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European Royalty During World War II

Looking at the behavior and impact of European royalty during World War II is an interesting thing to do since World War II was such a unique war on a global scale. Many countries throughout Europe became involved in World War II in some capacity or another and the war was fought largely on European soil. All of this was, of course, bound to have an impact on the ruling families within the European countries at the time.

European Royalty During World War II

World War II in Europe

World War II took place from 1939 to 1945. During this war, countries throughout Europe and the United States, as well as elsewhere in the world, were dragged into the conflict. The war entered a global scale as time passed and Hitler's atrocities towards the Jews and his quest for power became widespread knowledge.

The different countries that became involved in World War II took sides, forming the Allies and the Axis. Since many countries in Europe during this period had active ruling monarchies, considering how European royalty acted during World War II is important to understanding how different military powers and alliances formed.

European Royalty during World War II

Considering the behavior and impact of European royalty during World War II is a massive undertaking, since there were many royal families ruling throughout Europe at the time and since the period is such a tumultuous one in history.

Glenn A. Stein, a professor in the English Department of The College of New Jersey, undertook to do the task anyway. Stein has provided a detailed overview of the different ruling houses in Europe and how those rulers fared during World War II.

Stein provides information on his web page such as who were the ruling houses in Europe since knowing who the major players were is essential to understanding the royalty of Europe during World War II. These ruling royal houses included:

  • Albania (Savoy)
  • Albania (Zogu)
  • Belgium (Saxe-Coburg and Gotha)
  • Bulgaria (Saxe-Coburg and Gotha)
  • Croatia (Savoy)
  • Denmark (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg)
  • Great Britain and Ireland (Saxe-Coburg and Gotha/Windsor)
  • Greece (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg)
  • Italy (Savoy)
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxemburg (Nassau-Weilburg)
  • Monaco (Grimaldi)
  • Netherlands (Orange-Nassau)
  • Norway (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg)
  • Romania (Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen)
  • Sweden (Bernadotte)
  • Yugoslavia (Karageorgevich)

There were also a whole host of other former ruling houses as well, which are also listed on Stein's website.

In addition to listing information about who the royals were during World War II, each royal family has a link provided so it is possible to learn more about that ruler. Stein also goes on to explain the mission of his exploration of royalty during World War II to consider the European monarchs during a particular point in history and to think about whether the age of princes was over.

The Impact of the War

Each of the different royal families and factions were affected in different ways as a result of the global conflict known as World War II. To fully understand European royalty during World War II, one would need to undertake a comprehensive study, such as the one available on Stein's project, since there were many rules and many facets to the war and the formation of alliances.

You can read the results of Stein's project at the web page linked to above or use one of the many books about World War II to better understand the full complexities of this subject.

However, as a general matter, the different impact World War II had on different monarchies can be explained by their different vicinities to the action taking place, differing political ideologies, and different relationships and attitudes towards Hitler and Germany's actions. For example, it stands to reason that the impact on royalty of World War II was most significant on European royalty (in the Balkans, Italy, and Hungary) whose rein was toppled as a result of communist agitation following World War II.