Role in WW2
Main article: Uruguay during World War II
Uruguay was neutral for most of World War II, although later joined the Allies. It declared its neutrality on September 4, 1939, although President Alfredo Baldomir was poorly disposed towards the Axis powers. Uruguay's neutrality included a 500-kilometre (310 mi) exclusion zone extending from its coast, established as part of the Declaration of Panama.
Neither side of the conflict acknowledged the exclusion zone, and in December, British warships and the German ship Admiral Graf Spee fought the Battle of the River Plate in the zone. This prompted a joint protest from several Latin American nations to both sides. (Admiral Graf Spee took refuge in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, claiming sanctuary in a neutral port, but was later ordered out.) In early 1942, President Baldomir broke off diplomatic relations with the Axis Powers. On 15 February 1945, near the end of the war, Uruguay dropped its neutrality and joined the Allies.