|Signed||27 September 1940|
The Tripartite Pact, also known as the Berlin Pact, was an agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan signed in Berlin on 27 September 1940 by, respectively, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Galeazzo Ciano and Saburō Kurusu. It was a defensive military alliance that was eventually joined by Hungary (20 November 1940), Romania (23 November 1940), Bulgaria (1 March 1941) and Yugoslavia (25 March 1941), as well as by the German client state of Slovakia (24 November 1940). Yugoslavia's accession provoked a coup d'état in Belgrade two days later, and Germany, Italy and Hungary responded by invading Yugoslavia (with Bulgarian and Romanian assistance) and partitioning the country. The resulting Italo-German client state known as the Independent State of Croatia joined the pact on 15 June 1941.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
Fascist Italy is the era of National Fascist Party government from 1922 to 1943 with Benito Mussolini as head of government of the Kingdom of Italy. The Italian Fascists imposed totalitarian rule and crushed political and intellectual opposition, while promoting economic modernization, traditional social values and a rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. According to Payne (1996), "[the] Fascist government passed through several relatively distinct phases". The first phase (1923–1925) was nominally a continuation of the parliamentary system, albeit with a "legally-organized executive dictatorship". The second phase (1925–1929) was "the construction of the Fascist dictatorship proper". The third phase (1929–1934) was with less activism. The fourth phase (1935–1940) was characterized by an aggressive foreign policy: Second Italo-Ethiopian War, which was launched from Eritrea and Somaliland; confrontations with the League of Nations, leading to sanctions; growing economic autarky; invasion of Albania; and the signing of the Pact of Steel. The fifth phase (1940–1943) was World War II itself which ended in military defeat, while the sixth and final phase (1943–1945) was the rump Salò Government under German control.
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.
The Tripartite Pact was directed primarily at the United States. Its practical effects were limited, since the Italo-German and Japanese operational theatres were on opposite sides of the world and the high contracting powers had disparate strategic interests. Some technical cooperation was carried out, and the Japanese declaration of war on the United States propelled, although it did not require, a similar declaration of war from all the other signatories of the Tripartite Pact.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
The declaration of war by the Empire of Japan on the United States and the British Empire was published on December 8, 1941, after Japanese forces had executed an attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor and attacks on British forces in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The declaration of war was printed on the front page of all Japanese newspapers' evening editions on December 8. The document was subsequently printed again on the eighth day of each month throughout the war, to re-affirm the resolve for the war.
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.
In faith whereof, the undersigned duly authorized by their respective governments have signed this pact and have affixed hereto their signatures.
Done in triplicate at Berlin, the 27th day of September, 1940, in the 19th year of the fascist era, corresponding to the 27th day of the ninth month of the 15th year of Showa (the reign of Emperor Hirohito).
Although Germany and Japan technically became allies with the signing of Anti-Comintern Pact of 1936, the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union came as a surprise to Japan. In November 1939, Germany and Japan signed the "Agreement for Cultural Cooperation between Japan and Germany", which restored the "reluctant alliance" between them.
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 (Comintern).
... 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 ...
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, officially known as the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a neutrality pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by foreign ministers Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov, respectively.
In a ceremonial speech following the signing of the pact on 27 September, Ribbentrop may have suggested that the signatories were open to accepting new signatories in the future. The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (DAZ) reported his words as follows:
Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung was a German newspaper that appeared between 1861 and 1945.
The purpose of the Pact is, above all things, to help restore peace to the world as quickly as possible. Therefore any other State which wishes to accede to this bloc (der diesem Block beitreten will), with the intention of contributing to the restoration of peaceful conditions, will be sincerely and gratefully made welcome and will participate in the economic and political reorganisation.
The official Deutsches Nachrichtenbüro (DNB), however, as well as most of the press, reported a slightly different version, in which the words "having good will towards the pact" (der diesem Pakt wohlwollend gegenübertreten will) instead of "accede to" were used. It is likely that initially it was not envisaged that other nations would join the treaty, and that Ribbentrop misspoke. The official record in the DNB therefore corrected his words to remove any reference to "accession" by other states, but produced an awkward wording in the process.
The Italian foreign minister, Ciano, was resolutely opposed to the idea of adding smaller states to the pact as late as 20 November 1940, arguing in his diary that they weakened the pact and were useless bits of diplomacy.
The Kingdom of Hungary was the fourth state to sign the pact and the first to join it after 27 September 1940. The Hungarian ambassador in Berlin, Döme Sztójay, telegraphed his foreign minister, István Csáky, immediately after news of the signing and of Ribbentrop's speech had reached him. He urged Csáky to join the pact, even claiming that it was the expectation of Germany and Italy that he would do so. He considered it especially important that Hungary sign the pact before Romania did. In response, Csáky asked Sztójay and the ambassador in Rome, Frigyes Villani, to make enquiries regarding Hungary's accession and its potential obligations under the pact. On 28 September, the German secretary of state for foreign affairs, Ernst von Weizsäcker, informed Hungary that Ribbentrop had meant not a "formal accession" but merely "an attitude in the spirit of the Pact". The Italian answer was similar. Nonetheless, within the week the Hungarian government had sent out formal notice of its "spiritual adherence" to the pact.
In the week after Hungary's "spiritual adherence", the Balkan situation changed. Germany granted a Romanian request to send troops to guard the Ploiești oil fields, and Hungary granted a German request to allow its troops to transit Hungary to get to Romania. On 7 October 1940, the first German troops arrived in Ploiești. It is probable that Romania's accession to the pact had been delayed until the German troops were in place, lest the Soviets take preemptive action to secure the oil fields for themselves. In turn, Hungary's accession had been delayed until Romania's had been negotiated. On 9 October or thereabouts, Weizsäcker delivered a message from Ribbentrop to Sztójay informing him that Hitler now wanted "friendly states" to join the pact. In a telephone conversation with Ciano on 9 or 10 October, Ribbentrop claimed that Hungary had sent a second request to join the pact. Mussolini reluctantly consented. On 12 October, Ribbentrop informed Sztójay that both Italy and Japan had consented to Hungary's accession. Since the Hungarian regent, Miklós Horthy, had specifically instructed Sztójay to ask that Hungary be the first new state to accede to the pact, Ribbentrop granted the request.
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 and Northern Bukovina, 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.
In Marshal Ion Antonescu's affidavit read out at the IG Farben Trial (1947–48), he stated that the agreement on entering the pact had been concluded before his visit to Berlin on 22 November 1940.
On 14 March 1939, the Slovak Republic was declared in the midst of the dismemberment of 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 intervene. The war resulted in territorial gains by Hungary at Slovakia's expense. Even so, Slovakia supported the German invasion of Poland in 1939.
Shortly after the signing of the Tripartite Pact, following the Hungarian lead, Slovakia sent messages of "spiritual adherence" to Germany and Italy.
On 24 November 1940, the day after Romania signed the pact, the Slovak prime minister and foreign minister, Vojtech Tuka, went to Berlin to meet Ribbentrop. There, he signed Slovakia's accession to the Tripartite Pact. The purpose of this was to increase Tuka's standing in Slovakia relative to that of his rival, Tiso, although the Germans had no intention of permitting Tiso to be removed.
The Kingdom of Bulgaria had been an ally of Germany and on the losing side in World War I. From the beginning, the Germans pressured Bulgaria to join the Tripartite Pact. On 17 November 1940, Tsar Boris III and Foreign Minister Ivan Popovmet with Adolf Hitler in Germany. According to Hermann Neubacher, Germany's special envoy to the Balkans, Bulgaria's relation to the Axis powers was completely settled at this meeting. On 23 November, however, the Bulgarian ambassador in Berlin, Peter Draganov, informed the Germans that while Bulgaria had agreed in principle to join the pact, it wished to delay its signing for the time being.
The meeting with Hitler precipitated a visit to Bulgaria by the Soviet diplomat Arkady Sobolev on 25 November. He encouraged the Bulgarians to sign a mutual assistance pact that had first been discussed in October 1939. He offered Soviet recognition of Bulgarian claims in Greece and Turkey. The Bulgarian government, however, was disturbed by the subversive actions of the Bulgarian Communist Party in response to these talks, apparently at Soviet urging.
On 26 December 1940, the far-right politician Alexander Tsankov introduced a motion in the National Assembly urging the government to immediately accede to the Tripartite Pact. It was voted down.
Bulgaria's hand was finally forced by Germany's desire to intervene in the Italo-Greek War. This would require moving troops through Bulgaria. With no possibility of resisting Germany militarily, Prime Minister Bogdan Filov signed Bulgaria's accession to the pact in Vienna on 1 March 1941. He announced that this was done partly in gratitude for Germany's assistance to Bulgaria in obtaining the Treaty of Craiova with Romania, and that it would not affect Bulgaria's relations with Turkey or the Soviet Union. Later that day, Ribbentrop promised Filov that after the fall of Greece, Bulgaria would obtain an Aegean coastline between the Struma and Maritsa rivers.
