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The Axis powers, ; it, Potenze dell'Asse ; ja, 枢軸国 ''Sūjikukoku'', group=nb originally called the Rome–Berlin Axis, was a military
coalition A coalition is a group formed when two or more people or groups temporarily work together to achieve a common goal. The term is most frequently used to denote a formation of power in political or economical spaces. Formation According to ''A Gui ...
that initiated
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
and fought against the Allies. Its principal members were
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
, the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861, when Victor Emmanuel II of Kingdom of Sardinia, Sardinia was proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed King of Italy, until 1946, when civil discontent led to ...
, and the
Empire of Japan The also known as the Japanese Empire or Imperial Japan, was a historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II 1947 constitution and subsequent fo ...
. The Axis were united in their opposition to the Allies, but otherwise lacked comparable coordination and ideological cohesion. The Axis grew out of successive diplomatic efforts by Germany, Italy, and Japan to secure their own specific expansionist interests in the mid-1930s. The first step was the protocol signed by Germany and Italy in October 1936, after which Italian leader
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
declared that all other European countries would thereafter rotate on the Rome–Berlin axis, thus creating the term "Axis". The following November saw the ratification of the
Anti-Comintern Pact The Anti-Comintern Pact, officially the Agreement against the Communist International was an Anti-communism, anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on 25 November 1936 and was directed against the Communist In ...
, an
anti-communist Anti-communism is Political movement, political and Ideology, ideological opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in the Russian Empire, and it reached global dimensions during the Cold War, w ...
treaty between Germany and Japan; Italy joined the Pact in 1937, followed by
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
in 1939. The "Rome–Berlin Axis" became a
military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement between nations concerning national security. Nations in a military alliance agree to active participation and contribution to the defense of others in the alliance in the event of a crisis. (Online) ...
in 1939 under the so-called "
Pact of Steel The Pact of Steel (german: Stahlpakt, it, Patto d'Acciaio), formally known as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, was a Military alliance, military and Political alliance, political alliance between Fascist Italy (192 ...
", with the
Tripartite Pact The Tripartite Pact, also known as the Berlin Pact, was an agreement between Nazi Germany, Germany, Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Italy, and Empire of Japan, Japan signed in Berlin on 27 September 1940 by, respectively, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Gal ...
of 1940 formally integrating the military aims of Germany, Italy, Japan, and later followed by other nations. The three pacts formed the foundation of the Axis alliance. At its zenith in 1942, the Axis presided over large parts of Europe, North Africa, and East Asia, either through occupation, annexation, or
puppet state A puppet state, puppet régime, puppet government or dummy government, is a State (polity), state that is ''de jure'' independent but ''de facto'' completely dependent upon an outside Power (international relations), power and subject to its o ...
s. In contrast to the Allies, there were no three-way summit meetings, and cooperation and coordination were minimal; on occasion, the interests of the major Axis powers were even at variance with each other. The war ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis powers and the dissolution of their alliance. As in the case of the Allies, membership in the Axis was fluid, with some nations switching sides or changing their degree of military involvement over the course of the war. Particularly within Europe, the use of the term "the Axis" primarily refers to the alliance between Italy and Germany, though outside Europe it is normally understood as including Japan.


Origins and creation

The term "axis" was first applied to the Italo-German relationship by the Italian prime minister
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
in September 1923, when he wrote in the preface to Roberto Suster's ''La'' ''Germania Repubblicana'' that "there is no doubt that in this moment the axis of European history passes through Berlin" (''non v'ha dubbio che in questo momento l'asse della storia europea passa per Berlino''). At the time, he was seeking an alliance with the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: link=no, Weimarer Republik ), officially named the German Reich, was the government of Germany from 1918 to 1933, during which it was a Constitutional republic, constitutional federal republic for the first time in ...
against
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh-Latn-Cyrl, separator=" / ", Jugoslavija, Југославија ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; rue, label= Pannonian Rusyn, Югославия, translit=Juhoslavij ...
and
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
in the dispute over the Free State of Fiume.D. C. Watt, "The Rome–Berlin Axis, 1936–1940: Myth and Reality", ''The Review of Politics'', 22: 4 (1960), pp. 530–31. The term was used by
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
's prime minister Gyula Gömbös when advocating an alliance of Hungary with Germany and Italy in the early 1930s. Gömbös' efforts did affect the Italo-Hungarian Rome Protocols, but his sudden death in 1936 while negotiating with Germany in
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of the States of Germany, German state of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by popu ...
and the arrival of Kálmán Darányi, his successor, ended Hungary's involvement in pursuing a trilateral axis. Contentious negotiations between the Italian foreign minister,
Galeazzo Ciano Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari ( , ; 18 March 1903 – 11 January 1944) was an Italian diplomat and politician who served as Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister in the government of his father-in-law, ...
, and the German ambassador,
Ulrich von Hassell Christian August Ulrich von Hassell (12 November 1881 – 8 September 1944) was a German diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanization, romanized ''diploma'') is a person appointed by a state (polity), state or an inte ...
, resulted in a Nineteen-Point Protocol, signed by Ciano and his German counterpart,
Konstantin von Neurath Konstantin Hermann Karl Freiherr von Neurath (2 February 1873 – 14 August 1956) was a German diplomat and Nazi war criminal who served as Minister for Foreign Affairs (Germany), Foreign Minister of Germany between 1932 and 1938. Born to a Swa ...
, in 1936. When Mussolini publicly announced the signing on 1 November, he proclaimed the creation of a Rome–Berlin axis.


Initial proposals of a German–Italian alliance

Italy under ''
Duce ( , ) is an Italian language, Italian title, derived from the Latin language, Latin word 'leader', and a cognate of ''duke''. National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini was identified by Fascists as ('The Supreme leader, Leader') of the ...
''
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
had pursued a strategic alliance of Italy with Germany against France since the early 1920s.MacGregor Knox. Common Destiny: Dictatorship, Foreign Policy, and War in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Cambridge University Press, 2000. p. 124. Prior to becoming head of government in Italy as leader of the Italian Fascist movement, Mussolini had advocated alliance with defeated Germany after the
Paris Peace Conference (1919–1920) The Paris Peace Conference was the formal meeting in 1919 and 1920 of the victorious Allies of World War I, Allies after the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers. Dominated by the leaders of Britain, France, ...
settled
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
. He believed that Italy could expand its influence in Europe by allying with Germany against France. In early 1923, as a goodwill gesture to Germany, Italy secretly delivered weapons for the ''
Reichswehr ''Reichswehr'' () was the official name of the German armed forces during the Weimar Republic and the first years of the Nazi Germany, Third Reich. After Germany was defeated in World War I, the Imperial German Army () was dissolved in order t ...
'', which had faced major disarmament under the provisions of the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the Peace treaty, peace treaties of World War I. It ended the declaration of war, state of war between Germany and the Allies of ...
. Since the 1920s Italy had identified the year 1935 as a crucial date for preparing for a war against France, as 1935 was the year when Germany's obligations under the Treaty of Versailles were scheduled to expire. Meetings took place in Berlin in 1924 between Italian General Luigi Capello and prominent figures in the German military, such as von Seeckt and
Erich Ludendorff Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff (9 April 1865 – 20 December 1937) was a German general, politician and military theorist. He achieved fame during World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI ...
, over military collaboration between Germany and Italy. The discussions concluded that Germans still wanted a war of revenge against France but were short on weapons and hoped that Italy could assist Germany. However at this time Mussolini stressed one important condition that Italy must pursue in an alliance with Germany: that Italy "must ... tow them, not be towed by them". Italian foreign minister
Dino Grandi Dino Grandi (4 June 1895 – 21 May 1988), 1st Count, Conte di Mordano, was an Italian Italian Fascism, Fascist politician, minister of justice, minister of foreign affairs and president of Parliament of Italy, parliament. Early life Born at ...
in the early 1930s stressed the importance of "decisive weight", involving Italy's relations between France and Germany, in which he recognized that Italy was not yet a major power, but perceived that Italy did have strong enough influence to alter the political situation in Europe by placing the weight of its support onto one side or another, and sought to balance relations between the three.Gerhard Schreiber, Bern Stegemann, Detlef Vogel. ''Germany and the Second World War''. Oxford University Press, 1995. p. 113.H. James Burgwyn. Italian foreign policy in the interwar period, 1918–1940. Wesport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997. p. 68.


Danube alliance, dispute over Austria

In 1933,
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populo ...
and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany. Hitler had advocated an alliance between Germany and Italy since the 1920s. Shortly after being appointed
Chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the federal chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany,; often shortened to ''Bundeskanzler''/''Bundeskanzlerin'', / is the head of the federal government of Germany and the commander in chief of the Ger ...
, Hitler sent a personal message to Mussolini, declaring "admiration and homage" and declaring his anticipation of the prospects of German–Italian friendship and even alliance. Hitler was aware that Italy held concerns over potential German land claims on South Tyrol, and assured Mussolini that Germany was not interested in South Tyrol. Hitler in ''
Mein Kampf (; ''My Struggle'' or ''My Battle'') is a 1925 Autobiography, autobiographical manifesto by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. The work describes the process by which Hitler became Antisemitism, antisemitic and outlines his Political views ...
'' had declared that South Tyrol was a non-issue considering the advantages that would be gained from a German–Italian alliance. After Hitler's rise to power, the Four Power Directorate proposal by Italy had been looked at with interest by Britain, but Hitler was not committed to it, resulting in Mussolini urging Hitler to consider the diplomatic advantages Germany would gain by breaking out of isolation by entering the Directorate and avoiding an immediate armed conflict. The Four Power Directorate proposal stipulated that Germany would no longer be required to have limited arms and would be granted the right to re-armament under foreign supervision in stages.H. James Burgwyn. Italian foreign policy in the interwar period, 1918–1940. Wesport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997. p. 82. Hitler completely rejected the idea of controlled rearmament under foreign supervision. Mussolini did not trust Hitler's intentions regarding
Anschluss The (, or , ), also known as the (, en, Annexation of Austria), was the annexation of the Federal State of Austria into the Nazi Germany, German Reich on 13 March 1938. The idea of an (a united Austria and Germany that would form a "Ger ...
nor Hitler's promise of no territorial claims on South Tyrol.H. James Burgwyn. Italian foreign policy in the interwar period, 1918–1940. Wesport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997. p. 76. Mussolini informed Hitler that he was satisfied with the presence of the anti-Marxist government of
Engelbert Dollfuss Engelbert Dollfuß (alternatively: ''Dolfuss'', ; 4 October 1892 – 25 July 1934) was an Austrian clerical fascism, clerical fascist politician who served as Chancellor of Federal State of Austria, Austria between 1932 and 1934. Having served a ...
in the
First Austrian Republic The First Austrian Republic (german: Erste Österreichische Republik), officially the Republic of Austria, was created after the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919), Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 10 September 1919—the se ...
, and warned Hitler that he was adamantly opposed to Anschluss. Hitler responded in contempt to Mussolini that he intended "to throw Dollfuss into the sea". With this disagreement over Austria, relations between Hitler and Mussolini steadily became more distant. Hitler attempted to break the impasse with Italy over Austria by sending
Hermann Göring Hermann Wilhelm Göring (or Goering; ; 12 January 1893 – 15 October 1946) was a German politician, military leader and convicted war criminal. He was one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially ...
to negotiate with Mussolini in 1933 to convince Mussolini to press Austria to appoint
Austrian Nazis Austrian Nazism or Austrian National Socialism was a German nationalism in Austria, pan-German movement that was formed at the beginning of the 20th century. The movement took a concrete form on 15 November 1903 when the German Workers' Party (A ...
to the government.H. James Burgwyn. Italian foreign policy in the interwar period, 1918–1940. Wesport, Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997. p. 78. Göring claimed that Nazi domination of Austria was inevitable and that Italy should accept this, as well as repeating to Mussolini of Hitler's promise to "regard the question of the South Tyrol frontier as finally liquidated by the peace treaties". In response to Göring's visit with Mussolini, Dollfuss immediately went to Italy to counter any German diplomatic headway. Dollfuss claimed that his government was actively challenging Marxists in Austria and claimed that once the Marxists were defeated in Austria, that support for Austria's Nazis would decline. In June 1934, Hitler and Mussolini met for the first time, in
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto Regions of Italy, region. It is built on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400  ...
. The meeting did not proceed amicably. Hitler demanded that Mussolini compromise on Austria by pressuring Dollfuss to appoint Austrian Nazis to his cabinet, to which Mussolini flatly refused the demand. In response, Hitler promised that he would accept Austria's independence for the time being, saying that due to the internal tensions in Germany (referring to sections of the Nazi
Sturmabteilung The (; SA; literally "Storm Detachment (military), Detachment") was the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing pro ...
that Hitler would soon kill in the
Night of the Long Knives The Night of the Long Knives (German language, German: ), or the Röhm purge (German: ''Röhm-Putsch''), also called Operation Hummingbird (German: ''Unternehmen Kolibri''), was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from 30 June to 2 July 19 ...
) that Germany could not afford to provoke Italy.Peter Neville. ''Mussolini''. London, England: Routledge, 2004. p. 123.
Galeazzo Ciano Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari ( , ; 18 March 1903 – 11 January 1944) was an Italian diplomat and politician who served as Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister in the government of his father-in-law, ...
told the press that the two leaders had made a "gentleman's agreement" to avoid interfering in Austria. Several weeks after the Venice meeting, on 25 July 1934, Austrian Nazis assassinated Dollfuss. Mussolini was outraged as he held Hitler directly responsible for the assassination that violated Hitler's promise made only weeks ago to respect Austrian independence. Mussolini rapidly deployed several army divisions and air squadrons to the
Brenner Pass The Brenner Pass (german: link=no, Brennerpass , shortly ; it, Passo del Brennero ) is a mountain pass through the Alps which forms the Austria-Italy border, border between Italy and Austria. It is one of the principal passes of the Alps, prin ...
, and warned that a German move against Austria would result in war between Germany and Italy. Hitler responded by both denying Nazi responsibility for the assassination and issuing orders to dissolve all ties between the German Nazi Party and its Austrian branch, which Germany claimed was responsible for the political crisis. Italy effectively abandoned diplomatic relations with Germany while turning to France in order to challenge Germany's intransigence by signing a Franco–Italian accord to protect Austrian independence. French and Italian military staff discussed possible military cooperation involving a war with Germany should Hitler dare to attack Austria. Relations between Germany and Italy recovered due to Hitler's support of Italy's invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, while other countries condemned the invasion and advocated sanctions against Italy.


