Madagascar and World War II

Someone mentioned to me that Madagascar is a place that the Nazis wanted to relocate the Jews during WWII. is this true?
if so where can i find more information on this?

Try typing “Madagascar Jews Nazis” into Google. Here’s one relevant hit out of many:

thanks… next time i will try that first

Madagascar was also one of the places where the British and the French battled each other during World War II. Practically nothing is written about the campaign, and as best I can tell, the graduate student at Virginia Tech who was researching the subject never completed her dissertation, which I was eagerly awaiting.

Budding historians, please take note.

But the British and the French were allies!

Perhaps you could elaborate, please.

The Vichy French (government of France after its capitulation to Germany in 1940) and the Brits were not allies. The U.S. had combat with Vichy French forces in North Africa, as well.

France didn’t just surrender in 1940. They switched sides. The British immediately attacked and blew up much of the French fleet, which sealed that deal.

Until about 1944, French colonial forces fought Allied forces here and there, albiet without a great deal of alacrity in most cases.

All I know about Madagascar is that in “Axis and Allies,” it’s worth one point, so an enterprising Japanese player should try to take it with a transport end-run.

Simple rule of thumb: the Vichy French fought with the Axis, the Free French fought against the Axis (after 1940 and the establishment of the Vichy regime).

I’m trying to remember how this went . . I think the Germans wanted Japan to help them take Madagascar because whoever controlled that island would have a huge advantage in the naval theater in WW2. And it is true that the Germans had a plan for relocating the Jews to that island because it was far away and they figured the hot tropics would kill them all off anyway, saving them the effort of rounding them up an exterminating them in camps (nice bunch, those Nazis).

I think what happened is that Japan backed out of the plan so they could concentrate on fighting the United States in the Pacific. Madagascar is one history’s “What ifs?” because had Japan risked helping the Nazis take Madagascar, it could have significantly turned the tide of the war in the favor of the Axis.

Thanks folks, I had forgotten about the Vichy French. Consider me duly reminded. :slight_smile:

I never thought that the French “switched sides”. What happened in Europe to the French army & air force? Did they actually fight against the US in Europe?

As far as I know there is practically no writing at all about the origins of the Madagascar conflict, the troops involved, or the style of the campaign. I think the British (probably more likely Australians, Indians, or New Zealanders) landed at the south end of the island and moved their way north. The Vichy troops didn’t fight particularly hard, but I remember reading that attrition as a result of the harsh conditions was high for both sides. I think there was also a bit of nastiness near the end of the campaign, executions perhaps, but I simply can’t remember.

As far as the “allies” went, all had scrapes now and then. In addition to Madagascar and the Torch landings, the British also tangled with the French in Syria/Lebanon, another sideshow I know nothing about. Field Marshal Slim recounts a very high-tension situation in Iraq (or was it Iran?) where his troops very nearly started to mix it up with the Soviets sometime in 1942/43. Both America and Britain gave aid to Finland against the Soviets in the Winter War of 1939, shortly after the Russians invaded Poland along with the Germans. Somewhere I remember reading that French troops fought against every major power involved in WWII, including themselves.

This gives something of a clue:
There were apparently two Madagascan campaigns (May and September 1942) led by predominately British Forces. The purpose being to prevent the Japanese setting up a base on the island, something that would have been a handy hopping stone between the Axis forces in the Med and North Africa and the Japanese in Asia.

For much more type: ‘Operation Ironclad’ (without marks) into Google.

Which was interesting, because the Germans were also giving aid to Finland during the Winter War, and Finland was nominally a German ally throughout the war.

starfish wrote:

France didn’t actually switch sides. France concluded an armistice with Germany in June, 1940. While the Vichy government did try to negotiate an alliance with Germany, nothing came of it, mainly because Hitler wasn’t interested in doing anything that would limit Germany’s economic control of France.

No Vichy French forces fought in Europe (unless you count the SS ‘Charlemagne’ division which was mostly composed of Vichy Milice members) because Germany disbanded the Vichy French armed forces shortly after Britain and the US invaded North Africa.

There was a fair bit of fighting in various French colonies between Vichy forces, Free French (de Gaulle), British and US. In some place in North Africa, Vichy French forces fought quite hard against until a surrender was arranged under Admiral Darlan. A combined British-Free French invasion of Dakar was repulsed by Vichy.

After September 1944, the French armed forces wer quickly rebuilt and eventually grew to an entire army serving in the 6th Army Group.

Andrew Warinner

London_Calling, you kick ass. Thank you for steering me to that site. This helps to settle something I’ve been curious about for over a decade.

Sorry for the hijack.