The Axis powers were those states opposed to the Allies during the Second World War. The three major Axis Powers, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Empire of Japan were part of an alliance. At their zenith, the Axis Powers ruled empires that dominated large parts of Europe, Asia, Africa 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 25, 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 Italy, originally opposed to 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 term "Axis Powers" formally took the name after the Tripartite Treaty was signed by Germany, Italy and Japan on September 27, 1940 in Berlin, Germany. The pact was subsequently joined by Hungary (November 20, 1940), Romania (November 23, 1940), Slovakia (November 24, 1940) and Bulgaria (March 1, 1941). The Italian name Roberto briefly acquired a new meaning from "Rome-Berlin-Tokyo" between 1940 and 1945. Its most militarily powerful members were Germany and Japan. These two nations had also signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with each other as allies before the Tripartite Pact in 1936.
Major Axis Powers
The three major Axis powers were the original signatories to the Tripartite Pact:
Germany was the principal Axis power in Europe. Its official name was Deutsches Reich meaning German Empire, and after 1943, Grossdeutsches Reich meaning Greater German Empire, but during this period is most commonly known as Nazi Germany after its ruling National Socialist party.
At the start of the Second World War Germany included Austria, with which it was united in 1938 and the Sudetenland, which was ceded by Czechoslovakia in 1938, and Memelland which was ceded by Lithuania in 1939. The Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, created in 1939, was de facto part of Germany, although technically a Czech state under German protection.
Germany annexed additional territory during the course of the Second World War. On September 2, 1939, the day after the German invasion of Poland, the pro-Nazi government of the Free City of Danzig voted to reunite with Germany. On October 10, 1939, after the defeat and occupation of Poland, Hitler issued decrees annexing the Polish Corridor, West Prussia and Upper Silesia, formerly German territories lost to Poland under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The remainder of the country was organised into the "Government General for the Occupied Polish Territories".
On its western frontier, Germany made additional annexations after its defeat of France and occupation of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1940. Germany immediately annexed the predominately German Eupen-Malmedy from Belgium in 1940, placing the rest of the country under military occupation. Luxembourg, an independent grand duchy formerly associated with Germany, was formally annexed in 1942. Alsace-Lorraine, a region claimed by both Germany and France for centuries, was likewise annexed in 1942. In the Balkans, Slovenia was annexed in 1941 from the former Yugoslavia.
After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Greater Germany was enlarged to include parts of Poland occupied by the USSR in 1939. Other territories occupied by the Germans were subject to separate civilian commissariats or to direct military rule.
It would not be for another four years until many nations managed to reduce the Nazi war machine.
Japan was the principal Axis power in Asia and the Pacific. Its official name was Dai Nippon Teikoku meaning Empire of Greater Japan, known commonly as Imperial Japan for its imperial ambitions toward Asia and the Pacific.
Japan was ruled by Emperor Hirohito and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, and during the last days of the war, Prime Ministers Kuniaki Koiso and Kantaro Suzuki. Japan deployed most of its troops fighting in China proper, and was also the enemy of both the Americans fighting in the Pacific War and also the British fighting in Burma . Just days before the war ended, the Soviet Union also engaged Japanese forces in Manchukuo during Operation August Storm. Japan's first involvement in World War II was a strike against the Republic of China, headed by General Chiang Kai-shek, on July 7, 1937. Even though not officially involved, many Americans rushed to help the Chinese, and American airmen helped the Chinese air force. The United States also instituted embargoes to stop supplying Japan with raw materials needed for the war in China. This caused the Japanese to strike on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, to destroy Allied presence in the Pacific and to secure raw material in Southeast Asia. The following day Roosevelt asked the US Congress to declare war on Japan, saying that December 7 would be "a date which will live in infamy." The Congress willingly complied, and the Pacific War began, lasting until the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
At its height, Japan's empire included Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, some of China, Malaysia, French Indochina, Dutch East Indies, The Philippines, Burma, some of India, and various other Pacific Islands (Iwo Jima, Okinawa).
Fascist Italy was the other European power member of the Axis, belonging to the Axis in two incarnations, both under the leadership of Il Duce Benito Mussolini. Its first incarnation was officially known as Regno d'Italia meaning Kingdom of Italy.
The Kingdom of Italy was ruled by Mussolini in the name of King Victor Emmanuel III. Victor Emmanuel III was additionally Emperor of Abyssinia and King of Albania. Abyssinia had been occupied by Italian troops in 1936 and incorporated into the Italian colony of Italian East Africa. Albania was occupied by Italian troops in 1939 and joined in "personal union" with Italy when Victor Emmanuel III was offered the Albanian crown. Other Italian colonies included Libya and the Dodecanese Islands.
