Role in WW2
Main article: Liberia in World War II
Liberia granted Allied forces access to its territory early in the war. It was used as a transit point for troops and resources bound for North Africa, particularly war supplies flown from Parnamirim (near Natal) in Brazil. Perhaps more importantly, it served as one of the Allies' only sources of rubber during the war; the plantations of Southeast Asia had been taken over by the Japanese.
The importance of this resource led to significant improvement of Liberia's transport infrastructure and a modernisation of its economy. Liberia's strategic significance was emphasised when Franklin Roosevelt, after attending the Casablanca Conference, visited Liberia and met President Edwin Barclay. Despite its assistance to the Allies, Liberia was reluctant to end its official neutrality and did not declare war on Germany until 27 January 1944.