World War II 1941–45


Map Code: Ax01003

Latin America exhibited a range of reactions to the combatants in World War II. A number of dictators admired fascism, including Trujillo in the Dominican Republic and Ubico in Guatemala. Other states enjoyed profitable trading relationships with the Axis powers. However, trans-Atlantic trade reduced when war began, as did Pacific trade post Pearl Harbour, leaving Latin America hugely dependant on the US as a market for their goods. Freed of competition, some economies boomed as a result; Venezuela and Mexico, for instance, benefited from high prices in oil. In the event, most of Central America and the Caribbean countries followed America’s lead in December 1941. Mexico and Brazil followed soon after, the latter coaxed by huge Lend-Lease and trade incentives to ignore its influential German/Italian minorities. Peru and the states of the south stayed neutral until 1945, although Uruguay provided crucial aid in the entrapment of the Graf Spee.

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