The second incarnation of Fascist Italy was officially known as Repubblica Sociale Italiana meaning Italian Social Republic. On July 25, 1943, after Italy had lost control of its African colonies and been subjected to Anglo-American invasion of its mainland, King Victor Emmanuel III dismissed Mussolini, placed him under arrest and began secret negotiations with the Allies. When Italy switched sides in the war in September 1943, Mussolini was rescued by the Germans, and later announced the formation of the Italian Social Republic in Northern Italy.
Several minor powers formally adhered to the Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy and Japan in this order:
Hungary was allied to Germany during the First World War by virtue of her being a constituent kingdom of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Hungary suffered much the same fate as Germany, with the victorious powers stripping the kingdom of more than 70 percent of her pre-war sovereign territory, which was then distributed to neighbouring states, some newly created in accordance with the Treaty of Trianon. Horthy, a Hungarian nobleman and Austro-Hungarian naval officer, became Regent in 1920, ruling the kingdom in the absence of an acknowledged king.
Hungary's foreign policy under Horthy was driven by the ambition to recover the territories lost through the imposition on her of the Trianon Treaty. Hungary drew closer to Germany and Italy largely because of the shared desire to revise the peace settlements made after the First World War.
Hungary participated in the German partition of Czechoslovakia, signed the Tripartite Pact, and was rewarded by Germany in the Vienna Awards which restored some of the territories taken from her by the Trianon Treaty.
Following political upheaval in Yugoslavia which threatened its continued membership in the Tripartite Pact, Hungary permitted German troops to transit its territory for a military invasion and occupation of that country. On April 11, 1941, five days after Germany invaded Yugoslavia and had largely destroyed the Yugoslav army, Hungary invaded Yugoslavia, occupying border territories. Hungary participated in the partition of Yugoslavia. Great Britain immediately broke off diplomatic relations with Hungary.
Hungary was not asked to participate in the German invasion of the Soviet Union, which began on June 22, 1941 with attacks from German, Finnish and Romanian forces as well as a declaration of war by Italy. Currying favour with Germany, Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union five days later on June 27, 1941. Hungary raised over 200,000 troops for Eastern Front, and all three of its field armies participated in the war against the Soviet Union, although by far the largest and the most significant was the Hungarian Second Army.
On November 26, 1941, Hungary was one of 13 signatories to the revived Anti-Comintern Pact. The other sigatories were: Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Manchukuo, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Romania, Slovakia, and the Nanking regime of Wang Chingwei.
On December 6, 1941, Great Britain declared war on Hungary. Several days later, Hungary declared war on Great Britain and the United States of America. The United States declared war on Hungary in 1942.
Hungarian troops advanced far into Soviet territory, but in the Soviet counteroffensive of 1943, the Hungarian Second Army was almost completely annihilated in fighting near Voronezh on the banks of the Don River.
In 1944, as Soviet troops neared Hungarian territory, German troops occupied Hungary. After the German occupation of Hungary, Horthy was forced to abdicate after his son was kidnapped by the Germans. Hitler and Horthy had disagreed on the way to handle Hungarian Jews. In Horthy's place Ferenc Szalasi head of the Fascist Arrow Cross was put in control of Hungary. When Soviet troops entered Budapest he fled to Austria and in 1946 was returned to Hungary and hanged for war crimes.
The Hungarian First Army continued to fight the Red Army even after Hungary had been completely occupied by the Soviet Union, not disbanding until May 8, 1945. Hungary remained as the last fighting Tripartite ally of Germany-Japan.
Romania entered the First World War in 1916 on the Allied side but was quickly defeated, its territory overrun by troops from Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. Romania became a German vassal under the Treaty of Bucharest, but when Germany itself suffered defeat in the West, the Treaty of Bucharest was voided. Romania then saw its borders greatly enlarged in the peace treaties imposed on Germany and her allies.
The Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria exploited the fall of France to revise the terms of those peace treaties, reducing Romania in size. On June 28, 1940, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Germany forced Romania to relinquish Transylvania to Hungary on August 30, 1940 in the second Vienna Award. Germany also forced Romania to cede Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria on September 5, 1940.
In an effort to please Hitler and obtain German protection, King Carol II appointed the General Ion Antonescu Prime Minister on September 6, 1940. Two days later, Antonescu forced the king to abdicate, installed his young son Michael on the throne, and declared himself Conducător (Leader) with dictatorial powers.
