List of World War II puppet states

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During World War II a number of countries were conquered and controlled. Some of these countries were then given new names, and assigned new governmental leaders which were loyal to the conquering country. These countries are known as puppet states. Germany and Japan were the two countries with the most puppet states. Italy also had several puppet states. Most of the allies (with the exception of the Soviet Union) did not have many puppet states.


Soviet Union

The Soviet Union had only one puppet state prior to World War II, the Tuvan People's Republic, but it acquired many more during or as a result of the war.

  Puppet states created before World War II
  Puppet states created during World War II
  Puppet states related to World War II but created afterwards
Created Disestablished Puppet State Flag Country/territory Notes
Flag of the Tuvan People's Republic (1933-1939).svg Tannu Uriankhai, part of China Also known as "Tuva," Russia had been sending people (mainly farmers and fishermen) in to Tuva since 1860. In 1921, Russian-backed Bolsheviks stormed Tuva, after recently having declared its independence during the Mongolian Revolution of 1921. It was later annexed into the Tuvan Autonomous Oblast, per request of the "Little Khural," the executive committee of the Great Khural.[1]
Flag of Finland.svg Finland Encompassing the Hanko Peninsula, Suursaari, Seiskarim Lavansaari, Tytärsaari, and "Great and Little Koivisto", the Finnish Democratic Republic (sometimes also called the "Terijoki Government," because Terjoki was the first town to be captured by the Soviets) was created during the Winter War, and later merged with the Karelian ASSR to make the Karelo-Finnish SSR.[2]
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[note 1]
Flag of Estonian SSR.svg Estonia In 1918, Estonia began its war of independence. Using troops that had been assembled by the Germans after their invasion and subsequent occupation of Germany, Johan Laidoner lead the Estonian War of Independence. The Soviet Union and Estonia then signed the Treaty of Tartu, making Estonia independent. The Soviet Union invaded Estonia a second time, twenty years later, on 17 June 1940. A puppet state was set up four days later. Almost a year later, Germany invaded during Operation Barbarossa, and incorporated Estonia into Ostland. Estonians welcomed the Germans, but quickly began to dislike them. During the Soviet invasion, Estonia was liberated from German occupation, and again became a Soviet puppet state. It remained under Soviet control until its declaration of independence, the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration.[3]
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[note 1]
Flag of Latvian SSR.svg Latvia In 1920, the Latvian War of Independence was over, and Latvia gained its independence from Russia. Latvia, along with Estonia and Lithuania, signed the Baltic Entente in 1934, a plan for the countries to politically support each other. On 5 October 1939, Latvia signed the Soviet–Latvian Mutual Assistance Treaty, allowing the Soviet Union to build military bases on Latvian soil. On 17 July 1940, the Soviet Union invaded. Four days later, Kārlis Ulmanis, then-president of Latvia, stepped down, and gave the pro-Soviet Augusts Kirhenšteins the seat. Kirhenšteins requested the incorporation of Latvia into the Soviet Union, as the Latvian SSR on 5 August 1940. After being taken by the Germans 10 July 1941, it remained part of Ostland until the Soviet counterattack, when the last German forces in Latvia (Army Group Courland in the Courland Pocket) were defeated.[4][5] It remained under Russian control until the 10 March 1990, when the Latvian Declaration of Sovereignty was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia. Its independence was fully restored after the failed 1991 Soviet coup.[4]:167
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Flag of Lithuanian SSR.svg Lithuania

Following the 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état, Lithuania was led by what was known as the "Smetona regime," named after the leader of the coup, Antanas Smetona.[6] It was only in Soviet hands just under a year when German forces captured the Lithuanian SSR, and incorporated it into the Reichskommissariat Ostland. The Soviets retook the LSSR during the Baltic Operation. The LSSR gained its independence before any of the other Baltic states taken over by Russia, with the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania in 1990, though the Soviet Union refused to recognize its independence until 6 September 1991.[7]

Flag of the Second East Turkestan Republic.svg The Ili, Tarbagatay, and Altay districts of China In 1944, the Soviet-backed Ili Rebellion helped rebel forces take control of the area.[8] In the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance, the Soviet Union agreed that it would no longer support the ETR, in return for China letting the Soviet Union keep the Mongolian People's Republic.[9] In 1949, several of the ETR's leaders died in a plane crash while on their way to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. China, who had been eyeing the area since its 1944 rebellion, seized the moment and took control of the area, where most of the remaining leadership accepted the area's incorporation into China.[10]
Azerbaijan people's government flag.svg Iranian Azerbaijan During World War II, the Soviet Union, aided by Armenian and Azeri forces, managed to keep German forces out of Azerbaijan. Despite this, the Soviet Union invaded Iranian Azerbaijan in mid-1941, during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. This occupation helped lead to nationalism among the people of the Iranian Azerbaijan, which was encouraged by the Soviets. After World War II, the Soviets were forced by the other allies to withdraw.[11] The Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, led by Ja'far Pishevari, declared Azerbaijan as an autonomous government. While the people's discontent was growing, Iran appealed to the UN for help with a Soviet removal from their territory. The Soviets left in May 1946.[12]
Flag of East Germany.svg East Prussia, Farther Pomerania, Neumark, and Lower Silesia, Germany In 1945, after the defeat of Germany, control of Germany was split up between the Soviet Union, and the other main allies. The Soviet Union got the east, and the west was mainly split between the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, with a small section known as the Saar Protectorate. After the victory, distrust between the US and the Soviet Union began to grow. As the United States began enacting the Marshall Plan, Soviet military authorities began cutting off the city from the rest of western Europe. The Allied Control Council was created in Berlin, and Berlin divided among powers, but disagreements prevented any agreements from being made over the control of Germany. By June 1948, the Soviets had cut off all land and water traffic with Berlin, leaving air as the only means of entry. After this, General Lucius D. Clay commanded US army planes to drop food and other supplies on Berlin. In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty was created. This created the Federal Republic of Germany. The Soviet Union created the German Democratic Republic as a response.[13] On 9 November 1989, the East German borders were opened, and the Berlin wall was destroyed quickly thereafter. The two states were reunited on 3 December 1990.[5]:813

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom only had two puppet states during World War II, both of which were in the Middle East; one in Iraq, and one in Iran.

  Puppet states created during World War II
Created Disestablished Puppet State Flag Country/territory Notes
Flag of Iraq (1921–1959).svg Iraq The United Kingdom had shown interest in Iraq since 1921, when the Cairo Conference had created the British-backed "Kingdom of Iraq." After Iraq's 1932 admittance into the United Nations, British mandate of the area was ended. By March 1940, Iraqis had elected a government with strong Arab sentiments, with Rashid Ali al-Gaylani as the leader. In April 1941, al-Gaylani began a revolt, led by the Golden Square, a group of colonels. The rebels believed that they would get support from Germany, however, Germany was preoccupied fighting Russia. After the rebellion, the British lost their main source of oil, and invaded in May 1941.[14] In February 1958, Iraq joined the short-lived Arab Federation. Shortly after, the 14 July Revolution ended the Arab Federation, and Iraq was again its own country, the Republic of Iraq.[15]
State Flag of Iran (1964-1980).svg Southern Iran Though Iran was invaded by Great Britain and the Soviet Union, neither of the countries had any immediate interests in Iran. The reasons they invaded were simple; keep the Germans out, maintain the flow of oil, and assist the Soviets with transportation across the Trans-Iranian Railway. Because of this, British control over Iran was fairly light, save internal security. After the invasion, Rezā Shāh was dethroned, and his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was put on the throne.[16] After the Soviet's northern Iran became the Second East Turkestan Republic, there became increasing civil unrest in the country. In 1953, Mohammad Mosaddegh, the democratically elected prime minister, was overthrown by the United States and Britain in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, also known as the 28 Mordad coup. The Shah was reinstated two days later.[17]



Japan had been creating puppet states in China since the 1931 Mukden Incident. It established a puppet state in 1932.

