I started wondering about this after watching yet another World War II movie where the European people are freed by Mother Russia and Uncle Sam and also helped in their recovery.

What are the earliest examples in history where anything like that happens, especially where the rescued population is given long term support in economic development, wellbeing, etc. following the war (without necessarily being colonized)?

Also, as a sub-question, are there any similar examples outside the Western world?

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    The term is "Amical Protectorate" - where a major power steps in to defend a weaker one without demanding much in return (tho the Baltic states and Karelia may disagree). It's a tough term to search on, tho, as the British Empire was littered with protectorates of other sorts in places where ancient civilizations flourished, and this poisons the search results. Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 19:13
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    I would certainly argue that many of the Roman Republic's provinces were Protectorates under the modern meaning. Consider Caesar's repulse of the Helvetii at the beginning of his term as Governor of Gaul, and his subsequent repulse of a Germanic invasion of Gaul a few years later. Commented Feb 23, 2014 at 15:08
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    You have a strange idea about the Soviet's role in post-war Eastern Europe.
    – Greg
    Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 5:22
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    @PieterGeerkens: "repulse of the Helvetii"? You mean the pretext of attacking peaceful migr.. oh I mean "barbarian savages" that Caesar used to gain quick power and fame and genociding most of Gaul on the way? Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 18:10
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    I think it's worth a comment to drop here the names of Athens and Plataea. The arrival of the Plataeans at Marathon and the reaction of the Athenians must have been a sight to behold.
    – Brasidas
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 16:31

2 Answers 2


Are you sure that WWII isn't TWO examples?

Had you asked any Nazi before the invasion of France, he likely would have said that Germany's actions to that point were largely a matter of Germany "rescuing" its fellow Germans from their (Jewish-led) oppressors in Poland and Czechoslovakia. His arguments would probably not convince you, but they would be sincere and not trivial to refute.

I don't mean to sound facetious, nor to denigrate the heroism of the allies in that war. I mean only to illustrate that few events are so easily classified as a "rescue". It is rare that doing the "right" thing doesn't also serve self-interest in some way. And conversely, few wars are started without some justification that can be called "righteous".

Thus we have historians - people who enjoy teasing out the threads of truth in these knotted narratives. We routinely see the villains of one generation being rehabilitated by subsequent historians as time gives new perspectives and research provides new data. And even more often we see heroes brought down to the level of their enemies - indeed, something about our modern culture makes this process trivially simple nowadays.

Thus, I encourage anyone who is interested in history to make a point of reading (or watching) not just the latest books and videos, but works from early eras. In doing so you'll learn much more about the period you are studying - and also the period you are living in!


There is the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373 between England and Portugal, which is the oldest and longest standing treaty. This alliance was made to ensure perpetual friendships, unions [and] alliances between the two countries. The friendship started in 1147 when England came to the aid of the Portuguese king after the Moors laid siege to Lisbon and freed the city for the people of Portugal. Only once has there been a disruption in this treaty, when the Iberian Union (1580–1640), a 60-year dynastic union between Portugal and Spain took place The best part of the treaty states: It is cordially agreed that if, in time to come, one of the kings or his heir shall need the support of the other or his help, and in order to get such assistance applies to his ally in a lawful manner, the ally shall be bound to give aid and succour to the other, so far as he is able (without any deceit, fraud, or pretense) to the extent required by the danger to his ally’s realms, lands, domains, and subjects; and he shall be firmly bound by these present alliances to do this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Portuguese_Alliance

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