Pact of Steel

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Pact of Steel
Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy
Patto-acciaio.jpg
Galeazzo Ciano, Adolf Hitler and Joachim Von Ribbentrop at the signing of the Pact of Steel in the Reichskanzlei in Berlin
Type Military-political
Signed22 May 1939
Location Berlin, Germany
Expiration1949 (effectively in 1943/5)
Signatories
Languages German, Italian
Events leading to World War II
Treaty of Versailles 1919
Treaty of Trianon 1920
Treaty of Rapallo 1920
Franco-Polish alliance 1921
March on Rome 1922
Corfu incident 1923
Occupation of the Ruhr 19231925
Mein Kampf 1925
Pacification of Libya 19231932
Dawes Plan 1924
Locarno Treaties 1925
Chinese Civil War 19271936
Young Plan 1929
Great Depression 19291941
Japanese invasion of Manchuria 1931
Pacification of Manchukuo 19311942
January 28 Incident 1932
World Disarmament Conference 19321934
Defense of the Great Wall 1933
Battle of Rehe 1933
Nazis rise to power in Germany 1933
Tanggu Truce 1933
Italo-Soviet Pact 1933
Inner Mongolian Campaign 1933–1936
German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact 1934
Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance 1935
Soviet–Czechoslovakia Treaty of Mutual Assistance 1935
He–Umezu Agreement 1935
Anglo-German Naval Agreement 1935
Second Italo-Ethiopian War 19351936
Remilitarization of the Rhineland 1936
Spanish Civil War 19361939
Anti-Comintern Pact 1936
Suiyuan Campaign 1936
Second Sino-Japanese War 19371945
USS Panay incident 1937
Anschluss Mar. 1938
May crisis May 1938
Battle of Lake Khasan JulyAug. 1938
Undeclared German-Czechoslovak War Sep. 1938
Munich Agreement Sep. 1938
First Vienna Award Nov. 1938
German occupation of Czechoslovakia Mar. 1939
German ultimatum to Lithuania Mar. 1939
Slovak–Hungarian War Mar. 1939
Final offensive of the Spanish Civil War Mar.Apr. 1939
Danzig Crisis Mar.Aug. 1939
British guarantee to Poland Mar. 1939
Italian invasion of Albania Apr. 1939
Soviet–British–French Moscow negotiations Apr.Aug. 1939
Pact of Steel May 1939
Battles of Khalkhin Gol MaySep. 1939
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact Aug. 1939
Invasion of Poland Sep. 1939

The Pact of Steel (German : Stahlpakt, Italian : Patto d'Acciaio), known formally as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, was a military and political alliance between Italy and Germany.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

Military alliance alliance between different states with the purpose to cooperate militarily

A military alliance is an international agreement concerning national security, when the contracting parties agree to mutual protection and support in case of a crisis that has not been identified in advance. Military alliances differ from coalitions, as coalitions are formed for a crisis that are already known.

Contents

The pact was initially drafted as a tripartite military alliance between Japan, Italy and Germany. While Japan wanted the focus of the pact to be aimed at the Soviet Union, Italy and Germany wanted it aimed at the British Empire and France. Due to this disagreement, the pact was signed without Japan and became an agreement between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, signed on 22 May 1939 by foreign ministers Galeazzo Ciano of Italy and Joachim von Ribbentrop of Germany.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

The pact consisted of two parts. The first section was an open declaration of continuing trust and cooperation between Germany and Italy while the second, a "Secret Supplementary Protocol", encouraged a union of policies concerning the military and economy. Although intended to last 10 years, it was effectively cancelled in 1943 with the removal of Italy's fascist government.

Background

Germany and Italy fought against each other in World War I. [1] Popularity and support for extremist political parties, such as the Nazis of Adolf Hitler and the Fascists of Benito Mussolini, exploded after the Great Depression severely hampered the economy of both countries. [1]

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern and Western Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

National Socialism, more commonly known as Nazism, is the ideology and practices associated with the Nazi Party – officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party – in Nazi Germany, and of other far-right groups with similar aims.