  Puppet states created before World War II
  Puppet states created during World War II
Created Disestablished Puppet State Flag Country/territory Notes
Flag of Manchukuo.svg Manchuria, China Manchuria had long been a location of unrest, and the Mukden Incident was the perfect excuse for a Japanese occupation. The Mukden Incident, in essence, was when the Kwantung Army set off a bomb along the South Manchuria Railway, and used the explosion as an excuse to occupy Manchuria, blaming Chinese forces.[18] Manchukuo was created in March 1932. Despite the Japanese control of the area, they couldn't annex Manchuria into Japan due to their signing of the Nine-Power Treaty. After creating Manchukuo, Japan and Manchukuo signed several treaties allowing Japan to mobilize Manchuria's people and resources as it liked.[19] It was disestablished after the Soviet invasion of Manchuria.[19] :90
Flag of the Republic of China (1912-1928).svg Northern China The East Hebei Autonomous Council, also sometimes called the East Ji Autonomous Council or the East Hopei Autonomous Anti-Communist Council, was headed by Yin Rugeng in 1935 to help protect economic interests in north China.[20] East Hebei protected Japan's economic interests by prohibiting the export of silver and the circulation of the notes of the Central Bank of China. They also set up their own Central Bank and began to issue notes which were supported by several banks, and were widely circulated in Tientsin, against the orders of the Chinese central government. Following Japan's control of East Hebei, the region broke into reported "lawlessness," with the puppet state purportedly selling drugs to raise money.[21] On February 1, 1938, East Hebei was merged with the Provisional Government of the Republic of China.[22]
Flag of the Mengjiang.svg Inner Mongolia On 22 December 1935, part of Inner Mongolia split from China, and became an independent state. The Mongol Military Government was formed in May 1936. The military government operated under Chinese sovereignty, but Japanese control.[23] In 1937, its name was changed to the Mongol United Autonomous Government. In 1939, the United Mongolian Autonomous Government, the Northern Shanxi Autonomous Government, and the Southern Chahar Autonomous Government merged to become known as Mengjiang. Mengjiang was later merged with other puppet states to create the Provisional Government of the Republic of China.[24]
Flag of the Dadao Municipal Government of Shanghai.svg Pudong, China The Great Way Municipal Government (GWMG) was created to help administer the occupied suburbs of Shanghai in December 1937.[25] The GWMG was very small, consisting of nothing more than an office building in Pudong. Because of its association with the Japanese government, the GWMG had difficulty attracting any politicians of reputation. It had difficulty creating an administration for Shanghai, and was - after just under five months - merged with a new occupation regime in Nanjing.[26]
Flag of the Republic of China (1912-1928).svg Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, Honan, and Jiangsu, China Many parts of China were invaded after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, and the Provisional Government was set up just over six months later, on the day after the fall of Nanking. Before the country was even created, in October 1937, Japan created the North China Development Company to exploit China's resource-rich North.[27] On 30 March 1940, the Provisional Government was merged into the Nanjing Nationalist Government.[23]:379
Flag of Reformed Government of the Republic of China.svg Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Nanjing, and Shanghai, China The Reformed Government of the Republic of China (RGRC) was created in Nanking, after the Battle of Nanking on 28 March 1938.[28] The RGRC was made to have the appearance to legitimacy, and had Wang Jingwei as the first Chairman of the RGRC.[29] Despite this, the government was filled with "nonentities who posed no threat to the Japanese exercise of real power." It was merged into the Reorganized National Government of China in 1940.[30]
Flag of the Republic of China-Nanjing (Peace, Anti-Communism, National Construction).svg Reformed Government of the Republic of China, Provisional Government of the Republic of China, and Mengjiang Japan wanted to make Wang Jingwei, the former leader of the Provisional Government of China, the leader of a new puppet government. But, contrary to what was expected, Wang set up a new Nationalist government, based on the reunified Nationalist government of 1927. He requested that the Three Principles be reinstated, among other things. The Japanese initially denied this request, viewing the Three Principles as "Western ideas," but eventually accepted, with some exceptions: removal of the requested 5-branch system, and replacing it with a one-party system. The Nationalist Government retained independence as far as financial matters and economy were concerned, but Japan controlled its politics.[31] Despite this, the country had no real power, and was mainly used as a propaganda tool. The country was ended in August 1945.[23]:383
