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military, he also received training at the prestigious Military College of México in México City

and at the Military Aviation School in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México.22

It was also during this time that México began to play a more active role in the war.

Initially, México had supported the Axis powers during the first years of the war, by trading with

the Axis. This support ended when Germany and Russia broke the Non-Aggression Pact of

1939. Germany invaded Russia in 1941 and México now pledged support for the Allies.

México was forced to declare war on the Axis on May 22, 1942, after Germany bombed

two of its oil tankers, Potrero del Llano (Colt of the Plains) and Faja de Oro (Golden Belt) in

the Gulf of México. After the first tanker, Potrero del Llano, was attacked on May 13, 1942,

German propaganda alleged that the United States was the party responsible for the aggression.

Although extensive propaganda was launched in an effort to incriminate the United States,

Mexican officials demanded full compensation and an apology from the German government.

Germany responded to this complaint by sinking another tanker, Faja de Oro, on May 22, 1942.

It was inevitable that México would soon have to more actively participate in the war. The

Mexican Senate and Chamber of Deputies made México’s entry into the war official on May 30,


With great encouragement from President Camacho, the Mexican government evaluated

a plan to provide troops for the war. After realizing that México lacked the resources to do this,

President Camacho turned to the United States for help to prepare soldiers for combat. In an

effort to have these men ready by 1943, President Camacho presented his proposal to President

Roosevelt in a meeting held in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, in April 1943. Although both

nations evaluated the idea extensively and held numerous negotiations, México accepted

22 23

Pérez Gallardo, interview. Tudor, “Flight of Eagles: The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force”, 26.

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