In 1922, Mussolini secured his position as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy. [2] His first actions made him immensely popular - massive programs of public works provided employment and transformed Italy's infrastructure. [3] In the Mediterranean Mussolini launched a powerful navy, larger than the combined might of the British and French Mediterranean fleets. [1]

Kingdom of Italy kingdom on the Appenine Peninsula between 1861 and 1946

The Kingdom of Italy was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946—when a constitutional referendum led civil discontent to abandon the monarchy and form the modern Italian Republic. The state was founded as a result of the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered its legal predecessor state.

When he was appointed Chancellor in 1933, Hitler initiated a huge wave of public works and secret rearmament. [4] Fascism and Nazism shared similar principles and Hitler and Mussolini met on several state and private occasions in the 1930s. [5]

Adolf Hitlers rise to power

Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Germany in September 1919 when Hitler joined the political party known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – DAP. The name was changed in 1920 to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP. This political party was formed and developed during the post-World War I era. It was anti-Marxist and opposed to the democratic post-war government of the Weimar Republic and the Treaty of Versailles; and it advocated extreme nationalism and Pan-Germanism as well as virulent anti-Semitism. Hitler's "rise" can be considered to have ended in March 1933, after the Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act of 1933 in that month. President Paul von Hindenburg had already appointed Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933 after a series of parliamentary elections and associated backroom intrigues. The Enabling Act—when used ruthlessly and with authority—virtually assured that Hitler could thereafter constitutionally exercise dictatorial power without legal objection.

Japan

In 1931, Japanese forces invaded the region of Manchuria because of its rich grain fields and reserves of raw minerals. [1] This, however, provoked a diplomatic clash with the Soviet Union, which bordered Manchuria. [1] To combat this Soviet threat, the Japanese signed a Pact with Germany in 1936. [1] The aim of the pact was to guard against any attack from Soviet Russia were it to move on China. [1]

Japanese invasion of Manchuria part of the Second Sino-Japanese War

The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began on 19 September 1931, when the Kwantung Army of the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria immediately following the Mukden Incident. After the war, the Japanese established the puppet state of Manchukuo. Their occupation lasted until the Soviet Union and Mongolia launched the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation in 1945.

Manchuria geographic region in Northeast Asia

Manchuria is a name first used in the 17th century by Japanese people to refer to a large geographic region in Northeast Asia. Depending on the context, Manchuria can either refer to a region that falls entirely within the People's Republic of China or a larger region divided between China and Russia. "Manchuria" is widely used outside China to denote the geographical and historical region. This region is the traditional homeland of the Xianbei, Khitan, and Jurchen peoples, who built several states within the area historically.

Anti-Comintern Pact pact

The Anti-Comintern Pact was an anti-Communist pact concluded between Germany and Japan on November 25, 1936, and was directed against the Communist International.

... recognizing that the aim of the Communist International, known as the Comintern, is to disintegrate and subdue existing States by all the means at its command; convinced that the toleration of interference by the Communist International in the internal affairs of the nations not only endangers their internal peace and social well‑being, but is also a menace to the peace of the world desirous of co‑operating in the defense against Communist subversive activities ...

Japan elected to focus on anti-Soviet alliances instead of anti-Western alliances like Italy and Germany. [6] Germany, however, feared that an anti-USSR alliance would create the possibility of a two-front war before they could conquer Western Europe. [6] So when Japan was invited to sign the Pact of Steel, they declined. [6]

Clauses

Officially, the Pact of Steel obliged Germany and Italy to aid the other country militarily, economically or otherwise in the event of war, and to collaborate in wartime production. [7] The Pact aimed to ensure that neither country was able to make peace without the agreement of the other. [8] The agreement was based on the assumption that a war would not occur within three years. [8] When Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and war broke out on 3 September, Italy was not yet prepared for conflict and had difficulty meeting its obligations. [9] Consequently, Italy did not enter World War II until June 1940, with a delayed invasion of Southern France. [10]