Flag of the State of Burma (1943-45).svg British Burma Initially, Burma was invaded with the sole objectives of cutting off the Burma Road, a route through which the United States and Great Britain supplied Chiang Kai-shek, and gaining the resources of Burma, mainly rice and gas. After Japan's successful conquest of Burma, which was completed in May 1942, they began driving the British out, using the Burmese Independence Army. Once the British were entirely out of Burma, Burma was granted nominal independence, which essentially meant that Burma was called independent, but was really under Japanese control, as part of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. After several years, growing dissent in the country led to growing popularity of Thakins and other anti-government groups like it. By 1944, they had organized an underground Anti-Fascist Organization, and on 27 March 1945, Aung San led these and other forces to rise up against the Japanese. The uprising is remembered as a struggle against "imperialist British" and "fascist Japanese."[32]
Flag of the Philippines (1943-1945).svg Philippines Following Japan's invasion of the Philippines in 1941, the Japanese tried to present themselves as liberators from their "colonial repression." In 1942, a group of influential Filipino politicians tried to negotiate with the Japanese for the creation of a new national government, but this led to nothing more than the creation of the puppet state. A second factor in the creation of the puppet state was the turning tide of the war: the Japanese believed that the creation of a government that appeared free would boost civilian morale. On 20 October 1944, US forces began the re-invasion of the Philippines. The Philippines were effectively under United States control by July 1945, and a new government set up in August.[33]
1931 Flag of India.svg British India The Provisional Government of India, sometimes also called the Provisional Government of Azad Hind, was created by Indian nationalists-in-exile in October 1943.[23] :411 According to Subhas Chandra Bose in a proclamation issued on 4 April 1944, the government was formed in Syonan-to (formerly Singapore) after an invasion of Singapore. This invasion was wanted "by the unanimous will of the three million Indians in East Asia." Additionally, he stated that the Provisional Government had but one mission: "to expel the Anglo-American armies from the sacred soil of India by armed force and then to bring about the establishment of a Permanent Government of Azad Hind, in accordance with the will of the Indian people." He also claimed that "the Indian people will co-operate wholeheartedly with our Ally, the Nippon Army, who are giving us unstinted and unconditional assistance in defeating our enemies." Bose was also "fully convinced [of] Nippon's sincerity towards India." He also claimed that, given the Government's rapid advance in to India, "the circumstances have...rendered it borrow from the Nipponese Government the currency...already in its possession and to use that money as a temporary measure."[34] The Provisional Government was ended shortly after Subhas Rose died in a plane crash on the way to Taiwan, in August 1945. With his death, much of the Indian National Army surrendered.[35] Despite Japan's strong influence in the area, some historians consider the Azad Hind a free and independent government.[36]
Flag of the Empire of Vietnam (1945).svg Cochinchina and Vietnam On 10 May 1940, Germany began its invasion of France. Following victory over France on 22 June 1940, Philippe Pétain was given control of Vichy France. Japan had been placing pressure for facilities and bases in Vietnam before France had fallen, and the fall of France made Japan even more eager.[37] Japan occupied Vietnam for much of World War II, and this set up a climate favorable to more radical ideas and revolutionary nationalism. Starting in the spring of 1945, the Viet Minh began carving out a small "liberated zone" along the borderlands of Vietnam. In an effort to save downed American pilots lost in Vietnam, the US agreed to aid the Viet Minh army, and train their technicians. After the first revolution, on 9 March 1945, the French governor of Indochina Jean Decoux was arrested, and replaced (by the Japanese government) with Bảo Đại.[38] Despite its local backing, the government had no military power of its own. Bảo Đại later wrote that, while working there, he "felt isolated in a dead capital city."[38]:358 In August 1945, the August Revolution brought freedom to Vietnam, just days before the Japanese surrendered.[39]
Flag of Cambodia under Japanese occupation.svg Cambodia In October 1940, the Franco-Thai War broke out between Vichy France and Thailand. The Japanese, using their power in the area (gained after the Japanese invasion of French Indochina), mediated the ceasefire, and got Vichy France to cede disputed territories to Thailand. On 8 December 1941, Japanese forces invaded Thailand, using bases in Cambodia.[citation needed] By July 1942, nationalists were growing more upset with the French rule in the area, and were planning a march against the French, when, on 17 July, their leader, Hem Chieu, was arrested after mentioning his ideas of a march to a Cambodian militiaman. This outraged the nationalists, and they staged a Japanese-backed rally on 20 July. The French reacted harshly, tracking down as many people as possible who attended the protest, and then trying them. After the allied invasion of France, Japan began to grow fearful that the Free French Forces would align Cambodia with the allied cause. On 9 March 1945, Japan seized control of Cambodia in a coup d'état in French Indochina. On 13 March, Norodom Sihanouk agreed with Japanese wishes, and declared that Cambodia was now the independent Kingdom of Kampuchea, and nullified all Franco-Cambodian agreements. Within a day of the surrender of Japan, Cambodia was returned to French hands.[40]