German troops entered the country in 1941, and used it as a base for its invasions of both Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Romania was also a key supplier of resources, especially oil and grain.
Romania joined Germany in invading the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Not only was Romania a base for the invasion, the country contributed nearly 300,000 troops - more than any other minor Axis power - to the war against the Soviet Union. German and Romanian troops quickly overran Moldova, which was again incorporated into Romania. Romania made additional annexations of Soviet territory as far east as Odessa and Romanian armies 3 and 4 were involved even in the battle of Stalingrad.
After the Soviets turned back the German invasion and prepared to attack Romania, Romania switched to the Allied side on August 23, 1944.
Slovakia had been closely aligned with Germany almost immediately from its declaration of independence from Czechoslovakia on March 14, 1939. Slovakia entered into a treaty of protection with Germany on March 23, 1939. Slovak troops joined the German invasion of Poland, fighting to reclaim territories lost in 1918.
Slovakia declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941 and signed the revived Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941. Slovak troops fought on Germany's Eastern Front, with Slovakia furnishing Germany with two divisions totalling 20,000 men. Slovakia declared war on Great Britain and the United States of America in 1942.
Slovakia was spared German military occupation until the Slovak National Uprising, which began on August 29, 1944 and was almost immediately crushed by the Waffen SS and Slovak troops loyal to Tiso.
After the war, Tiso was executed and Slovakia was rejoined with Czechoslovakia. Slovakia regained its independence in 1993.
Bulgaria, under its king Boris III, signed the Tripartite Pact on March 1, 1941. Bulgaria had been an ally of Germany in the First World War, and like Germany and Hungary, sought a revision of the peace terms, specifically the restoration of the San Stefano Treaty lands.
Like the other Balkan nations, Bulgaria drew closer to Nazi Germany during the 1930s. In 1940, under the terms of the Treaty of Craiova, Germany forced Romania to cede Southern Dobrudja to Bulgaria.
Bulgaria participated in the German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece, and annexed Vardar Banovina from Yugoslavia and Western Thrace from Greece. However, Bulgaria did not join the German invasion of the Soviet Union and didn't declare war. Despite the lack of official declarations of war by both sides, the Bulgarian Navy was involved in a number of skirmishes with the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, which attacked Bulgarian shipping. Besides this, Bulgarian armed forces garrisoned in the Balkans battled various resistance groups.
As the war progressed Bulgaria declared war on United States and United Kingdom. The 'symbolic' war against the Western Allies, however, turned into a disaster for the citizens of Sofia and other major Bulgarian cities, as they were heavily bombed by the USAF and RAF in 1943 and 1944.
As the Red Army approached the Bulgarian border, on September 9 1944, a coup brought to power a new government of the pro-Allied Fatherland Front. Bulgaria switched sides and was permitted to keep Southern Dobrudja after the war.
Prince Paul adhered to the Tripartite Pact on March 25, 1941, but was removed from office two days later by a coup that ended his regency. The new Yugoslav government declared that it would be bound by the treaty, but Hitler suspected that the British were behind the coup against Prince Paul and vowed to destroy the country.
The German invasion began on April 6, 1941, and after two weeks of resistance, the country was completely occupied. Croatian nationalists declared the independence of Croatia on April 10, 1941 as the "Independent State of Croatia" and enthusiastically joined the Axis. The government of Serbia was reorganised as the "National Government of Salvation" under General Milan Nedić on September 1, 1941. Nedić maintained that his Serb government was the lawful successor to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and his troops wore the uniform of the Royal Yugoslav Army, but unlike the generous treatment accorded the Independent State of Croatia, the German treated Nedić's Serbia as a puppet state.
The remainder of Yugoslavia was divided among the other Axis powers. Germany annexed Slovenia. Italy annexed Dalmatia, and Albania annexed Montenegro. Hungary annexed border territories, and Bulgaria annexed Macedonia.
Ivan Mihailov's Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) welcomed the Bulgarian annexation of Vardar Macedonia. In early September 1944, when the Bulgarian government left the Axis, Germany offered Mihailov support to declare Macedonia's independence, but he declined.
Declared on April 10, 1941, the Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska or NDH) was a member of the Axis powers until the end of Second World War, its forces fighting for Germany even after Croatia had been overrun by the Soviets. Ante Pavelić, a Croatian nationalist and one of the founders of the Croatian Uprising (Ustaše) Movement, was proclaimed Leader (Poglavnik) of the new state on April 24, 1941.
