List of governments in exile during World War II

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.

Passport issued in 1942 by the exiled Yugoslav government.

Allied-aligned wartime governments

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 Notes Leaders
Austrian Office London August 1941 May 1945  Nazi Germany There was never an Austrian government-in-exile after the Anschluss, but London was the home of a 30,000-strong exile community.[1] The Austrian Society, or "Austrian Office", was home to both the monarchist Austrian League and liberal Austrian Democratic Union.[2] Though not officially recognised by the Allies, they were given support, especially the monarchists by the British government. Austrian Democratic Union and Austrian League
Belgian Pierlot IV Government Bordeaux, then London October 1940 September 1944  Nazi Germany 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.[3] The government in exile, without the king, continued to administer the Belgian Congo and coordinate the Free Belgian Forces and Belgian Resistance. Prime Minister Hubert Pierlot
Government of British Burma in exile Shimla May 1942 October 1945  Empire of Japan,

Phibun-era Thailand

Dorman-Smith was appointed as the 2nd Governor of Burma from 6 May 1941 to 31 August 1946, and was therefore in office at the time of the Japanese invasion—and was expelled from the country by the Japanese when they conquered most of the colony. Between May 1942 and Oct 1945 he was in exile at Simla, India. Governor Reginald Dorman-Smith
Czechoslovak National Liberation Committee Paris, then London October 1939 April 1945  Nazi Germany,

 Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia,
 Slovak Republic

A few months after the breakup 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.
Danish Freedom Council London September 1943 May 1945 Occupation government of Denmark (1940–43)

 Nazi Germany (1943–45)

During the Occupation of Denmark the country did not establish a government in exile.[4] 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. Børge Houmann, Mogens Fog, Arne Sørensen, Frode Jakobsen, Erling Foss Aage Schock
Government of the Dutch East Indies in exile Brisbane
  • 8 March 1942 (unofficial)
  • 23 December 1943 (official)
1 October 1945  Empire of Japan 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. Acting Governor-General Hubertus van Mook[5]
Free France London, Brazzaville, and Algiers 18 June 1940 25 August 1944  Nazi Germany,

 Vichy France,
 Kingdom of Italy

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. Charles de Gaulle, Henri Giraud, French Committee of National Liberation (from 1943)
Greek Cairo Government Cairo and London 24 May 1941 17 October 1944  Nazi Germany,

 Fascist Italy,

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.
Luxembourgish government in London Paris, Lisbon, then London 1940 1944  Nazi Germany Grand Duchess Charlotte and the grand ducal family moved to Montreal. The government in London directed its diplomatic efforts toward the goals of assuring the country's survival and recognition as a full member of the Allies, despite its weak military capability.[3]
Dutch London Cabinet 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.
Norwegian Nygaardsvold's Cabinet London 7 June 1940 31 May 1945  Nazi Germany Governed the Free Norwegian forces throughout the war.
Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in exile 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. President:
Government of the Republic of Poland 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. The Polish Government never formally surrendered to the Nazis or Russia. It remained active in exile during the war until the Polish People's Republic took power in Poland.
Free Thai Movement Washington, D.C. 1942 1945 Phibun-era Thailand,  Empire of Japan 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. Seni Pramoj
Government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in Exile London 21 June 1941 March 1945  Nazi Germany,

 Independent State of Croatia

The royalist government supported the Chetniks in their resistance to Axis occupation, but the anti-royalist Communist-led 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

The Axis powers hosted governments-in-exile in their territory. Most belonged to Axis-sponsored puppet regimes whose territory came under Allied occupation late in the war. The purpose of many of these organizations was to recruit and organize military units composed of their nationals in the host country.

