Full Name 161 Eastern Republic of Uruguay
Alliance Neutral or Non-Belligerent
Entry into WW2 23 Feb 1945
Population in 1939 1,953,000


ww2dbaseDuring the Great Depression, Uruguayan President Gabriel Terra successfully maintained the United Kingdom as a major buyer for Uruguayan meat, wool, and hide products and defeated his political opponents' calls for the nationalization of foreign, British or otherwise, business interests. Nevertheless, the tough economic conditions put pressure on farmers on the countryside, leading to many leaving their farm work and migrating to the capital city of Montevideo in search of jobs. With the government's ongoing efforts to expand Uruguay's industrial capacity, these migrants found jobs and thus speeding up the urbanization of Montevideo. The growth of the industrial sector in and around Montevideo would continue to expand through the WW2 era. In Jun 1938, Terra was succeeded by his brother-in-law Alfredo Baldomir Ferrari, who continued Terra's pro-Britain policies. Baldomir's preference toward Britain, however, was limited to economic interests only, as he refused to become a belligerent in the war. In Dec 1939, after the Battle of the River Plate, the damaged German heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee sailed into Montevideo, Uruguay and was later scuttled in the River Plate estuary to avoid facing what her captain thought would be a far superior force awaiting him; most of the surviving 1,150 crew members of the ship were interned in Uruguay and in Argentina, with many remaining in South America after the war. In Jun 1940, after Uruguay allowed armed merchant cruiser HMS Carnarvon Castle to repair in its port, Germany threatened to break off diplomatic relations in Jun 1940; furthermore, Germany accused Uruguay of supplying HMS Carnarvon Castle with steel plates salvaged from the wreck of Admiral Graf Spee. In Jan 1942, Uruguay announced that it had broken off diplomatic relations with Germany. In the same year, Baldomir led a successful military-backed coup d'état. Declaring an emergency, he dissolved the parliament and remained in presidency beyond his term. The Constitution of Uruguay of 1942, approved in a referendum in Nov 1942, allowed a more democratic process by allowing all political parties to operate freely. In Mar 1943, Baldomir voluntarily ended the emergency and gave up power. He was succeeded by Juan José de Amézaga Landaroso. Amézaga continued the non-belligerent policies held by his predecessors, as such policies had been greatly benefitting the industrial sector in Uruguay, which had employed about 100,000 workers by early 1945. In Feb 1945, Uruguay joined the United Nations, compelling it to declare war against Germany and Japan. In Mar 1947, Tomás Berreta Gandolfo was elected president, but passed away from cancer in Aug 1947, and his vice president Luis Conrado Batlle y Berres assumed the presidency. Under Batlle Berres's leadership, Uruguay re-established diplomatic relations with Germany, ie. both the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).


Last Major Update: Jan 2023


USS Ranger at Montevideo, Uruguay with Vought O3U-3 Corsairs on deck, 24 Sep 1934. British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter in the background.Admiral Graf Spee anchored off Montevideo, Uruguay, circa 13-16 Dec 1939, photo 1 of 2Admiral Graf Spee anchored off Montevideo, Uruguay, circa 13-16 Dec 1939, photo 2 of 2Admiral Graf Spee at anchor in Montevideo harbor, Uruguay, 13-16 Dec 1939
See all 6 photographs of Uruguay in World War II

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Uruguay in World War II Photo Gallery
USS Ranger at Montevideo, Uruguay with Vought O3U-3 Corsairs on deck, 24 Sep 1934. British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter in the background.
See all 6 photographs of Uruguay in World War II

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