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Allied Powers and Leaders

Much like in World War I, the Second World War involved different nations that were formed into groups, or alliances.

The two main groups were called the Axis and the Allied powers. Find out more about the Allied Powers (Britain, France, Russia and the United States), and their leaders and generals.

World War 2 map

The Allies formed to protect themselves and each other against the attacks of the Axis Powers.

The original members of the Allies included Great Britain, France and Poland, but things did change throughout the war.

The Battle of Britain

As we will see, some countries changed sides, and some countries just had to join the Allies because they had been invaded by Germany as the war went on.


Russia (known as the USSR or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at the time), was not fighting on the allied side until Germany launched a surprise attack on June 22, 1941.

Joseph Stalin was the leader of Russia (called the General Secretary of the Communist Party at this time).

Communist flag Russia

Russia fought many battles and millions and millions died.

The Russians had a political system called communism. Their symbolic colour was red, so their army was called the Red Army.

Remember, Lenin and the Bolshevik’s got rid of the King in 1917, and Russia became communist.


After winning the war, Stalin spread communism to other countries that surrounded Russia and in Eastern Europe: he set up the Eastern Bloc of Soviet (Russian) communist states.

Georgy Zhukov led the Red Army and pushed Germany out of Russia and back to Berlin.

Vasily Chuikov was a general who led the Russian Army in defending Stalingrad when the German’s attacked.


Neville Chamberlain was the Prime Minister of Britain before Winston Churchill took over. He became one of the most famous prime minister’s in Britain.

Winston Churchill

He is remembered for his stance against German people and his powerful speeches to the people during the Battle of Britain.

There were some famous leaders in the army, too. One of them was Bernard Montgomery, who was also known as “Monty”. He led ground troops during the invasion of Normandy.



France had some leaders who surrendered to Germany and formed the Vichy government. Anyone who disagreed with this escaped and were called the Free French.

The leader of the Free French was Charles de Gaulle and he led what is called the ‘French Resistance’ movement against Germany.

Churchill and Charles de Gaulle
Churchill and Charles de Gaulle

United States

The United States wanted to stay neutral during World War II. However, an attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese changed all of this.

This attack united the country against the Axis Powers. The USA joined and this helped the Allies win the war.

Pearl Harbor USS Arizona

Franklin D. Roosevelt is known as a great president because he is said to have helped America out of the Great Depression (1929) and helped them win World War II.

Harry Truman became the president after Roosevelt died and used the atomic bomb against Japan.

One famous general was George Marshall, who also became famous after the war because he won the Nobel Peace prize.

George Catlett Marshall, general of the US army
George Catlett Marshall, general of the US army

Other Countries and Leaders

Some countries joined the allies after they were attacked. Other countries that were part of the Allied Nations included China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Belgium, and Greece.

Related: Geography facts (countries, continents & much more).


China was invaded by Japan in 1937 and became a member of the Allies after the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

In China, Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the Republic of China, joined forces with the Communist Party to fight the Japanese. After the war, he fled from the communists to Taiwan.

Mao Zedong portrait

Mao Zedong was the leader of the Communist Party of China and he gained great popularity because he fought off the Japanese. He gained control of mainland China after the war.


Who were the Allies?

Name one famous general from the US.

Why was Winston Churchill so famous?


Name two other countries that were part of the Allied nations.

Why did China join the Allies?

World War 2

Enabling Act

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