The word axis refers to an imaginary line that runs through the earth on which the earth rotates. The adaptation of this word for military alliance in World War II is interesting. It was Benito Mussolini, the Prime Minister of Italy who adapted this word to indicate that the power of the world rotated around Germany. It was first used in the Italo-German alliance of September 1923.

A Brief History

After the World War I the defeated Central Powers which included Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and a few other countries were humiliated, divided, and completely shattered in all aspects. It was the simmering rage of the people of these countries that effected in World War II. The people were waiting for some powerful leaders and they found it in Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. Before this triple alliance was formed it was preceded by alliances between Italy and Germany, Germany and Japan. Closer to the World War II all these powers joined together.

  • Rome –Berlin Axis on November 1st, 1936, between Italy and Germany.
  • Anti-Comintern Pact on November 25th , 1936 between Japan and Germany.
  • On November 6th, 1937, Italy joined the Anti-Comintern Pact.
  • Pact of Steel on May 22nd 1939, between Germany and Italy.

To make these alliances stronger On September 27th 1940, Italy, Germany and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact which was known as the Axis alliance.

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Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis

The two major alliances during the WWII were the Allies and the Axis. The major powers of the Axis were Germany, Italy and Japan while in the Allied alliance it was Britain, USA and the Soviet Union. The Axis powers had few common interests.

  • Territorial expansion through military conquests
  • To overthrow the international order created after World War I
  • Neutralization or destruction of Soviet Communism

The three major powers of this alliance recognized the domination of

  • Germany over Continental Europe
  • Italy over the Mediterranean Sea
  • Japan over Pacific and East Asia

For military expansion the Axis Powers needed help from other nations and Germany went about garnering support from the Southeast European states. Slovakia was offered economic aid and Romania was offered military protection. Hungary was threatened with withdrawal of German support. Finland and Bulgaria also joined the Axis alliance for their protection.

Unfortunately, Italy and Germany were ruled by dictators and therefore military expansion was not the only plan of Axis, especially with Hitler. Hitler was dead against the Jews and massacred thousands of them mercilessly. This is one of the darkest chapters of the World History. Though this alliance was forged there were hardly any summits where the three countries met. It was an understanding where each of them took their individual agenda forward and if they could help they did so. The Axis did not form any institutions or foreign policies like the Allies. All the alliances and the regional wars led to the WWII. The Axis powers were united on very thin grounds so this alliance fell apart sooner than expected and it was easy for the Allies to win over the Axis.