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Axis powers

Major alliance of World War II / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Axis powers,[nb 1] originally called the Rome–Berlin Axis and also known as the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis,[1] was a military coalition that initiated World War II and fought against the Allies. Its principal members were Nazi Germany, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Empire of Japan. The Axis were united in their far-right positions and general opposition to the Allies, but otherwise lacked comparable coordination and ideological cohesion.

Quick facts: Axis .plainlist ol,.m...
Axis powers
  •   Axis powers (and their colonies)
  •   Allies (and their colonies)
  •   Allies entering after December 1941
  •   Neutral countries and territories

StatusMilitary alliance
Historical eraWorld War II
25 November 1936
22 May 1939
27 September 1940
2 September 1945
    1. Germany, Italy, and Japan are typically described as being the "major" (or similar) countries amongst the Axis powers (see e.g., Global Strategy, Momah, p. 71, or Encyclopedia of World War II, Tucker & Roberts, p. 102).
    2. After the Italian surrender in September 1943, the Kingdom of Italy joined the Allies as a co-belligerent, whereas the Italian Social Republic, a German puppet state, was formed in northern Italy and existed until the surrender on 29 April 1945.
    3. Acceded to the Tripartite Pact, generally considered Axis powers (see e.g., Facts About the American Wars, Bowman, p. 432, which includes them in a list of "Axis powers", or The Library of Congress World War II Companion, Wagner, Osborne, & Reyburn, p. 39, which lists them as "The Axis").
    4. Following Operation Panzerfaust, a German puppet under Ferenc Szálasi from 15 October 1944 onwards (see Germany and the Axis Powers, DiNardo, p. 189).
    5. Official position of wartime government was that they were a co-belligerent of the Axis against the USSR and United Kingdom during the Continuation War, but generally considered to be a member of the Axis (see e.g., Bowman, p. 432, Wagner, Osborne, & Reyburn p. 39, or Dinardo p. 95).
    6. Puppet state installed by the Axis powers (see e.g., Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, Lemkin, p. 11).
    7. Declared war on the United Kingdom and United States in alliance with Japan on 25 January 1942, generally considered to be a member of the Axis (e.g. Bowman, p. 432).
Flags of Germany, Japan, and Italy draping the facade of the Embassy of Japan on the Tiergartenstraße in Berlin (September 1940)
Germany's Führer Adolf Hitler (right) beside Italy's Duce Benito Mussolini (left)
Japan's Prime Minister Hideki Tojo (center) with fellow government representatives of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. To the left of Tojo, from left to right: Ba Maw from Burma, Zhang Jinghui, Wang Jingwei from China. To the right of Tojo, from left to right, Wan Waithayakon from Thailand, José P. Laurel from the Philippines, and Subhas Chandra Bose from India.
The signing of the Tripartite Pact by Germany, Japan, and Italy on 27 September 1940 in Berlin. Seated from left to right are the Japanese ambassador to Germany Saburō Kurusu, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Galeazzo Ciano, and Adolf Hitler.

The Axis grew out of successive diplomatic efforts by Germany, Italy, and Japan to secure their own specific expansionist interests in the mid-1930s. The first step was the protocol signed by Germany and Italy in October 1936, after which Italian leader Benito Mussolini declared that all other European countries would thereafter rotate on the Rome–Berlin axis, thus creating the term "Axis".[2] The following November saw the ratification of the Anti-Comintern Pact, an anti-communist treaty between Germany and Japan; Italy joined the Pact in 1937, followed by Hungary and Spain in 1939. The "Rome–Berlin Axis" became a military alliance in 1939 under the so-called "Pact of Steel", with the Tripartite Pact of 1940 formally integrating the military aims of Germany, Italy, Japan, and later followed by other nations. The three pacts formed the foundation of the Axis alliance.[3]

At its zenith in 1942, the Axis presided over large parts of Europe, North Africa, and East Asia, either through occupation, annexation, or puppet states. In contrast to the Allies,[4] there were no three-way summit meetings, and cooperation and coordination were minimal; on occasion, the interests of the major Axis powers were even at variance with each other.[5] The Axis ultimately came to an end with its defeat in 1945.

Particularly within Europe, the use of the term "the Axis" sometimes refers solely to the alliance between Italy and Germany, though outside Europe it is normally understood as including Japan.[6]

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