Anti-Fascist Coalition
Coalition Powers
Military alliance

Coalition (combatant states):
Capital Not specified
Political structure Military alliance
 •  Established 1939
 •  Disestablished 1942

The Coalition powers, or simply called the Coalition were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the European War (1939–1942). The Coalition promoted the alliance as seeking to stop fascist and imperialist expansion as well as to reverse the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Schönhausen.

The anti-German coalition at the start of the war (1 September 1939) consisted of France and the Soviet Union, soon to be joined by Belgium. Belgium was a minor factor after its defeat in May 1940; France was a minor factor after its defeat in June 1940. The Soviet Union remained the only coalition nation until its surrender 1942. The United States provided war material and money all along, but withdrew its support in December 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Origins and creation[edit | edit source]

The origins of the coalition powers stem from the Dual Alliance between France and Russia. France and the Soviet Union deeply resented being forced to accept the terms of the Great War. However, the 1920s were peaceful. With the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, political unrest in Europe soared including the rise in support of revanchism in France and the USSR who blamed the severity of the economic crisis on the Treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Schönhausen.


More metal - more weapons — Soviet wartime poster supporting the Great Patriotic War in Eastern Europe, 1941

In May 1935, France and the Soviet Union, signed a military alliance, which formed the actual coalition. Germany and Austria decided that Stalin had no intention to uphold diplomatic agreements and responded by preparing for war. On 25 November 1936, Germany formed the Anti-Comintern Pact in an effort to avert a Soviet attack in the east. The coalition also sought an alliance with the British Empire, but Hitler eventually ended the risk of a war with Britain by signing the Percentages agreement in April 1940. The agreement secretly divided the independent nations of Europe between the two powers. On 26 August 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Ukraine; the next day Germany and Austria declared war on the Soviet Union. Then on 3 September 1939 France declared war on Germany. After a quiet winter, Germany in April 1940 invaded and quickly defeated Belgium and France. Stalin called the alliance a failure as his country stood alone against Germany, Austria, Italy and Britain.

Major affiliated state combatants[edit | edit source]

Soviet Union[edit | edit source]

Soviet T-26 light tanks and GAZ-A trucks of the Soviet 7th Army during its advance on the Karelian Isthmus, December 1939.

Soviet Il-2 ground attack aircraft attacking Austrian ground forces during the Lviv–Sandomierz Offensive.

War justifications[edit | edit source]

General Secretary Joseph Stalin and the government of the Soviet Union justified the Soviet war effort on the issues of Russian minority within Ukraine and Ukrainian opposition to the incorporation of the Russian-majority Pryazovia region into USSR, as a defensive war being fought by patriotic Soviet people for their survival. Stalin had supported popular front movements of anti-fascists including communists and non-communists from 1935 to 1939.

France[edit | edit source]

War declared[edit | edit source]

French soldiers during the Lorraine Offensive, 1939.

French soldiers on the Maginot Line.

After Germany declared war on the Soviet Union, France declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. In January 1940, French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier made a major speech denouncing the actions of Germany:

At the end of five months of war, one thing has become more and more clear. It is that Germany seeks to establish a domination of the world completely different from any known in world history.

The domination at which the Nazis aim is not limited to the displacement of the balance of power and the imposition of the supremacy of one nation. It seeks the systematic and total destruction of those conquered by Hitler and it does not treaty with the nations which it has subdued. He destroys them. He takes from them their whole political and economic existence and seeks even to deprive them of their history and culture. He wishes only to consider them as vital space and a vacant territory over which he has every right.

The human beings who constitute these nations are for him only cattle. He orders their massacre or migration. He compels them to make room for their conquerors. He does not even take the trouble to impose any war tribute on them. He just takes all their wealth and, to prevent any revolt, he scientifically seeks the physical and moral degradation of those whose independence he has taken away.

France experienced several major phases of action during the European War:

Colonies and dependencies[edit | edit source]

In Africa[edit | edit source]

In Africa these included: French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, and the protectorates of French Tunisia and French Morocco.

French Algeria was then not a colony or dependency but a fully-fledged part of metropolitan France.

In Asia and Oceania[edit | edit source]

In Asia these included: French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, the New Hebrides, French Indochina, French India, the protectorates of Greater Lebanon and French Syria. The French government in 1936 attempted to grant independence to its protectorate of Syria in the Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence of 1936 signed by France and Syria. However, opposition to the treaty grew in France and the treaty was not ratified. Syria had become an official republic in 1930 and was largely self-governing.

In the Americas[edit | edit source]

In the Americas these included: Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Belgium[edit | edit source]

Before the war, Belgium had pursued a policy of neutrality and only became a Coalition member after being invaded by Germany on 10 May 1940. During the ensuing fighting, Belgian forces fought alongside French forces against the invaders. While the French were struggling against the fast German advance elsewhere on the front, the Belgian forces were pushed into a pocket to the north. Finally, on 28 May, the King Leopold III surrendered himself and his military to the Germans, having decided the Coalition cause was lost. Belgium itself was occupied, but a sizeable Resistance was formed.

Client states[edit | edit source]

Mongolia[edit | edit source]

Mongolia fought against Japan during Battles of Khalkhin Gol in 1939 to protect its independence from China. Mongolia had been a Soviet sphere of influence since the 1920s.

Tannu Tuva[edit | edit source]

Tannu Tuva was a partially recognized state founded from the former Tuvan protectorate of Imperial Russia. It was a client state of the Soviet Union and was annexed into the Soviet Union in 1944.

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