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Video:Famous Figures of WWII: Allied Powers

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"The Big Three", the three leaders of the allied powers who pooled their resources to fight the German-led axis of power. In this About.com video, learn about each historical figures efforts.See Transcript

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Transcript:Famous Figures of WWII: Allied Powers

Hello I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about famous figures of the Allied powers of the Second World War. 

The Allied Powers

The countries that opposed the German-led Axis powers were known as the Allied powers. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, it was Britain, France and the recently invaded Poland, which first declared war on the Axis powers. However, many other nations around the world joined them. Crucially, the USA and the Soviet Union both entered the war on the Allied side after direct attacks against them. Together with Britain, they became known as the Big Three. 

Winston Churchill and the British War Effort

In Britain, the Prime Minister at the start of the war was Neville Chamberlain, but it was without doubt his successor, Winston Churchill, who will forever be associated with the British war effort. He came to power in May 1940 and his no-nonsense approach won respect among the public.  

The British Royal Family also played a leading role. King George the sixth steadfastly refused to leave London, while his wife, Queen Elizabeth, in turn refused to leave the King's side and raised morale immensely with her tours of the war-ravaged industrial parts of the city.  

When the war was over, it was the King, Queen, and Churchill together who received the rapturous cheers of the public from the balcony at Buckingham Palace. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

In the USA, Franklin D Roosevelt was President throughout the war, initially trying to assist Europe by use of aid and the leasing of vital equipment, but later fighting with the Allies after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the US fully into the war. Roosevelt died just weeks before victory in Europe, and it was his successor, Harry S Truman, who ordered the atomic bomb attacks against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

Josef Stalin

The third and final leader of the big three nations was Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union, who had initially remained out of the war after signing a non-aggression pact with Hitler - A pact which Hitler himself broke by directly attacking the USSR.  For ideological as well as personal reasons, Stalin made for an awkward ally for Britain and the US, but the immediate need to defeat the common enemy saw the three leaders work together for the remainder of the conflict. However, at the end of the war, old differences returned and relations chilled profoundly, quickly leading to the Cold War. 

For more excellent, insightful, and interesting information on the 20th Century, check us out at About.com. 

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