Name Location Date of establishment in exile Date of dissolution or return State/entity claiming the controlled territory Leaders Notes
Kingdom of Bulgaria Vienna and Altaussee 16 September 1944 10 May 1945 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.
Sigmaringen Governmental Commission (Vichy France) Sigmaringen 7 September 1944 23 April 1945 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.[6]
Hellenic State Vienna September 1944 April 1945 Kingdom of Greece Prime Minister Ektor Tsironikos After the liberation of Greece, a new collaborationist government had been established at Vienna, during September of 1944, formed by former collaborationist ministers. It was headed by the former minister Ektor Tsironikos. In April 1945, Tsironikos was captured during the Vienna offensive along with his ministers.[7][8][9]
Government of National Unity (Hungary) 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.
Provisional Government of Free India Singapore, Rangoon and Port Blair 21 October 1943 18 August 1945 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 11 June 1945.[10][11][12]
Legionary Romania Vienna August 1944 8 May 1945 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.[13]
Government of National Salvation (Serbia) Kitzbühel and Vienna 4 October 1944 1945  Democratic Federal Yugoslavia Prime Minister Milan Nedić With the onset of the Belgrade Offensive by the Red Army and the Partisans, the collaborationist government was evacuated from Serbia to Kitzbühel, Austria in October 1944.[14] There, the Nedić administration continued to hold sessions and tried to raise a new army to fight Tito's partisans, though the plan failed due to the Germans wanting the troops to fight on other, more important fronts, which Nedić refused. After that the Germans dismissed him.[15]
Slovak Republic Kremsmünster 4 April 1945 8 May 1945 President Jozef Tiso The government of the Slovak Republic went into exile on 4 April 1945 when the Red Army captured Bratislava and occupied Slovakia. The exiled government capitulated to the American General Walton Walker on 8 May 1945 in the Austrian town of Kremsmünster. The captured members of the government were handed over to Czechoslovak authorities.

Governments of the Baltic States

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
Estonian Diplomatic Service London and
New York City
1940 1991
Johannes Kaiv (1940–1965)
Ernst Jaakson (1965–1991)
After the Soviet occupation of Estonia, the Soviet-appointed Government of Estonia called all Estonian diplomats abroad to return to Estonia. Most refused and remained representing Estonia in countries that recognized its de jure independence. The Estonian Diplomatic Service and the Estonian government-in-exile never officially recognized each other, even though some Estonian diplomats also served as members of the government-in-exile. Aging diplomats and dwindling funds forced the diplomatic service to eventually close several of its missions and the last embassy in London ended its work in the early 1970s. Thereafter, the Consulate-General in New York City remained the only Estonian diplomatic mission in exile, continuing its work until Estonia's restoration of independence in 1991, and continuing thereafter to represent the restored Republic of Estonia, thus being the only Estonian institution that remained operational throughout the occupation era.
Estonian government-in-exile Stockholm and Oslo 1944 (unofficial), 1953 (official) 1992  Soviet Union Prime Minister in duties of
the President:
Jüri Uluots (1944–1945)
August Rei (1945–1963)
Aleksander Warma (1963–1970)
Tõnis Kint (1970–1990)
Heinrich Mark (1990–1992)
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 soon after reaching exile, August Rei became the Prime Minister in the duties of the President. Rei was supported by the surviving members of the Tief government in Sweden. He declared an official government in exile in 1953 in Oslo. The Estonian government-in-exile and the Estonian Diplomatic Service never officially recognized each other, even though some Estonian diplomats also served as members of the government-in-exile. However, the supportive part of the international community only recognized Estonian diplomats in exile. On 8 October 1992, Mark handed over his credentials to the newly elected President of the restored Republic of Estonia, Lennart Meri, thus effectively terminating the government-in-exile.
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.[16] The exiled diplomatic service continued after Latvia was annexed.
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.[17] In 1955 it moved to New York City.