According to Article 17 of the Tarnovo Constitution, treaties had to be ratified by the National Assembly. In the case of the Tripartite Pact, the government sought to have the treaty ratified without debate or discussion. Seventeen opposition deputies submitted an interpellation and one, Ivan Petrov, asked why the Assembly had not been consulted in advance and whether the pact involved Bulgaria in war. They were ignored. The pact was ratified by a vote of 140 to 20.
On 25 March 1941 in Vienna, Dragiša Cvetković, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, signed the Tripartite Pact.On 27 March, the regime was overthrown in a military coup d'état with British support. Seventeen-year-old King Peter was declared to be of age. The new Yugoslav government under Prime Minister and General Dušan Simović, refused to ratify Yugoslavia's signing of the Tripartite Pact, and started negotiations with Great Britain and the Soviet Union. The enraged Hitler issued Directive 25 as an answer to the coup, and then simultaneously attacked Yugoslavia and Greece starting on 6 April. The German Air Force bombed Belgrade for three days and nights. German ground troops moved in, and Yugoslavia capitulated on 17 April.
The Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, or NDH), created from former territories of the conquered Yugoslavia, signed the Tripartite Pact on 15 June 1941.
Just prior to the formation of the 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. The Soviets considered joining the Tripartite Pact to be an update of existing agreements with Germany. During the visit to Berlin, Molotov 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 25 November. To demonstrate the benefits of partnership, the Soviet Union made large economic offerings to Germany.
However, the Germans had no intention of allowing the Soviets to join the pact. They were already making preparations 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
When they received the Soviet proposal in November, they simply did not reply. They did, however, accept the new economic offerings, and signed an agreement for such on 10 January 1941.
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 25 June 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 6 December 1941 in support of its ally, the Soviet Union.
At the request of the German command, the Finns established a winter warfare school in Kankaanpää. It began its first two-month course for German officers and NCOs in December 1941. In the summer of 1942, the German-speaking Finnish instructors taught a course on forest warfare. General Waldemar Erfurth, the German liaison to the Finnish general headquarters, considered the school an outstanding success. It was also attended by some Hungarian officers.
Japan attacked Thailand at 02:00 local time on 8 December 1941. The Japanese ambassador, Teiji Tsubokami, told the Thai foreign minister, Direk Jayanama, that Japan only wanted permission for its troops to pass through Thailand to attack the British in Malaya and Burma. At 07:00, Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram (Phibun) held an emergency cabinet meeting in Bangkok and soon after a ceasefire was ordered. Phibun then met with Tsubokami, who offered him four options: to conclude a defensive–offensive alliance with Japan, to join the Tripartite Pact, to cooperate in Japanese military operations, or to agree to the joint defence of Thailand. Military cooperation was chosen, the Tripartite Pact rejected.
According to the post-war memoires of Direk Jayanama, Phibun planned to later sign the pact, but Direk's opposition prevented this.
The "joint technical commissions" required by the pact were established by an agreement of 20 December 1940. They were to consist of a general commission in each capital, consisting of the host foreign minister and the other two partners' ambassadors. Under the general commission were to be military and economic commissions. On 15 December 1941 the first meeting of all three commissions in one capital, Berlin, took place, labelled a "Tripartite Pact Conference". It was decided there to form a "Permanent Council of the Tripartite Pact Powers", but nothing happened for two months. Only the Italians, whom the Japanese mistrusted, pushed for greater collaboration.
On 18 January 1942, the German and Italian governments signed two secret operational agreements, one with the Imperial Japanese Army and another with the Imperial Japanese Navy. These agreements divided the world along longitude 70° east into two major operational zones, but it had almost no military significance. Chiefly, it committed the powers to cooperation in matters of commerce, intelligence and communication.
On 24 February 1942 the Permanent Council met under the chairmanship of Ribbentrop, who announced that "the propaganda effect is one of the main reasons for our meetings". The representatives set up a propaganda commission and then adjourned indefinitely. The military commission in Berlin met only two or three times by 1943, and there were no trilateral naval talks at all. Germany and Japan conducted separate naval discussions, and Italy consulted the Japanese independently for its planned assault on Malta in 1942.
