active ally Gibralter wouldn't have been so important as a stopping off point to and from the Med. Important yes, but not as a stopping off point.
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#3 Kitty

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:18 PM

Maybe Portugal had seen the effectiveness of Germany when they got involved in the Spanish Civil War and decided to stay out of things. Can't blame them if they did. Isn't ZR of Portuguese descent? Maybe he can tell us.
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#4 smc

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:29 PM

The Allies used the Azores as an airplane base from 1943 onwards. From what I gather Salazar was more inclined towards the Allies than the Axis. I'd imagine their position would be dictated by Spain. If they joined the Allies the Spanish may have decided to allow Germany to cross its territory or use bases to attack the Portuguese. Best thing to do was stay out and sell materials to both sides for much needed hard currency which is what they did.
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#5 Za Rodinu

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:58 PM

First of all I am entirely Portuguese and mighty proud of it :lol:

Let's see... The alliance between England (at the time) and Portugal was signed in 1373 and still stands at this date, never having been interrupted, which says more for Portuguese character than...

I am going to leave WWI out of this as this was a very difficult time for us, and more proper for another forum, not an WWII one.

In 1926 Portugal fell under a right-wing military dictatorship, but actually that was quite an incompetent form of govenrment, the economy was and remained in the dumps. They recruited a college don who was actually quite brilliant, and through force of will forced his way to prime-minister, leaving the military with a presidency for show only while he held the real power. He was right-wing, catholic conservantist, but keeping the church well at arms length too, he knew which side HIS bread was buttered. Oh, and he did a fine work of book balancing, so at least there he did a good job at the time.

So, when the Spanish Civil War came up he supported Franco as the obvious candidate, considering the Legitimist side were Socialists or worse. Even so things were not entirely to his satisfaction, as he never got very close to Franco, Portugal was Portugal, Spain was Spain and no need to talk too much into that.

Relations with Italy were not bad, they were even allowed to sell us some Breda 65s (awful planes!) while those northern barbarians reluctantly (we were supposed to be all jews!) sold us a few Ju52s and Ju86s. The army made the Mauser Kar98k it's standard weapon until the early 60s.

All this caused an immense row with the UK, but at the same time WW2 broke out. Portugal had no casus belli with Germany (not the same in WWI), was too weak to go into any war, besides there was this big lump of a problem across the frontier called Spain who was neutral too.

So we went into a not very strict neutrality with the UK. I could say we were more neutral towards the Axis than towards the Allies, but the old Alliance was taken seriously and we did all we could under the counter to help the UK, (especially so after winter 1942, go figure!). This was duly discussed and consensus was reached that the status quo was better than full fledged belligerence, as then the Allies would have to give a much larger propo to the economy of their frail candidate ally.

So by that time the UK (and later the US) were given right to establish air bases in the Azores, in the middle of the Atlantic, an excellent place to go hunting for subs and closing the Mid-Atlantic Gap, which saved innumerable lives. At the same time Portugal allowed itself to be bribed not to sell tungsten to the Germans and sell the entire crop to the Allies.

In exchange we got a large influx of arms, including the 3.7"AA guns my father served with and some 300 Spits and Hurricanes, but after the war made the huge mistake of refusing the Marshall Plan which was actually offered.
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#6 Za Rodinu

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:00 PM

If they joined the Allies the Spanish may have decided to allow Germany to cross its territory or use bases to attack the Portuguese.


Who cared about the Germans, we were scared stiff of the Spaniards deciding to invade!!!
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#7 Owen

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:06 PM

ZaRodinu, (I prefer your real name, Miguel)
Thank You for that. Glad you deserted the Russian Front to give me a breif history lesson.
If you ever feel like expanding on the 1914-18 War involvement I invite you to join another Forum I visit.http://1914-1918.inv...one.com/forums/

Could you drop the Soviet name for a more Portugese one?
Maybe it'll be better to stay Neutral on this Forum.
As you seem to get the Anti-Soviet Americans on your back alot.
(well 1 anyway.)
Cheers.
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#8 Owen

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:27 PM

Miguel. In your post on the WW2 relatives thread you mentioned this incident.

QUOTE"Actually Portugal benefitted by this stream when 2 squadrons of P-39s went astray, had to land and interned. That's how the PAF got itself strenghtened by 30 P-39s :)"

Were the pilots interned for the Duration or sent back home?
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#9 Za Rodinu

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:35 PM

Za Rodinu is the name I go for in another forum, and it goes well with my persona. If some people seem to dislike it, bad luck for them, besides I have enough true-blue American historians and militarymen on my side, so why worry.

Oh and I have another much worse alias which I use on a wargames group so Za Rodinu (Long live the Motherland) is okay here ;) (see pm!)

Anyway my main field of interest is the Great Patriotic War (East Front to you) so a Russian name will be much more adequate than a bland first name.

I'm not really much into WWI, and the portuguese participation was rather unfortunate, so I'm not very interested.
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#10 Story

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:42 PM

From what Miguel posted on the other thread, about his father and the P-39s:

eside Russian and British use, the P-39 saw service in Portugal where examples that had been forced to land while on ferry flights were impressed and used as interceptors. The Portuguese eventually got their hands on 18 Airacobras, which they purchased from America after the end of the war. The American pilots that had been flying these aircraft were interned but usually managed to "escape" back to England or to North Africa via merchant ships. The Portuguese Arma da Aeronautica were more than pleased to have what they considered modern aircraft.
http://www.lumiverse...62/pg_20?pi=lum

Like I suggested in the other thread, the "mistake" might have been deliberate.
Check out this guy's quest -
http://www.armyairfo.../m_69448/tm.htm
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#11 Owen

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:48 PM

Thanks Story, I'm flicking between two different Forums and missing replies and posts.
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#12 von Poop

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:57 PM

Za Rodinu is the name I go for in another forum, and it goes well with my persona. If some people seem to dislike it, bad luck for them, besides I have enough true-blue American historians and militarymen on my side, so why worry.


