The Tripartite Pact was signed on September 27th, 1940 between Germany, Japan, and Italy. It was the document which formally created the Axis Powers of WW2 and is also known as the Axis Pact, Three-Power Pact, and the Tripartite Treaty. Representing each country during the signing of the document in Berlin, Germany were Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano from Italy, Adolf Hitler from Germany, and the Japanese ambassador to Germany, Saburo Kurusu.
- 1 Background behind the Signing of the Tripartite Pact
- 2 Tripartite Pact Text
- 3 Additional Signatories of the Tripartite Pact
- 4 Unofficial Signatories of the Tripartite Pact
- 5 Tripartite Pact Video
- 6 The Soviet Union and the Tripartite Pact
- 7 Ending of the Tripartite Pact
- 8 Tripartite Pact References
Background behind the Signing of the Tripartite Pact
During the discussions leading up to the signing of the Tripartite Pact, all three countries agreed that they would support each other for the next ten years to help establish a new world order. Each recognized the spheres of influence of the other and agreed to assist the others with all means available to include economic, military, and political if one of the others was attacked by a country not already involved in the war. The Soviet Union was excluded as an aggressor in this agreement which served to supplement the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1936. The agreement also helped to alleviate some of the issues which had arisen between Germany and Japan following the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed between the Soviet Union and Germany.
Countries that later joined the Tripartite Pact and the Axis Powers included Hungary on November 20th, 1940, Romania on November 23rd, 1940, Slovakia on November 24th, 1940, Bulgaria on March 1st, 1941, Yugoslavia on March 25th, 1941, and Croatia on June 15th, 1941.
Tripartite Pact Text
The following is the verbatim text of the Tripartite Pact:
The Governments of Japan, Germany, and Italy consider it as the condition precedent of any lasting peace that all nations in the world be given each its own proper place, have decided to stand by and co-operate with one another in their efforts in Greater East Asia and the regions of Europe respectively wherein it is their prime purpose to establish and maintain a new order of things, calculated to promote the mutual prosperity and welfare of the peoples concerned. It is, furthermore, the desire of the three Governments to extend cooperation to nations in other spheres of the world that are inclined to direct their efforts along lines similar to their own for the purpose of realizing their ultimate object, world peace. Accordingly, the Governments of Japan, Germany and Italy have agreed as follows:
ARTICLE 1. Japan recognizes and respects the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe.
ARTICLE 2. Germany and Italy recognize and respect the leadership of Japan in the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia.
ARTICLE 3. Japan, Germany, and Italy agree to cooperate in their efforts on aforesaid lines. They further undertake to assist one another with all political, economic and military means if one of the Contracting Powers is attacked by a Power at present not involved in the European War or in the Japanese-Chinese conflict.
ARTICLE 4. With a view to implementing the present pact, joint technical commissions, to be appointed by the respective Governments of Japan, Germany and Italy, will meet without delay.
ARTICLE 5. Japan, Germany and Italy affirm that the above agreement affects in no way the political status existing at present between each of the three Contracting Powers and Soviet Russia.
ARTICLE 6. The present pact shall become valid immediately upon signature and shall remain in force ten years from the date on which it becomes effective. In due time, before the expiration of said term, the High Contracting Parties shall, at the request of any one of them, enter into negotiations for its renewal.
Additional Signatories of the Tripartite Pact
Although Germany, Japan, and Italy were the original signatories of the Tripartite Pact, there were additional nations who joined the Axis Powers during World War 2. These included Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Croatia.
During World War 1, the Austro-Hungarian Empire sided with Germany and collapsed following the defeat by the Allied Powers. After the Treaty of Triano was signed, the Kingdom of Hungary was subsequently shrunk in size and a significant amount of resentment was felt by the country’s citizens. To help assuage this sentiment, both Italy and Germany implemented the Vienna Awards system in 1938 and 1940. As a result of this support, Hungary joined the Tripartite Pact on November 20th, 1940.
Romania was a member of the Allied Powers during World War 1 and received Transylvania from Austria-Hungary after the war. Once Italy and Germany gave parts of Transylvania back to Hungary and portions of southern Dobruja to Bulgaria combined with the Soviet Union taking Bessarabia, Romania decided to join the Tripartite Pact on November 23rd, 1940. The primary motivation behind joining the Axis by Romania was to provide protection against further invasion by
the Red Army.
After the Munich Agreement was concluded on March 14th, 1939, the Slovak Republic was created from the former Czechoslovakia. Not too long after formation, Slovakia went to war with Hungary. Despite signing a treaty of protection with Germany, Germany refused to aid Slovakia in the conflict. Despite losing territory to Hungary, Slovakia supported the German invasion of Poland and joined the Tripartite Pact on November 24th, 1940.
Bulgaria was allied with Germany during World War 1 and subsequently lost territory to Greece and Serbia after the war. In order to attack Greece during World War 2, Germany required access through the country. In order to obtain this access, Adolf Hitler promised the Bulgarian leader, Tsar Boris III, that the country would receive back all of the territory lost in exchange for joining the Axis. The country signed the Tripartite Pact on March 1st, 1941.
Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact on March 25th, 1941. Just two days later, the government was overthrown via military coup that had British support. Despite attempts to dissolve the pact, the country later declared adherence to the pact. On April 6th, the German Luftwaffe bombed Belgrade for three days and German forces moved into the city. Yugoslavia would capitulate on April 17th to the Germans.
Croatia signed the Tripartite Pact on June 15th, 1941.
Unofficial Signatories of the Tripartite Pact
There were several countries that were unofficial signatories to the Tripartite Pact. These included Thailand, Manchukuo, and China.
Thailand did not officially sign the Tripartite Pact; however, the country did become an unofficial signatory of the pact at the recommendation of Japan. The country had previously signed a military alliance with Japan and signed the Tripartite Pact on February 15th, 1942. The country contributed forces to the Japanese invasion of Burma from 1942 through 1943.
On 15 February 1942, the Great Manchu Empire became an unofficial signatory of the pact at the suggestion of the Japanese government.
The Nanking Government (Reorganized National Government of China) also signed the Tripartite Pact.
Tripartite Pact Video
The Soviet Union and the Tripartite Pact
The Soviet Union became aware of the existence of the pact just prior to it being signed. The Soviets offered to join the pact in exchange for a number of concessions to include the annexation of Finland and even offered a number of economic concessions / offerings to Germany in exchange for this consideration. Despite the negotiations, the Germans did not reply to the Soviet offerings other than to accept the economic aid. All negotiations would cease once the Germans executed Operation Barbarossa and invaded the USSR.
So, Who Did Not Sign the Pact?
Neither Finland nor the Soviet Union signed the pact, for very different reasons. The USSR didn’t sign because Stalin wanted too much in return. Finland didn’t sign because they were only concerned about not being invaded by the Soviet Union.
Ending of the Tripartite Pact
The Tripartite Pact started to fracture when Italy surrendered to the Allies in 1943. In 1944, both Romania and Bulgaria shifted to become military allies of the U.S.S.R. In mid-1944, Germany eliminated the country of Slovakia after the Slovak national Uprising and Hungary would be the final minor member of the pact remaining. By the spring of 1945, Hungary was over-run by the Allies. When Germany was defeated, the Tripartite Pact ceased to have any real meaning although it was still technically in effect until the surrender of Japan.
Tripartite Pact References
Tripartite Pact Text, Avalon Yale Project, Last Viewed: 22 November 2013
The Tripartite Pact is Signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan, History.com, Last Viewed: 21 November 2013.
An Alliance is Formed, Wake Forest University, Last Viewed 22 November 2013.