THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II
The Pact of Steel
A precursor to the Tripartite Pact of which I wrote about during the April A to Z Challenge, on May 22, 1939, Italy and Germany agreed to a military and political alliance. This alliance would formally launch the Axis Powers and Japan would later join.
“Pact of Steel”, the nickname coined by Mussolini, had been his second choice. Credited with the metaphor of an ‘axis” binding Rome and Berlin, Mussolini wanted to call the alliance the “Pact of Blood”. To him, this partnership was more than a defensive alliance and protection from Western Democracies. It was also a source of backing for his activities in the Balkans.
Now the alliance didn’t mean that Germany and Italy trusted each other. Quite the opposite. They only sketchily shared their prospective plans. This lead to the two powers not working in unison but often reactionary to each others military actions. By September, 1940, Japan joined the pact and the Tripartite Pact was formed.