The economic relationship between the Tripartite powers was fraught with difficulty. Japan would not grant economic concessions to Germany in 1941, lest they ruin its negotiations with the United States. In January 1942 negotiations on economic cooperation began, but an agreement was not signed until 20 January 1943 in Berlin. Italy was invited to sign a similar agreement in Rome at the same time, for propaganda purposes, but none of the supplementary Berlin protocols applied to Italo-Japanese relations.
Japan first pressed Germany to join the war with the United States on 2 December 1941, only two days after notifying Berlin of its intention to go to war. Receiving no response, Japan approached Italy. At 04:00 on the morning of 5 December, Ribbentrop gave the Japanese ambassador a proposal—which had already been approved by Italy—to join the war and prosecute it jointly. On 11 December 1941, the same day as the German declaration of war against the United States and the Italian declaration, the three powers signed an agreement—already hammered out on 8 December—barring any separate peace with the United States or Britain. It was "intended as a propaganda accompaniment to the declaration of war".
ARTICLE I. Italy, Germany and Japan will henceforth conduct in common and jointly a war which has been imposed on them by the United States of America and England, by all means at their disposal and until the end of hostilities.
ARTICLE II. Italy, Germany and Japan undertake each for himself that none of the parties to the present accord will conclude either armistice or peace, be it with the United States or with England without complete and reciprocal agreement [of the three signatories to this pact].
ARTICLE III. Italy, Germany and Japan, even after the victorious conclusion of this war, will collaborate closely in the spirit of the Tripartite Pact, concluded Sept. 21, 1940, in order to realize and establish an equitable new order in the world.
ARTICLE IV. The present accord is effective immediately on its signature and remains in force for the duration of the Tripartite Pact, signed Sept. 27, 1940. The high contracting parties of this accord will at an opportune moment agree among themselves the means of implementing Article III above of this accord.
Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim Freiherr von Ribbentrop, more commonly known as Joachim von Ribbentrop, was Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany from 1938 until 1945.
The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.
The Paris Peace Treaties were signed on 10 February 1947, as the outcome of the Paris Peace Conference, held from 29 July to 15 October 1946. The victorious wartime Allied powers negotiated the details of peace treaties with Italy, the minor Axis powers, and Finland, following the end of World War II in 1945.
Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, also known as Paul Karađorđević, was Prince Regent of Yugoslavia during the minority of King Peter II. Paul was a first cousin of Peter's father Alexander I.
A non-aggression pact or neutrality pact is a treaty between two or more states/countries that includes a promise by the signatories not to engage in military action against each other. Such treaties may be described by other names, such as a treaty of friendship or non-belligerency, etc.
This timeline of events preceding World War II covers the events of the interwar period (1918–1939) after World War I that affected or led to World War II.
László Bárdossy de Bárdos was a Hungarian diplomat and politician who served as Prime Minister of Hungary from April 1941 to March 1942. He was one of the chief architects of Hungary's involvement in World War II.
The Balkan Pact was a treaty signed by Greece, Turkey, Romania and Yugoslavia—the Balkan Entente—on 9 February 1934 in Athens, aimed at maintaining the geopolitical status quo in the region following World War I. In order to present a united front against Bulgarian designs on their territories, the signatories agreed to suspend all disputed territorial claims against each other and their immediate neighbors. This followed the aftermath of the war and a rise in various regional ethnic minority tensions. Other nations in the region that had been involved in related diplomacy refused to sign the document, including Italy, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Soviet Union. The pact became effective on the day it was signed. It was registered in the League of Nations Treaty Series on 1 October 1934.
The military history of Bulgaria during World War II encompasses an initial period of neutrality until 1 March 1941, a period of alliance with the Axis Powers until 9 September 1944 and a period of alignment with the Allies in the final year of the war. Bulgaria functioned as an authoritarian state during most of World War II. Tsar Boris III ruled with a prime minister and a parliament.
During World War II, the Kingdom of Hungary was a member of the Axis powers. In the 1930s, the Kingdom of Hungary relied on increased trade with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to pull itself out of the Great Depression. Hungarian politics and foreign policy had become more stridently nationalistic by 1938, and Hungary adopted an irredentist policy similar to Germany's, attempting to incorporate ethnic Hungarian areas in neighboring countries into Hungary. Hungary benefited territorially from its relationship with the Axis. Settlements were negotiated regarding territorial disputes with the Czechoslovak Republic, the Slovak Republic, and the Kingdom of Romania. In 1940, under pressure from Germany, Hungary joined the Axis powers. The following year, Hungarian forces participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia and the invasion of the Soviet Union. Their participation was noted by German observers for its particular cruelty, with occupied peoples subjected to arbitrary violence. Hungarian volunteers were sometimes referred to as engaging in "murder tourism."
