List of governments in exile during World War II

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Many countries established governments in exile during World War II. The Second World War caused many governments to lose sovereignty as their territories came under occupation by enemy powers. Governments in exile sympathetic to the Allied or Axis powers were established away from the fighting.

Allied-aligned wartime governments[edit]

Many European governments relocated to London during the period of Axis occupation, while other organizations were established in Australia and the United States to oppose occupation by Japan. The following list includes exiled colonial governments alongside those of sovereign nations, as well as resistance groups organized abroad that did not claim the full sovereignty of a government in exile.

Name Location Date of establishment in exile Date of dissolution or return State controlling its claimed territory Leaders Notes
Belgium Belgian government in exile Bordeaux, then London October 1940 September 1944  Nazi Germany Prime Minister Hubert Pierlot Belgium's King Leopold III surrendered alongside his army – contrary to the advice of his government – and remained a prisoner for the rest of the war.[1] The government in exile, without the king, continued to administer the Belgian Congo and coordinate the Free Belgian Forces and Belgian Resistance.
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovak government-in-exile Paris, then London October 1939 April 1945  Nazi Germany,

 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia,

 Slovak Republic

After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, former President Beneš organized a committee in exile and sought diplomatic recognition as the legitimate government of the First Czechoslovak Republic. The committee's success in obtaining intelligence and coordinating actions by the Czechoslovak resistance led first Britain and then the other Allies to recognize it in 1941.
Denmark Danish Freedom Council London September 1943 May 1945 Denmark Occupation government of Denmark (protectorate of  Nazi Germany) Børge Houmann [da], Mogens Fog, Arne Sørensen, Frode Jakobsen, Erling Foss Aage Schock [da] During the Occupation of Denmark the country did not establish a government in exile.[2] King Christian and his government remained in Denmark and operated with relative independence until August 1943 when it was dissolved. The Freedom Council was an unrecognized group that coordinated the Danish resistance movement. In addition, from 1941 Ambassador Henrik Kauffmann engaged in diplomacy with the Allies on Denmark's behalf without regard for the occupation government in Copenhagen.
Free France Free France London, Brazzaville, and Algiers 18 June 1940 25 August 1944  Nazi Germany,

 Vichy France,

 Kingdom of Italy,

Charles de Gaulle, Henri Giraud, French Committee of National Liberation (from 1943) De Gaulle called for resistance in France and its colonies in the Appeal of 18 June. The government organized the French Resistance, gathered military forces, and gradually took control of French colonies around the world. In 1944 it became the Provisional Government of the French Republic.
Kingdom of Greece Greek government-in-exile Cairo and London 24 May 1941 17 October 1944  Nazi Germany,

 Kingdom of Italy,

 Kingdom of Bulgaria

The exiled royal government was recognized internationally and by the Greek Resistance early in the war. It heavily depended on Britain. In 1944, leftist resistance groups set up Free Greece as a rival government. These governments agreed to merge at the Lebanon Conference.
Luxembourg Luxembourg government-in-exile Paris, Lisbon, then London 1940 1944  Nazi Germany Grand Duchess Charlotte and the grand ducal family moved to Montreal.
Netherlands Dutch government-in-exile London 10 May 1940 5 May 1945  Nazi Germany
Besides giving support to the Dutch resistance, the government in exile attempted to maintain Allied control of the Netherlands' colonies around the world. It agreed to place the Dutch Caribbean and Guiana under British and American protection, but lost the East Indies to Japanese occupation.
Dutch East Indies Dutch East Indies Brisbane
  • 8 March 1942 (unofficial)
  • 23 December 1943 (official)
1 October 1945  Empire of Japan Acting Governor-General Hubertus van Mook[3] In 1944 the government in exile and the Allied high command organized the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration, which was tasked with restoring Dutch rule in the islands.
Norway Norwegian government-in-exile London 7 June 1940 31 May 1945  Nazi Germany Governed the Free Norwegian forces throughout the war.
Commonwealth of the Philippines Government in exile of the Commonwealth of the Philippines Melbourne, then Washington, D.C. January 1942 October 1944  Empire of Japan,

 Second Philippine Republic

Moving from Melbourne to Washington in 1944, the Quezon government participated in the Pacific War Council alongside other Allied powers. The Philippine Commonwealth Army re-took the islands alongside American forces.
Poland Polish government-in-exile Paris, then Angers, then London September 1939 December 1990  Nazi Germany,

 Soviet Union

The government organized the Polish Armed Forces in the West and coordinated the Polish Underground State and Home Army. It remained active in exile after the war when the Polish People's Republic took power in Poland.
Thailand Free Thai Movement Washington, D.C. 1942 1945 Thailand Phibun-era Thailand,  Empire of Japan Seni Pramoj Seni, the Thai ambassador in Washington, refused to deliver his country's declaration of war to the United States government. He organized the Free Thai Movement with American assistance, recruiting Thai students in the United States for underground resistance activities.
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslav government-in-exile London 21 June 1941 March 1945  Nazi Germany,


 Bulgaria,  Hungary,  Croatia

The royalist government supported the Chetniks in their resistance to Axis occupation, but the anti-royalist Yugoslav Partisans gained strength over the course of the war. In the Tito–Šubašić Agreements of June 1944, the Partisans and the government in exile agreed to merge their governments. Tito was victorious after the end of the occupation, and the monarchy was not restored.

