Alliance Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Possessing Power United Kingdom
Entry into WW2 3 Sep 1939
Population in 1939 3,400
Civilian Deaths in WW2 600


ww2dbaseIn 1798, British Captain John Fearn of the whaling ship Hunter became the first westerner to discover the island that he named Pleasant Island. In 1886, Germany took control of the island as per an agreement between Germany and the United Kingdom, and two years later, the newly renamed island of Nawodo became a part of the German New Guinea Protectorate. In 1900, phosphate, used in munitions production among other purposes, was discovered by prospector Albert Ellis. After the defeat in WW1, Germany was stripped of this island, and in 1923 the League of Nations gave Australia a trustee mandate over the island now spelled Nauru. During WW2, Nauru was attacked by both sides of the conflict. In Dec 1940, German auxiliary cruiser Komet shelled Australian mining facilities, oil storage depots, and the ship loading cantilever on Nauru. On 25 Aug 1942, Japanese troops captured Nauru and subsequently built an airfield on the island. American aircraft bombed Nauru for the first time on 25 Mar 1943, and before the end of the year major warships such as battleship USS Alabama would be shelling Japanese positions on the island. About 1,200 native Nauruans, or about a third of the total population, were forcibly deported to Truk in the Caroline Islands as slave laborers; only 737 of the deportees would survive the war. On 13 Sep 1945, Captain Hisayuki Soeda surrendered to Australian Army Brigadier J. R. Stevenson. After the war, Nauru was governed by a United Nations trusteeship until 1968, when an independent republic was declared. Phosphate continued to form the backbone of Nauru's economy until 2006 when this resource was depleted.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Dec 2013

Nauru in World War II Interactive Map

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