The Tripartite Pact
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Originally signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan, the Tripartite Pact was a typical European-style mutual defense treaty between the signatory nations. The treaty would call upon all three nations to unite against any aggressor who had violated the sovereignty of any of the three nations, not including nations that were already engaged in war with any of the three nations. It was not difficult to see that, given the international political situation at the time, the Tripartite Pact was signed with the intention to force the United States to remain isolationist and out of WW2 which had already been waging for an extended amount of time in Europe, northern and eastern Africa, and China.
A summary of the Tripartite Pact is 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.
The pact was signed by representatives Führer Adolf Hitler of Germany, Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano of Italy, and Ambassador to Germany Saburo Kurusu of Japan.
The Tripartite Pact Timeline
|5 Jul 1940||Romania announced that it had joined the Axis Powers.|
|25 Sep 1940||Joachim von Ribbentrop alerted the German embassy in the Soviet Union that Japan was likely to join Germany and Italy in an alliance. Should this happen, the ambassador was to alert the Soviet Union of this news, and to ensure the USSR that this alliance was meant to deter the United States from entering the war and in no way was meant to be formed against Soviet interests.|
|26 Sep 1940||In the late evening, the German ambassador in the Soviet Union shared the news that Japan was about to join Germany and Italy in a military alliance. The Soviet Union immediately complained that, according to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the text of such an alliance should have been shared with the USSR prior to the pact being signed, including any secret clauses.|
|27 Sep 1940||Germany, Italy, and Japan signed the Tripartite Pact.|
|20 Nov 1940||Hungarian Prime Minister Teleki and Foreign Minister Csaky signed a protocol in Vienna, Austria, joining the Tripartite Pact.|
|23 Nov 1940||Ion Antonescu of Romania signed the Tripartite Pact in Berlin, Germany.|
|24 Nov 1940||Prime Minister Vojtech Tuka of Slovakia signed the Tripartite Pact.|
|13 Jan 1941||Bulgaria stalled in response to German demand to join the Tripartite Pact.|
|14 Feb 1941||Hitler pressured Yugoslavia to join the Tripartite Pact.|
|1 Mar 1941||Bulgarian Prime Minister Bogdan Filov signed the Tripartite Pact, which gave Germany the option of invading Greece through Bulgaria. Bulgaria was promised territories lost to Yugoslavia and Greece after WW1.|
|4 Mar 1941||Prince Paul, Regent of Yugoslavia, arrived in Berchtesgaden in Germany where Hitler applied further pressure for Yugoslavia to join Tripartite Pact. Hitler offered to cede Salonika and part of Macedonia to Yugoslavia in return for allowing German troops to transit into Greece.|
|13 Mar 1941||Germany repeated demands for Yugoslavia to join the Axis alliance.|
|19 Mar 1941||Adolf Hitler gave Prince Paul of Yugoslavia an ultimatum, asking him to join the Tripartite Pact within five days, or face invasion.|
|23 Mar 1941||Anti-Axis demonstrations were held in Yugoslavia.|
|25 Mar 1941||Prime Minister Dragisa Cvetkovic of Yugoslavia signed the Tripartite Pact at Vienna, Austria; in secret, Yugoslavia had also allowed German troops to travel on Yugoslavian railroads for an attack on Greece. Upon hearing of the signing of this document, anti-Axis demonstrations escalated in Belgrade.|
|26 Mar 1941||Anti-Axis demonstrations continued in Yugoslavia.|
|28 Mar 1941||Anti-Axis demonstrations continued in Yugoslavia.|
|14 Jun 1941||Croatia became the newest member of the Tripartite Pact.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939