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The Axis Powers

The Axis Powers

The Axis Powers were those nations opposed to the Allies during the Second World War. The three major Axis Powers, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan, referred to themselves as the "Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis". At their zenith, the Axis Powers ruled empires that dominated large parts of Europe, Asia and the Pacific Ocean, but the Second World War ended with their total defeat. Like the Allies, membership of the Axis was fluid, and some nations entered and later left the Axis during the course of the war.

The term was first used by Benito Mussolini, in November 1936, when he spoke of a Rome-Berlin axis arising out of the treaty of friendship signed between Italy and Germany on October 25th, 1936. Mussolini declared that the two countries would form an "axis" around which the other states of Europe would revolve. This treaty was forged when Fascist Italy, originally opposed to Nazi Germany, was faced with opposition to its war in Abyssinia from the League of Nations and received support from Germany. Later, in May 1939, this relationship transformed into an alliance, called by Mussolini the "Pact of Steel".

The Axis was extended to include the Empire of Japan as a result of the Tripartite Treaty of September 27th, 1940. The pact was subsequently joined by Hungary (November 20th, 1940), Romania (November 23rd, 1940), Slovakia (November 24th, 1940) and Bulgaria (March 1st, 1941). The Italian name Roberto briefly acquired a new meaning from "Rome-Berlin-Tokyo" between 1940 and 1945. (courtesy