Pavelic led a Croatian delegation to Rome and offered the crown of Croatia to an Italian prince of the House of Savoy, who was crowned Tomislav II, King of Croatia, Prince of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Voivode of Dalmatia, Tuzla and Temun, Prince of Cisterna and of Belriguardo, Marquess of Voghera, and Count of Ponderano. The next day, Pavelic signed the Contracts of Rome with Mussolini, ceding Dalmatia to Italy and fixing the permanent borders between Croatia and Italy. He was also received by the Pope.
Pavelić formed the Croatian Home Guard (Hrvatsko domobranstvo) as the official military force of Croatia. Originally authorized at 16,000 men, it grew to a peak fighting force of 130,000. The Croatian Home Guard included a small air force and navy, although its navy was restricted in size by the Contracts of Rome. In addition to the Croatian Home Guard, Pavelić also commanded the Ustaše militia. A number of Croats also volunteered for the German Waffen SS.
The Ustaše government declared war on the Soviet Union, signed the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941 and sent troops to Germany's Eastern Front. Ustaše militia garrisoned the Balkans, battled the Yugoslav Partisans (Titove Partizane među kojima je bilo najviše hrvata),Yugoslav Partisans were mostly Soviet Croats, and freed up German and Italian forces to fight elsewhere.
During the time of its existence, the Ustaše government applied racial laws on Serbs, Jews and Romas, and after June 1941 deported them to the concentration camp at Jasenovac (or to camps in Poland). The number of victims of the Ustaše regime is a mystery due to numbers given by various historians vying for political clout. The number of total victims is between 300,000 and 1,000,000. The racial laws were enforced by the Ustaše militia.
Thailand was an ally and co-belligerent of Japan.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan invaded Thailand on the morning of December 8, 1941. Only hours after the invasion, Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram, the prime minister, ordered the cessation of resistance. On December 21, 1941, a military alliance with Japan was signed and on January 25, 1942 Thailand declared war on Britain and the United States of America. The Thai ambassador to the United States, Mom Rajawongse Seni Pramoj did not deliver his copy of the declaration of war, so although the British reciprocated by declaring war on Thailand and consequently considered it a hostile country, the United States did not.
On May 10, 1942, the Thai Phayap Army entered Burma's Shan State. At one time in the past the area had been part of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The boundary between the Japanese and Thai operations was generally the Salween. However, that area south of the Shan States known as Karenni States, the homeland of the Karens, was specifically retained under Japanese control.
Three Thai infantry and one cavalry division, spearheaded by armoured reconnaissance groups and supported ably by the air force, started their advance on May 10, and engaged the retreating Chinese 93rd Division. Kengtung, the main objective, was captured on May 27. Renewed offensives in June and November evicted the Chinese into Yunnan.
As the war dragged on, the Thai population came to resent the Japanese presence. In June 1944, Phibun was overthrown in a coup d'état. The new civilian government under Khuang Aphaiwong attempted to aid the resistance while at the same time maintaining cordial relations with the Japanese.
The Free Thai Movement ("Seri Thai") was established during these first few months. Parallel Free Thai organisations were established in Britain and inside Thailand. Queen Ramphaiphanni was the nominal head of the Britain-based organisation, and Pridi Phanomyong, the regent, headed its largest contingent, which was operating within the country. Aided by elements of the military, secret airfields and training camps were established while OSS and Force 136 agents fluidly slipped in and out of the country.
After the war, U.S. influence prevented Thailand from being treated as an Axis country, but Britain demanded three million tons of rice as reparations and the return of areas annexed from the British colony of Malaya during the war and invasion. Thailand also had to return the portions of British Burma and French Indochina that had been taken.
Phibun and a number of his associates were put on trial on charges of having committed war crimes, mainly that of collaborating with the Axis powers. However, the charges were dropped due to intense public pressure. Public opinion was favourable to Phibun, since he was thought to have done his best to protect Thai interests.
Finland was a co-belligerent of Germany in its war against the Soviet Union. An avowed enemy of Bolshevism having recently fought the Winter War against the Soviets, Finland allowed Germany to use Finnish territory as a base for Operation Barbarossa.
After its loss of the Winter War to the Soviet Union in March 1940, Finland first sought protection from Great Britain and neutral Sweden, but was thwarted by Soviet and German actions. This resulted in Finland drawing closer to Germany, first with an intent of enlisting German support as a counterweight to thwart continuing Soviet pressure, but later to help regain its lost territories.