During World War II, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed several countries effectively handed over by Nazi Germany in the secret protocol Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. These included Eastern Poland, as well as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, part of eastern Finland and eastern Romania. Apart from Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and post-war division of Germany, USSR also occupied and annexed Carpathian Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia in 1945.
The German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement, signed on January 10, 1941, was a broad agreement settling border disputes and continuing raw materials and war machine trade between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The agreement continued the countries' relationship that started in 1939 with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact containing secret protocols dividing Eastern Europe between the Soviet Union and Germany, and the subsequent invasions by Germany and the Soviet Union of that territory. The German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement contained additional secret protocols settling a dispute regarding land in Lithuania previously split between the countries. The agreement continued Nazi–Soviet economic relations that had been expanded by the 1939 German–Soviet Commercial Agreement and the larger 1940 German–Soviet Commercial Agreement.
In October and November 1940, German–Soviet Axis talks occurred concerning the Soviet Union's potential entry as a fourth Axis Power in World War II. The negotiations, which occurred during the era of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, included a two-day Berlin conference between Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, Adolf Hitler and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, followed by both countries trading written proposed agreements. After two days of negotiations from 12 to 14 November 1940, Germany presented the Soviets with a draft written Axis pact agreement defining the world spheres of influence of the four proposed Axis powers. Hitler, Ribbentrop and Molotov tried to set German and Soviet spheres of influence; Hitler encouraged Molotov to look south to Iran and eventually India while preserving German access to Finland's resources, and to remove Soviet influence in the Balkans. Molotov remained firm, seeking to remove German troops from Finland and gain a warm water port in the Balkans. Soviet foreign policy calculations were predicated by the idea that the war would be a long-term struggle and therefore German claims that Britain would be defeated swiftly were treated with skepticism. In addition, Stalin sought to remain influential in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. These factors resulted in Molotov taking a firm line. According to a Columbia University academical source, on 25 November 1940, the Soviets presented a Stalin-drafted written counterproposal where they would accept the four power pact, but it included Soviet rights to Bulgaria and a world sphere of influence centered on the area around Iraq and Iran. Germany did not respond, leaving the negotiations unresolved. Regarding the counterproposal, Hitler remarked to his top military chiefs that Stalin "demands more and more", "he's a cold-blooded blackmailer" and that "a German victory has become unbearable for Russia" so that "she must be brought to her knees as soon as possible." Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in June 1941 by invading the Soviet Union.
The timeline of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact is a chronology of events, including Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact negotiations, leading up to, culminating in, and resulting from the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The Treaty of Non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was signed in the early hours of August 24, 1939, but was dated August 23.
The Yugoslav coup d'état of 27 March 1941 in Belgrade, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, replaced the regency led by Prince Paul and installed King Peter II. It was planned and conducted by a group of pro-Western Serb-nationalist Royal Yugoslav Army Air Force officers formally led by its commander, General Dušan Simović, who had been associated with several putsch plots from 1938 onwards. Brigadier General of Military Aviation Borivoje Mirković, Major Živan Knežević of the Yugoslav Royal Guards, and his brother Radoje Knežević were key organisers in the overthrow of the government. In addition to Radoje Knežević, some other civilian leaders were probably aware of the takeover before it was launched and moved to support it once it occurred, but they were not among the organisers.
The newly formed Slovak Republic during World War II was occupied by Germany and forced to cooperate with members of the Axis. The Slovak State was founded with help of Nazi Germany. After the Slovak-Hungarian War Hungary annexed a great part of the country. In 1940, under pressure from Germany, Slovakia joined the Axis.
The Government of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in Exile was an official government of Yugoslavia, headed by King Peter II. It evacuated from Belgrade in April 1941, after the Axis invasion of the country, and went first to Greece, then to Palestine, then to Egypt and finally, in June 1941, to the United Kingdom.
The following events occurred in March 1941:
The Yugoslav accession to the Tripartite Pact, the Axis military alliance, was signed on 25 March 1941 at the Belvedere palace in Vienna, after months of talks and negotiations between the governments of Germany and Yugoslavia. It was agreed that the Axis powers respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia without any time limit, will not seek permission to transport troops across Yugoslavia, nor request any military assistance.
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