The Portuguese African Colonies during the Second World War

TitleThe Portuguese African Colonies during the Second World War
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsNewitt, Malyn, and Ahmad Alawad Sikainga
EditorByfield, Judith A., Carolyn A. Brown, and Timothy Parsons
Book TitleAfrica and World War II
PublisherCambridge University Press
CityNew York

During the First World War, both Angola and Mozambique had become battlefields in the struggle between Germany and the Allies, and in 1940, the authorities in Portugal, Britain, and South Africa feared that history would repeat itself. Both the Allies and the Axis weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of occupying Portuguese territory or of forcing Portugal into the war on their side. If Franco entered the war on the side of Germany, Portugal would face the likelihood of German and Spanish invasion, since he was well aware that elements in both Spain and Germany considered the unification of the Iberian peninsula as a legitimate war aim. However, he knew that, if Portugal tried to save itself by entering the war as an Axis ally, Britain would seize the Portuguese colonies. Accordingly, Portuguese efforts were directed to persuading Spain of the benefits of remaining neutral. This article explores these efforts and their effects on the Portuguese African colonies during the Second World War. 

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