Role in WW2
Main article: Madagascar in World War II
French Madagascar played an important role in the war due to the presence of critically important harbors and the contribution of Malagasy troops. After the fall of France in 1940, Madagascar became a crucial flashpoint in the conflict between the Free French movement and Vichy France. The island was also consequential in the Pacific theater of the war as Imperial Japanese naval forces operated unopposed off the island for some time.
In 1942, the British and several other Allied forces launched an invasion of Madagascar, seeking to protect its position as an link in Allied shipping and deny its use to the Axis. Madagascar was also briefly considered as the solution to the Jewish Question by the government of Nazi Germany who floated the idea of deporting Europe's Jewish population to the island in 1940. This scheme, the Madagascar Plan, never came to fruition for a variety of reasons. The British handed the island over to Free France in 1943, under whose control it remained for the rest of the war.