In the early twentieth century, dispute for territories with potential in raw materials and new markets was eminent in Europe. In 1914, begins the first of two major wars that marked the world, particularly Europe. Political, economic and territorial interests secretly allied to the assassination of the Archduke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, are primary agents of World War I, leading to the participation of Portugal, together with other countries in the conflicts of 1914-1918.

Given the dissatisfaction of defeat in the first war, fear about the spread of communism and the fragility of liberal economies in 1939, Hitler annexed Poland, beginning World War II. Soon, France and England, and later the USSR, get involved in the conflict, forming strategic factions trying to prevent Germany’s imperial growth. The military conflict ends in 1945, with the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, giving the victory to the Allied forces.

Category: Portugal

The importance of tungsten, from 1939 to 1945, becomes a crucial factor for most countries involved in World War II. Many of them had to acquire this mineral which was extremely important in the manufacture of military weapons.

Portugal using its strategic abilities, and taking advantage of its privileged geographical location and abundance of tungsten, testified by the search for this resource by the several countries involved in military conflict, managed to maintain its neutrality during World War II.

For Allied forces, the tungsten did not represent a competitive resource, because they could provide their own supply. However, it has become a strategy cutting the flow of supplies to Axis Alliance, who had no other source of supply for their military resources.

Category: Portugal

Politically supporting the Nationalists from Spain, Germany installs itself in the Iberian Peninsula, in order to master strategic areas such as the mineral extraction and the development of the transport network. The Germans also become very present in the centers of culture. Their influence in the universities is very evident.

This installation already comes from 1937, when Salazar chooses to negotiate a new rearmament program with Germany, gaining strong support from this faction of the Axis. However, the following year, Britain unsatisfied with such a political move, tries to prevent the German presence in Portugal and the development of connections with it.

The main British objective was to create a new policy for the Iberian Peninsula, developing a common defense program and reaffirming the alliance with Portugal, in a moment of serious crisis in Europe.

In the same year, the Spanish nationalist faction suggests a non-aggression treaty to Portugal which is signed in 1939, reinforcing British interests and establishing a territorial and political neutrality of the whole peninsula towards a predictable armed conflict in Europe.

Category: Portugal

Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula in general, have become important navigation and freight routes. After the defeat of France in 1940, and the expansion of the war in the Balkans and the USSR, it becomes a transition area for people and goods. The neutral overview of Portugal was characterized as a producer and supplier of strategic goods, such as tungsten that was more and more crucial, as well as canning, leather, resin and other products that came from the former colonies.

The European geographical area in the forties involved the participation of Italy and the defeat of France, leading the Nazi Germany to dominate much of the territory of Western Europe. The political neutrality was  more and more delicate.

In 1943, after signing the grant of Base das Lages, Portugal still maintains its neutrality, leading to the German discontent, and the Nazi resignation in exchange for continued provision of Portuguese resources, such as the vital tungsten.

Category: Portugal