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Notes on the Text


Historical Significance The Tripartite Pact formalised an agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan not to interfere in each other's sphere of influence.  The act itself said very little, simply defining Asia as the Japanese area and Europe as the European area, agreeing to unspecified cooperation, and agreeing mutual defence in the event of attack.  Nothing was said about Africa or the Americas, although the 1939 non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia was recognised as remaining in force, despite the historical enmity between Japan and Russia.

As can be seen from this treaty, the ties between the Axis nations were far less than between the Allies in the Second World War.  Rather than working together towards a common end and against a common enemy, the Axis nations had simply agreed not to oppose each other.  This underlined the lack of real trust between the European and Japanese powers.  It is arguable whether closer cooperation would have changed the final outcome of the war, but greater sharing of scientific developments, intelligence and coordination of military plans would certainly have brought benefits to all the Axis powers.

  Tripartite Pact, Berlin, 27 September 1940
  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 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.

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 realised.

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

Germany and Italy to lead in Europe

I. Japan recognises and respects the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe.
Japan to lead in Asia II. Germany and Italy recognise and respect the leadership of Japan in the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia.

Cooperation and mutual defence agreement

III. Germany, Italy and Japan agree to co-operate 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 Powers is attacked by a Power at present not involved in the European war or in the Chinese-Japanese conflict.
Establishment of technical commissions IV. With a view to implementing the present pact, joint technical commissions, the members of which are to be appointed by the respective Governments of Germany, Italy and Japan, will meet without delay.
Relations with Russia not affected V. Germany, Italy and Japan affirm that the aforesaid terms do not in any way affect the political status which exists at present as between each of the three contracting parties and Soviet Russia.
  VI. The present pact shall come into effect immediately upon signature and shall remain in force ten years from the date of its coming into force. At the proper time before the expiration of the said term the high contracting parties shall at the request of any one 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).


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