Germany had a large number of puppet states after the start of World War II. Some were countries that once supported it, but fell to the Allies. Others were countries that Germany invaded.

  Puppet states created before World War II
  Puppet states created during World War II that were not taken from Italy
  Puppet states taken from Italy after the Armistice of Cassibile
Created Disestablished Puppet State Flag Country/territory Notes
Flag of First Slovak Republic 1939-1945.svg Slovakia, Czechoslovakia Hitler had been having meetings with the Czechoslovakians for years, and had long had plans of making Slovakia a puppet state. In early March, rumors (planted by Germans) began reaching Slovakian leaders that Germany would give Slovakia economic support if Slovakia gained independence. German troops began moving in on Slovakia. On 10 March, diplomatic talks between the Czech Republic and Slovakia had broken down, and Hitler was growing nervous about his plans of a Slovakian puppet state. He threatened that Slovakia should either declare its independence, or be abandoned. Later, Germany received a telegram stating Slovakia's independence, along with a request for German assistance.[41] Shortly after Slovakia's "independence," Hungary (looking to gain land from militarily-weak Slovakia) attacked Slovakia, in what became known as the Slovak–Hungarian War. During the war, which lasted from 23 March[42] to 4 April 1939, Germany failed to protect Slovakia (in direct violation of their treaty), forcing Slovakia cede 400 square miles (1,036 square kilometers) of land to Hungary.[42] :51–52 Despite this, there was at least one plus to German rule: it improved the Czech business sector.[42] :111 Some historians date the end of the Slovak Republic as 11 April 1945, when the Slovak National Council was instated after the Slovak National Uprising. Others date it at 8 May 1945, when the Slovak government signed the surrender document.[43]
Flag of Bohmen und Mahren.svg Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia On 29 September 1938, after the completion of the Munich Agreement, all of the ethnic-German territories inside Czechoslovakia were given to Germany, which were then incorporated into the Reich. This occurred after the invasion of Austria, and many requests for the ethnic German land of Czechoslovakia. To appease Germany, the leaders of the Munich Conference gave Germany portions of Czechoslovakia, and hoped Hitler would satisfied. On 3 October 1938, the Slovaks requested independence, incited to do so by the large number of Nazi sympathizers in their country. By 19 November, the remainder of Czechoslovakia was divided into 3 groups: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Carpatho-Ukraine. Despite this, the Slovakian state wanted autonomy. After a failure to reach a deal, the Czech state broke off all negotiations on March 8, 1939. On March 14, the Slovak Republic announced its independence. The rest of Czechoslovakia became German territory after Czechoslovakian president Emil Hácha was forced by Hitler to cede the land of the Czech Republic to Germany.[44]
Flag of France.svg France and its colonies Officially called the French State, Vichy France was established shortly after the German victory over France following the armistice of 22 June 1940 in the non-occupied zone libre. Hitler's had a number of reasons behind capturing France, however, the most prevalent among them were France's future use as a stepping stone to Great Britain, and France's rich natural resources. However, despite Hitler's intentions of invading Great Britain (namely Operation Sea Lion) could not be realized until Hitler had won air superiority, which was a goal Hitler had trouble attaining. On top of the lack of air support, much of France continued to fight, despite the surrender.[45] Occupied France was divided into several parts. Northern France and Pas-de-Calais were combined with Belgium as the Military Administration in Belgium and Northern France. It was additionally divided into several administrative districts, such as Gau Westmark. Finally, there was Vichy France, which was technically independent from Germany, acting in appeasement of Germany in an effort to prevent itself the same fate as Poland. Philippe Pétain was placed as the head of the government, and instituted a number of Fuhrer principles. In November 1942, Germany invaded Vichy France. Despite the invasion, the Vichy Regime was not replaced with a military government, and the German authorities merely supervised and enforced laws with the aid of the Gestapo.[44]:171 The Germans continued to occupy France in such a fashion until the near-end of World War II, after the allied invasion of France. Though Vichy France was disestablished in 1944, Germany continued to hold to French land until Vichy France's capital-in-exile Sigmaringen was captured by allied forces on 22 April 1945.[46]