Development of German–Italian–Japanese alliance

Interest in Germany and Japan in forming an alliance began when Japanese diplomat Oshima Hiroshi visited
Joachim von Ribbentrop Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop (; 30 April 1893 – 16 October 1946) was a German politician and diplomat who served as Minister for Foreign Affairs (Germany), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nazi Germany from 1938 to 1945. Rib ...
in Berlin in 1935.Adriana Boscaro, Franco Gatti, Massimo Raveri, (eds). ''Rethinking Japan. 1. Literature, visual arts & linguistics''. pp. 32–39 Although at the time Japan was unwilling to make an alliance against the United Kingdom and France, Oshima informed von Ribbentrop of Japan's interest in forming a German–Japanese alliance against the Soviet Union. Von Ribbentrop expanded on Oshima's proposal by advocating that the alliance be based in a political context of a pact to oppose the
Comintern The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was a Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, ...
. The proposed pact was met with mixed reviews in Japan, with a faction of ultra-nationalists within the government supporting the pact while the
Imperial Japanese Navy The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN; Kyūjitai: Shinjitai: ' 'Navy of the Greater Japanese Empire', or ''Nippon Kaigun'', 'Japanese Navy') was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945, Potsdam Declaration, when it was dissolved following ...
and the Japanese Foreign Ministry were staunchly opposed to the pact. There was great concern in the Japanese government that such a pact with Germany could disrupt Japan's relations with Britain, endangering years of a beneficial Anglo-Japanese accord, that had allowed Japan to ascend in the international community in the first place. The response to the pact was met with similar division in Germany; while the proposed pact was popular amongst the upper echelons of the Nazi Party, it was opposed by many in the Foreign Ministry, the Army, and the business community who held financial interests in the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
to which Japan was hostile. On learning of German–Japanese negotiations, Italy also began to take an interest in forming an alliance with Japan. Italy had hoped that due to Japan's long-term close relations with Britain, that an Italo-Japanese alliance could pressure Britain into adopting a more accommodating stance towards Italy in the Mediterranean. In the summer of 1936, Italian Foreign Minister
Galeazzo Ciano Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari ( , ; 18 March 1903 – 11 January 1944) was an Italian diplomat and politician who served as Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister in the government of his father-in-law, ...
informed Japanese Ambassador to Italy, Sugimura Yotaro, "I have heard that a Japanese–German agreement concerning the Soviet Union has been reached, and I think it would be natural for a similar agreement to be made between Italy and Japan." Initially Japan's attitude towards Italy's proposal was generally dismissive, viewing a German–Japanese alliance against the Soviet Union as imperative while regarding an Italo-Japanese alliance as secondary, as Japan anticipated that an Italo-Japanese alliance would antagonize Britain that had condemned Italy's invasion of Ethiopia. This attitude by Japan towards Italy altered in 1937 after the League of Nations condemned Japan for aggression in China and faced international isolation, while Italy remained favourable to Japan. As a result of Italy's support for Japan against international condemnation, Japan took a more positive attitude towards Italy and offered proposals for a non-aggression or neutrality pact with Italy. The Tripartite Pact was signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan on 27 September 1940, in Berlin. The pact was subsequently joined by Hungary (20 November 1940), Romania (23 November 1940), Slovakia (24 November 1940), and Bulgaria (1 March 1941).


Ideology

The Axis powers' primary goal was territorial expansion at the expense of their neighbors. In ideological terms, the Axis described their goals as breaking the hegemony of the plutocratic
Western powers The Western world, also known as the West, primarily refers to the various nations and state (polity), states in the regions of Europe, North America, and Oceania.
and defending civilization from
Communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
. The Axis championed a number of variants on
fascism Fascism is a far-right, Authoritarianism, authoritarian, ultranationalism, ultra-nationalist political Political ideology, ideology and Political movement, movement,: "extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and pol ...
,
militarism Militarism is the belief or the desire of a government or a people that a state should maintain a strong military capability and to use it aggressively to expand national interests and/or values. It may also imply the glorification of the mili ...
, and
autarky Autarky is the characteristic of self-sufficiency, usually applied to societies, communities, states, and their economic systems. Autarky as an ideal or method has been embraced by a wide range of political ideologies and movements, especially ...
. Creation of territorially contiguous autarkic empires was a common goal of all three major Axis powers.


Economic resources

The Axis population in 1938 was 258.9 million, while the Allied population (excluding the Soviet Union and the United States, which later joined the Allies) was 689.7 million. Thus the Allied powers outnumbered the Axis powers by 2.7 to 1. The leading Axis states had the following domestic populations: Germany 75.5 million (including 6.8 million from recently annexed Austria), Japan 71.9 million (excluding its colonies), and Italy 43.4 million (excluding its colonies). The United Kingdom (excluding its colonies) had a population of 47.5 million and France (excluding its colonies) 42 million. The wartime
gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a money, monetary Measurement in economics, measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold (not resold) in a specific time period by countries. Due to its complex and subjec ...
(GDP) of the Axis was $911 billion at its highest in 1941 in international dollars by 1990 prices. The GDP of the Allied powers was $1,798 billion. The United States stood at $1,094 billion, more than the Axis combined. The burden of the war upon participating countries has been measured through the percentage of
gross national product The gross national income (GNI), previously known as gross national product (GNP), is the total domestic and foreign output claimed by residents of a country, consisting of gross domestic product (GDP), plus factor incomes earned by foreign ...
(GNP) devoted to military expenditures. Nearly one-quarter of Germany's GNP was committed to the war effort in 1939, and this rose to three-quarters of GNP in 1944, prior to the collapse of the economy. In 1939, Japan committed 22 percent of its GNP to its war effort in China; this rose to three-quarters of GNP in 1944. Italy did not mobilize its economy; its GNP committed to the war effort remained at prewar levels. Italy and Japan lacked industrial capacity; their economies were small, dependent on
international trade International trade is the exchange of Capital (economics), capital, goods, and Service (economics), services across international borders or territories because there is a need or want of goods or services. (see: World economy) In most countr ...
, external sources of fuel and other industrial resources. As a result, Italian and Japanese mobilization remained low, even by 1943. Among the three major Axis powers, Japan had the lowest per capita income, while Germany and Italy had an income level comparable to the United Kingdom.


Major Axis powers


Germany


War justifications

Hitler in 1941 described the outbreak of World War II as the fault of the intervention of Western powers against Germany during its war with Poland, describing it as the result of "the European and American warmongers".Lewis Copeland, Lawrence W. Lamm, Stephen J. McKenna. ''The World's Great Speeches: Fourth Enlarged (1999) Edition''. p. 485. Hitler had designs for Germany to become the dominant and leading state in the world, such as his intention for Germany's capital of Berlin to become the ''Welthauptstadt'' ("World Capital"), renamed
Germania Germania ( ; ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania''), or Germanic Barbaricum to distinguish it from the Roman province of the same name, was a large historical region in nort ...
. The German government also justified its actions by claiming that Germany inevitably needed to territorially expand because it was facing an
overpopulation Overpopulation or overabundance is a phenomenon in which a species' population becomes larger than the carrying capacity of its Natural environment, environment. This may be caused by increased birth rates, lowered mortality rates, reduced preda ...
crisis that Hitler described: "We are overpopulated and cannot feed ourselves from our own resources".Stephen J. Lee. Europe, 1890–1945. p. 237. Thus expansion was justified as an inevitable necessity to provide ''
lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
'' ("living space") for the German nation and end the country's overpopulation within existing confined territory, and provide resources necessary to its people's well-being. Since the 1920s, the Nazi Party publicly promoted the expansion of Germany into territories held by the Soviet Union.Peter D. Stachura. The Shaping of the Nazi State. p. 31. Germany justified its war against Poland on the issues of German minority within Poland and Polish opposition to the incorporation of the ethnically German-majority
Free City of Danzig The Free City of Danzig (german: Freie Stadt Danzig; pl, Wolne Miasto Gdańsk; csb, Wòlny Gard Gduńsk) was a city-state under the protection of the League of Nations between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig (now Gda ...
into Germany. While Hitler and the Nazi party before taking power openly talked about destroying Poland and were hostile to Poles, after gaining power until February 1939 Hitler tried to conceal his true intentions towards Poland, and signed a 10-year Non-Aggression Pact in 1934, revealing his plans to only to his closest associates. Relations between Germany and Poland altered from the early to the late 1930s, as Germany sought rapprochement with Poland to avoid the risk of Poland entering the Soviet sphere of influence, and appealed to anti-Soviet sentiment in Poland.Jan Karski. ''The Great Powers and Poland: From Versailles to Yalta''. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. p. 197. Hitler even tried to convince Poland to join the Anti-Comintern Pact. The Soviet Union in turn at this time competed with Germany for influence in Poland. At the same time Germany was preparing for a war with Poland and was secretly preparing the German minority in Poland for a war. A diplomatic crisis erupted following Hitler demanding that the Free City of Danzig be annexed to Germany, as it was led by a Nazi government seeking annexation to Germany. Germany used legal precedents to justify its intervention against Poland and annexation of the
Free City of Danzig The Free City of Danzig (german: Freie Stadt Danzig; pl, Wolne Miasto Gdańsk; csb, Wòlny Gard Gduńsk) was a city-state under the protection of the League of Nations between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig (now Gda ...
(led by a local Nazi government that sought incorporation into Germany) in 1939.A. C. Kiss. ''Hague Yearbook of International Law''. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1989. Poland rejected Germany's demands and Germany in response prepared a general mobilization on the morning of 30 August 1939.William Young. German Diplomatic Relations 1871–1945: The Wilhelmstrasse and the Formulation of Foreign Policy. iUniverse, 2006. p. 271. Germany justified its invasion of the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas, lb, déi Niddereg Lännereien) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, is a coastal lowland region in N ...
of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in May 1940 by claiming that it suspected that Britain and France were preparing to use the Low Countries to launch an invasion of the industrial
Ruhr The Ruhr ( ; german: Ruhrgebiet , also ''Ruhrpott'' ), also referred to as the Ruhr area, sometimes Ruhr district, Ruhr region, or Ruhr valley, is a wikt:polycentric, polycentric urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a population d ...
region of Germany.Gabrielle Kirk McDonald. ''Documents and Cases, Volumes 1–2''. The Hague, Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2000. p. 649. When war between Germany versus Britain and France appeared likely in May 1939, Hitler declared that the Netherlands and Belgium would need to be occupied, saying: "Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied ... Declarations of neutrality must be ignored". In a conference with Germany's military leaders on 23 November 1939, Hitler declared to the military leaders that "We have an
Achilles heel An Achilles' heel (or Achilles heel) is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to ...
, the Ruhr", and said that "If England and France push through Belgium and Holland into the Ruhr, we shall be in the greatest danger", and thus claimed that Belgium and the Netherlands had to be occupied by Germany to protect Germany from a British-French offensive against the Ruhr, irrespective of their claims to neutrality. Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 involved issues of ''
lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
'',
anti-communism Anti-communism is Political movement, political and Ideology, ideological opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in the Russian Empire, and it reached global dimensions during the Cold War, w ...
, and Soviet foreign policy. After Germany invaded the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
in 1941, the Nazi regime's stance towards an independent, territorially-reduced Russia was affected by pressure beginning in 1942 from the
German Army The German Army (, "army") is the land component of the armed forces of Federal Republic of Germany, Germany. The present-day German Army was founded in 1955 as part of the newly formed West German ''Bundeswehr'' together with the German Navy, '' ...
on Hitler to endorse a "
Russian Liberation Army The Russian Liberation Army; russian: Русская освободительная армия, ', Abbreviation, abbreviated as (), also known as the Vlasov army after its commander Andrey Vlasov, was a Collaboration in German-occupied Soviet U ...
" led by Andrey Vlasov. Initially the proposal to support an anti-communist Russian army was met with outright rejection by Hitler, however by 1944 as Germany faced mounting losses on the Eastern Front, Vlasov's forces were recognized by Germany as an ally, particularly by
Reichsführer-SS (, ) was a special title and rank that existed between the years of 1925 and 1945 for the commander of the (SS). ''Reichsführer-SS'' was a title from 1925 to 1933, and from 1934 to 1945 it was the highest rank of the SS. The longest-servi ...
Heinrich Himmler Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (; 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was of the (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of th ...
. After the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor The attack on Pearl HarborAlso known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a Surprise attack, surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the Naval Station Pearl Harbor, naval base at Pearl ...
and the outbreak of war between Japan and the United States, Germany supported Japan by declaring war on the US. During the war Germany denounced the
Atlantic Charter The Atlantic Charter was a statement issued on 14 August 1941 that set out American and British goals for the world after the end of World War II. The joint statement, later dubbed the Atlantic Charter, outlined the aims of the United States and ...
and the Lend-Lease Act that the US adopted to support the Allied powers prior to entry into the alliance, as imperialism directed at dominating and exploiting countries outside of the continental
Americas The Americas, which are sometimes collectively called America, are a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. ...
.Randall Bennett Woods. ''A Changing of the Guard: Anglo-American Relations, 1941–1946''. University of North Carolina Press, 1990. p. 200. Hitler denounced American President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (; ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician and attorney who served as the 32nd president of the United States The president of the United Stat ...
's invoking of the term "freedom" to describe US actions in the war, and accused the American meaning of "freedom" to be the freedom for democracy to exploit the world and the freedom for plutocrats within such democracy to exploit the masses.


History

At the end of World War I, German citizens felt that their country had been humiliated as a result of the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the Peace treaty, peace treaties of World War I. It ended the declaration of war, state of war between Germany and the Allies of ...
, which included a war guilt clause and forced Germany to pay enormous reparations payments and forfeit territories formerly controlled by the German Empire and all its colonies. The pressure of the reparations on the German economy led to hyperinflation during the early 1920s. In 1923 the French occupied the Ruhr region when Germany defaulted on its reparations payments. Although Germany began to improve economically in the mid-1920s, the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
created more economic hardship and a rise in political forces that advocated radical solutions to Germany's woes. The Nazis, under Hitler, promoted the nationalist
stab-in-the-back legend The stab-in-the-back myth (, , ) was an antisemitic Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice towards, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemit ...
stating that Germany had been betrayed by Jews and Communists. The party promised to rebuild Germany as a major power and create a Greater Germany that would include Alsace-Lorraine, Austria,
Sudetenland The Sudetenland ( , ; Czech language, Czech and sk, Sudety) is the historical German name for the northern, southern, and western areas of former Czechoslovakia which were inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans. These German speakers had predo ...
, and other German-populated territories in Europe. The Nazis also aimed to occupy and colonize non-German territories in Poland, the
Baltic states The Baltic states, et, Balti riigid or the Baltic countries is a geopolitical term, which currently is used to group three countries: Estonia Estonia, formally the Republic of Estonia, is a country by the Baltic Sea in Northern Euro ...
, and the Soviet Union, as part of the Nazi policy of seeking ''
Lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
'' ("living space") in
Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in the Baltic states, Baltics, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Southeast Europe (mostly the Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc and Warsaw P ...
. Germany renounced the Versailles treaty and remilitarized the Rhineland in March 1936. Germany had already resumed conscription and announced the existence of a German air force, the
Luftwaffe The ''Luftwaffe'' () was the aerial warfare, aerial-warfare branch of the German ''Wehrmacht'' before and during World War II. German Empire, Germany's military air arms during World War I, the ''Luftstreitkräfte'' of the German Army (Ge ...
, and naval force, the
Kriegsmarine The (, ) was the navy of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The was one of three official military branc ...
in 1935. Germany annexed Austria in 1938, the
Sudetenland The Sudetenland ( , ; Czech language, Czech and sk, Sudety) is the historical German name for the northern, southern, and western areas of former Czechoslovakia which were inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans. These German speakers had predo ...
from Czechoslovakia, and the Memel territory from
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no ), is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. It is one of three Baltic states and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Lithuania ...
in 1939. Germany then invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1939, creating the
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; cs, Protektorát Čechy a Morava; its territory was called by the Nazis ("the rest of Czechia"). was a partially Annexation, annexed territory of Nazi Germany established on 16 March 1939 following the ...
and the country of
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the s ...
. On 23 August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those powers to partition Poland between them. The pact was signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ri ...
, which contained a secret protocol dividing eastern Europe into spheres of influence. Germany's invasion of its part of Poland under the Pact eight days later triggered the beginning of World War II. By the end of 1941, Germany occupied a large part of Europe and its military forces were fighting the Soviet Union, nearly capturing Moscow. However, crushing defeats at the
Battle of Stalingrad The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 19422 February 1943) was a major battle on the Eastern Front (World War II), Eastern Front of World War II where Nazi Germany and Axis powers, its allies unsuccessfully fought the Soviet Union for con ...
and the
Battle of Kursk The Battle of Kursk was a major World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the wo ...
devastated the German armed forces. This, combined with Western Allied landings in France and
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
, led to a three-front war that depleted Germany's armed forces and resulted in Germany's defeat in 1945.


Occupied territories

The
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; cs, Protektorát Čechy a Morava; its territory was called by the Nazis ("the rest of Czechia"). was a partially Annexation, annexed territory of Nazi Germany established on 16 March 1939 following the ...
was created from the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Shortly after Germany annexed the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia, the
Slovak Republic Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct part of the world, such as a state (polity), ...
declared its independence from the rump
Second Czechoslovak Republic The Second Czechoslovak Republic ( cs, Druhá československá republika, sk, Druhá česko-slovenská republika) existed for 169 days, between 30 September 1938 and 15 March 1939. It was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia ...
. The new
Slovak State Slovak may refer to: * Something from, related to, or belonging to Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Po ...
allied itself with Germany. The remainder of the country was occupied by German military forces and organized into the Protectorate. Czech civil institutions were preserved but the Protectorate was considered within the sovereign territory of Germany. The
General Government The General Government (german: Generalgouvernement, pl, Generalne Gubernatorstwo, uk, Генеральна губернія), also referred to as the General Governorate for the Occupied Polish Region (german: Generalgouvernement für die be ...
was the name given to the territories of
occupied Poland ' (Norwegian language, Norwegian: ') is a Norway, Norwegian political thriller TV series that premiered on TV 2 (Norway), TV2 on 5 October 2015. Based on an original idea by Jo Nesbø, the series is co-created with Karianne Lund and Erik Skjold ...
that were not directly annexed into German provinces, but like Bohemia and Moravia was considered within the sovereign territory of Germany by the Nazi authorities.
Reichskommissariat ''Reichskommissariat'' ( en, Imperial Commissariat) is a German language, German word for a type of administrative entity headed by a government official known as a ''Reichskommissar'' ( en, Imperial Commissioner). Although many offices existed, ...
s were established in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway, designated as places the "Germanic" populations of which were to be incorporated into the planned Greater Germanic Reich. By contrast the Reichskommissariats established in the east (
Reichskommissariat Ostland The Reichskommissariat Ostland (RKO) was established by Nazi Germany in 1941 during World War II. It became the Reichskommissariat, civilian occupation regime in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the western part of Byelorussian Soviet Socialist R ...
in the Baltics,
Reichskommissariat Ukraine During World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—includi ...
in the Ukraine) were established as colonies for settlement by Germans. In Norway, under Reichskommissariat Norwegen, the
Quisling regime The Quisling regime or Quisling government are common names used to refer to the fascist Fascism is a far-right, authoritarian, ultra-nationalist political ideology and movement,: "extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electo ...
, headed by
Vidkun Quisling Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling (, ; 18 July 1887 – 24 October 1945) was a Norwegian military officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an Military, armed force or Uniformed services, ...
, was installed by the Germans as a client regime during the occupation, while king
Haakon VII Haakon VII (; born Prince Carl of Denmark; 3 August 187221 September 1957) was the King of Norway from November 1905 until his death in September 1957. Originally a Danish prince, he was born in Copenhagen as the son of the future Frederick VI ...
and the legal government were in exile. Quisling encouraged Norwegians to serve as volunteers in the Waffen-SS, collaborated in the deportation of Jews, and was responsible for the executions of members of the
Norwegian resistance movement The Norwegian resistance (Norwegian: ''Motstandsbevegelsen'') to the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") ( ...
. About 45,000 Norwegian collaborators joined the pro-Nazi party ''
Nasjonal Samling Nasjonal Samling (, NS; ) was a Norway, Norwegian far-right politics, far-right political party active from 1933 to 1945. It was the only legal party of Norway from 1942 to 1945. It was founded by former minister of defence Vidkun Quisling and a ...
'' (National Union), and some police units helped arrest many Jews. However, Norway was one of the first countries where
resistance during World War II Resistance movements during World War II occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means, ranging from non-cooperation to propaganda, hiding crashed pilots and even to outright warfare and the recapturing of towns. In many countries, r ...
was widespread before the turning point of the war in 1943. After the war, Quisling and other collaborators were executed. Quisling's name has become an international
eponym An eponym is a person, a place, or a thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, named. The adjectives which are derived from the word eponym include ''eponymous'' and ''eponymic''. Usage of the word The term ''epon ...
for
traitor Treason is the crime of attacking a state authority to which one owes allegiance. This typically includes acts such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplo ...
.


Italy


War justifications

''
Duce ( , ) is an Italian language, Italian title, derived from the Latin language, Latin word 'leader', and a cognate of ''duke''. National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini was identified by Fascists as ('The Supreme leader, Leader') of the ...
''
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
described Italy's declaration of war against the Western Allies of Britain and France in June 1940 as the following: "We are going to war against the
plutocratic A plutocracy () or plutarchy is a society that is ruled or controlled by people of great wealth or income. The first known use of the term in English dates from 1631. Unlike most political systems, plutocracy is not rooted in any established ...
and
reactionary In political science, a reactionary or a reactionist is a person who holds political views that favor a return to the '' status quo ante'', the previous political state of society, which that person believes possessed positive characteristics ab ...
democracies Democracy (From grc, δημοκρατία, dēmokratía, ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choo ...
of the
West West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass. It is the opposite direction from east and is the direction in which the Sunset, Sun sets on the Earth. Etymology The word "west" is a Germanic languages, German ...
who have invariably hindered the progress and often threatened the very existence of the
Italian people , flag = , flag_caption = Flag of Italy, The national flag of Italy , population = , regions = Italy 55,551,000 , region1 = Brazil , pop1 = 25–33 million , ref1 = , ...
". Italy condemned the Western powers for enacting sanctions on Italy in 1935 for its actions in the
Second Italo-Ethiopian War The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, also referred to as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, was a war of aggression which was fought between Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Italy and Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopia from October 1935 to February 1937. In Ethio ...
that Italy claimed was a response to an act of Ethiopian aggression against tribesmen in
Italian Eritrea Italian Eritrea ( it, Colonia Eritrea, "Colony of Eritrea") was a colony of the Kingdom of Italy in the territory of present-day Eritrea. The first Italian establishment in the area was the purchase of Assab by the Società di Navigazione Rubattin ...
in the Walwal incident of 1934. Italy, like Germany, also justified its actions by claiming that Italy needed to territorially expand to provide ''
spazio vitale (, "living space") was the territorial expansionist Expansionism refers to states obtaining greater territory through military Imperialism, empire-building or colonialism. In the classical age of conquest moral justification for territoria ...
'' ("vital space") for the Italian nation.* In October 1938 in the aftermath of the Munich Agreement, Italy demanded concessions from France to yield to Italy in Africa.H. James Burgwyn. Italian Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period, 1918–1940. Westport, Connecticut, USA: Praeger Publishers, 1997. pp. 182-183. Relations between Italy and France deteriorated with France's refusal to accept Italy's demands. France responded to Italy's demands with threatening naval manoeuvres as a warning to Italy. As tensions between Italy and France grew, Hitler made a major speech on 30 January 1939 in which he promised German military support in the case of an unprovoked war against Italy. Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940. Italy justified its intervention against Greece in October 1940 on the allegation that the
Kingdom of Greece The Kingdom of Greece ( grc, label=Katharevousa, Greek, Βασίλειον τῆς Ἑλλάδος ) was established in 1832 and was the successor state to the First Hellenic Republic. It was internationally recognised by the Treaty of Constant ...
was being used by Britain against Italy, Mussolini informed this to Hitler, saying: "Greece is one of the main points of English maritime strategy in the Mediterranean".John Lukacs. The Last European War: September 1939 – December 1941. p. 116. Italy justified its intervention against Yugoslavia in April 1941 by appealing to both Italian irredentist claims and the fact of Albanian, Croatian, and Macedonian separatists not wishing to be part of
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh-Latn-Cyrl, separator=" / ", Jugoslavija, Југославија ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; rue, label= Pannonian Rusyn, Югославия, translit=Juhoslavij ...
.Jozo Tomasevich. War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941–1945: Occupation and Collaboration. pp. 30–31. Croatian separatism soared after the assassination of Croatian political leaders in the
National Assembly of Yugoslavia The Parliament of Yugoslavia was the legislature of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh-Latn-Cyrl, separator=" / ", Jugoslavija, Југославија ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; ...
in 1928 including the death of Stjepan Radić, and Italy endorsed Croatian separatist
Ante Pavelić Ante Pavelić (; 14 July 1889 – 28 December 1959) was a Croatian politician who founded and headed the Fascism, fascist ultranationalism, ultranationalist organization known as the Ustaše in 1929 and served as dictator of the Independen ...
and his fascist Ustaše movement that was based and trained in Italy with the Fascist regime's support prior to intervention against Yugoslavia.


History

The intention of the Fascist regime was to create a "
New Roman Empire The Italian colonial empire ( it, Impero coloniale italiano), known as the Italian Empire (''Impero Italiano'') between 1936 and 1943, began in Africa in the 19th century and comprised the colonies In modern parlance, a colony is a terr ...
" in which Italy would dominate the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
. In 1935–1936 Italy invaded and annexed Ethiopia and the Fascist government proclaimed the creation of the "
Italian Empire The Italian colonial empire ( it, Impero coloniale italiano), known as the Italian Empire (''Impero Italiano'') between 1936 and 1943, began in Africa in the 19th century and comprised the colonies, protectorates, concession (territory), conce ...
". Protests by the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: link=no, Société des Nations ) was the first worldwide Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. It was founded on 10 January 1920 by ...
, especially the British, who had interests in that area, led to no serious action, although The League did try to enforce economic sanctions upon Italy, but to no avail. The incident highlighted French and British weakness, exemplified by their reluctance to alienate Italy and lose her as their ally. The limited actions taken by the Western powers pushed Mussolini's Italy towards alliance with Hitler's Germany anyway. In 1937 Italy left the League of Nations and joined the
Anti-Comintern Pact The Anti-Comintern Pact, officially the Agreement against the Communist International was an Anti-communism, anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on 25 November 1936 and was directed against the Communist In ...
, which had been signed by Germany and Japan the preceding year. In March/April 1939 Italian troops invaded and annexed
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or ), or , also or . officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the ...
. Germany and Italy signed the
Pact of Steel The Pact of Steel (german: Stahlpakt, it, Patto d'Acciaio), formally known as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, was a Military alliance, military and Political alliance, political alliance between Fascist Italy (192 ...
on May 22. Italy was ill-prepared for war, in spite of the fact that it had continuously been involved in conflict since 1935, first with Ethiopia in 1935–1936 and then in the
Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución, link=no) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista, link=no) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ( es, La Rebeli ...
on the side of
Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic (), commonly known as the Second Spanish R ...
's
Nationalists Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
. Mussolini refused to heed warnings from his minister of exchange and currency, Felice Guarneri, who said that Italy's actions in Ethiopia and Spain meant that Italy was on the verge of bankruptcy. By 1939 military expenditures by Britain and France far exceeded what Italy could afford. As a result of Italy's economic difficulties its soldiers were poorly paid, often being poorly equipped and poorly supplied, and animosity arose between soldiers and class-conscious officers; these contributed to low morale amongst Italian soldiers. By early 1940, Italy was still a non-belligerent, and Mussolini communicated to Hitler that Italy was not prepared to intervene soon. By March 1940, Mussolini decided that Italy would intervene, but the date was not yet chosen. His senior military leadership unanimously opposed the action because Italy was unprepared. No raw materials had been stockpiled and the reserves it did have would soon be exhausted, Italy's industrial base was only one-tenth of Germany's, and even with supplies the Italian military was not organized to provide the equipment needed to fight a modern war of a long duration. An ambitious rearmament program was impossible because of Italy's limited reserves in gold and foreign currencies and lack of raw materials. Mussolini ignored the negative advice. By 1941, Italy's attempts to run an autonomous campaign from Germany's, collapsed as a result of military setbacks in Greece,
North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in t ...
, and
Eastern Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa, is the eastern subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south are commonly used to define a subregion. ...
; and the country became dependent and effectively subordinate to Germany. After the German-led invasion and occupation of
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh-Latn-Cyrl, separator=" / ", Jugoslavija, Југославија ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; rue, label= Pannonian Rusyn, Югославия, translit=Juhoslavij ...
and Greece, that had both been targets of Italy's war aims, Italy was forced to accept German dominance in the two occupied countries.Mussolini Unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy's Last War. pp. 284–285. Furthermore, by 1941, German forces in North Africa under
Erwin Rommel Johannes Erwin Eugen Rommel () (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was a German field marshal during World War II. Popularly known as the Desert Fox (, ), he served in the ''Wehrmacht'' (armed forces) of Nazi Germany, as well as servi ...
effectively took charge of the military effort ousting Allied forces from the Italian colony of
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya bo ...
, and German forces were stationed in
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...
in that year. Germany's insolence towards Italy as an ally was demonstrated that year when Italy was pressured to send 350,000 "guest workers" to Germany who were used as forced labour.Patricia Knight. ''Mussolini and Fascism''. Routledge, 2003. p. 103. While Hitler was disappointed with the Italian military's performance, he maintained overall favorable relations with Italy because of his personal friendship with Mussolini.John Lukacs. ''The Last European War: September 1939 – December 1941''. Yale University Press, 2001. p. 364. On 25 July 1943, following the
Allied invasion of Sicily The Allied invasion of Sicily, also known as Operation Husky, was a major campaign of World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involve ...
, King Victor Emmanuel III dismissed Mussolini, placed him under arrest, and began secret negotiations with the Western Allies. An
armistice An armistice is a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, as it may constitute only a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace. It is derived from the ...
was signed on 8 September 1943, and four days later Mussolini was rescued by the Germans in Operation Oak and placed in charge of a puppet state called the
Italian Social Republic The Italian Social Republic ( it, Repubblica Sociale Italiana, ; RSI), known as the National Republican State of Italy ( it, Stato Nazionale Repubblicano d'Italia, SNRI) prior to December 1943 but more popularly known as the Republic of Salò ...
(''Repubblica Sociale Italiana''/RSI, or ''Repubblica di Salò'') in
northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region in the northern part of Italy. It consists of eight administrative Regions ...
. In order to liberate the country from the Germans and Fascists, Italy became a
co-belligerent Co-belligerence is the waging of a war in cooperation against a common enemy with or without a formal treaty of military alliance. Generally, the term is used for cases where no alliance exists. Likewise, allies may not become co-belligerents in a ...
of the Allies; as result, the country descended in
Civil War A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
, with the Italian Co-Belligerent Army and the partisans, supported by the Allies, contended the Social Republic's forces and its German allies. Some areas in Northern Italy were liberated from the Germans as late as May, 1945. Mussolini was killed by Communist partisans on 28 April 1945 while trying to escape to Switzerland.


Colonies and dependencies


= In Europe

= The
Dodecanese Islands The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , ) are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *G ...
were an Italian dependency known as the Italian Islands of the Aegean from 1912 to 1943. Montenegro was an Italian dependency from 1941 to 1943 known as the Governorate of Montenegro that was under the control of an Italian military governor. Initially, the Italians intended that Montenegro would become an "independent" state closely allied with Italy, reinforced through the strong dynastic links between Italy and Montenegro, as Queen Elena of Italy was a daughter of the last Montenegrin king Nicholas I. The Italian-backed
Montenegrin nationalist Montenegrin nationalism is the nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation ( ...
Sekula Drljević and his followers attempted to create a Montenegrin state. On 12 July 1941, they proclaimed the "Kingdom of Montenegro" under the protection of Italy. In less than 24 hours, that triggered a general uprising against the Italians. Within three weeks, the insurgents managed to capture almost all the territory of Montenegro. Over 70,000
Royal Italian Army The Royal Italian Army ( it, Regio Esercito, , Royal Army) was the land force of the Kingdom of Italy, established with the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. During the 19th century Italy started to unify into one country, and in 1861 Manfre ...
troops and 20,000 of Albanian and
Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the ...
irregulars were deployed to suppress the rebellion. Drljevic was expelled from Montenegro in October 1941. Montenegro then came under full direct Italian control. With the Italian capitulation of 1943, Montenegro came directly under the control of Germany. Politically and economically dominated by Italy from its creation in 1913, Albania was occupied by Italian military forces in 1939 as the Albanian king Zog l fled the country with his family. The Albanian parliament voted to offer the Albanian throne to the King of Italy, resulting in a personal union between the two countries.Albania: A Country Study: Italian Occupation, Library of Congress
Last accessed 14 February 2015.


= In Africa

=
Italian East Africa Italian East Africa ( it, Africa Orientale Italiana, AOI) was an Italian colony in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula and Geopolitics, geopolitical region in East Africa.R ...
was an Italian colony existing from 1936 to 1943. Prior to the invasion and annexation of Ethiopia into this united colony in 1936, Italy had two colonies, Eritrea and Somalia since the 1880s.
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya bo ...
was an Italian colony existing from 1912 to 1943. The northern portion of Libya was incorporated directly into Italy in 1939; however the region remained united as a colony under a colonial governor.


Japan


War justifications

The Japanese government justified its actions by claiming that it was seeking to unite
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...
under Japanese leadership in a
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere The , also known as the GEACPS, was a concept that was developed in the Empire of Japan and propagated to Asian populations which were occupied by it from 1931 to 1945, and which officially aimed at creating a self-sufficient bloc of Asian peo ...
that would free
East Asians East Asian people (East Asians) are the people from East Asia, which consists of China, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and South Korea. The total population of all countries within this region is estimated to be 1.677 billion and 21% of the ...
from domination and rule by clients of Western powers. Japan invoked themes of
Pan-Asianism Satellite photograph of Asia in orthographic projection. Pan-Asianism (''also known as Asianism or Greater Asianism'') is an ideology aimed at creating a political and economic unity among Asian peoples. Various theories and movements of Pan-Asi ...
and said that the Asian people needed to be free from Western influence. The United States opposed the
Second Sino-Japanese War The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) or War of Resistance (Chinese term) was a military conflict that was primarily waged between the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. The war made up the Chinese ...
, and recognized
Chiang Kai-Shek Chiang Kai-shek (31 October 1887 – 5 April 1975), also known as Chiang Chung-cheng and Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese Nationalist politician, revolutionary, and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China (ROC) from 192 ...
's Nationalist Government as the legitimate government of China. As a result, the United States sought to bring the Japanese war effort to a halt by imposing an embargo on all trade between the United States and Japan. Japan was dependent on the United States for 80 percent of its
petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil, or simply oil, is a naturally occurring yellowish-black liquid mixture of mainly hydrocarbons, and is found in geological formations. The name ''petroleum'' covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude ...
, and as a consequence the embargo resulted in an economic and military crisis for Japan, as Japan could not continue its war effort against China without access to petroleum. In order to maintain its military campaign in China with the major loss of petroleum trade with the United States, Japan saw the best means to secure an alternative source of petroleum in the petroleum-rich and natural-resources-rich
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia, South-eastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, south-eastern region of Asia, consistin ...
.Daniel Marston. ''The Pacific War: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima''. Osprey Publishing, 2011. This threat of retaliation by Japan to the total trade embargo by the United States was known by the American government, including American Secretary of State
Cordell Hull Cordell Hull (October 2, 1871July 23, 1955) was an American politician from Tennessee Tennessee ( , ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a landlocked state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States o ...
who was negotiating with the Japanese to avoid a war, fearing that the total embargo would pre-empt a Japanese attack on the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies, also known as the Netherlands East Indies ( nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ), was a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia. It was formed from the nationalised trading posts of the Dutch East India Company, whic ...
. Japan identified the
United States Pacific Fleet The United States Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT) is a Theater (warfare), theater-level Structure of the United States Navy, component command of the United States Navy, located in the Pacific Ocean. It provides naval forces to the United States Indo- ...
based in Pearl Harbor Naval Base as the principal threat to its designs to invade and capture Southeast Asia. Thus Japan initiated the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 as a means to inhibit an American response to the invasion of Southeast Asia, and buy time to allow Japan to consolidate itself with these resources to engage in a
total war Total war is a type of warfare that includes any and all civilian-associated resources and infrastructure as legitimate military targets, mobilizes all of the resources of society to fight the war, and gives priority to warfare over non-combata ...
against the United States, and force the United States to accept Japan's acquisitions. On 7 December 1941 Japan declared war on the United States and the British Empire.


History

The
Empire of Japan The also known as the Japanese Empire or Imperial Japan, was a historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II 1947 constitution and subsequent fo ...
, a constitutional monarchy with
Hirohito Emperor , commonly known in English-speaking countries by his personal name , was the List of emperors of Japan, 124th emperor of Japan, ruling from 25 December 1926 until his death in 1989. Hirohito and his wife, Empress Kōjun, had two sons a ...
as its Emperor, was the principal Axis power in Asia and the Pacific. Under the emperor were a political cabinet and the
Imperial General Headquarters The was part of the Supreme War Council (Japan), Supreme War Council and was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime. In terms of function, it was approximately equi ...
, with two chiefs of staff. By 1945 the Emperor of Japan was more than a symbolic leader; he played a major role in devising a strategy to keep himself on the throne. At its peak, Japan's
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere The , also known as the GEACPS, was a concept that was developed in the Empire of Japan and propagated to Asian populations which were occupied by it from 1931 to 1945, and which officially aimed at creating a self-sufficient bloc of Asian peo ...
included
Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, exonym (derived from the endodemonym "Manchu") for a historical and geographic region in Northeast Asia encompassing the entirety of present-day Northeast China (Inner Manchuria) and parts of the Russian Fa ...
,
Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is an Autonomous regions of China, autonomous region of the China, People's Republic of China. Its border includes most of the length of China's China–Mongolia border, border wit ...
, large parts of China, Malaysia,
French Indochina French Indochina (previously spelled as French Indo-China),; vi, Đông Dương thuộc Pháp, , lit. 'East Ocean under French Control; km, ឥណ្ឌូចិនបារាំង, ; th, อินโดจีนฝรั่งเศส, ...
, the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies, also known as the Netherlands East Indies ( nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ), was a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia. It was formed from the nationalised trading posts of the Dutch East India Company, whic ...
, the Philippines,
Burma Myanmar, ; UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John Wells explai ...
, a small part of India, and various Pacific Islands in the central Pacific. As a result of the internal discord and economic downturn of the 1920s, militaristic elements set Japan on a path of expansionism. As the Japanese home islands lacked natural resources needed for growth, Japan planned to establish hegemony in Asia and become self-sufficient by acquiring territories with abundant natural resources. Japan's expansionist policies alienated it from other countries in the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: link=no, Société des Nations ) was the first worldwide Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. It was founded on 10 January 1920 by ...
and by the mid-1930s brought it closer to Germany and Italy, who had both pursued similar expansionist policies. Cooperation between Japan and Germany began with the
Anti-Comintern Pact The Anti-Comintern Pact, officially the Agreement against the Communist International was an Anti-communism, anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on 25 November 1936 and was directed against the Communist In ...
, in which the two countries agreed to ally to challenge any attack by the Soviet Union. Japan entered into conflict against the Chinese in 1937. The Japanese invasion and occupation of parts of China resulted in numerous atrocities against civilians, such as the
Nanking massacre The Nanjing Massacre (, ja, 南京大虐殺, Nankin Daigyakusatsu) or the Rape of Nanjing (formerly Chinese postal romanization, romanized as ''Nanking'') was the mass murder of Chinese civilians in Nanjing, the capital of the Republic of Ch ...
and the
Three Alls Policy The Three Alls Policy (, ja, 三光作戦 Sankō Sakusen) was a Japanese scorched earth A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy. Any assets that could be used by the en ...
. The Japanese also fought skirmishes with Soviet– Mongolian forces in
Manchukuo Manchukuo, officially the State of Manchuria prior to 1934 and the Empire of (Great) Manchuria after 1934, was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China, Manchuria from 1932 until 1945. It was founded as a republic in 1932 afte ...
in 1938 and 1939. Japan sought to avoid war with the Soviet Union by signing a non-aggression pact with it in 1941. Japan's military leaders were divided on diplomatic relationships with Germany and Italy and the attitude towards the United States. The
Imperial Japanese Army The was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan The also known as the Japanese Empire or Imperial Japan, was a historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until t ...
was in favour of war with the United States, but the
Imperial Japanese Navy The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN; Kyūjitai: Shinjitai: ' 'Navy of the Greater Japanese Empire', or ''Nippon Kaigun'', 'Japanese Navy') was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945, Potsdam Declaration, when it was dissolved following ...
was generally strongly opposed. When
Prime Minister of Japan The prime minister of Japan (Japanese language, Japanese: 内閣総理大臣, Hepburn romanization, Hepburn: ''Naikaku Sōri-Daijin'') is the head of government of Japan. The prime minister chairs the Cabinet of Japan and has the ability to s ...
General
Hideki Tojo Hideki Tojo (, ', December 30, 1884 – December 23, 1948) was a Japanese politician, general officer, general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA), and convicted War Criminal, war criminal who served as Prime Minister of Japan, prime minist ...
refused American demands that Japan withdraw its military forces from China, a confrontation became more likely. War with the United States was being discussed within the Japanese government by 1940. Commander of the Combined Fleet Admiral
Isoroku Yamamoto was a Gensui (Imperial Japanese Navy), Marshal Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II until he was killed. Yamamoto held several important posts in the IJN, and underto ...
was outspoken in his opposition, especially after the signing of the Tripartite Pact, saying on 14 October 1940: "To fight the United States is like fighting the whole world. But it has been decided. So I will fight the best I can. Doubtless I shall die on board is flagship Meanwhile, Tokyo will be burnt to the ground three times. Konoe and others will be torn to pieces by the revengeful people, I houldn'twonder. " In October and November 1940, Yamamoto communicated with Navy Minister Oikawa, and stated, "Unlike the pre-Tripartite days, great determination is required to make certain that we avoid the danger of going to war. " With the European powers focused on the war in Europe, Japan sought to acquire their colonies. In 1940 Japan responded to the German invasion of France by occupying northern
French Indochina French Indochina (previously spelled as French Indo-China),; vi, Đông Dương thuộc Pháp, , lit. 'East Ocean under French Control; km, ឥណ្ឌូចិនបារាំង, ; th, อินโดจีนฝรั่งเศส, ...
. The
Vichy France Vichy France (french: Régime de Vichy; 10 July 1940 – 9 August 1944), officially the French State ('), was the Fascism, fascist French state headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Officially independent, but with half of ...
regime, a ''de facto'' ally of Germany, accepted the takeover. The allied forces did not respond with war. However, the United States instituted an embargo against Japan in 1941 because of the continuing war in China. This cut off Japan's supply of scrap metal and oil needed for industry, trade, and the war effort. To isolate the US forces stationed in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...
and to reduce US naval power, the
Imperial General Headquarters The was part of the Supreme War Council (Japan), Supreme War Council and was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime. In terms of function, it was approximately equi ...
ordered an attack on the US naval base at
Pearl Harbor Pearl Harbor is an American lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu, Hawaii, Honolulu. It was often visited by the Naval fleet of the United States, before it was acquired from the Hawaiian Kingdom by the U.S. with the ...
, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. They also invaded Malaya and
Hong Kong Hong Kong ( (US) or (UK); , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (abbr. Hong Kong SAR or HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special ...
. Initially achieving a series of victories, by 1943 the Japanese forces were driven back towards the home islands. The
Pacific War The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the Theater (warfare), theater of World War II that was fought in Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and Oceania. It was geographically the largest theater of the war, ...
lasted until the
atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki The United States detonated two atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945, respectively. The two bombings killed between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians, and remain the o ...
in 1945. The Soviets formally declared war in August 1945 and engaged Japanese forces in Manchuria and northeast China.


Colonies and dependencies

Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
was a Japanese dependency established in 1895.
Korea Korea ( ko, 한국, or , ) is a peninsular region in East Asia. Since 1945, it has been divided at or near the 38th parallel north, 38th parallel, with North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) comprising its northern half and Sout ...
was a Japanese protectorate and dependency formally established by the
Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910 The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910, also known as the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty, was made by representatives of the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire on 22 August 1910. In this treaty, Japan formally Annexation, annexed Korea follow ...
. The
South Seas Mandate The South Seas Mandate, officially the Mandate for the German Possessions in the Pacific Ocean Lying North of the Equator, was a League of Nations mandate in the "South Seas" given to the Empire of Japan by the League of Nations following Wo ...
were territories granted to Japan in 1919 in the peace agreements of World War I, that designated to Japan the German South Pacific islands. Japan received these as a reward by the Allies of World War I, when Japan was then allied against Germany. Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies during the war. Japan planned to transform these territories into a client state of Indonesia and sought alliance with Indonesian nationalists including future Indonesian President Sukarno, however these efforts did not deliver the creation of an Indonesian state until after Japan's surrender.


Other Tripartite Pact signatories

In addition to the three major Axis powers, six other countries signed the Tri-Partite Pact as its member states. Of the additional countries, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Independent State of Croatia, and Slovakia participated in various Axis military operations with their national armed forces, while the sixth, Yugoslavia, saw its pro-Nazi government overthrown earlier in a coup merely days after it signed the Pact, and the membership was reversed.


Bulgaria

The Kingdom of Bulgaria was ruled by Boris III of Bulgaria, Тsar Boris III when it signed the Tripartite Pact on 1 March 1941. Bulgaria had been on the losing side in the First World War and sought a return of what the Bulgarian leadership saw as lost ethnically and historically Bulgarian territories, specifically in Macedonia (region), Macedonia and Thrace (divided between the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg), Kingdom of Greece, and Turkey). During the 1930s, because of traditional right-wing elements, Bulgaria drew closer to Nazi Germany. In 1940 Germany pressured Romania to sign the Treaty of Craiova, returning to Bulgaria the region of Southern Dobrudja, which it had lost in 1913. The Germans also promised Bulgaria — if it joined the Axis — an enlargement of its territory to the borders specified in the Treaty of San Stefano. Bulgaria participated in the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece by letting German troops attack from its territory and sent troops to Greece on April 20. As a reward, the Axis powers allowed Bulgaria to occupy parts of both countries—southern and south-eastern Yugoslavia (Vardar Banovina) and north-eastern Greece (parts of Greek Macedonia and Greek Thrace). The Bulgarian forces in these areas spent the following years fighting various nationalist groups and resistance movements. Despite German pressure, Bulgaria did not take part in the Operation Barbarossa, Axis invasion of the Soviet Union and actually never declared war on the Soviet Union. The Bulgarian Navy was nonetheless involved in a number of skirmishes with the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, which attacked Bulgarian shipping. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Bulgarian government declared war on the Allies of World War II, Western Allies. This action remained largely symbolic (at least from the Bulgarian perspective), until August 1943, when Bulgarian air defense and air force attacked Allied bombers, returning (heavily damaged) from a mission over the Romanian oil refineries. This turned into a disaster for the citizens of Sofia and other major Bulgarian cities, which were heavily bombed by the Allies in the winter of 1943–1944. On 2 September 1944, as the Red Army approached the Bulgarian border, a new Bulgarian government came to power and sought peace with the Allies, expelled the few remaining German troops, and declared neutrality. These measures however did not prevent the Soviet Union from declaring war on Bulgaria on 5 September, and on 8 September the Red Army marched into the country, meeting no resistance. This was followed by the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944, coup d'état of 9 September 1944, which brought a government of the pro-Soviet Fatherland Front (Bulgaria), Fatherland Front to power. After this, the Bulgarian army (as part of the Red Army's 3rd Ukrainian Front) fought the Germans in Yugoslavia and Hungary, sustaining numerous casualties. Despite this, the Paris Peace Treaties, 1947, Paris Peace Treaty treated Bulgaria as one of the defeated countries. Bulgaria was allowed to keep Southern Dobruja, but had to give up all claims to Greek and Yugoslav territory.


Hungary

The Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946), Kingdom of Hungary, ruled by Regent Admiral Miklós Horthy, was the first country apart from Germany, Italy, and Japan to adhere to the Tripartite Pact, signing the agreement on 20 November 1940. Political instability plagued the country until Miklós Horthy, a Hungarian nobleman and Austro-Hungarian Navy, Austro-Hungarian naval officer, became regent in 1920. The vast majority of the Hungarians desired to recover former territories of the Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen lost through the Treaty of Trianon. During the government of Gyula Gömbös, Hungary drew closer to Germany and Italy largely because of a shared desire to revise the peace settlements made after World War I. Many people sympathized with the anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic policy of the Nazi regime. Hungary refused to participate in Nazi Germany's planned invasion of Czechoslovakia during the Sudenten Crisis, but after the Munich Agreement carried out a diplomatic rapprochement in order to avoid Germany developing too close of an alliance with Hungary's rival Romania. Due to its supportive stance towards Germany and the new efforts in the international policy, Hungary gained favourable territorial settlements by the First Vienna Award, after the breakup of Czechoslovakia occupied and annexed the remainder of Carpathian Ruthenia and in 1940 received Northern Transylvania from Romania via the Second Vienna Award. Hungarians permitted German troops to transit through their territory during the invasion of Yugoslavia, and Hungarian forces joined the military operations after the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia. Parts of the former Yugoslavia were annexed to Hungary; the United Kingdom immediately broke off diplomatic relations in response. Although Hungary did not initially participate in the Operation Barbarossa, German invasion of the Soviet Union, Hungary and the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
became belligerents on 27 June 1941. Over 500,000 soldiers served on the Eastern Front. All five of Hungary's field armies ultimately participated in the war against the Soviet Union; a significant contribution was made by the Hungarian Second Army. On 25 November 1941, Hungary was one of thirteen signatories to the renewed Anti-Comintern Pact. Hungarian troops, like their Axis counterparts, were involved in numerous actions against the Soviets. By the end of 1943, the Soviets had gained the upper hand and the Germans were retreating. The Hungarian Second Army was destroyed in fighting on the Voronezh Front, on the banks of the Don River (Russia), Don River. Prior to the Operation Margarethe, German occupation within the area of Hungary around 63,000 Jews perished. Afterwards, in late 1944, 437,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, most of them to their deaths. Overall, Hungarian Jews suffered close to 560,000 casualties. Relations between Germany and the regency of Miklós Horthy collapsed in 1944 when Horthy attempted to negotiate a peace agreement with the Soviets and jump out of the war without German approval. Horthy was forced to abdicate after German commandos, led by Colonel Otto Skorzeny, held his son hostage as part of Operation Panzerfaust. Hungary was reorganized following Horthy's abdication in December 1944 into a totalitarian regime called the Government of National Unity (Hungary), Government of National Unity, led by Ferenc Szálasi. He had been Prime Minister of Hungary since October 1944 and was leader of the Hungarism, Hungarist Arrow Cross Party. Its jurisdiction was effectively limited to an ever-narrowing band of territory in central Hungary, around Budapest since by the time they took power the Red Army was already far inside the country. Nonetheless, the Arrow Cross rule, short-lived as it was, was brutal. In fewer than three months, Arrow Cross death squads killed as many as 38,000 History of the Jews in Hungary, Hungarian Jews. Arrow Cross officers helped Adolf Eichmann re-activate the deportation proceedings from which the Jews of Budapest had thus far been spared, sending some 80,000 Jews out of the city on slave labour details and many more straight to death camps. Most of them died, including many who were murdered outright after the end of the fighting as they were returning home. Days after the Szálasi government took power, the capital of Budapest was surrounded by the Soviet Red Army. German and Hungarian forces tried to hold off the Soviet advance but failed. After fierce fighting, Budapest was taken by the Soviets. A number of pro-German Hungarians retreated to Italy and Germany, where they fought until the end of the war. In March 1945, Szálasi fled to Germany as the leader of a government in exile, until the surrender of Germany in May 1945.


Independent State of Croatia

On 10 April 1941, the so-called Independent State of Croatia (''Nezavisna Država Hrvatska'', or NDH), an installed German–Italian puppet state, co-signed the Tripartite Pact. The NDH remained a member of the Axis until the end of Second World War, its forces fighting for Germany even after its territory had been overrun by Yugoslav Partisans. On 16 April 1941,
Ante Pavelić Ante Pavelić (; 14 July 1889 – 28 December 1959) was a Croatian politician who founded and headed the Fascism, fascist ultranationalism, ultranationalist organization known as the Ustaše in 1929 and served as dictator of the Independen ...
, a Croatian nationalist and one of the founders of the Ustaše (''"Croatian Liberation Movement"''), was proclaimed ''Poglavnik'' (leader) of the new regime. Initially the Ustaše had been heavily influenced by Italy. They were actively supported by Mussolini's National Fascist Party regime in Italy, which gave the movement training grounds to prepare for war against Yugoslavia, as well as accepting Pavelić as an exile and allowing him to reside in Rome. In 1941 during the Italian invasion of Greece, Mussolini requested that Germany invade Yugoslavia to save the Italian forces in Greece. Hitler reluctantly agreed; Yugoslavia was invaded and the NDH was created. Pavelić led a delegation to Rome and offered the crown of the NDH to an Italian prince of the House of Savoy, who was crowned Tomislav II. The next day, Pavelić signed the Contracts of Rome with Mussolini, ceding Dalmatia to Italy and fixing the permanent borders between the NDH and Italy. Italian armed forces were allowed to control all of the coastline of the NDH, effectively giving Italy total control of the Adriatic coastline. When the King of Italy ousted Mussolini from power and Italy capitulated, the NDH became completely under German influence. The platform of the Ustaše movement proclaimed that Croatians had been oppressed by the Serb-dominated Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and that Croatians deserved to have an independent nation after years of domination by foreign empires. The Ustaše perceived Serbs to be racially inferior to Croats and saw them as infiltrators who were occupying Croatian lands. They saw the extermination and expulsion or deportation of Serbs as necessary to racially purify Croatia. While part of Yugoslavia, many Croatian nationalism, Croatian nationalists violently opposed the Serb-dominated Yugoslav monarchy, and assassinated Alexander I of Yugoslavia, together with the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. The regime enjoyed support amongst radical Croatian nationalists. Ustashe forces fought against communist Yugoslav Partisans, Yugoslav Partisan guerrilla throughout the war. Upon coming to power, Pavelić formed the Croatian Home Guard (World War II), Croatian Home Guard (''Hrvatsko domobranstvo'') as the official military force of the NDH. Originally authorized at 16,000 men, it grew to a peak fighting force of 130,000. The Croatian Home Guard included an air force and navy, although its navy was restricted in size by the Contracts of Rome. In addition to the Croatian Home Guard, Pavelić was also the supreme commander of the Ustaše militia, although all NDH military units were generally under the command of the German or Italian formations in their area of operations. The Ustaše government declared war on the Soviet Union, signed the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941, and sent troops to Germany's Eastern Front. Ustaše militia were garrisoned in the Balkans, battling the communist partisans. The Ustaše government applied racial laws on Serbs, Jews, and Romani people, as well as targeting those opposed to the fascist regime, and after June 1941 deported them to the Jasenovac concentration camp or to Nazi concentration camps in Poland. The racial laws were enforced by the Ustaše militia. The exact number of victims of the Ustaše regime is uncertain due to the destruction of documents and varying numbers given by historians. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., between Genocide of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia, 320,000 and 340,000 Serbs were killed in the NDH.Jasenovac
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum web site


Romania

When war erupted in Europe, the economy of the Kingdom of Romania was already subordinated to the interests of Nazi Germany through a German–Romanian Treaty for the Development of Economic Relations between the Two Countries (1939), treaty signed in the spring of 1939. Nevertheless, the country had not totally abandoned pro-British sympathies. Romania had also been allied to the Polish–Romanian alliance, Poles for most of the interwar era. Following the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, and the German conquest of France and the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas, lb, déi Niddereg Lännereien) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, is a coastal lowland region in N ...
, Romania found itself increasingly isolated; meanwhile, pro-German and pro-Fascist elements began to grow. The August 1939
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those powers to partition Poland between them. The pact was signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ri ...
between Germany and the Soviet Union contained a secret protocol ceding Bessarabia, and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union. On June 28, 1940, the Soviet Union Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, occupied and annexed Bessarabia, as well as part of northern Romania and the Hertsa region. On 30 August 1940, as a result of the Nazi Germany, German–Kingdom of Italy, Italian arbitrated Second Vienna Award Romania had to cede Northern Transylvania to Hungary. Southern Dobruja was ceded to Bulgaria in September 1940. In an effort to appease the Fascist elements within the country and obtain German protection, Carol II of Romania, King Carol II appointed the General Ion Antonescu as Prime Minister on September 6, 1940. Two days later, Antonescu forced the king to abdicate and installed the king's young son Michael of Romania, Michael (Mihai) on the throne, then declared himself ''Conducător'' ("Leader") with dictatorial powers. The National Legionary State was proclaimed on 14 September, with the Iron Guard ruling together with Antonescu as the sole legal political movement in Romania. Under King Michael I and the military government of Antonescu, Romania signed the
Tripartite Pact The Tripartite Pact, also known as the Berlin Pact, was an agreement between Nazi Germany, Germany, Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Italy, and Empire of Japan, Japan signed in Berlin on 27 September 1940 by, respectively, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Gal ...
on November 23, 1940. German troops entered the country on 10 October 1941, officially to train the Romanian Armed Forces, Romanian Army. Hitler's directive to the troops on 10 October had stated that "it is necessary to avoid even the slightest semblance of military occupation of Romania". The entrance of German troops in Romania determined Italian dictator
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
to launch an invasion of Greece, starting the Greco-Italian War. Having secured Hitler's approval in January 1941, Antonescu Legionnaires' rebellion and Bucharest pogrom, ousted the Iron Guard from power. Romania was subsequently used as a platform for invasions of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Despite not being involved militarily in the Invasion of Yugoslavia, Romania requested that Hungarian troops not operate in the Banat (1941-1944), Banat. Paulus thus modified the Hungarian plan and kept their troops west of the Tisza. Romania joined the German-led invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Antonescu was the only foreign leader Hitler consulted on military matters and the two would meet no less than ten times throughout the war. Romania re-captured Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina during Operation Munchen before conquering further Soviet territory and establishing the Transnistria Governorate. After the Siege of Odessa, the city became the capital of the Governorate. Romanian troops Crimean Campaign, fought their way into the Crimea alongside German troops and contributed significantly to the Siege of Sevastopol (1941–42), Siege of Sevastopol. Later, Romanian mountain troops joined the German campaign in the Caucasus, reaching as far as Nalchik. After suffering devastating losses Romanian armies in the battle of Stalingrad, at Stalingrad, Romanian officials began secretly negotiating peace conditions with the Allies. Arms industry in Romania#Weapons produced during World War II and the Interwar period, Romania's military industry was small but versatile, able to copy and produce thousands of French, Soviet, German, British, and Czechoslovak weapons systems, as well as producing capable original products. The Romanian Naval Forces, Romanian Navy also built sizable warships, such as the minelayer and the submarines and . Hundreds of originally-designed Romanian Air Force aircraft were also produced, such as the fighter IAR-80 and the light bomber IAR-37. The country had Romanian armored fighting vehicle production during World War II, built armored fighting vehicles as well, most notably the Mareșal tank destroyer, that likely influenced the design of the German Hetzer. Romania had also been a major power in the oil industry since the 1800s. It was one of the largest producers in Europe and the Ploiești oil refineries provided about 30% of all Axis oil production. British historian Dennis Deletant has asserted that Romania's crucial contributions to the Axis war effort, including having the third largest Axis army in Europe and sustaining the German war effort through oil and other materiel, meant that it was "on a par with Italy as a principal ally of Germany and not in the category of a minor Axis satellite". Another British historian, Mark Axworthy, believes that Romania could even be considered to have had the second most important Axis army of Europe, even more so than that of Italy. Under Antonescu Romania was a fascist dictatorship and a totalitarian state. Between 45,000 and 60,000 Jews were killed in Bukovina and Bessarabia by Romanian and German troops in 1941. According to Wilhelm Filderman at least 150,000 Jews of Bessarabia and Bukovina, died under the Antonescu regime (both those deported and those who remained). Overall, approximately 250,000 Jews under Romanian jurisdiction died. By 1943, the tide began to turn. The Soviets pushed further west, retaking Ukraine and eventually launching an First Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, unsuccessful invasion of eastern Romania in the spring of 1944. Romanian troops in the Crimea Kerch-Eltigen Operation, helped repulse initial Soviet landings, but eventually all of the peninsula was re-conquered by Soviet forces and the Romanian Navy evacuated over 100,000 German and Romanian troops, an achievement which earned Romanian Admiral Horia Macellariu the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. During the Second Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, Jassy-Kishinev Offensive of August 1944, Romania King Michael's Coup, switched sides on August 23, 1944. Romanian troops then fought alongside the Soviet Army until the end of the war, reaching as far as Czechoslovakia and Austria.