Governments already in exile at the start of the war

These exiled regimes were operating at the start of World War II 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,

 Fascist 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.[3] Zog's hopes of returning were dashed when the Albanian Partisans set up a communist government. He formally abdicated in 1946.[18]
Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic Prague, Paris 1920 Extant today
The Belarusian People's Republic was formed in 1918 and its Rada went into exile in 1919 during the Polish–Soviet War. The Rada opposed the Belarusian Central Council, a body that collaborated with the German occupation. It left Prague when Soviet forces approached the city. The Rada is now based in Toronto, the oldest current government in exile.[19][20]
 Ethiopian Empire Bath 2 May 1936 18 January 1941  Fascist Italy
The Emperor went into exile on 2 May 1936 during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia and soon settled in England. He coordinated with the Allies and joined the East African Campaign. In 1941, he returned to Ethiopia alongside British forces.
Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in Exile Leuville-sur-Orge 18 March 1921 5 June 1954 Soviet Union President Noe Zhordania Formed after the Soviet invasion of Georgia of 1921, the government had lost diplomatic recognition by France and the League of Nations in 1933. Zhordania remained the acknowledged leader of the Georgian émigrés community in France and continued to act in this role under Nazi occupation.[21]
 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.[22] 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.
Sublime State of Persia Geneva 1925 Extant today 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.
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.[3] 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.[23]


  1. Marietta Bearman. Out of Austria: The Austrian Centre in London in World War II. London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2008. ISBN 9781441600073. "The Austrian Centre was established in London in 1939 by Austrians seeking refuge from Nazi Germany, of whom 30,000 had reached Britain by the outbreak of World War II. It soon developed into a comprehensive social, cultural and political organisation with a theatre and a weekly newspaper of its ".
  2. Marietta Bearman. Out of Austria: The Austrian Centre in London in World War II. London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2008. ISBN 9781441600073. "143 Seven Sisters Road, notably, was the address of the Austrian Centre's Finsbury Park branch. This ties in neatly with a minute in a Home Office file from early 1947, referring to British security reports on the ..."
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Lockwood, R. (1975). Black Armada and the Struggle for Indonesian Independence, 1942–49. Australasian Book Society Ltd., Sydney, Australia. ISBN 9 09916 68 3
  6. Pétain et la fin de la collaboration: Sigmaringen, 1944–1945, Henry Rousso, éditions Complexe, Paris, 1984
  7. Οι Τσιρονίκος και Ταβουλάρης συνελήφθησαν, Εφημερίδα «Ελευθερία», Παρασκευή 11 Μαΐου 1945, σελίδα 2.
  8. Ο Τσιρονίκος παρεδόθη χθες εις τας Ελληνικάς Αρχάς, Εφημερίδα «Εμπρός», Τρίτη 27 Αυγούστου 1946, σελίδα 5.
  9. Ο Ε.Τσιρονίκος υπέβαλε αίτηση χάριτος, Εφημερίδα «Εμπρός», Τρίτη 27 Αυγούστου 1946, σελίδα 5.
  10. Jose, Ricardo. "Governments in Exile" (PDF). University of the Philippines. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  11. "Today is the birth anniversary of President Jose P. Laurel". Official Gazette. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  12. 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 27 January 2011.
  13. "Horia Sima Vol. 1_0062" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency. 19 July 1945. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  14. Kroener, Müller & Umbreit 2000, pp. 40–41.
  15. , Filip Rudic, Balkan Transitional Justice, March 25, 2018
  16. "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
  17. 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.
  18. "Zog I, King of Albania". Encyclopædia Brittanica. 2000–2019. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  19. "Official website of the Belarusian National Republic". Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  20. Wilson, Andrew (2011). Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship. Yale University Press. p. 96. ISBN 9780300134353. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  21. Jordania, Redjeb (2018) [2004]. "My Father Noé, Statesman and Family Man: A Memoir". Noe Jordania, Father of Modern Georgia. Driftwood Press. pp. 18, 19, 29. ISBN 9781370091126. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  22. "Liberation of Korea: Independence Movement and International Relations". Educational Materials. National Museum of Korean Contemporary History. n.d. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  23. Roszkowski, Wojciech; Kofman, Jan (2016). Biographical Dictionary of Central and Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century. Routledge. p. 1929. ISBN 9781317475934.

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