Flag of Independent State of Croatia.svg Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, southern Dalmatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.[note 2] Invaded on 6 April 1941 as part of the invasion of Yugoslavia by Germany, Italy, and Hungary. Slavko Kvaternik, one of the founders of the Fascist Ustaše movement, announced the creation of the Independent State of Croatia (often abbreviated NDH) on 10 April 1941. Ante Pavelić, the leader of Ustaše, entered Croatia from his exile in Italy for the first time in twelve years on 13 April, and he was placed in the position of Poglavnik, the leader of the NDH, just two days later, on the 15th, when he reached the capital of Zagreb. On 18 May 1941, Pavelić and Mussolini reached an agreement, known as the Rome Agreement, where most of Dalmatia in the NDH's possession, along with most of their Adriatic Islands, were handed over to Italy. Years later, after the Capitulation of Italy, the land was returned to the possession of the NDH. Additionally, Međimurje was under Hungarian control, though this area was also returned to Croatian control, after the Siege of Budapest. The puppet state fell on 8 May 1945.[47] Soon after the fall of the puppet state, radical communists such as the Yugoslav Partisans, who were ardently nationalist.[47]:224
Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg Greece Following Benito Mussolini's invasion of Albania, Italy continued to expand in the Mediterranean, and, on 28 October 1940, presented Greece with an ultimatum. Italy's ambassador to Greece, Emanuele Grazzi, presented the ultimatum to Greece's dictator, Ioannis Metaxas, who responded curtly with Greek: "όχι", which is Greek for "no." 28 October is now remembered as "Ohi Day" (occasionally "Oxi Day") in Greek communities. Using land gained in Albania, the Italian army invaded Greece on Ohi Day. The Greek Army, however, put up steadfast resistance. Beginning in January 1941—following Metaxas' death—the British offer for help was accepted, however, their efforts were largely uncoordinated. On 6 April, Germany launched Operation Marita, which was the dual invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia. The small Greek and British forces remaining quickly succumbed to the dual-invasion, and by 9 April, had surrendered. In 1943, the early conflicts which later sparked the Greek Civil War occurred, further dividing the country during the period of Axis rule. On 1 October 1944, British commando units landed on the beaches of Greece, and further Allied attacks began days later. By 12 February 1945, Greece was liberated by the Allies; however, Greece soon collapsed into Civil War.[48]
Flag of Norway.svg Reichskommissariat Norwegen, previously Norway On 9 April 1940, Germany began Operation Weserübung, and invaded Norway and Denmark. Reichskommissariat Norwegen was set up after the successful invasion, which was completed by 10 June. With the Norwegian government having fled, Vidkun Quisling announced via radio that there had been a coup, and that he was the new Prime Minister of Norway. However, the German government had other plans, and appointed Josef Terboven as the Reichskommissar of the territory on 24 April 1940.[49] Initially, the German plans were to depose all Norwegian government, as evidenced by the ousting of Quisling from power in June, however, by September, Terboven had announced that all political parties except Quisling's Nasjonal Samling, which was a mirror of Hitler's Nazi Party, were banned. On 1 February, Terboven declared Quisling as the Premier of Norway, making his leadership of the country official, though his direct control of the country remained as minimal as before. Quisling remained in his position of power until the surrender of Germany, on 9 May 1945.[50]
150px Orel, Kursk, Bryansk, and Polotsk of the Soviet Union On 22 June 1941, Germany initiated Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. Upon reaching Orel, Kursk, Bryansk, and Polotsk, the invading forces were greeted by the ardent anti-communist Bronislav Kaminski and his forces, who were actively fighting the Soviets.[51] His force, known as the Russkaya Osvoboditelnaya Narodnaya Armiya, meaning Russian National Liberation Army and abbreviated RONA, was composed of Red Army deserters, anti-communist white Russian collaborators, and a rag-tag group of expatriates.[52] RONA's forces were allowed control of the area at some point in November 1941 by Rudolf Schmidt, though it is unclear whether he was acting on his own accord or on another officer's orders. Though Lokot was initially headed by the founder of RONA, Konstantin Voskoboinik, after Voskoboinik was killed in early 1942, control of the region was transferred to Kaminski.[53] In April 1942, the Lokot region was given limited autonomy. While in charge, Kaminski's forces rooted out partisan activity with notorious ruthlessness, and became incorporated into the SS as S.S. Sturmbrigade R.O.N.A.. In May 1942, after gaining support from Alfred Rosenberg, the region was granted increased autonomy. By 1943, however, RONA began to suffer many desertions, due to Russia's improved position against Germany, and the Lokot Autonomy was evacuated by August 1943.[52]:347
Flag of Albania (1943-1944).svg Italian Albania Originally under the control of Italy, the Albanian Kingdom came under the control of Germany after the Armistice of Cassibile on 9 August 1943. Living conditions were already very poor in the area due to the Communist leadership of the area, but were worsened due to the wartime occupation conditions.[54] Albania was freed from German control on 29 November 1944, when Albanian Communist Partisans liberated the last German-controlled city, Shkodër. As Germany resistance was either fled or was captured or killed, the city grew increasingly desolate. The Communists began to reassert themselves over Albania, and Shkodër was considered by one Albanian as a "dead city." The Communists were so aggressive people were afraid to go outdoors.[55]
