The Pact of Steel
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, more commonly known as "The Pact of Steel" (German: Stahlpakt; Italian: Patto d'Acciaio), was the agreement with which Germany and Italy publicly entered into an alliance, pledging mutual support in war and war production, while requiring that, in the case of war, one nation could not negotiate for peace without agreement of the other. Secret clauses in the pact urged both nations to increase the level of cooperation in war planning and war production and to coordinate propaganda efforts.
ww2dbaseThe agreement was signed by Count Galeazzo Ciano for Italy and Joachim von Ribbentrop for Germany, and the signing took place in Berlin, Germany. The nickname "The Pact of Steel" was coined by Italian leader Benito Mussolini, who thought the originally proposed nickname of "Pact of Blood" would be poorly received in Italy.
Last Major Update: Oct 2009
The Pact of Steel Timeline
|6 May 1939||Upon learning from Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano, who had met German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop earlier on that day, that Adolf Hitler did not wish to launch a war in the foreseeable future, Benito Mussolini eagerly ordered Ciano to engage in talks for a military alliance between the two countries.|
|22 May 1939||Italy and Germany signed the "Pact of Steel" in Berlin, Germany.|
|23 Aug 1939||Italy sent a message to Germany noting that when the two nations negotiated the Pact of Steel, article 3, which obliged one nation to go to join in any war the other nation engaged in, the two had the understanding that Italy would not be ready for war until 1943. Should Germany invade Poland before 1942, Italy would not be ready.|
|26 Aug 1939||Benito Mussolini sent Adolf Hitler a message noting that Italy would offer political and economic aid if Germany chose to go to war with Poland, but Italy was in no position to offer military assistance.|
|27 Aug 1939||Adolf Hitler responded to Benito Mussolini's message from the previous day, noting that he accepted Italy's inability to participate in direct fighting should a German-Polish war broke out, but he would very much appreciate political (by means of threatening to entering the war, thus tying down French troops on the French-Italian border) and economic (by offering Italian workers for German industry and agriculture) support.|
|31 Aug 1939||In Italy, Galeazzo Ciano sent the United Kingdom and France a secret message noting that Italy would not fight should Germany start a war over Poland.|
|1 Sep 1939||Adolf Hitler relieved Italy from having to fight in the war against Poland and possibly with the western powers in writing, asking only for political and economic support.|
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