Axis-aligned wartime governments[edit]

Under the auspices of the Axis powers, Axis-aligned groups from some countries set up "governments-in-exile" in Axis territory, even though internationally recognized governments were in place in their home countries. The main purpose of these was to recruit and organize military units composed of their nationals in the host country.

Governments of the Baltic States[edit]

In the aftermath of the occupation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union, all three republics established some form of government in exile. These organizations persisted after the war as the territories were annexed to the USSR. They played a role in maintaining the State continuity of the Baltic states during the period of Soviet control.

Name Location Date of establishment in exile Date of dissolution or return State controlling its claimed territory Leaders Notes
Bulgaria Bulgarian national government-in-exile Vienna, then Altaussee 16 September 1944 10 May 1945 Bulgaria Kingdom of Bulgaria (Fatherland Front) Prime Minister Aleksandar Tsankov Formed after the 1944 Bulgarian coup d'état brought socialists to power in Bulgaria, the government raised the 1st Bulgarian Regiment of the SS.
France Sigmaringen Governmental Commission [fr] (Vichy France) Sigmaringen 7 September 1944 23 April 1945 France Provisional Government of the French Republic President Fernand de Brinon Members of the collaborationist French cabinet at Vichy were relocated by the Germans to the Sigmaringen enclave in Germany, where they became a government-in-exile until April 1945. They were given formal governmental power over the city of Sigmaringen, and the three Axis governments – Germany, Italy and Japan – established there what were officially their Embassies to France. Pétain having refused to take part in this, it was headed by de Brinon.[4]
Hungarian Government of National Unity Vienna and Munich 28/29 March 1945 7 May 1945 Leader of the Nation Ferenc Szálasi The Szálasi government fled in the face of the Soviet advance through Hungary. Most of its leaders were arrested in the following months.
Azad Hind Provisional Government of Free India Singapore, Rangoon, and Port Blair 21 October 1943 18 August 1945 British Raj British Raj Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Azad Hind was established as a provisional government of India that would fight for independence from the British Raj. The government was given control of Japanese-occupied territory in far eastern India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It issued currency notes and established bilateral relationships with anti-British countries. Its military was Azad Hind Fauj, or the Indian National Army.
Montenegrin State Council Zagreb Summer of 1944 8 May 1945  Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Head of the State Council Sekula Drljević After the Germans withdrew from Montenegro, the fascist leader Sekula Drljević created a government-in-exile in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Drljević created the Montenegrin National Army, a military force set up by him and the Croatian fascist leader Ante Pavelić. However, his government was dissolved after the fall of the NDH.
 Second Philippine Republic Nara and Tokyo 11 June 1945 17 August 1945 President Jose P. Laurel After the Allied forces liberated the Philippines from Japanese occupiers and reestablished the Philippine Commonwealth in the archipelago, the Second Philippine Republic went into exile in Japan from June 11, 1945.[5][6][7]
Romania Romania Vienna August 1944 8 May 1945 Romania Kingdom of Romania Prime Minister Horia Sima Germany had imprisoned Horia Sima and other members of the Iron Guard following the Legionnaires' rebellion of 1941. In 1944, King Michael's Coup brought a pro-Allied government to power in Romania. In response Germany released Sima to establish a pro-Axis government in exile.[8]
Name Location Date of establishment in exile Date of dissolution or return State controlling its claimed territory Leaders Notes
Estonia Estonian government-in-exile Stockholm 1944 (unofficial), 1953 (official) 1992  Soviet Union President:
In September 1944, between the retreat of German forces and the advance of the Red Army, acting President Uluots appointed Tief as Prime Minister and asked him to form a government. On 22 September the government fled as the Soviets invaded. When Uluots died, August Rei became acting head of state. Rei was supported by the surviving members of the Tief government in Sweden. He declared an official government in exile in 1953 in Oslo.
Latvia Latvian diplomatic service in exile London 1940 1991
Kārlis Reinholds Zariņš One month before the Soviet occupation, Latvia's Cabinet of Ministers gave Zariņš, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the power to supervise Latvia’s foreign representations. This created a basis for a diplomatic service in the absence of an independent government in Latvia.[9] The exiled diplomatic service continued after Latvia was annexed.
Lithuania Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania (VLIK) Reutlingen 1944 1992
Chairman Steponas Kairys VLIK was established to be an underground government during the German occupation of Lithuania. In 1944, when the Soviets advanced during the Baltic Offensive, most VLIK members fled to Germany. The committee tried to position itself as a Lithuanian government in exile, but it was never recognized by any foreign country.[10] In 1955 it moved to New York City.

Governments already in exile at the start of the war[edit]

These exiled regimes were operating at the start of the war and involved themselves in the conflict to varying degrees.