War flag of the Italian Social Republic.svg parts of the Kingdom of Italy Benito Mussolini, the leader of Italy, was one of Hitler's early allies in World War II, and initially his only willing ally, signing the Pact of Steel on 22 May 1939, which formed a military and political alliance between Germany and Italy. Many Italian citizens and soldiers disagreed with Mussolini and his views, but their frustration was fully reached by 1943. These views were strengthened by the Allied bombings in Italy, which destroyed large amounts of food and fuel. This, added to rampant inflation, led to numerous strikes throughout Italy. Italy's global position became even worse after the Allies forced Italy out of Africa, and, from the African shore, launched the Invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943. Numerous important figures in Italian politics at the time, including Victor Emmanuel III, the King of Italy, had decided that the Axis was going to lose the war, and that negotiations would be impossible with Mussolini in power. On 23 July, a meeting was organized to determine how Mussolini should be removed from office, and, following that meeting, Mussolini was told he was dismissed as prime minister, but also arrested. Mussolini's replacement, Pietro Badoglio, was welcomed, as many Italians assumed Mussolini's ousting would mean an end to the war. But Badoglio announced he would honor the Pact of Steel and the Tripartite Pact, and stay in the war. At the same time, Germany was increasing the number of forces in the area (from two divisions to seven), obviously preparing for Italy to be implementing a secret deal with the Allies, as was being planned. On 3 September 1943, Italy officially surrendered by signing the Armistice of Cassibile, though their surrender was not announced until 8 September, because the Armistice stated it "should come into force at a moment most favorable by the Allies." The German reaction to the news was almost immediate, with over 600,000 Italian soldiers captured and sent to Germany as prisoners of war, and all of central and northern essentially occupied, in a matter of hours, and the puppet state of the Italian Social Republic was set up.[56] So despite Italy's surrender, the Italian Campaign lasted on for another year and a half. On 25 April, after significant battling, the Italian Social Republic was defeated, and on 2 May 1945, Germany surrendered, and the Italian Campaign was won.[57]
Flag of Belarus (1918, 1991-1995).svg Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Soviet Union After Operation Barbarossa, Germany controlled much of the Soviet Union's satellite states, including Belarus. The German occupation of Belarus began on the same day as Operation Barbarossa (22 June 1941) due to its proximity to the German-Soviet Border. Initially, the land was included in Reichskommissariat Ostland. Early on, much of the state's work was done by either pro-Nazi or anti-communist Belorussian Self-Help battalions, but in April 1943 the chief of German security police in Belarus demanded that all Self-Help groups be disbanded.[58] On 21 December 1943, the Belarusian Central Rada (sometimes called the Belarusian Central Council) was formed, and placed under the leadership of Radasłaŭ Astroŭski.[59] The puppet state was destroyed with the Soviet Operation Bagration.[60]
Flag of Hungary (1915-1918, 1919-1946).svg Hungary Beginning in the fall of 1943, Hitler was becoming increasingly fearful that Romania or Hungary would try to collaborate with the Allies, as Italy had. Viewing Hungary's distancing itself from the Axis as a key sign of impending collaboration, Hitler devised a plan known as Operation Margarethe. By September, a plan was devised, and a second plan, Operation Margarethe II, was devised to occupy Romania simultaneously, but was later dropped because the German Operations Staff believed there would not be enough men to engage both countries at once.[61] On 18 March 1944, Hungary's Regent Miklós Horthy met with Hitler, while German troops simultaneously silently crossed the Hungarian border.[62] During his meeting with Hitler, Horthy was informed of the situation and forced to accept changes to his government—namely replacing Prime Minister Miklós Kállay(who was known to have been talking with the West) with Döme Sztójay.[63] Later in 1944, on 20 August, the Soviet Union began the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, which saw the Romanian Army switch sides. On 23 August, Romania joined arms with the Soviet Union to fight Nazi Germany, who was their ally at the beginning of the operation. This had dramatic repercussions, as now Hungary had to defend their borders against both the Soviet Union and Romania. The Romanians also had extra incentive to invade Hungary in the form of an age-old territorial dispute. On 24 September, the situation in Hungary was so dire that Horthy hand-wrote a letter to Stalin pleading for peace with the Soviet Union, going as far as claiming he was misinformed about the Bombing of Kassa, an event which was used to bring Hungary to war against the Soviet Union. Hungary had planned on leaving the Axis on 15 October, however, German leaders discovered the plan and seized Hungary the day of. Ferenc Szálasi and his party, leader of the fascist Arrow Cross Party, was placed in control of the government, with members of his party taking over many governmental jobs. The Government of National Unity was officially set up two days later. The Government of National Unity remained a state under Germany's control until the end of World War II, when it was invaded by the Allies on 7 March 1945.[63]:715–716