Finland's role in Operation Barbossa was laid out in German Chancellor Adolf Hitler's Directive 21, "The mass of the Finnish army will have the task, in accordance with the advance made by the northern wing of the German armies, of tying up maximum Russian strength by attacking to the west, or on both sides, of Lake Ladoga. The Finns will also capture Hanko." The directive was given December 18, 1940, over two months before Finnish High Command or civilian leadership received the first tentative hints to upcoming invasion.
In May 1941, at the suggestion of Germany, Finland allowed Germany to recruit Finnish volunteers for SS-Freiwilligen-Bataillon Nordost. This battalion, with an initial strength of 1200 men, was attached to the multinational Wiking Division of Germany's Waffen SS. Later, an additional 200 Finns joined the battalion to cover the losses.
In the weeks leading up to Operation Barbossa, cooperation between Finland and Germany increased, with the exchange of liaison officers and the beginning of preparations for joint military action. On June 7, Germany moved two divisions into the Finnish Lapland. On June 17, 1941, Finland ordered its armed forces to be fully mobilized and sent to the Soviet border. Finland evacuated civilians from border areas which were fortified against Soviet attack. In the opening days of the Operation, Finland permitted German planes returning from bombing runs over Leningrad to refuel at Finnish airfields before returning to bases in German East Prussia. Finland also permitted Germany to use its naval facilities in the Gulf of Finland.
In his proclamation of war against the Soviet Union issued June 22, 1941, Hitler declared that Germany was joined by Finland and Romania. However, Finland did not declare war until June 25, after the Soviet Union bombed Finnish airfields and towns, including the medieval Turku castle, which was badly damaged. The Soviets cited Finland's cooperation with Germany as provocation for the air raids. Finland countered that it was once again a victim of Soviet aggression.
Finns refer to the conflict with the Soviet Union as the Continuation War, viewing it as continuation of the Winter War that the Soviets had waged against the Finns. The Finns maintain that their sole objective was to regain the territory lost to the Soviet Union in the Winter War, but on July 10, 1941, Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim issued an Order of the Day declaring that the war aim of the Finns was "to expel the Bolsheviks out of Russian Karelia, to liberate the Karelian nations and to accord to Finland a great future."
Mannerheim's order echoed his Order of the Day issued February 23, 1918, during the Finnish War of Independence, known as the Sword Scabbard Declaration, in which Mannerheim declared he "would not put his sword into the scabbard until East Karelia was free of Lenin's warriors and hooligans." Conquest of Karelia was a historic dream of Finnish nationalists advocating Greater Finland.
Finland mobilized over 475,000 men for Germany's Eastern Front against the Soviet Union. About 1,700 volunteers from Sweden and 2,600 from Estonia served in the Finnish army. Many of the Swedish volunteers had also fought for Finland in the Winter War.
Diplomatic relations between Great Britain and Finland were severed on August 1, 1941, after the British bombed German forces in the Finnish city of Petsamo. Great Britain repeatedly called on Finland to cease its offensive against the Soviet Union, and on December 6, 1941, declared war on Finland. War was never declared between Finland and the United States.
Finland signed the revived Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941. Unlike other Axis powers, Finland maintained command of its armed forces and pursued its war objectives independently of Germany. Finland refused German requests to participate in the Siege of Leningrad, stating that capturing Leningrad was not among its goals. Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, lies outside the territory of Karelia claimed for Finland by Mannerheim. Finland also granted asylum to Jews, and Jewish soldiers continued to serve in her army.
The relationship between Finland and Germany more closely resembled an alliance during the six weeks of the Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement, which was presented as a German condition for help with munitions and air support, as the Soviet offensive coordinated with D-Day threatened Finland with complete occupation. The agreement, signed by President Risto Ryti, but never ratified by the Finnish Parliament, bound Finland not to seek a separate peace.
Ryti's successor, President Mannerheim, ignored the agreement and opened secret negotiations with the Soviets. On September 19, 1944, Mannerheim signed an armistice with the Soviet Union and Great Britain. Under the terms of the armistice, Finland was obligated to expel German troops from Finnish territory. Finns refer to the skirmishes that followed as the Lapland War. In 1947, Finland signed a peace treaty with the Soviet Union, Great Britain and several British Commonwealth nations acknowledging its "alliance with Hitlerite Germany".
Iraq was a co-belligerent of the Axis, fighting the United Kingdom in the Anglo-Iraqi War of 1941.
Seizing power on April 3, 1941, the nationalist government of Iraqi Prime Minister Rashid Ali repudiated the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930 and demanded that Britain close its ][hoijipe reiur In early May 1941, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Mufti of Jerusalem and an ally of Ali, declared "holy war" against the United Kingdom and called on Arabs throughout the Middle East to rise up against Britain. On May 25, 1941, Hitler issued his Order 30, stepping up German offensive operations: "The Arab Freedom Movement in the Middle East is our natural ally against England. In this connection special importance is attached to the liberation of Iraq... I have therefore decided to move forward in the Middle East by supporting Iraq."