Name Location Date of establishment in exile Date of dissolution or return State controlling its claimed territory Leaders Notes
 Kingdom of Albania London, then South Ascot and Parmoor April 1939 2 January 1946  Albania,

 Kingdom of Italy

King Zog King Zog and his family fled following the Italian invasion of Albania. The Albanian parliament voted to unite the country with Italy, giving the crown to Victor Emmanuel III. The Allies saw Zog as corrupt and unreliable and refused him recognition or cooperation.[1] Zog's hopes of returning were dashed when the Albanian Partisans set up a communist government. He formally abdicated in 1946.[11]
Belarus Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic Prague, Paris 1920 Extant today
The oldest current government in exile, now based in Toronto.[12][13] The Rada opposed the Belarusian Central Council, a body that collaborated with the German occupation.
 Ethiopian Empire Bath, England 2 May 1936 18 January 1941  Kingdom of Italy
The Emperor coordinated with the Allies in the East African Campaign. He returned to Ethiopia in 1941 alongside British forces.
Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in Exile Leuville-sur-Orge, France 18 March 1921 5 June 1954 Soviet Union Soviet Union President Noe Zhordania Formed after the Soviet invasion of Georgia of 1921
 Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea Shanghai, later Chongqing 13 April 1919 15 August 1948 Korea under Japanese rule President:
The KPG formed the Korean Liberation Army in 1940, which fought in the Asia-Pacific Theatre of the war.[14] After Japan's defeat and a period of American occupation, the KPG's first President Syngman Rhee became the first president of the First Republic of South Korea.
State flag of Persia (1907–1933).svg Sublime State of Persia Geneva 1925 Extant today Iran Imperial State of Iran Shah Fereydoun Mirza Qajar The Qajar dynasty went into exile in 1923. They continue to claim the Iranian throne. During the war, Fereydoun Qajar's cousin and heir Hamid Mirza served in the British Royal Navy aboard HMS Duke of York and HMS Wild Goose.
Second Spanish Republic Spanish Republican government in exile Paris, then Mexico City 4 April 1939 1 July 1977  Spanish State President:
Created after Francisco Franco's coup d'état, the exiled government was first based in Paris but moved to Mexico City at the time of the fall of France. The Allies largely ignored it to avoid provoking Franco into joining the Axis.[1] After the war, the government returned to Paris and operated until Franco's death and the Spanish transition to democracy.
Ukrainian People's Republic Warsaw 12 November 1920 22 August 1992 Director Andriy Livytskyi The government was organized after the Soviet occupation of Ukraine during the Russian Civil War. During the German occupation of Poland, Livytski collaborated with the Nazi occupation, helping to organize units of soldiers.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Yapou, Eliezer (August 1998). "Governments in Exile, 1939-1945: Leadership from London and Resistance at Home". Yapou: Governments in Exile. Edith Yapou. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  2. ^ The Who's who of the Allied Governments and Allied Trade & Industry. Allied Publications. 1944. p. 173.
    Arthur Durham Divine (1944). Navies in Exile. E.P. Dutton. p. 214.
    Knud J. V. Jespersen (1 January 2002). No Small Achievement: Special Operations Executive and the Danish Resistance, 1940–1945. University Press of Southern Denmark. p. 48. ISBN 978-87-7838-691-5.
  3. ^ Lockwood, R. (1975). Black Armada and the Struggle for Indonesian Independence, 1942–49. Australasian Book Society Ltd., Sydney, Australia. ISBN 9 09916 68 3
  4. ^ Pétain et la fin de la collaboration: Sigmaringen, 1944–1945, Henry Rousso, éditions Complexe, Paris, 1984
  5. ^ Jose, Ricardo. "Governments in Exile" (PDF). University of the Philippines. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 10, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "Today is the birth anniversary of President Jose P. Laurel". Official Gazette. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  7. ^ Ooi, Keat Gin (2004). Southeast Asia: a historical encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 776. ISBN 978-1-57607-770-2. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  8. ^ "Horia Sima Vol. 1_0062" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency. 19 July 1945. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  9. ^ "ON GUARD FOR LATVIA'S STATEHOOD" Latvia's Foreign Service Staff in Exile During the Years of Occupation June 17, 1941 - August 21, 1991 - Official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
  10. ^ Arvydas Anušauskas; et al., eds. (2005). Lietuva, 1940–1990 (in Lithuanian). Vilnius: Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras. pp. 376–377. ISBN 9986-757-65-7.
  11. ^ "Zog I, King of Albania". Encyclopædia Brittanica. 2000–2019. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Official website of the Belarusian National Republic". Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  13. ^ Wilson, Andrew (2011). Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship. Yale University Press. p. 96. ISBN 9780300134353. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  14. ^ "Liberation of Korea: Independence Movement and International Relations". Educational Materials. National Museum of Korean Contemporary History. n.d. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  15. ^ Roszkowski, Wojciech; Kofman, Jan (2016). Biographical Dictionary of Central and Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century. Routledge. p. 1929.

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