Though Italy did not have as many puppet states as the Soviet Union, Imperial Japan, or Nazi Germany, Italy did have a few. All of Italy's puppet states were captured by Germany after the fall of Italy.

  Puppet states created before World War II
  Puppet states created during World War II
Created Disestablished Puppet State Flag Country/territory Notes
Flag of Albania (1939-1943).svg Albanian Kingdom Benito Mussolini viewed Albania as strategically important, began Italian invasion of Albania in 1939. Lost to the Germans after Italy surrendered[64]
Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg Greece Italy invaded Greece on 28 October 1940. After failing to conquer Greece for around five months, Germany invaded Greece, and completed the invasion in under twenty five days. This led to both Germany and Italy controlling the Greek government. Germany gained full control after the Italians surrendered.[65]


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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 These puppet states existed in 1940, however, were invaded by Nazi Germany during Operation Barbarossa. After the Soviet re-invasion, known as Operation Bagration, they were recreated as Soviet puppet states.
  2. These districts are historical districts, and not the direct predecessors of the Independent State of Croatia. They are presented in this way to give the least confusion possible, as the provinces immediately prior were purposely drawn as to avoid historical and ethnic lines, which was what the borders of the NDH were based upon.
  3. Though the state was officially called the "National Government," it is frequently referred to as the Quisling Regime or the Quisling Government.