What was up with Portugal during the war?

What did Portugal do during the war and how did the Axis and Allies view the country? Thank you and keep up the great work!

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During WW2, Portugal had a quasi-fascist government under Salazar. However, it seemed pretty determined to stay neutral, especially with Franco’s Spain not getting formally involved. Salazar didn’t come to power via a messy war like so he didn’t “owe” Germany anything, unlike Franco.

I don’t think Portugal saw itself as having anything to gain by participation in the war, especially after its experience in WW1. But unlike many of the Latin American countries that formally sided with the Allies I don’t think Portugal ever suffered a direct attack by Germany. (Numerous merchant ships flagged to Latin American countries were attacked by U-boats.)

IIRC, Portugal did let the Allies lease military bases in the Azores.


Portugal had a long-standing alliance with Britain (established in 1386, and “inherited” by the UK from the Kingdom of England), but Portugal announced that Britain hadn’t requested Portuguese help when they went to war in 1939, so they would stay neutral. They remained formally neutral but as the war went on, they began quietly assisting British interests without going to war (evacuees from Gibraltar were allowed to stay in Madeira, for example).

When Britain formally asked for use of facilities in the Azores in 1943 under the provisions of the Treaty of Windsor, Portugal agreed.