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The Tripartite Pact, also called the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlinmarker, Germanymarker on September 27, 1940, which established the Axis Powers of World War II. The pact was signed by representatives of Germany (Adolf Hitler), Italy (foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano) and Japanmarker (ambassador Saburo Kurusu).

Background and the agreement

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 Unionmarker.

The pact supplemented the previous German-Japanese Agreement and the Anti-Comintern Pact, both of 1936, and helped overcome the rift that had developed between Japan and Germany following the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed by Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939.

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

Text of the pact

The Tripartite Treaty was immediately named by the Italian press Roberto based on the first syllables of Romemarker, Berlinmarker and Tokyomarker.

Other signatories


The Austro-Hungarian Empire had sided with Imperial Germanymarker 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 Austro-Hungary. After Germany and Italy awarded parts of Transylvania back to Hungary and southern Dobruja back to Bulgaria and after the Soviet Unionmarker had taken Bessarabiamarker, the Fascist Iron Guard party came to power and Romania joined the Tripartite Pact on November 23, 1940. This was partly due to the Romanian desire for protection against the Soviet Union.


On 14 March 1939, after the Munich Agreement, the Slovak Republic was formed from a portion of the dismembered Czechoslovakiamarker. 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 24 November 1940.


The Kingdom of Bulgaria had been on the losing side in World War I, losing territory to Serbia and Greecemarker. 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 signed the Pact on March 1, 1941.

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

On March 25, 1941 in Viennamarker, Prince Paul (Pavle), Regent of the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker, signed the Tripartite Pact. On March 27, the regime was overthrown by a military coup d'√©tat with British support, and the 18 year old King Peter II of Yugoslavia seized power. General DuŇ°an Simovińá 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 F√ľhrer, 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 Belgrademarker for three days and nights. German ground troops (Wehrmacht Heer) moved in, and Yugoslavia capitulated on April 17.


The Independent State of Croatiamarker (Nezavisna DrŇĺava Hrvatska, or NDH) was declared to be a member of the Axis on 10 April 1941 and joined the Tripartite Pact on June 15, 1941.

Other nations involved

Soviet Union

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

For the Soviets, they considered joining the Tripartite Pact to be an update of existing agreements with Germany. 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. The Soviet government sent a revised version of the pact to Germany on November 25. To demonstrate the benefits of partnership, the Soviet Union made large economic offerings to Germany.

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.

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.

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 Sz√°lasi and his Fascist government were forced to flee. While technically still in operation until Japan's surrender, the quelling of Germany brought an end to any effective meaning of the treaty.

See also


  1. Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, pg. 199
  2. Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, pg. 200
  3. Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, pg. 201
  4. Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, pg. 202

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