Posted Image
I say stick with what you picked! :cool:
(from http://www.iisg.nl/c...s/zarodinu.html ..excellent archive)
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#13 Za Rodinu

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 09:01 PM

Very interesting, Story, I'll try to pass this last link to other buddies back in Portugal! A son of one these gaggle, and still alive and active!

I thought the number was 30, by I'm not going to put my head on the block over this, my books are back in Portugal and I'm in Ireland!

Actually a large variety of planes was interned during the war, including 2 P-38s which landed in Lisbon's civil airport. Well, these had to be flown to an airbase nearby, and one of the US pilots was passing some notes to the Portuguese ferry pilot. The US pilot must have said something like, "Here, I'll show you", got in the cockpit, slammed the throttles open and flew away!

This was not quite a country at war, he was interned in a neutral country, which is quite different than prisioner of war status. International laws apply, regarding persons and articles. This generated a strong diplomatic protest, and the USAAC duly returned the P-38, but I don't really remember what happened to the pilot, I may check later.
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#14 Commissar_Smith

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 01:07 AM

Portugal was then ruled by a fascist government - had Axis sympathies and was part of the fascist alliance in the Spanish Civil War. A lot of Nazis and other Axis leaders and war criminals hid out in Portugal after the war.
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#15 Story

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 03:17 AM

Portugal was then ruled by a fascist government - had Axis sympathies and was part of the fascist alliance in the Spanish Civil War. A lot of Nazis and other Axis leaders and war criminals hid out in Portugal after the war.


What better - and more economical - way of buying off a country that's on the fence than to slip them a bribe of some really cool planes? I doubt that Uncle Sugar would have dispatched Bell mechanics, if the Pentagon was *really* ticked off about losing those planes.
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#16 Kitty

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 11:30 AM

Cheers for another history lesson ZR. Very informative. Must say i like the way Portugal played the middle ground. Took some guts and a lot of luck.
Kitty
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#17 smc

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 06:45 PM

Who cared about the Germans, we were scared stiff of the Spaniards deciding to invade!!!


You know the Spanish they would have borrowed a few divisions of the Wehrmacht to help them.

Weren't the Duke and Duchess of York (ex-King Edward VIII) swanning around the Algarve until about 1941?
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#18 Za Rodinu

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 09:27 PM

Let's see:
Commissar Smith: "Portugal was then ruled by a fascist government - had Axis sympathies and was part of the fascist alliance in the Spanish Civil War. A lot of Nazis and other Axis leaders and war criminals hid out in Portugal after the war."

That's correct, but Realpolitik forced Portugal and the Allies conformed their policies to each other, and the Dictatorship you refer to was a founder member of NATO.

The nazis etc used Portugal only as a trampoline to ther places such as South America, as the Dictator-in-Charge really felt no sympathies for that kind of people.

Story: "What better - and more economical - way of buying off a country that's on the fence than to slip them a bribe of some really cool planes? I doubt that Uncle Sugar would have dispatched Bell mechanics, if the Pentagon was *really* ticked off about losing those planes."

Again Realpolitik determined it would be better to let the Natives have a few toys than to make them unhappy. And it was totally irrelevant for the Pentagon to be "ticked off about losing those planes" as international law was to be supposedly respected, and a plane on a neutral's territory is interned and that's the way it goes. Ask how Sweden got so many B-17s, B-24s and Mustangs (albeit a bit more shot up).

smc:"You know the Spanish they would have borrowed a few divisions of the Wehrmacht to help them.

Weren't the Duke and Duchess of York (ex-King Edward VIII) swanning around the Algarve until about 1941?"

No need to borrow troops from the Germans even if they could spare them, what the Spaniards had then was much more than enough for the puny Portuguese ground forces. And the fashionable place to be was Estoril, Algarve had only fishermen and smugglers then.
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#19 smc

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 05:41 PM

Let's see:
No need to borrow troops from the Germans even if they could spare them, what the Spaniards had then was much more than enough for the puny Portuguese ground forces. And the fashionable place to be was Estoril, Algarve had only fishermen and smugglers then.


True, but a whiff of Spanish intervention on the side of the Axis, may have led to the Portuguese throwing in their lot with the Allies. Think of the Italian invasion of Greece, Portugal's army may have been puny but would they really have let the Spanish in without a fight?
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#20 Za Rodinu

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 07:58 PM

Not without a fight, but without outside help certainly a walkover. Remember the Spanish army at the time would be full of recent experience of a ruthless civil (or quite uncivil) war through hellish terrain, while the latest Portuguese warlike experience would be a (defeated) division sent to Flanders and before that some colonial wars against native insurrectionists 40 years before.

I don't naturally like saying this, but I'm sure any decent size Spanish army would go trough like a hot knife through butter.

Before 1942 the Portuguese Air Force could count at most on a few Gladiators only, while the Ejercito del Aire would have Me109E, He112 and I-16 in much larger numbers.

Thank goodness Franco was more interested in reconstruction and internal power plays, otherwise I would be speaking Spanish now.
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Quote from US Army field sanitation manual, 1850: "Dig the latrines downstream from the camp. The coffee tastes better."


#21 CL1

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 11:12 AM

During the war years hundreds of airplanes used the routes from England to North Africa and vice-versa. In this list you will find aircraft that became missing while using that route and are not known to have landed or crashed in any neutral or belligerent territory.

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