The Tripartite Pact of 1940 – Prelude to War

In September of 1940, the fate of world peace was sealed with the signing of the Tripartite Pact..

The Tripartite Pact was directed primarily at the United States. Its practical effects were limited since the Italo-German and Japanese operational theatres were on opposite sides of the world, and the high contracting powers had disparate strategic interests. As such the Axis was only ever a loose alliance. Its defensive clauses were never invoked, and signing the agreement did not oblige its signatories to fight a common war per se.

But the pact set the final pieces in place for America to begin the realization that they would not be able to stay completely out of the coming global conflict. Many Americans still remembered the tremendous costs of the World War that we were drawn into. Rallies and protests were held all around America and large groups were formed to try and slow our entry into the conflict.

In the end, Pearl Harbor settled any real dissent.

On the day that war was declared and approved by congress, only one member of congress voted no.

Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) was an American politician and women’s rights advocate, and the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana in 1916, and again in 1940.

Each of Rankin’s Congressional terms coincided with initiation of U.S. military intervention in the two World Wars. A lifelong pacifist, she was one of 50 House members who opposed the declaration of war on Germany in 1917. In 1941, she was the only member of Congress to vote against the declaration of war on Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Tripartite Pact

The treaty establishing the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis

The governments of Germany, Italy and Japan, considering it as a condition precedent of any lasting peace that all nations of the world be given each its own proper place, have decided to stand by and co-operate with one another in regard to their efforts in greater East Asia and regions of Europe respectively wherein it is their prime purpose to establish and maintain a new order of things calculated to promote the mutual prosperity and welfare of the peoples concerned.

Furthermore, it is the desire of the three governments to extend co-operation to such nations in other spheres of the world as may be inclined to put forth endeavours along lines similar to their own, in order that their ultimate aspirations for world peace may thus be realized.

Accordingly, the governments of Germany, Italy and Japan have agreed as follows:

Article I: Japan recognizes and respects the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe.

Article II: Germany and Italy recognize and respect the leadership of Japan in the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia.

Article III: Japan, Germany and Italy agree to cooperate in their efforts on the aforesaid lines. They further undertake to assist one another with all political, economic and military means when one of the three Contracting Parties is attacked by a power at present not involved in the European War or in the Sino-Japanese Conflict.

Article IV: With the view to implementing the present pact, joint technical commissions, members which are to be appointed by the respective governments of Germany, Italy and Japan will meet without delay.

Article V: Japan, Germany and Italy affirm that the aforesaid terms do no in any way affect the political status which exists at present as between each of the three Contracting Parties and Soviet Russia.

Article VI: The present pact shall come into effect immediately upon signature and shall remain in force 10 years from the date of its coming into force. At the proper time before expiration of said term, the high contracting parties shall at the request of any of them enter into negotiations for its renewal.

In faith whereof, the undersigned duly authorized by their respective governments have signed this pact and have affixed hereto their signatures.

Done in triplicate at Berlin, the 27th day of September, 1940, in the 19th year of the fascist era, corresponding to the 27th day of the ninth month of the 15th year of Showa (the reign of Emperor Hirohito).


The pact optimistically had a ten year shelf life. None of the three parties would come even close to that mark.

But the blood, treasure and sacrifice of the allied nations would be required to stop the carnage of this unholy alliance.

Mister Mac

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