Hitler dispatched German air and armored forces to Libya and formed the Deutsches Afrikakorps to coordinate a combined German-Italian offensive against the British in Egypt, Palestine and Iraq.
Iraqi military resistance ended by May 31, 1941. Rashi Ali and his ally, the Mufti of Jerusalem, fled to Persia, then to Turkey, Italy and finally Germany where Ali was welcomed by Hitler as head of the Iraqi government-in-exile.
In propaganda broadcasts from Berlin, the Mufti continued to call on Arabs to rise up against the United Kingdom and aid German and Italian forces. He also recruited Moslem volunteers in the Balkans for the Waffen SS.
Japanese puppet states
Japan created a number of puppet states in the areas occupied by its military, beginning with the creation of Manchukuo in 1932. These puppet states achieved varying degrees of international recognition.
Manchukuo was a Japanese puppet state in Manchuria, the northeast region of China. It was nominally ruled by Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, but in fact controlled by the Japanese military, in particular the Kwantung Army. While Manchukuo ostensibly meant a state for ethnic manchus, the region had a Han Chinese majority.
Following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the independence of Manchukuo was proclaimed on February 18, 1932 with Puyi as "Head of State." He was proclaimed Emperor of Manchukuo a year later. Twenty three of the League of Nations's eighty members recognised the new Manchu nation, but the League itself declared in 1934 that Manchuria lawfully remained a part of China, precipitating Japanese withdrawal from the League. Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union were among the major powers recognising Manchukuo. The county was also recognised by Costa Rica, El Salvador, and the Vatican. Manchukuo was also recognised by the other Japanese allies and puppet states, including Mengjiang, the Burmese government of Ba Maw, Thailand, the Wang Chingwei regime, and the Indian government of Subhas Chandra Bose.
The armed forces of Manchukuo numbered between 200,000 and 220,000 men, according to the Soviet intelligence estimates. The Manchukuo Army garrisoned Manchukuo under the command of the Japanese Army. The Manchukuo Navy, including river patrol and coastal defense, were under the direct command of the Japanese Third Fleet. The Manchukuo Imperial Guard, numbering 200 men, was under the direct command of the Emperor and served as his bodyguard.
Mengjiang (Inner Mongolia)
Mengjiang (alternatively spelled Mengchiang) was a Japanese puppet state in Inner Mongolia. It was nominally ruled by Prince Demchugdongrub, a Mongol nobleman descended from Ghengis Khan, but was in fact controlled by the Japanese military. Mengjiang's independence was proclaimed on February 18, 1936 following the Japanese occupation of the region.
The Inner Mongolians had several grievances against the central Chinese government in Nanking, with the most important one being the policy of allowing unlimited migration of Han Chinese to this vast region of open plains and desert. Several of the young princes of Inner Mongolia began to agitate for greater freedom from the central government, and it was through these men that Japanese saw their best chance of exploiting Pan-Mongol nationalism and eventually seizing control of Outer Mongolia from the Soviet Union.
Japan created Mengjiang to exploit tensions between ethnic Mongolians and the central government of China which in theory ruled Inner Mongolia. The Japanese hoped to use pan-Mongolism to create a Mongolian ally in Asia and eventually conquer all of Mongolia from the Soviet Union.
When the various puppet governments of China were unified under the Wang Chingwei government in March 1940, Mengjiang retained its separate identity as an autonomous federation. Although under the firm control of the Japanese Imperial Army which occupied its territory, Prince Demchugdongrub had his own army that was, in theory, independent.
Mengjiang vanished in 1945 following Japan's defeat ending World War II and the invasion of Soviet and Red Mongol Armies. As the huge Soviet forces advanced into Inner Mongolia, they met limited resistance from small detachments of Mongolian cavalry, which, like the rest of the army, were quickly brushed aside.
Republic of China (Nanjing puppet regime)
A short-lived state was founded on March 29, 1940 by Wang Jingwei, who became Head of State of this Japanese supported collaborationist government based in Nanking. The government was to be run along the same lines as the Nationalist regime.
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan advanced from its bases in Manchuria to occupy much of East and Central China. Several Japanese puppet states were organised in areas occupied by the Japanese Army, including the Provisional Government of the Republic of China at Peking which was formed in 1937 and the Reformed Government of the Republic of China at Nanking which was formed in 1938. These governments were merged into the Reorganised Government of the Republic of China at Nanking in 1940. The government was to be run along the same lines as the Nationalist regime.
