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Tripartite Pact
File:Signing ceremony for the Axis Powers Tripartite Pact;.jpg
The signing of the Tripartite Pact. Seated from left to right are Saburō Kurusu, Galeazzo Ciano, and Adolf Hitler.
Type Military alliance pact
Signed 27 September 1940
Location Berlin, Germany

Original signatories
 Nazi Germany
 Empire of Japan
 Kingdom of Italy

Later signatories
 Kingdom of Hungary (1920–46)
 Kingdom of Romania
 Kingdom of Bulgaria
 Kingdom of Yugoslavia
 Independent State of Croatia

Unoffical signatories
Flag of the Republic of China-Nanjing (Peace, Anti-Communism, National Construction).svg Republic of China-Nanjing

The Tripartite Pact, also the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940, which established the Axis Powers of World War II. The pact was signed by representatives of Nazi Germany (Adolf Hitler), Fascist Italy (foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano), and Imperial Japan (Japanese ambassador to Germany Saburō Kurusu).

Background and the agreement

The Japanese embassy in Berlin clad in the flags of the three signatories of the Tripartite Pact in September 1940.

The three nations agreed that for the next ten years they would "stand by and co-operate with one another in... their prime purpose to establish and maintain a new order of things... to promote the mutual prosperity and welfare of the peoples concerned." They recognized each other's spheres of interest and undertook "to assist one another with all political, economic and military means when one of the three contracting powers is attacked" by a country not already involved in the war, excluding the Soviet Union.

The pact supplemented the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1936 and helped heal the rift that had developed between Japan and Germany following the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union.

The Tripartite Pact was subsequently joined by Hungary (November 20, 1940), Romania (November 23, 1940), Slovakia (November 24, 1940), Bulgaria (March 1, 1941, prior to the arrival of German troops), Yugoslavia (March 25, 1941), and Croatia (June 15, 1941).

Text of the pact

The Tripartite Pact between Japan, Germany, and Italy, 1940

The Governments of Japan, Germany, and Italy consider it as the condition precedent of any lasting peace that all nations in the world be given each its own proper place, have decided to stand by and co-operate with one another in their efforts in Greater East Asia and the regions of Europe respectively wherein it is their prime purpose to establish and maintain a new order of things, calculated to promote the mutual prosperity and welfare of the peoples concerned. It is, furthermore, the desire of the three Governments to extend cooperation to nations in other spheres of the world that are inclined to direct their efforts along lines similar to their own for the purpose of realizing their ultimate object, world peace. Accordingly, the Governments of Japan, Germany and Italy have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1. Japan recognizes and respects the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe.

ARTICLE 2. Germany and Italy recognize and respect the leadership of Japan in the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia.

ARTICLE 3. Japan, Germany, and Italy agree to cooperate in their efforts on aforesaid lines. They further undertake to assist one another with all political, economic and military means if one of the Contracting Powers is attacked by a Power at present not involved in the European War or in the Japanese-Chinese conflict.

ARTICLE 4. With a view to implementing the present pact, joint technical commissions, to be appointed by the respective Governments of Japan, Germany and Italy, will meet without delay.

ARTICLE 5. Japan, Germany and Italy affirm that the above agreement affects in no way the political status existing at present between each of the three Contracting Powers and Soviet Russia.

ARTICLE 6. The present pact shall become valid immediately upon signature and shall remain in force ten years from the date on which it becomes effective.

In due time, before the expiration of said term, the High Contracting Parties shall, at the request of any one of them, enter into negotiations for its renewal.

—adolf Hitler 1939

The Tripartite Treaty was immediately named by the Italian press Roberto based on the first syllables of Rome, Berlin and Tokyo.

Other signatories

Tripartite Pact, 27 September 1940.


The Austro-Hungarian Empire had sided with Imperial Germany during World War I and had collapsed following the defeat by the Allies. Following the Treaty of Trianon, the Kingdom of Hungary was reduced greatly in size and this caused much resentment. To assuage this resentment, Germany and Italy implemented the Vienna Awards in 1938 and 1940 and this was subsequently followed by Hungary joining the Tripartite Pact on November 20, 1940. Collusion was further heightened when the Fascist Arrow Cross Party later came to power.


The Kingdom of Romania had joined the Allied Powers in World War I and had received Transylvania from Austria–Hungary. After Germany and Italy awarded parts of Transylvania back to Hungary and southern Dobruja back to Bulgaria and after the Soviet Union had taken Bessarabia, the Fascist Iron Guard party came to power and Romania joined the Tripartite Pact on November 23, 1940. This was due to the Romanian desire for protection against the Soviet Union.


On March 14, 1939, after the Munich Agreement, the Slovak Republic was formed from a portion of the dismembered Czechoslovakia. Hitler invited Monsignor Jozef Tiso to be the new nation's leader. Soon after it was formed, Slovakia was involved in a war with neighboring Hungary. Although Slovakia had signed a "Protection Treaty" with Nazi Germany, Germany refused to help Slovakia in direct violation of that treaty. The war resulted in territorial gains by Hungary at Slovakia's expense. Even so, Slovakia supported the German invasion of Poland. Slovakia joined the Tripartite Pact on November 24, 1940.


Official Protocol of Bulgaria's accession into the Axis Tripartite Pact.

The Kingdom of Bulgaria had been on the losing side in World War I, losing territory to Serbia and Greece. During World War II, Germany needed military access through Bulgaria in order to attack Greece. Adolf Hitler promised the Bulgarian Tsar Boris III that Bulgaria would receive all the territory she had lost in return for Bulgaria joining the Axis. Boris agreed and prime-minister Bogdan Filov signed the Pact on March 1, 1941.


On March 25, 1941 in Vienna, Dragiša Cvetković, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, signed the Tripartite Pact. On March 27, the regime was overthrown by a military coup d'état with British support, and the 17-year old King Peter II of Yugoslavia seized power. General Dušan Simović became Peter's Prime Minister and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia initially tried to dissolve the Pact but later declared adherence to it.

The initial agreement of the document also regarded Yugoslavia's acceptance of the free movement of German troops around the country; this was unsatisfactory to the Führer, and resulted in the Invasion of Yugoslavia.

Postponing Operation Barbarossa, the Germans simultaneously attacked Yugoslavia and Greece. Starting on April 6, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) bombed Belgrade for three days and nights. German ground troops (Wehrmacht Heer) moved in, and Yugoslavia capitulated on April 17.


The Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, or NDH) signed the Tripartite Pact on June 15, 1941.

Unoffical signatories


Photograph of Phot Phahonyothin (far left) with Hideki Tōjō (center) in Tokyo, 1942

The Kingdom of Thailand became an unofficial signatory of the Tripartite Pact at the suggestion of Japan.[1] Thailand previously signed a military alliance with Japan and sent Luang Wichitwathakan to sign the Tripartite Pact on 15 February 1942.[citation needed] Thai forces contributed to the Japanese war effort, helping out in the invasion of Burma 1942–1943.


The Great Manchu Empire became an unofficial signatory of the Tripartite Pact at the suggestion of Japan, Zhang Jinghui the Prime Minister of Manchukuo signed the Tripartite Pact by himself on 15 February 1942 along with Thailand and the Nanking Government.[1]


The Reorganized National Government of China (Nanking Government) became an unofficial signatory of the Tripartite Pact.[1]

Other nations involved

Soviet Union

Just prior to the formation of the Tripartite Pact, the Soviet Union was informed of its existence, and the potential of its joining.[2] Vyacheslav Molotov was thus sent to Berlin to discuss the pact and the possibility of the Soviet Union joining it.[2]

For the Soviets, they considered joining the Tripartite Pact to be an update of existing agreements with Germany.[2] On Molotov's visit, he agreed in principle to the Soviet Union joining the pact so long as some details, such as Soviet annexation of Finland, could be worked out.[3] The Soviet government sent a revised version of the pact to Germany on November 25.[3] To demonstrate the benefits of partnership, the Soviet Union made large economic offerings to Germany.[4]

Regardless of the talks however, the Germans had no intention of allowing the Soviets to join the pact. They were already in the preparation stages for their invasion of the Soviet Union and were committed to doing so regardless of any action the Soviets took.

Political conversations designed to clarify the attitude of Russia in the immediate future have been started. Regardless of the outcome of these conversations, all preparations for the East previously ordered orally are to be continued. [Written] directives on that will follow as soon as the basic elements of the army's plan for the operation have been submitted to me and approved by me. —Adolf Hitler[2]

When they received the Soviet offer in November, they simply did not reply. They did, however, accept the new economic offerings, and signed an agreement for such on January 10, 1941.[5]


Military co-operation between Finland and Nazi Germany started in late 1940 after Finland had lost a significant amount of her territory to Soviet aggression in the Winter War. Finland joined Operation Barbarossa on June 25, 1941, starting the Continuation War. In November, Finland signed the Anti-Comintern Pact (an anti-communist agreement directed against the Soviet Union) with many other countries allied with Germany. Soon after this Germany suggested Finland sign the Tripartite Pact. However, the Finnish government refused, because Finland saw its war as a "separate war" from the Second World War, and it saw its objectives as different from those of Nazi Germany. Finland also wanted to maintain diplomatic relations with the Allied Powers, the United States in particular. During the Second World War, Germany asked Finland several times to sign the pact, but always the Finnish government declined the offer. Diplomatic relations between Finland and the United States were maintained until June 1944, although the US ambassador had already been recalled earlier. The United Kingdom, however, declared war on Finland on December 6, 1941 in support of its ally, the Soviet Union.

End of the Pact

The Kingdom of Italy surrendered to the Western Allies in 1943, marking the beginning of the end for the Tripartite Pact. While dictator Benito Mussolini's Italian Social Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiana, or RSI) continued to maintain its alliance with Germany until the end of the war, the RSI was never more than a puppet state. In 1944, both Bulgaria and Romania changed sides and became military allies of the Soviet Union. After the Slovak National Uprising in mid-1944, the Germans ended what little was left of the independence of Slovakia. Hungary was the last minor member of the pact aside from the major two (Germany and Japan). However, by early April 1945, Hungary was completely overrun and its pro-German dictator Ferenc Szálasi and his Fascist government were forced to flee. While technically still in operation until Japan's surrender, the defeat of Germany brought an end to any effective meaning of the treaty.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nish, Ian Hill (2002). Japanese foreign policy in the interwar period. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-275-94791-0. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, p. 199. ISBN 978-0-521-61826-7
  3. 3.0 3.1 Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, p. 200. ISBN 978-0-521-61826-7
  4. Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, p. 201. ISBN 978-0-521-61826-7
  5. Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, p. 202. ISBN 978-0-521-61826-7

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