This formalizing of the alliance was aimed directly at “neutral” America–designed to force the United States to think twice before venturing in on the side of the Allies.
The Pact also recognized the two spheres of influence. Japan acknowledged “the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe,” while Japan was granted lordship over “Greater East Asia.”
The Tripartite Pact aka, the Berlin Pact was signed by Joachim von Ribbentrop of Germany, Galeazzo Ciano of Italy and Saburō Kurusu of Japan.
Two months later on November 20, 1940, Hungary joined the military alliance, followed by Romania on November 23, 1940; Bulgaria on March 1, 1941, Yugoslavia on March 25, 1941… the German client state of Slovakia on November 24, 1940, and the Independent State of Croatia on June 14, 1941.
Here’s what the pact says:
The Governments of Japan, Germany, and Italy consider it as the condition precedent of any lasting peace that all nations in the world be given each its own proper place, have decided to stand by and co-operate with one another in their efforts in Greater East Asia and the 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. It is, furthermore, the desire of the three Governments to extend cooperation to nations in other spheres of the world that are inclined to direct their efforts along lines similar to their own for the purpose of realizing their ultimate object, world peace. Accordingly, the Governments of Japan, Germany and Italy have agreed as follows:
- ARTICLE 1. Japan recognizes and respects the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe.
- ARTICLE 2. Germany and Italy recognize and respect the leadership of Japan in the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia.
- ARTICLE 3. Japan, Germany, and Italy agree to cooperate in their efforts on aforesaid lines. They further undertake to assist one another with all political, economic and military means if one of the Contracting Powers is attacked by a Power at present not involved in the European War or in the Japanese-Chinese conflict.
- ARTICLE 4. With a view to implementing the present pact, joint technical commissions, to be appointed by the respective Governments of Japan, Germany and Italy, will meet without delay.
- ARTICLE 5. Japan, Germany and Italy affirm that the above agreement affects in no way the political status existing at present between each of the three Contracting Powers and Soviet Russia.
- ARTICLE 6. The present pact shall become valid immediately upon signature and shall remain in force ten years from the date on which it becomes effective. In due time, before the expiration of said term, the High Contracting Parties shall, at the request of any one of them, enter into negotiations for its renewal.
The signing of the Pact was done in triplicate on September 27, 1940 in Berlin, in the 19th year of the Fascist era (Italy) or on the 27th day of the ninth month of the 15th year of Showa (the reign of Emperor Hirohito).
With this signing, the so-called Axis of Evil was formed.
Interesting, isn't it... all those other countries that signed the pact... Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, et al...
Finland, Thailand and Russia also considered signing the Pact, but all did not.
Japan attacked Thailand on December 8, 1941 at 2AM, with the Japanese ambassador, Tsubokami Teiji (surname first) explaining to Thailand's foreign minister, Direk Jayanama, that Japan only wanted permission for its troops to pass through Thailand to attack the British in Malaya and Burma.
While a ceasefire was quickly brokered, the Japanese offered Thailand a few option:
- to conclude a defensive–offensive alliance with Japan;
- to join the Tripartite Pact;
- to cooperate in Japanese military operations
- to agree to the joint defense of Thailand.
Although Thailand eventually became a puppet-state to Japan, Thailand did attack its neighbors and extended its own boundaries to China. At this time, Thailand was a member of the Axis.
However, most of Thailand disagreed with the actions of its government, and a pro-Allies army of underground fighters disrupted things in their own country until 1944, when he was finally ousted.
While the Allies wanted the Thai prime minister brought up on war crime charges for aiding the Japanese, the Thai people rebelled saying he had merely acted in the best interests in protecting the people of Thailand from Japanese aggression. Plus Thailand had expanded its own territory by annexing parts of Malaya and Burma.
PS: I actually wrote this one two months ago or more... one of the rare times I didn't accidentally publish it ahead of time!