Slovakia

The Slovak Republic (1939-1945), Slovak Republic under President Josef Tiso signed the Tripartite Pact on 24 November 1940. Slovakia had been closely aligned with Germany almost immediately from its declaration of independence from Czechoslovakia on 14 March 1939. Slovakia entered into a treaty of protection with Germany on 23 March 1939. Slovak invasion of Poland, Slovak troops joined the German invasion of Poland, having interest in Spiš and Orava (region), Orava. Those two regions, along with Cieszyn Silesia, had been Polish-Czechoslovak border conflicts, disputed between Poland and Czechoslovakia since 1918. The Poles fully annexed them following the Munich Agreement. After the invasion of Poland, Slovakia reclaimed control of those territories. Slovakia invaded Poland alongside German forces, contributing 50,000 men at this stage of the war. Slovakia declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941 and signed the revived Anti-Comintern Pact in 1941. Slovak troops fought on Germany's Eastern Front, furnishing Germany with two divisions totaling 80,000 men. Slovakia declared war on the United Kingdom and the United States in 1942. Slovakia was spared German military occupation until the Slovak National Uprising, which began on 29 August 1944, and was almost immediately crushed by the Waffen SS and Slovak troops loyal to Josef Tiso. After the war, Tiso was executed and Slovakia once again became part of Czechoslovakia. The border with Poland was shifted back to the pre-war state. Slovakia and the Czech Republic finally separated into independent states in 1993.


Yugoslavia (two-day membership)

Yugoslavia was largely surrounded by members of the pact and now bordered the German Reich. From late 1940 Hitler sought a non-aggression pact with Yugoslavia. In February 1941, Hitler called for Yugoslavia's accession to the Tripartite Pact, but the Yugoslav government delayed. In March, divisions of the German army arrived at the Bulgarian-Yugoslav border and permission was sought for them to pass through to attack Greece. On 25 March 1941, fearing that Yugoslavia would be invaded otherwise, the Yugoslav government signed the Tripartite Pact with significant reservations. Unlike other Axis powers, Yugoslavia was not obliged to provide military assistance, nor to provide its territory for Axis to move military forces during the war. Less than two days later, after demonstrations in the streets of Belgrade, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, Prince Paul and the government were removed from office by a Yugoslav coup d'état, coup d'état. Seventeen-year-old Peter II of Yugoslavia, King Peter was declared to be of age. The new Yugoslav government under General Dušan Simović, refused to ratify Yugoslavia's signing of the Tripartite Pact, and started negotiations with Great Britain and Soviet Union. Winston Churchill commented that "Yugoslavia has found its soul"; however, Hitler invaded and quickly took control.


Anti-Comintern Pact signatories

Some countries signed the Anti-Comintern Pact but not the Tripartite Pact. As such their adherence to the Axis may have been less than that of Tripartite Pact signatories. Some of these states were officially at war with members of the Allied powers, others remained neutral in the war and sent only volunteers. Signing the Anti-Comintern Pact was seen as "a Litmus test (politics), litmus test of loyalty" by the Nazi leadership.


China (Reorganized National Government of China)

During the
Second Sino-Japanese War The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) or War of Resistance (Chinese term) was a military conflict that was primarily waged between the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. The war made up the Chinese ...
, Japan advanced from its bases in Manchuria to occupy much of East and Central China. Several Japanese puppet states were organized in areas occupied by the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces, including the Provisional Government of the Republic of China (1937–1940), Provisional Government of the Republic of China at Beijing, which was formed in 1937, and the Reformed Government of the Republic of China at Nanjing, which was formed in 1938. These governments were merged into the Reorganized National Government of China at Nanjing on 29 March 1940. Wang Jingwei became head of state. The government was to be run along the same lines as the Nationalist regime and adopted its symbols. The Nanjing Government had no real power; its main role was to act as a propaganda tool for the Japanese. The Nanjing Government concluded agreements with Japan and Manchukuo, authorising Japanese occupation of China and recognising the independence of Manchukuo under Japanese protection. The Nanjing Government signed the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941 and declared war on the United States and the United Kingdom on 9 January 1943. The government had a strained relationship with the Japanese from the beginning. Wang's insistence on his regime being the true Nationalist government of China and in replicating all the symbols of the Kuomintang led to frequent conflicts with the Japanese, the most prominent being the issue of the regime's flag, which was identical to that of the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
. The worsening situation for Japan from 1943 onwards meant that the Nanking Army was given a more substantial role in the defence of occupied China than the Japanese had initially envisaged. The army was almost continuously employed against the communist New Fourth Army. Wang Jingwei died on 10 November 1944, and was succeeded by his deputy, Chen Gongbo. Chen had little influence; the real power behind the regime was Zhou Fohai, the mayor of Shanghai. Wang's death dispelled what little legitimacy the regime had. On 9 September 1945, following the defeat of Japan, the area was surrendered to General He Yingqin, a nationalist general loyal to Chiang Kai-shek. Chen Gongbo was tried and executed in 1946.


Denmark

Denmark was occupied by Germany after April 1940 and never joined the Axis. On 31 May 1939, Denmark and Germany signed a treaty of non-aggression, which did not contain any military obligations for either party. On April 9, Germany Operation Weserübung, attacked Scandinavia, and the speed of the German invasion of Denmark (1940), German invasion of Denmark prevented King Christian X of Denmark, Christian X and the Danish government from going into exile. They had to accept "protection by the Reich" and the stationing of German forces in exchange for nominal independence. Denmark coordinated its foreign policy with Germany, extending diplomatic recognition to Axis collaborator and puppet regimes, and breaking diplomatic relations with the Allied governments-in-exile. Denmark broke diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1941. However the United States and Britain ignored Denmark and worked with Henrik Kauffmann Denmark's ambassador in the US when it came to dealings about using Iceland in World War II, Iceland, Greenland in World War II, Greenland, and the Danish merchant fleet against Germany. In 1941 Danish Nazis set up the ''Frikorps Danmark''. Thousands of volunteers fought and many died as part of the German Army on the Eastern Front. Denmark sold agricultural and industrial products to Germany and made loans for armaments and fortifications. The German presence in Denmark included the construction of part of the Atlantic Wall fortifications which Denmark paid for and was never reimbursed. The Danish protectorate government lasted until 29 August 1943, when the cabinet resigned after the Danish Folketing election, 1943, regularly scheduled and largely free election concluding the Folketing's current term. The Germans imposed martial law following Operation Safari, and Danish collaboration continued on an administrative level, with the Danish bureaucracy functioning under German command. The Royal Danish Navy scuttled 32 of its larger ships; Germany seized 64 ships and later raised and refitted 15 of the sunken vessels. 13 warships escaped to Sweden and formed a Danish naval flotilla in exile. Sweden allowed formation of a Danish Brigade in Sweden, Danish military brigade in exile; it did not see combat. The Danish resistance movement was active in sabotage and issuing underground newspapers and blacklists of collaborators.


Finland

Although Finland never signed the Tripartite Pact, it fought against the Soviet Union alongside Germany in the 1941-44 Continuation War, during which the official position of the wartime Finnish government was that Finland was a co-belligerent of the Germans whom they described as "brothers-in-arms". Finland did sign the revived Anti-Comintern Pact of November 1941. Finland signed a Paris Peace Treaties, 1947, peace treaty with the Allied powers in 1947 which described Finland as having been "an ally of Hitlerite Germany" during the continuation war. As such, Finland was the only democracy to join the Axis. Finland's relative independence from Germany put it in the most advantageous position of all the minor Axis powers. Whilst Finland's relationship with Nazi Germany during the Continuation War remains controversial within Finland, in a 2008 ''Helsingin Sanomat'' survey of 28 Finnish historians 16 agreed that Finland had been an ally of Nazi Germany, with only six disagreeing. The August 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union contained a secret protocol dividing much of eastern Europe and assigning Finland to the Soviet sphere of influence. After unsuccessfully attempting to force territorial and other concessions on the Finns, the Soviet Union tried to invade Finland in November 1939 during the Winter War, intending to establish a communist puppet government in Finland. The conflict threatened Swedish iron-ore industry during World War II, Germany's iron-ore supplies and offered the prospect of Allied interference in the region. Despite Finnish resistance, a peace treaty was signed in March 1940, wherein Finland ceded some key territory to the Soviet Union, including the Karelian Isthmus, containing Finland's second-largest city, Viipuri, and the critical defensive structure of the Mannerheim Line. After this war, Finland sought protection and support from the United KingdomBritish Foreign Office Archive, 371/24809/461-556. and non-aligned Sweden, but was thwarted by Soviet and German actions. This resulted in Finland being drawn closer to Germany, first with the intent of enlisting German support as a counterweight to thwart continuing Soviet pressure, and later to help regain lost territories. In the opening days of Operation Barbarossa, Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, Finland permitted German planes returning from mine dropping runs over Kronstadt and Neva River to refuel at Finnish airfields before returning to bases in East Prussia. In retaliation, the Soviet Union launched a major air offensive against Finnish Air Force bases and towns, which resulted in a Finnish declaration of war against the Soviet Union on 25 June 1941. The Finnish conflict with the Soviet Union is generally referred to as the Continuation War. Finland's main objective was to regain territory lost to the Soviet Union in the Winter War. However, on 10 July 1941, Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim issued an Order of the Day that contained a formulation understood internationally as a Finnish territorial interest in Russian Karelia. Diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Finland were severed on 1 August 1941, after the British Royal Air Force bombed German forces in the Finnish village and port of Pechenga (urban-type settlement), Murmansk Oblast, Petsamo. The United Kingdom repeatedly called on Finland to cease its offensive against the Soviet Union, and declared war on Finland on 6 December 1941, although no other military operations followed. War was never declared between Finland and the United States, though relations were severed between the two countries in 1944 as a result of the Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement. Finland maintained command of Finnish Defence Forces, its armed forces and pursued war objectives independently of Germany. Germans and Finns did work closely together during Operation Silver Fox, a joint offensive against Murmansk. Finland took part in the Siege of Leningrad. Finland was one of Germany's most important allies in its war with the USSR. The relationship between Finland and Germany was also affected by the Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement, which was presented as a German condition for help with munitions and air support, as the Fourth strategic offensive, Soviet offensive coordinated with D-Day threatened Finland with complete occupation. The agreement, signed by President Risto Ryti but never ratified by the Finnish Parliament, bound Finland not to seek a separate peace. After Soviet offensives were fought to a standstill, Ryti's successor as president, Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, dismissed the agreement and opened secret negotiations with the Soviets, which resulted in a ceasefire on 4 September and the Moscow Armistice on 19 September 1944. Under the terms of the armistice, Finland was obliged to expel German troops from Finnish territory, which resulted in the Lapland War.


Manchuria (Manchukuo)

Manchukuo, in the Northeast China, northeast region of China, had been a Japanese puppet state in
Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, exonym (derived from the endodemonym "Manchu") for a historical and geographic region in Northeast Asia encompassing the entirety of present-day Northeast China (Inner Manchuria) and parts of the Russian Fa ...
since the 1930s. It was nominally ruled by Puyi, the last Emperor of China, Chinese Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, but was in fact controlled by the Japanese military, in particular the Kwantung Army. While Manchukuo ostensibly was a state for ethnic Manchu people, Manchus, the region had a Han Chinese majority. Following the Mukden Incident, Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the independence of Manchukuo was proclaimed on 18 February 1932, with Puyi as head of state. He was proclaimed the Emperor of Manchukuo a year later. The new Manchu nation was recognized by 23 of the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: link=no, Société des Nations ) was the first worldwide Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. It was founded on 10 January 1920 by ...
' 80 members. Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union were among the major powers who recognised Manchukuo. Other countries who recognized the State were the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Vatican City. Manchukuo was also recognised by the other Japanese allies and puppet states, including Mengjiang, the Burmese government of Ba Maw, Thailand, the Wang Jingwei regime, and the Indian government of Subhas Chandra Bose. The League of Nations later declared in 1934 that Manchuria lawfully remained a part of China. This precipitated Japanese withdrawal from the League. The Manchukuoan state ceased to exist after the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in 1945. Manchukuo signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1939, but never signed the Tripartite Pact.


Spain

Francisco Franco, ''Caudillo'' Francisco Franco's Spain under Franco, Spanish State gave moral, economic, and military assistance to the Axis powers, while nominally maintaining neutrality. Franco described Spain as a member of the Axis and signed the
Anti-Comintern Pact The Anti-Comintern Pact, officially the Agreement against the Communist International was an Anti-communism, anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on 25 November 1936 and was directed against the Communist In ...
in 1941 with Hitler and Mussolini. Members of the ruling Falange Española y de las JONS, Falange party in Spain held irredentist designs on Gibraltar. Falangists also supported Spanish colonial acquisition of the Tangier International Zone, French Morocco and northwestern French Algeria. In addition, Spain held ambitions on former Spanish America, Spanish colonies in Latin America. In June 1940 the Spanish government approached Germany to propose an alliance in exchange for Germany recognizing Spain's territorial aims: the annexation of the Oran Province of Algeria, the incorporation of all Morocco, the extension of Spanish Sahara southward to the twentieth parallel, and the incorporation of French Cameroons into Spanish Guinea. Spain invaded and occupied the Tangier International Zone, maintaining its occupation until 1945. The occupation caused a dispute between Britain and Spain in November 1940; Spain conceded to protect British rights in the area and promised not to fortify the area. The Spanish government secretly held expansionist plans towards Portugal that it made known to the German government. In a communiqué with Germany on 26 May 1942, Franco declared that Portugal should be annexed into Spain. Franco had previously won the
Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución, link=no) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista, link=no) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ( es, La Rebeli ...
with the help of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Both were eager to establish another fascist state in Europe. Spain owed Germany over $212 million for supplies of matériel during the Spanish Civil War, and Italian Corpo Truppe Volontarie combat troops had actually fought in Spain on the side of Franco's Nationalists. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Franco immediately offered to form a unit of military volunteers to join the invasion. This was accepted by Hitler and, within two weeks, there were more than enough volunteers to form a division – the Blue Division (''División Azul'') under General Agustín Muñoz Grandes. The possibility of Spanish intervention in World War II was of concern to the United States, which investigated the activities of Spain's ruling Falange Espanola Tradicionalista y de las JONS in Latin America, especially Puerto Rico, where pro-Falange and pro-Franco sentiment was high, even amongst the ruling upper classes. The Falangists promoted the idea of supporting Spain's former colonies in fighting against American domination. Prior to the outbreak of war, support for Franco and the Falange was high in the Philippines. The Falange Exterior, the international department of the Falange, collaborated with Japanese forces against the United States Armed Forces and the Philippine Commonwealth Army in the Philippines through the Philippine Falange.


Bilateral Pacts with the Axis Powers

Some countries colluded with Germany, Italy, and Japan without signing either the Anti-Comintern Pact, or the Tripartite Pact. In some cases these bilateral agreements were formalised, in other cases it was less formal. Some of these countries were puppet states established by the Axis Powers themselves.