Article I
The Contracting Parties will remain in permanent contact with each other in order to come to an understanding of all common interests or the European situation as a whole. [8]
Article II
In the event that the common interests of the Contracting Parties be jeopardized through international happenings of any kind, they will immediately enter into consultation regarding the necessary measures to preserve these interests. Should the security or other vital interests of one of the Contracting Parties be threatened from outside, the other Contracting Party will afford the threatened Party its full political and diplomatic support in order to remove this threat. [8]
Article III
If it should happen, against the wishes and hopes of the Contracting Parties, that one of them becomes involved in military complications with another power or other Powers, the other Contracting Party will immediately step to its side as an ally and will support it with all its military might on land, at sea and in the air. [8]
Article IV
In order to ensure, in any given case, the rapid implementation of the alliance obligations of Article III, the Governments of the two Contracting Parties will further intensify their cooperation in the military sphere and the sphere of war economy. Similarly the two Governments will keep each other regularly informed of other measures necessary for the practical implementation of this Pact. The two Governments will create standing commissions, under the direction of the Foreign Ministers, for the purposes indicated in Article I and II. [8]
Article V
The Contracting Parties already at this point bind themselves, in the event of a jointly waged war, to conclude any armistice or peace only in full agreement with each other. [8]
Article VI
The two Contracting Parties are aware of the importance of their joint relations to the Powers which are friendly to them. They are determined to maintain these relations in future and to promote the adequate development of the common interests which bind them to these Powers. [8]
Article VII
This Pact comes into force immediately upon its signing. The two Contracting Parties are agreed upon fixing the first period of its validity at 10 years. In good time before the elapse of this period they will come to an agreement regarding the extension of the validity of the Pact. [8]

Secret supplementary protocols

The secret supplementary protocols of the Pact of Steel, which were split into two sections, were not made public at the time of the signing of the Pact. [11]

The first section urged the countries to quicken their joint military and economic cooperation whilst the second section committed the two countries to cooperate in "matters of press, the news service and the propaganda" to promote the power and image of the Rome-Berlin Axis. [11] To aid in this, each country was to assign "one or several specialists" of their country in the capital city of the other for close liaisons with the Foreign Minister of that country. [11]

Name change

After being told the original name, "Pact of Blood", would likely be poorly received in Italy, Mussolini proposed the name "Pact of Steel", which was ultimately chosen. [12]

Dissolution

According to Article VII, the pact was to last 10 years, but this did not happen. [8] In November 1942, the Axis forces in North Africa, led by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, were decisively defeated by the British and British Commonwealth forces at the Second Battle of El Alamein. [13] In July 1943 the Western Allies opened up a new front by invading Sicily. [13] In the aftermath of this, Mussolini was overthrown by 19 members of the Gran Consiglio who voted in favour of the Ordine Grandi. The new Italian government, under Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio, signed an armistice with the Allies in September and became a non-belligerent, thus effectively ending Italy's involvement in the pact. [13]

Although a puppet government under Mussolini, the Italian Social Republic, was established in Northern Italy by Nazi Germany, Italy continued as a member of the pact in name only. [13]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 World Media Rights 2009.
  2. Knight 2013, p. 22.
  3. Knight 2013, pp. 68–69.
  4. Shirer 1960, pp. 258–262.
  5. Corvaja 2013, p. 13.
  6. 1 2 3 Maltarich 2005, p. 75.
  7. Hiden 2014, pp. 187–188.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Office of Counsel 2015.
  9. Belco 2010, p. 37.
  10. Knox 2002, p. 181.
  11. 1 2 3 Historical Resources 2015.
  12. Nicholls 2000, p. 195.
  13. 1 2 3 4 World Media Rights 2009a.

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