Did Mexico Fight in World War II?

The flag of Mexico.
The flag of Mexico.

Mexico has been involved in a number of armed conflicts throughout its history. Its military history began with the war between the prehispanic people, with the most notable one being the Flower War fought in the 1450s. Mexico’s struggle for independence, which was marked by a series of internal conflicts, added to the growing number of the country’s armed conflicts. Other major conflicts in the 19th century involving Mexico included the Mexican-American War and the War of Reforms. The 20th century marked an important period in the military history of the country. Its key military campaign during this period include the Cristero War and the Mexican Revolution. The country was also directly involved in World War II, standing among the Allies of the war.

Mexico’s Role in World War II

Mexico is rarely mentioned among the Allied Powers that took part in World War II, maybe because of the long-standing tension between it and the United States. However, after declaring war against the Axis Powers in May 1942, the country played an important role in the Allied victory. Mexico was a valuable ally to its neighbors in the north, contributing vital resources to the Allied war efforts. Several of Mexicans living in the US also enrolled for military services during the War. Mexico, alongside Brazil, were the only Latin American countries to send their troops overseas to fight during World War II. The Aztec Eagle, a Mexico’s elite air squadron, flew hundreds of missions during the Philippines’’ liberation in 1945. Thousands of farm workers also crossed into the US to work in agricultural companies and farms as part of the Bracero Program which had a lasting impact on the relationship between the two countries.

Path To Declaring War

For a long time, the US and Mexico seemed like unlikely allies due to their strained relationship. In 1938, Mexico’s president, Lazaro Cardenas, nationalized the oil industry, a move that angered some of the US oil companies and further fueled the tension between the two countries. Shortly after, the war in Europe began disrupting trade routes throughout the world, with several Latin American countries including Mexico finding themselves in economic peril. In December 1941, Japan made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, effectively bringing the war to the Western Hemisphere. Mexico was forced to cut diplomatic ties with Japan, Germany, and Italy. In May 1942, the Germans sank Mexican oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico and refused to compensate or apologize to them. On June 1, 1942, Mexico officially declared war against the Axis Powers.

Role Of Mexico’s Military In The War

Although Mexico had declared war against the Axis Powers, President Avila Camacho insisted that his country’s role was only limited to material and economic assistance. However, as the War intensified, the president wanted more roles in wartime strategy and decided that military engagement was the best way. The result was the Aztec Eagles that conducted bombing missions in Formosa and Luzon and provided support to the US Air Force. About 15,000 Mexicans in the US also served in the US military during the War. About 1,490 Mexicans who took part in the war are believed to have been killed or disappeared


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