The Nanking Government had no real power, and its main role was to act as a propaganda tool for the Japanese. The Nanking Government concluded agreements with Japan and Manchukuo, authorising Japanese occupation of China and recognising the independence of Manchukuo under Japanese protection. The Nanking Government signed the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941 and declared war on the United States and Great Britain on January 9, 1943.
The government had a strained relationship with the Japanese from the beginning. Wang's insistence on his regime being the true Nationalist government of China and in replicating all the symbols of the Kuomintang (KMT) led to frequent conflicts with the Japanese, the most prominent being the issue of the regime's flag, which was identical to that of the Republic of China.
The worsening situation for Japan from 1943 onwards meant that the Nanking Army was given a more substantial role in the defence of occupied China than the Japanese had initially envisaged. The army was almost continuously employed against the communist New Fourth Army.
Wang Jingwei died in a Tokyo clinic on November 10, 1944, and was succeeded by his deputy Chen Gongbo. Chen had little influence and the real power behind the regime was Zhou Fohai, the mayor of Shanghai. Wang's death dispelled what little legitimacy the regime had. The state stuttered on for another year and continued the display and show of a fascist regime.
On September 9, 1945, following the defeat of Japan in World War II, the area was surrendered to General He Yingqin, a Nationalist General loyal to Chiang Kai-shek. The Nanking Army generals quickly declared their alliance to the Generalissimo, and were subsequently ordered to resist Communist attempts to fill the vacuum left by the Japanese surrender. Chen Gongbo was tried and executed in 1946.
Burma (Ba Maw regime)
Burmese nationalist leader Ba Maw formed a Japanese puppet state in Burma on August 1, 1942 after the Japanese Army seized control of the nation from the United Kingdom. The Ba Maw regime organised the Burma Defence Army (later renamed the Burma National Army), which was commanded by Aung San.
Philippines (Second Republic)
Jose P. Laurel was the President of the Second Republic of the Philippines, a Japanese puppet state organised on the Philippine Islands in 1942. In 1943, the Philippine National Assembly declared the Philippines an independent republic and elected Laurel as President. The Second Republic ended in with the Japanese surrender. Laurel was arrested and charged with treason by the US government, but was granted amnesty and continued playing politics, ultimately winning a seat in the Philippine Senate.
India (Provisional Government of Free India)
The Provisional Government of Free India was a shadow government led by Subhas Chandra Bose, an Indian nationalist who rejected Gandhi's nonviolent methods for achieving independence. It operated only in those parts of India which came under Japanese control.
A former president of the India National Congress, Bose was arrested by Indian authorities at the outset of the Second World War. In January 1941 he escaped from house arrest and eventually reached Germany and then to Japan where he formed the Indian National Army, mostly from Indian prisoners of war.
Bose and A.M.Sahay, another local leader, received ideological support from wikipedia:Mitsuru Toyama, chief of the Dark Ocean Society along with Japanese Army advisers. Other Indian thinkers in favour of the Axis cause were Asit Krishna Mukherji, a friend of Bose and husband of Savitri Devi Mukherji, one of the women thinkers in support of the German cause, and the Pandit Rajwade of Poona. Bose was helped by Rash Behari Bose, founder of the Indian Independence League in Japan. Bose declared India's independence on October 21 1943. The Japanese Army assigned to the Indian National Army a number of military advisors, among them Hideo Iwakuro and wikipedia:Major-General Isoda.
With its provisional capital at Port Blair on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after they fell to the Japanese, the state would last two more years until August 18, 1945 when it officially became defunct. In its existence it received recognition from nine governments: Germany, Japan, Italy, Croatia, Manchukuo, China (under the Nanking Government of Wang Chingwei), Thailand, Burma (under the regime of Burmese nationalist leader Ba Maw), and the Philippines under de facto (and later de jure) president José Laurel.
The Indian National Army saw plenty of action (as did their Burmese equivalent). The highlight of the force's campaign in Burma was the planting of the Indian national flag by the 'Bose Battalion' during the battle of Frontier Hill in 1944, although it was Japanese troops from the 55th Cavalry, 1/29th Infantry and 2/143rd Infantry who did most of the fighting. This battle also had the curious incidence of three Sikh companies of the Bose Battalion exchanging insults and fire with two Sikh companies of the 7/16th Punjab Regiment (British Indian Army).
