The Surprising Role Mexico Played in World War II

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If you ask people to name the victorious Allied Powers in World War II, Mexico isn’t usually a name that comes to mind. But the historical fact is that Mexico entered World War II in 1942 after German submarines sank two Mexican oil tankers in the gold of Mexico.

Mexico then declared war against the Axis in mid-1942, thus Mexico entered the war on the side of the Allied powers. Mexico’s own military elite air squadron, known as the Aztec Eagles, flew dozens of missions alongside the U.S. Air Force during the liberation of the Philippines in 1945.

Men of the 201st Mexican Fighter Squadron, also know as the Aztec Eagles, standing before one of their P-47 Thunderbolts stationed at Clark Field, Manila awaiting to take part in the air war against Japan. (L-R) Lieutenant Raul Garcia Mercado, Monterry, Captain Radames Gaxiola, Lieutenant Manio Lopez Portillo, Captain Pablo Rivas Martinez, and Lieutenant Roserto Urias Abelleyka. Andy Lopez/Bettmann Archive/Getty Images.

The 201st Mexican Squadron pilots made a total of 791 sorties, spent 2800 hours in the air, dropped 570 tonns of bombs. They elite Aztec angels got the credit for putting up to 30.000 Japanese soldiers out of combat as well as destroying multiple buildings and vehicles and won them the title of War Thunder team.

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Mexico also contributed enormously not only with thousands of fighting airpower , but Mexico’s industrial resources help build planes and military equipment. It’s little know that Mexicos economy and standard of living during the 40s and 50s was the same as the one in United States and their industries were competing with each other. And despite long standing tensions with the United States, Mexico would become a valuable ally to its northern neighbor, ramping up its industrial production and contributing vital industrialized resources to the Allied war effort.

Then came Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, which brought the war to the Western Hemisphere for the first time. Mexico cut diplomatic ties with Japan on December 9, 1941; it broke with Germany and Italy by December 11. In January 1942, at the Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Rio Janeiro, Brazil, Mexico’s delegation argued forcefully that all the nations of the Western Hemisphere must band together in mutual cooperation and defense.

That May, German U-boats sank two Mexican oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. Germany refused to apologize or compensate Mexico, and on June 1, 1942, President Manuel Ávila Camacho issued a formal declaration of war against the Axis Powers. U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull celebrated Mexico’s entry into the war on the Allied side as “further evidence that the free nations of the world will never submit to the heel of Axis aggression.”

In addition, thousands of Mexican nationals living in the United States registered for military service during World War II.

Mexican artillery men in the field during WWII as their country expects a declaration of war on the Axis Powers.Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis/Getty Images).

On the home front, hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens farm workers accept the invitation to work for U.S. agricultural companies as part of the Bracero Program, which was so successful in improving the U.S. economy that the U.S. government would kept the program for two decades, and had a lasting impact on the positive relations between the two North American nations.

Source: The Aztec Eagles History.com

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