Saudi Arabia in WWII

Discussions on WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean. Hosted by Andy H
User avatar
Posts: 105
Joined: 07 Jan 2006 11:23
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia in WWII

Post by freefrench » 07 Jan 2006 14:39

Saudi Arabia entered the war on May 5th 1945, does anybody know anything about the role it played in the war? Or anything on its army?

User avatar
Kim Sung
Posts: 5039
Joined: 28 May 2005 13:36
Location: The Last Confucian State

Post by Kim Sung » 07 Jan 2006 16:28

Declaration of war on the axis nations was a requirement for entry to the UN. Saudi Arabian role during WW2 was, if any, minimal.

Posts: 708
Joined: 09 Feb 2003 20:34
Location: Sweden

Re: Saudi Arabia in WWII

Post by Stephan » 08 Jan 2006 11:38

freefrench wrote:Saudi Arabia entered the war on May 5th 1945, does anybody know anything about the role it played in the war?

Ah, think if it was the last straw to broke off the camels back?? The last, tiny but decisive backlash for Germany??! :D

Funnies aside, Japan was still left and still fighting. My speculation the gesture was probably more against Japan than Germany. Role? It could perhaps shorten up some transport ways. Or made transportation /overflewing easier; easier to make a shortcut through a allied country than a neutral country.

Jon G.
Posts: 6647
Joined: 17 Feb 2004 01:12
Location: Europe

Post by Jon G. » 08 Jan 2006 11:58

According to this site, Saudi Arabia entered the war already on March 1st 1945, but it appears that Saudi Arabia only declared war on Japan at that time, not Germany. Maybe it was the issue of the future of Palestine that prevented the Saudis from declaring war on Germany.

Saudi Arabia however belonged firmly in the Allied camp earlier, receiving Lend-Lease aid from 1943 onwards:

Although Saudi Arabia officially maintained neutrality through most of the war, the U.S. began to court the kingdom as it realized the strategic importance of Saudi oil reserves. In 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt made Saudi Arabia eligible for Lend-Lease assistance by declaring the defense of Saudi Arabia of vital interest to the U.S. In 1945, King Abdel Aziz and President Roosevelt cemented the tacit oil-for-security relationship when they met aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal. Link

The meeting aboard the USS Quincy took place on February 14th 1945.

Posts: 211
Joined: 30 Jun 2006 04:45
Location: Singapore

Post by Rumsfeld » 02 Jul 2006 07:38

The interview below provides additional details about USA-Saudi ties during WWII: ... l#pgfId=69

User avatar
Graham Clayton
Posts: 485
Joined: 31 Mar 2008 11:29
Location: South Windsor, NSW, Australia

Re: Saudi Arabia in WWII

Post by Graham Clayton » 12 Apr 2011 05:47

Some furtherinformation from "A Brief History of Saudi Arabia", James Wynbrandt, Fawaz A. Gerges (Infobase Publishing, 2010):
Though officially neutral at the outset of World War II, Saudi Arabia was a theater of intrigue and intrigue between the Allies and Axis in the early days of the conflict. Adolf Hitler, Germany's leader, saw Saudi Arabia as a springboard to Russia's southern flank. He secretly promised Ibn Saud the title of King of all the Arabs if he attacked British forces. But Ibn Saud tacitly backed the British with whom, despite their quarrels, Saudi Arabia had a far larger economic relationship. Though Ibn Saud allowed Germany to station an agent who conducted clandestine operations from Jeddah, the operative was expelled in 1941 after the British complained about his activities. Hitler's interest in Saudi Arabia ebbed as the tide of war turned against Germany.
"Air superiority is a condition for all operations, at sea, in land, and in the air." - Air Marshal Arthur Tedder.

User avatar
Posts: 5339
Joined: 07 Jul 2005 10:50
Location: Spain

Re: Saudi Arabia in WWII

Post by Ironmachine » 12 Apr 2011 07:24

freefrench wrote:Or anything on its army?
At the time of the Second World War, the armed forces of Saudi Arabia had changed little since the time of the First World War. The majority of troops were camel-raiding bedouin tribal levies, called-on in time of war or serious emergency. These troops were very experienced at desert warfare and survival, but their equipment was immensely outdated while their loyalty was also at times questionable. These desert warriors were employed frequently in the Saudi wars of aggression of the 1920's (against Hejaz and Asir) and 1930's (against North Yemen), but they were being increasingly more replaced by western-armed regular troops. In the 1940's, the total number of levies ready to go to war at the king's call was ~ 15 000. At the same time, the regulars numbered only a few thousand personnel and performed mostly policing and other security functions. These regular troops were much better armed than the levies and were garrisoned all over the country at forts and major cities and towns. The air force was in the embryonic phase of development. Since 1943 Saudi Arabia began receiving financial credits for the expansion and modernization of its arsenal, as part of the Lend - Lease military - economic assistance package granted by the U.S. government. The armed forces of Saudi Arabia did not participated in WWII.

Return to “WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean”