Tripartite Pact

From Academic Kids

The Tripartite Pact, also called the Three-Power Pact, was signed in Berlin on September 27 1940 by representatives of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Japan. The agreement formalized the Axis Powers' partnership, and can be read as a warning to the United States to remain neutral in World War II — or become involved in a war on two fronts.

In the pact 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 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 Russo-German Non-Aggression Pact signed in 1939.

The Tripartite Pact was subsequently joined by Hungary (November 20 1940) and Romania (November 23 1940). Bulgaria joined on March 1 1941, prior to the arrival of German troops.


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Kingdom of Yugoslavia

On March 25 1941 in Vienna, Prince Paul (Pavle), Regent of Kingdom of Yugoslavia, signed the Tripartite Pact. It was not easy for Hitler to gain Yugoslavia's cooperation. There were strong anti-German feelings in the country, especially among the Serbian population. 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.

Although the new rulers opposed Nazi Germany, they also feared that if Hitler attacked Yugoslavia, Britain was not in any real position to help. For the safety of the country, they declared that Yugoslavia would adhere to the Tripartite Pact.

Postponing Operation Barbarossa the Germans simultaneously attacked Yugoslavia and Greece. From April 6, Luftwaffe pounded Belgrade to the ground for three days and three nights. German ground troops moved in, and Yugoslavia capitulated on April 17.

German declaration of war

On December 7, Japan attacked the United States' naval bases at Pearl Harbor. According to the stipulation of the Tripartite Pact, Nazi-Germany was required to come to the defense of her allies only if they were attacked. Since Japan had made the first move and attacked, Germany was not obligated to aid. On December 11, Hitler entered the Reichstag to formally declare war on the United States, thus quenching that US opinion which opposed USA's engagement against the Third Reich.

This declaration of war against the United States was arguably the greatest mistake made by the Third Reich — it played directly into the desires of the U.S. President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to become engaged in the defense of Great Britain, largely to preserve a staging base for the strategic air bombardment of German industrial capacity and for the eventual defeat of German domination of Europe by an invasion of the continent.

While the plans of the German military effort included an eventual attack directly upon the U.S., this was to be only after the consolidation of German and Italian control over all of Europe, most of Africa, and enough of the Soviet Union to give Germany an industrial and resource capacity equivalent or superior to that of the United States. To this would be added Germany's technological and scientific capabilities — generally considered to be up to a decade in advance of that of the U. S. This would allow the creation of long range bombers, intercontinental missiles, super battleships with 24 inch guns, and perhaps even the atomic bomb. All this would ensure (in theory) that the dominion of the Third Reich would be extended to the Americas.

The premature declaration of war was at a time when Germany was significantly ahead in warfighting capacity only in the limited areas of submarines, tactical ground attack aircraft and fast land based armor (tanks) — the latter two committed for use against the USSR on the Eastern Front in Operation Barbarossa. Cruise missiles (in the form of the V-1 flying bomb) and ballistic rockets (the V-2 rocket) were in active development and would soon be in quantity production and use against England. In other matters of military technology the Third Reich enjoyed no special advantage. Along with the failure of Operation Barbarossa, the early awakening of the U.S. would prove to spell the eventual doom of the Third Reich — as in the war against Japan, largely due to the United States' superior industrial capacity, oceanic isolation, and the rich resources of the Americas. Without this declaration, the Third Reich might have been able to attempt and possibly win a second Battle of Britain.

de:Dreimchtepakt fr:Trait tripartite ja:日独伊三国軍事同盟 pl:Pakt_trzech

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