- Anti-Comintern Pact
The Anti-Comintern Pact was concluded between
Nazi Germanyand the Empire of Japan(later to be joined by other countries) on November 25, 1936and was directed against the Communist International ( Comintern) in general, and the Soviet Unionin particular. :"recognizing that the aim of the Communist International, known as the Comintern, is to disintegrate and subdue existing States by all the means at its command; convinced that the toleration of interference by the Communist International in the internal affairs of the nations not only endangers their internal peace and social well‑being, but is also a menace to the peace of the world desirous of co‑operating in the defense against Communist subversive activities"
The origins of the Anti-Comintern Pact go back to the fall of 1935, when various German officials both within and without the Foreign Ministry were attempting to balance the competing demands upon the "Reich"'s foreign policy by its traditional alliance with
Chinavs Hitler's desire for friendship with China's archenemy, Japan. Gerhard Weinberg: "The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe 1933-36", Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970, page 342.] In October 1935, the idea was mooted that an anti-Communist alliance might be able to tie in the Kuomintangregime, Japan and Germany. In particular, this idea appealed to Joachim von Ribbentrop, the Special Ambassador at Large and head of the "Dienststelle Ribbentrop" and the Japanese Military Attaché in Berlin, General Oshima Hiroshi, who hoped that such a alliance might lead to China's subordination to Japan. Lack of Chinese interest doomed the project's original intention, but October-November 1935, Ribbentrop and Oshima worked out a treaty directed against the Comintern.Gerhard Weinberg: "The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe 1933-36", Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970, page 343.] The Pact was to be originally introduced in late November 1935 with invitations for Britain, Italy, China and Poland to join. However, concerns by the German Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurathand War Minister Field Marshal Werner von Blombergthat the pact might damage Chinese-German relations plus political disarray in Tokyo following the failed military coup of February 26, 1936 led the Pact being shelved for a year. [Gerhard Weinberg: "The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe 1933-36", Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970, pages 343-344.] By the summer of 1936, the increased influence of the military in the Japanese government, concerns in Berlin and Tokyo about the Franco-Soviet alliance, and Hitler's desire for a dramatic anti-Communist foreign policy gesture that he believed might bring about an Anglo-German alliance led to the idea of the Anti-Comintern Pact being revived. [Gerhard Weinberg: "The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe 1933-36", Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970 pages 344-345.] The Pact was initialed on October 23, 1936 and signed on November 25, 1936.Gerhard Weinberg: "The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe 1933-36", Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970, pages 346.] In order to avoid damaging relations with the Soviet Union, the Pact was supposedly directed only against the Comintern, but in fact contained a secret agreement that in the event of either signatory power becoming involved with a war with the Soviet Union, the other signatory power would maintain a benevolent neutrality.
In case of an attack by the Soviet Union against Germany or Japan, the two countries agreed to consult on what measures to take "to safeguard their common interests". They also agreed that neither of them would make any political treaties with the Soviet Union, and Germany also agreed to recognize
Formation of "Axis Powers"
November 6, 1937, Italy also joined the pact, [Robert Melvin Spector. "World Without Civilization: Mass Murder and the Holocaust, History, and Analysis", pg. 257] thereby forming the group that would later be known as the Axis Powers. Italy's decision was more or less a reaction against the failed Stresa front, the Franco-British initiative of 1935 designed to keep Nazi Germany from extending beyond her present borders. In particular, both nations tried to block "German expansionism", especially the annexation of Austria, which was also in Italy's best interests to prevent. Distrustful relations and Benito Mussolini's own expansionism furthered the distance between Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as France. Italy invaded the African State of Abyssinia ( Ethiopia) in October 1935, an act of unprovoked aggression that was a breach of League of Nations policy. Nevertheless, Britain and France hashed out a secret agreement with Italy to give her two-thirds of Abyssinia, known as the Hoare-Laval Pact. When this information was leaked to the public in Britain and France, their governments were mired in scandal, the British Foreign Secretary, Samuel Hoare, was forced to resign. Consequently, the Hoare-Laval Pact was aborted.
Attempts To Improve Anglo-German Relations
Earlier, in June 1935, the surprise
Anglo-German Naval Agreementwas signed between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany. This marked the beginning of a series of attempts by Adolf Hitlerto improve relations between the two countries, form a pact and isolate the Soviet Union, while both the Soviet Union and Britain attempted to do the same and isolate Germany. Hitler also made an effort to influence the Poles into joining the Anti-Comintern Pact and spoke of his intention to settle territorial disputes between Germany and Poland [Sean Greenwood: “The Phantom Crisis: Danzig, 1939” pages 225-246 from "The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered" edited by Gordon Martel, Routledge: London, United Kingdom, 1999 page 232; Anna Cienciala: “Poland in British and French Policy in 1939: Determination To Fight-or Avoid War?” pages 413-433 from "The Origins of The Second World War" edited by Patrick Finney, Edward Arnold: London, United Kingdom, 1997 page 414; Gerhard Weinberg: "The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Starting World War II" 1937-1939, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, 1980 pages 558-562] . However, Poland refused Germany's terms, fearing that an alliance with Hitler would render Poland a German puppet state.At the time, many Japanese politicians, including Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, were shockedFact|date=February 2008 by the Anglo-German naval agreement, but the leaders of the military clique then in control in Tokyo concluded that it was a ruse designed to buy the Nazis time to match the British navy. They continued to plot war against either the Soviet Union or the Western democracies assuming Germany would occupy their potential enemy in Europe.
Hitler's efforts to develop relations with Britain also failed. In August 1939, Germany broke the terms of the Anti-Comintern Pact when the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pactwas signed, making a non-aggression agreement between the Soviet Union and Germany official. However, by 1940, Hitler began to plan for a potential invasion (planned to start in 1943) of the Soviet Union and the German foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, was sent to negotiate a new treaty with Japan. On September 25, 1940, Ribbentrop sent a telegram to Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister, informing him that Germany, Italy and Japan were about to sign a military alliance. Ribbentrop tried to reassure Molotov by claiming that this alliance was to be directed towards the United States and not the Soviet Union:
:"Its exclusive purpose is to bring the elements pressing for America's entry into the war to their senses by conclusively demonstrating to them if they enter the present struggle they will automatically have to deal with the three great powers as adversaries."
Revised pact of 1941
The Anti-Comintern Pact was revived in 1941, after Germany's assault on the Soviet Union that commenced with "
Operation Barbarossa" and on November 25its renewal for another five years was celebrated. This time the signatories were:
Edmund Osmańczyk: "Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements", Taylor and Francis2002, ISBN 0415939216, page 104]
*flag|Empire of Japan|name=Japan
*flagicon|Republic of China China (Wang Jingwei Government)
*flagicon image|Flag of Spain under Franco 1938 1945.svg Spain
Pact of Steel
*Weinberg, Gerhard "The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany Diplomatic Revolution in Europe 1933-36", Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970
* [http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1941/410622b.html Statement by Ribbentrop on the Declaration of War on the Soviet Union 22 June 1941]
* [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/tri1.htm The text of the Anti-Comintern Pact]
* [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/tri2.htm The text of the Supplementary protocol of the Pact]
* [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/tri3.htm The text of Italian participation to the Pact]
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