Burma (Ba Maw government)

The Japanese Army and Burma nationalists, led by Aung San, seized control of Burma from the United Kingdom during 1942. A State of Burma was formed on 1 August 1943 under the Burmese nationalist leader Ba Maw. A treaty of alliance was concluded between the Ba Maw regime and Japan was signed by Ba Maw for Burma and Sawada Renzo for Japan on the same day in which the Ba Maw government pledged itself to provide the Japanese "with every necessary assistance in order to execute a successful military operation in Burma". The Ba Maw government mobilised Burmese society during the war to support the Axis war-effort. The Ba Maw regime established the Burma Defence Army (later renamed the Burma National Army), which was commanded by Aung San which fought alongside the Japanese in the Burma campaign. The Ba Maw has been described as a state having "independence without sovereignty" and as being effectively a Japanese puppet state. On 27 March 1945 the Burma National Army revolted against the Japanese.


Thailand

As an ally of Japan during the war that deployed troops to fight on the Japanese side against Allied forces, History of Thailand (1932–1973), Thailand is considered to have been part of the Axis alliance, or at least "aligned with the Axis powers". For example, writing in 1945, the American politician Clare Boothe Luce described Thailand as "undeniably an Axis country" during the war. History of Thailand (1932–1973), Thailand waged the Franco-Thai War in October 1940 to May 1941 to reclaim territory from
French Indochina French Indochina (previously spelled as French Indo-China),; vi, Đông Dương thuộc Pháp, , lit. 'East Ocean under French Control; km, ឥណ្ឌូចិនបារាំង, ; th, อินโดจีนฝรั่งเศส, ...
. Japanese invasion of Thailand, Japanese forces invaded Thailand an hour and a half before the attack on Pearl Harbor (because of the International Dateline, the local time was on the morning of 8 December 1941). Only hours after the invasion, Prime Minister Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, Phibunsongkhram ordered the cessation of resistance against the Japanese. An outline plan of Japan-Thailand joint military operations, whereby Thai forces would invade Burma to defend the right flank of Japanese forces, was agreed on 14 December 1941. On 21 December 1941, a military alliance with Japan was signed and on 25 January 1942, Sang Phathanothai read over the radio Thailand's formal declaration of war on the United Kingdom and the United States. The Thai ambassador to the United States, Mom Rajawongse Seni Pramoj, did not deliver his copy of the declaration of war. Therefore, although the British reciprocated by declaring war on Thailand and considered it a hostile country, the United States did not. The Thais and Japanese agreed that the Burmese Shan State and Karenni States, Karenni State were to be under Thai control. The rest of Burma was to be under Japanese control. On 10 May 1942, the Thai Phayap Army entered Burma's eastern Shan State, which had been claimed by Siamese kingdoms. Three Thai infantry and one cavalry division, spearheaded by armoured reconnaissance groups and supported by the air force, engaged the retreating Chinese 93rd Division. Kengtung, the main objective, was captured on 27 May. Renewed offensives in June and November saw the Chinese retreat into Yunnan. In November 1943 Thailand signed the Greater East Asia Joint Declaration, formally aligning itself with the Axis Powers. The area containing the Shan States and Kayah State was annexed by Thailand in 1942, and four northern states of British Malaya, Malaya were also transferred to Thailand by Japan as a reward for Thai co-operation. These areas were ceded back to
Burma Myanmar, ; UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John Wells explai ...
and Malaya in 1945. Thai military losses totalled 5,559 men during the war, of whom about 180 died resisting the Japanese invasion of 8 December 1941, roughly 150 died in action during the fighting in the Shan States, and the rest died of malaria and other diseases. The Free Thai Movement ("Seri Thai") was established during these first few months. Parallel Free Thai organizations were also established in the United Kingdom. Ananda Mahidol, The king's aunt, Queen Rambai Barni, was the nominal head of the British-based organization, and Pridi Banomyong, the regent, headed its largest contingent, which was operating within Thailand. Aided by elements of the military, secret airfields and training camps were established, while American Office of Strategic Services and British Force 136 agents slipped in and out of the country. As the war dragged on, the Thai population came to resent the Japanese presence. In June 1944, Phibun was overthrown in a coup d'état. The new civilian government under Khuang Aphaiwong attempted to aid the resistance while maintaining cordial relations with the Japanese. After the war, U.S. influence prevented Thailand from being treated as an Axis country, but the British demanded three million tons of rice as reparations and the return of areas annexed from British Malaya, Malaya during the war. Thailand also returned the portions of British Burma and French Indochina that had been annexed. Phibun and a number of his associates were put on trial on charges of having committed war crimes and of collaborating with the Axis powers. However, the charges were dropped due to intense public pressure. Public opinion was favourable to Phibun, as he was thought to have done his best to protect Thai interests.


Soviet Union

In 1939 the Soviet Union considered forming an alliance with either Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact negotiations, Britain and France or with Germany. When negotiations with Britain and France failed, they turned to Germany and signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in August 1939. Germany was now freed from the risk of war with the Soviets, and was assured a supply of oil. This included a secret protocol whereby territories controlled by Second Polish Republic, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Kingdom of Romania, Romania, Latvia and
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no ), is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. It is one of three Baltic states and lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Lithuania ...
were divided into spheres of interest of the parties. The Soviet Union sought to re-annex some of territories that were under control of those states, formerly acquired by the Russian Empire in the centuries prior and lost to Russia in the aftermath of World War I; that included land such as the Kresy (Western Belarus and Western Ukraine) region ceded to Poland after losing the Soviet-Polish War of 1919–1921. On 1 September, barely a week after the pact had been signed, Invasion of Poland, Germany invaded Poland. The Soviet Union Soviet invasion of Poland, invaded Poland from the east on 17 September and on 28 September signed a German-Soviet Frontier Treaty, secret treaty with Nazi Germany to coordinate fighting against the Polish resistance movement in World War II, Polish resistance. The Soviets targeted intelligence, entrepreneurs and officers with mass arrests, with many victims sent to the Gulag in Siberia, committing a string of atrocities that culminated in the Katyn massacre. Soon after the invasion of Poland, the Soviet Union Occupation of Baltic Republics, occupied the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and annexed Bessarabia and Bukovina, Northern Bukovina from Romania. The Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939, which started the Winter War. Finnish defenses prevented an all-out invasion, resulting in an Moscow Peace Treaty, interim peace, but Finland was forced to cede strategically important border areas near Leningrad. The Soviet Union provided material support to Germany in the war effort against Western Europe through a pair of commercial agreements, German-Soviet Commercial Agreement (1939), the first in 1939 and German-Soviet Commercial Agreement (1940), the second in 1940, which involved exports of raw materials (phosphates, chromium and iron ore, mineral oil, grain, cotton, and rubber). These and other export goods transported through Soviet and occupied Polish territories allowed Germany to circumvent the British naval blockade. In October and November 1940, German–Soviet Axis talks, German–Soviet talks about the potential of joining the Axis took place in Berlin. Joseph Stalin later personally countered with a separate proposal in a letter on 25 November that contained several secret protocols, including that "the area south of Batum and Baku in the general direction of the Persian Gulf is recognized as the center of aspirations of the Soviet Union", referring to an area approximating present day Iraq and Iran, and a Soviet claim to Bulgaria. Hitler never responded to Stalin's letter. Shortly thereafter, Hitler issued a secret directive on Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Reasons included the Nazi ideologies of
Lebensraum (, ''living space'') is a German concept of settler colonialism, the philosophy and policies of which were common to German politics from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, '' lso in:' became a geopolitical goal of Ger ...
and Heim ins Reich


Vichy France

The German army entered Paris on 14 June 1940, following the battle of France. Pétain became the last Prime Minister of France, Prime Minister of the French Third Republic on 16 June 1940. He sued for peace with Germany and on 22 June 1940, the French government Armistice with France (Second Compiègne), concluded an armistice with Hitler and Mussolini, which came into effect at midnight on 25 June. Under the terms of the agreement, Germany occupied France, occupied two-thirds of France, including Paris. Pétain was permitted to keep an "Armistice Army, armistice army" of 100,000 men within the Zone libre, unoccupied southern zone. This number included neither the army based in the French colonial empire nor the French Navy. In Africa the Vichy regime was permitted to maintain 127,000. The French also maintained substantial garrisons at the French-mandate territory of Syrian Republic (1930-1958), Syria and Greater Lebanon, the French Madagascar, French colony of Madagascar, and in French Somaliland. Some members of the Vichy government pushed for closer cooperation, but they were rebuffed by Pétain. Neither did Hitler accept that France could ever become a full military partner, and constantly prevented the buildup of Vichy's military strength. After the armistice, relations between the Vichy French and the British quickly worsened. Although the French had told Churchill they would not allow their fleet to be taken by the Germans, the British launched naval attacks intended to prevent the French navy being used, the most notable of which was Attack on Mers-el-Kébir, the attack on the Algerian harbour of Mers el-Kebir on 3 July 1940. Though Churchill defended his controversial decision to attack the French fleet, the action deteriorated greatly the relations between France and Britain. Propaganda in Nazi Germany, German propaganda trumpeted these attacks as an absolute betrayal of the French people by their former allies. On 10 July 1940, Pétain was given emergency "full powers" by a majority vote of the French National Assembly. The following day approval of the new constitution by the Assembly effectively created the French State (''l'État Français''), replacing the French Republic with the government unofficially called "Vichy France," after the resort town of Vichy, where Pétain maintained his seat of government. This continued to be recognised as the lawful government of France by the neutral United States until 1942, while the United Kingdom had recognised Free France, de Gaulle's government-in-exile in London. Racial laws were introduced in France and its colonies and many History of the Jews in France, foreign Jews in France were deported to Germany. Albert Lebrun, last President of the Republic, did not resign from the presidential office when he moved to Vizille on 10 July 1940. By 25 April 1945, during Pétain's trial, Lebrun argued that he thought he would be able to return to power after the fall of Germany, since he had not resigned. In September 1940, Vichy France was forced to allow invasion of French Indochina, Japan to occupy French Indochina, a federation of French colonial possessions and protectorates encompassing modern day Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The Vichy regime continued to administer them under Japanese military occupation.
French Indochina French Indochina (previously spelled as French Indo-China),; vi, Đông Dương thuộc Pháp, , lit. 'East Ocean under French Control; km, ឥណ្ឌូចិនបារាំង, ; th, อินโดจีนฝรั่งเศส, ...
was the base for the Japanese Japanese invasion of Thailand, invasions of Thailand, Malayan Campaign, Malaya, and Dutch East Indies campaign, the Dutch East Indies. On 26 September 1940, de Gaulle Battle of Dakar, led an attack by Allied forces on the Vichy port of Dakar in French West Africa. Forces loyal to Pétain fired on de Gaulle and repulsed the attack after two days of heavy fighting, drawing Vichy France closer to Germany. During the Anglo-Iraqi War of May 1941, Vichy France allowed Germany and Italy to use air bases in the French mandate of Syria to support the Iraqi revolt. British and Free French forces attacked later Syria-Lebanon campaign, Syria and Lebanon in June–July 1941, and in 1942 Allied forces Battle of Madagascar, took over French Madagascar. More and more colonies abandoned Vichy, joining the Free French territories of French Equatorial Africa, French Polynesia, Polynesia, New Caledonia and others who had sided with de Gaulle Appeal of 18 June, from the start. In November 1942 Vichy French troops briefly resisted the Operation Torch, landing of Allied troops in French North Africa for two days, until Admiral François Darlan negotiated a local ceasefire with the Allies. In response to the landings, Case Anton, German and Italian forces invaded the non-occupied zone in southern France and ended Vichy France as an entity with any kind of autonomy; it then became a puppet government for the occupied territories. In June 1943, the formerly Vichy-loyal colonial authorities in French North Africa led by Henri Giraud came to an agreement with the Free France, Free French to merge with their own interim regime with the Free France#Creation of the French National Committee (CNF), French National Committee (''Comité Français National'', CFN) to form a provisional government in Algiers, known as the French Committee of National Liberation (''Comité Français de Libération Nationale'', CFLN) initially led by Darlan. In 1943 the Milice, a paramilitary force which had been founded by Vichy, was subordinated to the Germans and assisted them in rounding up opponents and Jews, as well as fighting the French Resistance. The Germans recruited volunteers in units independent of Vichy. Partly as a result of the great animosity of many right-wingers against the pre-war Popular Front (France), Front Populaire, volunteers joined the German forces in their anti-communist crusade against the USSR. Almost 7,000 joined ''Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism, Légion des Volontaires Français'' (LVF) from 1941 to 1944. The LVF then formed the cadre of the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French), Waffen-SS Division ''Charlemagne'' in 1944–1945, with a maximum strength of some 7,500. Both the LVF and the ''Division Charlemagne'' fought on the eastern front. Deprived of any military assets, territory or resources, the members of the Vichy government continued to fulfil their role as German puppets, being quasi-prisoners in the so-called "Sigmaringen enclave" in a castle in Baden-Württemberg at the end of the war in May 1945.


Iraq

In April 1941 the Arab nationalist Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, Rashīd ʿAlī al-Gaylānī, who was pro-Axis, 1941 Iraqi coup d'état, seized power in Iraq. British forces responded by deploying to Iraq and in turn removing Rashi Ali from power. During fighting between Iraqi and British forces Axis forces were deployed to Iraq to support the Iraqis. However, Rashid Ali was never able to conclude a formal alliance with the Axis. Anti-British sentiments were widespread in Iraq prior to 1941. Rashid Ali al-Gaylani was appointed Prime Minister of Iraq in 1940. When Italy declared war on Britain, Rashid Ali had maintained ties with the Italians. This angered the British government. In December 1940, as relations with the British worsened, Rashid Ali formally requested weapons and military supplies from Germany. In January 1941 Rashid Ali was forced to resign as a result of British pressure. In April 1941 Rashid Ali, on seizing power in a coup, repudiated the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty (1930), Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930 and demanded that the British abandon their military bases and withdraw from the country. On 9 May 1941, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem associate of Ali and in asylum in Iraq, declared Jihad, holy war against the British and called on Arabs throughout the Middle East to rise up against British rule. On 25 May 1941, the Germans stepped up offensive operations in the Middle East. Hitler issued Führer Directive No. 30, Order 30: "The Arab Freedom Movement in the Middle East is our natural ally against England. In this connection special importance is attached to the liberation of Iraq ... I have therefore decided to move forward in the Middle East by supporting Iraq. " Hostilities between the Iraqi and British forces began on 2 May 1941, with heavy fighting at RAF Habbaniya, the RAF air base in Habbaniyah. The Germans and Italians dispatched aircraft and aircrew to Iraq utilizing Vichy French bases in Syria; this led to Australian, British, Indian and Free French forces Syria–Lebanon campaign, entering and conquering Syria in June and July. With the advance of British and Indian forces on Baghdad, Iraqi military resistance ended by 31 May 1941. Rashid Ali and the Mufti of Jerusalem fled to Iran, then Turkey, Italy, and finally Germany, where Ali was welcomed by Hitler as head of the Iraqi government-in-exile in Berlin.


Puppet states

Various nominally-independent governments formed out of local sympathisers under varying degrees of German, Italian, and Japanese control were established within the territories that they occupied during the war. Some of these governments declared themselves to be neutral in the conflict with the allies, or never concluded any formal alliance with the Axis powers, but their effective control by the Axis powers rendered them in reality an extension of it and hence part of it. These differed from military authorities and civilian commissioners provided by the occupying power in that they were formed from nationals of the occupied country, and that the supposed legitimacy of the puppet state was recognised by the occupier ''de jure'' if not ''de facto''.


