On May 22, 1939, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler signed the military and political alliance, on behalf of Italy and Germany, popularly called the Pact of Steel (Stahlpakt in German and Patto d’Acciaio in Italian). The term ‘Pact of Steel’ was Mussolini’s creation. The two had first considered ‘Pact of Blood’ to describe this historic agreement. The Duce, however, thought that this might not be well received back home. He also coined term Axis powers to the two parties signing the Pact of Steel. The Axis powers would ultimately come to include Japan during the World War II.
With the end of World War I, the Allied nations, with the U.S., the U.K., France, and Russia had gained much political and military clout. The aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles had further punished Germany economically and the harsh terms were found oppressive by Germany. While Hitler’s rise was alarming in the larger context, the Führer was determined to strengthen Germany by forging strong alliances and by embarking on active and aggressive rearmament. Meanwhile, in Italy, the rise of the Fascist regime under the leadership of Mussolini provided Hitler just the right opportunity he needed. To the East, Japan was alarmed by the rise of a dominant Soviet Union. The various political developments in Europe and the East through the course of the two decades following the 1919 Treaty of Versailles drew Japan, Italy, and Germany in a close bond. …(Read more)