German

The collaborationist administrations of German-occupied Europe, German-occupied countries in Europe had varying degrees of autonomy, and not all of them qualified as fully recognized sovereign states. The
General Government The General Government (german: Generalgouvernement, pl, Generalne Gubernatorstwo, uk, Генеральна губернія), also referred to as the General Governorate for the Occupied Polish Region (german: Generalgouvernement für die be ...
in
occupied Poland ' (Norwegian language, Norwegian: ') is a Norway, Norwegian political thriller TV series that premiered on TV 2 (Norway), TV2 on 5 October 2015. Based on an original idea by Jo Nesbø, the series is co-created with Karianne Lund and Erik Skjold ...
was a fully German administration. In Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, occupied Norway, the Quisling regime, National Government headed by
Vidkun Quisling Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling (, ; 18 July 1887 – 24 October 1945) was a Norwegian military officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an Military, armed force or Uniformed services, ...
– whose name Quisling, came to symbolize pro-Axis collaboration in several languages – was subordinate to the Reichskommissariat Norwegen. It was never allowed to have any armed forces, be a recognized military partner, or have autonomy of any kind. In History of the Netherlands (1939–1945), the occupied Netherlands, Anton Mussert was given the symbolic title of "Führer of the Netherlands' people". His National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands, National Socialist Movement formed a cabinet assisting the German administration, but was never recognized as a real Dutch government.


Albania (Albanian Kingdom)

After the Italian armistice, a vacuum of power opened up in Albania under Italy, Albania. The Italian occupying forces were rendered largely powerless, as the National Liberation Movement (Albania), National Liberation Movement took control of the south and the National Front (Balli Kombëtar) took control of the north. Albanians in the Italian army joined the guerrilla forces. In September 1943 the guerrillas moved to take the capital of Tirana, but Fallschirmjäger, German paratroopers dropped into the city. Soon after the battle, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, German High Command announced that they would recognize the independence of a greater Albania. They organized an Albanian government, police, and military in collaboration with the Balli Kombëtar. The Germans did not exert heavy control over Albania's administration, but instead attempted to gain popular appeal by giving their political partners what they wanted. Several Balli Kombëtar leaders held positions in the regime. The joint forces incorporated Kosovo, western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, and Presevo into the Albanian state. A High Council of Regency was created to carry out the functions of a head of state, while the government was headed mainly by Albanian conservative politicians. Albania was the only European country occupied by the Axis powers that ended World War II with a larger History of the Jews in Albania, Jewish population than before the war. The Albanian government had refused to hand over their Jewish population. They provided Jewish families with forged documents and helped them disperse in the Albanian population. Albania was completely liberated on November 29, 1944.


Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia

The Government of National Salvation, also referred to as the Nedić regime, was the second Serbian puppet government, after the Commissioner Government, established on the Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia, Territory of the (German) Military Commander in Serbia, a German occupied territory.#Hehn_1971, Hehn (1971), pp. 344–73, group=nb during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. It was appointed by the German Military Commander in Serbia and operated from 29 August 1941 to October 1944. Although the Serbian puppet regime had some support, it was unpopular with a majority of Serbs who either joined the Yugoslav Partisans or Draža Mihailović's Chetniks. The Prime Minister throughout was General Milan Nedić. The Government of National Salvation was evacuated from Belgrade to Kitzbühel, Nazi Germany, Germany in the first week of October 1944 before the German withdrawal from Serbia was complete. Racial laws were introduced in all occupied territories with immediate effects on Jews and Roma people, as well as causing the imprisonment of those opposed to Nazism. Several concentration camps were formed in Serbia and at the 1942 Anti-Freemason Exhibition in Belgrade the city was pronounced to be free of Jews (Judenfrei). On 1 April 1942, a Serbian Gestapo was formed. An estimated 120,000 people were interned in German-run concentration camps in Nedić's Serbia between 1941 and 1944. However the Banjica Concentration Camp was jointly run by the German Army and Nedic's regime. 50,000 to 80,000 were killed during this period. Serbia became the second country in Europe, following Estonia, to be proclaimed Judenfrei (free of Jews). Approximately 14,500 Serbian Jews – 90 percent of Serbia's Jewish population of 16,000 – were murdered in World War II. Nedić was captured by the Americans when they occupied the former territory of Austria, and was subsequently handed over to the Yugoslav communist authorities to act as a witness against war criminals, on the understanding he would be returned to American custody to face trial by the Allies. The Yugoslav authorities refused to return Nedić to United States custody. He died on 4 February 1946 after either jumping or falling out of the window of a Belgrade hospital, under circumstances which remain unclear.


Italy (Italian Social Republic)

Italian Fascist leader
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
formed the Italian Social Republic (''Repubblica Sociale Italiana'' in Italian language, Italian) on 23 September 1943, succeeding the Kingdom of Italy as a member of the Axis. Mussolini had been removed from office and arrested by King Victor Emmanuel III on 25 July 1943. After the Italian armistice, in a Gran Sasso raid, raid led by German paratrooper Otto Skorzeny, Mussolini was rescued from arrest. Once restored to power, Mussolini declared that Italy was a republic and that he was the new head of state. He was subject to German control for the duration of the war.


Joint German–Italian client states


Greece (Hellenic State)

Following the German invasion of Greece and the flight of the Greek government in exile, Greek government to Crete and then Egypt, the Hellenic State (1941-1944), Hellenic State was formed in May 1941 as a puppet state of both Italy and Germany. Initially, Italy had wished to annex Greece, but was pressured by Germany to avoid civil unrest such as had occurred in Bulgarian-annexed areas. The result was Italy accepting the creation of a puppet regime with the support of Germany. Italy had been assured by Hitler of a primary role in Greece. Most of the country was held by Italian forces, but strategic locations (Central Macedonia, the islands of the northeastern Aegean, most of Crete, and parts of Attica) were held by the Germans, who seized most of the country's economic assets and effectively controlled the collaborationist government. The puppet regime never commanded any real authority, and did not gain the allegiance of the people. It was somewhat successful in preventing secessionist movements like the Aromanians, Aromanian Roman Legion (1941–1943), Roman Legion from establishing themselves. By mid-1943, the Greek Resistance had liberated large parts of the mountainous interior ("Free Greece"), setting up a separate administration there. After the Italian armistice, the Italian occupation zone was taken over by the German armed forces, who remained in charge of the country until their withdrawal in autumn 1944. In some Aegean islands, German garrisons were left behind, and surrendered only after the end of the war.


Japanese

The Empire of Japan created a number of client states in the areas occupied by its military, beginning with the creation of Manchukuo in 1932. These puppet states achieved varying degrees of international recognition.


Cambodia

The Kingdom of Kampuchea (1945), Kingdom of Kampuchea was a short-lived Japanese puppet state that lasted from 9 March 1945 to 15 August 1945. The Japanese entered the French protectorate of Cambodia in mid-1941, but allowed Vichy French officials to remain in administrative posts while Japanese calls for an "Asia for the Asiatics" won over many Cambodian nationalists. In March 1945, in order to gain local support, the Japanese dissolved French colonial rule and pressured Cambodia to declare independence within the
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere The , also known as the GEACPS, was a concept that was developed in the Empire of Japan and propagated to Asian populations which were occupied by it from 1931 to 1945, and which officially aimed at creating a self-sufficient bloc of Asian peo ...
. King Norodom Sihanouk, Sihanouk declared the Kingdom of Kampuchea (replacing the French name) independent. Son Ngoc Thanh who had fled to Japan in 1942 returned in May and was appointed foreign minister.David P. Chandler, ''A History of Cambodia'', Silkworm 1993 On the date of Japanese surrender, a new government was proclaimed with Son Ngoc Thanh as prime minister. When the Allies occupied Phnom Penh in October, Son Ngoc Thanh was arrested for collaborating with the Japanese and was exiled to France.


Azad Hind

The ''Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind'', the "Provisional Government of Free India" was a state that was recognized by nine Axis governments, and accepted as part of the axis by the Japanese. It was led by Subhas Chandra Bose, an Indian nationalist who rejected Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent methods for achieving independence. The First Indian National Army faltered after its leadership objected to being a propaganda tool for Japanese war aims, and the role of I Kikan, Japanese liaison office. It was revived by the Indian Independence League with Japanese support in 1942 after the ex-PoWs and Indian civilians in South-east Asia agreed to participate in the INA venture on the condition it was led by Bose. From occupied Singapore Bose declared India's independence on October 21, 1943 . The Indian National Army was committed as a part of the Operation U-Go, U Go Offensive. It played a largely marginal role in the battle, and suffered serious casualties and had to withdraw with the rest of Japanese forces after the Battle of Imphal, siege of Imphal was broken. It was later committed to the defence of Burma Burma campaign 1944–45, against the Allied offensive. It suffered a large number of desertions in this latter part. The remaining troops of the INA maintained order in Rangoon after the withdrawal of Ba Maw's government. The provisional government was given Japanese occupation of the Andaman Islands, nominal control of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from November 1943 to August 1945.


Inner Mongolia (Mengjiang)

Mengjiang was a Japanese puppet state in
Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is an Autonomous regions of China, autonomous region of the China, People's Republic of China. Its border includes most of the length of China's China–Mongolia border, border wit ...
. It was nominally ruled by Prince Demchugdongrub, a Mongol nobleman descended from Genghis Khan, but was in fact controlled by the Japanese military. Mengjiang's independence was proclaimed on 18 February 1936, following the Japanese occupation of the region. The Inner Mongolians had several grievances against the central Chinese government in Nanking, including their policy of allowing unlimited migration of Han Chinese to the region. Several of the young princes of Inner Mongolia began to agitate for greater freedom from the central government, and it was through these men that Japanese saw their best chance of exploiting Pan-Mongol nationalism and eventually seizing control of Outer Mongolia from the Soviet Union. Japan created Mengjiang to exploit tensions between ethnic Mongols, Mongolians and the central government of China, which in theory ruled Inner Mongolia. When the various puppet governments of China were unified under the Wang Jingwei government in March 1940, Mengjiang retained its separate identity as an autonomous federation. Although under the firm control of the Japanese Imperial Army, which occupied its territory, Prince Demchugdongrub had his own independent army. Mengjiang vanished in 1945 following Japan's defeat in World War II.


Laos

French Indochina, including Laos, had been occupied by the Japanese in 1941, though government by the Vichy French colonial officials had continued. The liberation of France in 1944, bringing Charles de Gaulle to power, meant the end of the alliance between Japan and the Vichy French administration in Indochina. On 9 March 1945 the Japanese staged a military coup in Hanoi, and on 8 April they reached Luang Phrabang. King Sisavang Vong, Sīsavāngvong was detained by the Japanese, and forced to issue a declaration of independence, albeit one that does not appear to have ever been formalised. French control over Laos was re-asserted in 1946.


Philippines (Second Republic)

After the Battle of Bataan#The Fall of Bataan, surrender of the Filipino and American forces in Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island, the Japanese established a puppet state in the Philippines in 1942. The following year, the National Assembly of the Philippines, Philippine National Assembly declared the Philippines an Second Philippine Republic, independent Republic and elected José P. Laurel, José Laurel as its President of the Philippines, President. There was never widespread civilian support for the state, largely because of the general anti-Japanese sentiment stemming from atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army. The Second Philippine Republic ended with Japanese surrender in 1945, and Laurel was arrested and charged with treason by the US government. He was granted amnesty by President Manuel Roxas, and remained active in politics, ultimately winning a seat in the post-war Senate of the Philippines, Senate.


Vietnam (Empire of Vietnam)

The Empire of Vietnam was a short-lived Japanese puppet state that lasted from 11 March to 23 August 1945. When the Japanese seized control of
French Indochina French Indochina (previously spelled as French Indo-China),; vi, Đông Dương thuộc Pháp, , lit. 'East Ocean under French Control; km, ឥណ្ឌូចិនបារាំង, ; th, อินโดจีนฝรั่งเศส, ...
, they allowed Vichy French administrators to remain in nominal control. This French rule ended on 9 March 1945, when the Japanese officially took control of the government. Soon after, Emperor Bảo Đại voided the 1884 treaty with France and Trần Trọng Kim, a historian, became prime minister.


German, Italian and Japanese World War II cooperation


German–Japanese Axis-cooperation

On 7 December 1941, Japan attack on Pearl Harbor, attacked the US naval bases in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. According to the stipulation of the
Tripartite Pact The Tripartite Pact, also known as the Berlin Pact, was an agreement between Nazi Germany, Germany, Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Italy, and Empire of Japan, Japan signed in Berlin on 27 September 1940 by, respectively, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Gal ...
, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy were required to come to the defense of their allies only if they were attacked. Since Japan had made the first move, Germany and Italy were not obliged to aid her until the United States counterattacked. Nevertheless, expecting the US to declare war on Germany in any event, Hitler ordered the ''Reichstag (Weimar Republic), Reichstag'' to German declaration of war against the United States (1941), formally declare war on the United States. Hitler had agreed that Germany would almost certainly declare war when the Japanese first informed him of their intention to go to war with the United States on 17 November 1941. Italy also Italian declaration of war on the United States (1941), declared war on the US. Historian Ian Kershaw suggests that this declaration of war against the United States was a serious blunder made by Germany and Italy, as it allowed the United States to join the war in Europe and North Africa without any limitation. On the other hand, American destroyers escorting convoys had been effectively intervening in the Battle of the Atlantic with German and Italian ships and submarines, and the immediate war declaration made the Second Happy Time possible for U-boats. Franklin D. Roosevelt had said in his Fireside Chat on 9 December 1941 that Germany and Italy considered themselves to be in a state of war with the United States. Plans for Rainbow Five had been published by the press early in December 1941, and Hitler could no longer ignore the amount of economic and military aid the US was giving Britain and the USSR. File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1987-0703-507, Berlin, Reichstagssitzung, Rede Adolf Hitler.jpg, s:Adolf Hitler's Declaration of War against the United States, Hitler declaring war on the United States on 11 December 1941 File:Savoia-Marchetti SM.75 GA RT in East Asia.jpg, Italian pilots of a Savoia-Marchetti SM.75 long-range cargo aircraft meeting with Japanese officials upon arriving in East Asia in 1942. File:German and Japanese spheres of influence at greatest extent World War II 1942.jpg, German and Japanese direct spheres of influence at their greatest extents in Autumn 1942. Arrows show planned movements to an agreed demarcation line at 70° E, which was, however, never approximated.


See also

* Axis leaders of World War II * Axis powers negotiations on the division of Asia * Central Powers * List of expansion operations and planning of the Axis powers * Foreign relations of the Axis powers * Greater Germanic Reich * Hakkō ichiu * Hetalia: Axis Powers * Hypothetical Axis victory in World War II * Italian imperialism under Fascism * Croatian–Romanian–Slovak friendship proclamation * List of pro-Axis leaders and governments or direct control in occupied territories * New Order (Nazism) * World War II by country * ''Hitlers Zweites Buch''


Notes


Citations


References


Print sources

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Online sources

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Further reading

* * * * * Highly detailed coverage of conquered territories. *


External links


Full text of the Pact of Steel

Full text of the Anti-Comintern Pact

Full text of The Tripartite Pact

Silent movie of the signing of The Tripartite Pact
{{DEFAULTSORT:Axis powers Axis powers, 1936 establishments 1945 disestablishments 20th-century military alliances Fascism Anti-communism Germany–Italy relations Germany–Japan relations Italy–Japan relations Politics of World War II World War II