The Indian National Army was encountered again during the Second Arakan Campaign, where they deserted in large numbers back to their old 'imperial oppressors' and again during the crossing of the Irrawaddy in 1945, where a couple of companies put up token resistance before leaving their Japanese comrades to fight off the assault crossing by 7th Indian Division.
Italian puppet states
Albania was an Italian puppet state, joined in personal union with Italy under the kingship of Victor Emmanuel III, whose full title was King of Italy and Albania, Emperor of Ethiopia. Albania was a constituent of the New Roman Empire envisioned by Italy's fascist dictator, Il Duce Benito Mussolini.
Albania had been in Italian orbit since the First World War when it was occupied by Italy as a "protectorate" in accordance with the London Pact. Italian troops were withdrawn after the war, but throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Albania became increasingly dependent on Italy. The Albanian government and economy were subsidised by Italian loans, the Albanian army was trained by Italian instructors, and Italian settlement was encouraged.
With the major powers of Europe distracted by Germany's occupation of Czechoslovakia, Mussolini sent an ultimatium to the Albanian King Zog on March 25, 1939, demanding that Zog permit the country to be occupied by Italy as a protectorate. On April 7, 1939, Italian troops landed in Albania. Zog, his wife and newborn son immediately fled the country. Five days after the invasion, on April 12, the Albanian parliament voted to depose Zog and join the nation to Italy "in personal union" by offering the Albanian crown to Victor Emmanuel III. The parliament elected Albania's largest landowner, Shefqet Bey Verlaci, as Prime Minister. Verlaci additionally served as head of state for five days until Victor Emmanuel III formally accepted the Albanian crown in a ceremony at the Quirinale place in Rome. Victor Emmanuel III appointed Francesco Jacomoni di San Savino as Lieutenant-General to represent him in Albania as viceroy.
On April 15, 1939, Albania withdrew from the League of Nations, which Italy had abandoned in 1937. On June 3, 1939, the Albanian foreign ministry was merged into the Italian foreign ministry, and the Albanian Foreign Minister, Xhemil Bej Dino, was given the rank of an Italian ambassador.
Albania followed Italy into war with Britain and France on June 10, 1940. Albania served as the base for the Italian invasion of Greece in 1941, and Albanian troops participated in the Greek campaign. Albania was enlarged by the annexation of Montenegro from the former Yugoslavia in 1941. Victor Emmanuel III as "King of Albania" declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941 and the United States in 1942. Some Albanian volunteers served in the SS Skanderberg Division.
Victor Emmanuel III abdicated as King of Albania in 1943 when Italy left the Axis to join the Allies as a co-belligerent against Germany. Nevertheless, Albania had a great partisan movement which fiercely resisted the Fascist and Nazi regime, as a result Albania was the state that alone managed to liberate itself from the German Nazis.
Ethiopia was an Italian puppet state from its conquest in 1936 when Mussolini proclaimed King Victor Emmanuel III the Emperor of Ethiopia (Keasare Ityopia). Ethiopia was consolidated with the Italian colonies of Eritrea and Somalialand to form the new state of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), which was ruled by an Italian viceroy in the name of the King and Emperor. At the beginning of the Second World War, Italian East Africa was garrisoned by 91,000 Italian troops as well as 200,000 native Askari. Italian General Guglielmo Ciro Nasi led these forces in the conquest of British Somaliland in 1940; however, by 1941, the Italians had lost control of East Africa.
German puppet states
Italy (Salò regime)
Mussolini had been removed from and office and arrested by King Victor Emmanuel III on July 25, 1943. The King publicly reaffirmed his loyalty to Germany but authorized secret armistice negotiations with the Allies. In a spectacular raid led by German paratrooper Otto Skorzeny, Mussolini was rescued from arrest.
Once safely escounced in German occupied Salò, Mussolini declared that the King was deposed, that Italy was a republic and that he was the new president. He functioned as a German puppet for the duration of the war.
Serbia (Nedić regime)
Serbian General Milan Nedić formed the National Government of Salvation in German-occupied Serbia on September 1, 1941. Nedić served as prime minister of the puppet government which recognized the former Yugoslav regent, Prince Paul, as head of state.
Nedić's armed forces, the Serbian State Guards and Serbian Volunteer Corps, wore the uniform of the Royal Yugoslav Army. Nedić's forces fought with the Germans against the Yugoslav Partisans. Unlike Hitler's Nordic collaborators who sent troops to fight the Soviet Union, Nedić's Slavic troops were confined to duty in Serbia.
Montenegro (Drljević regime)
The leader of the Montenegrin Federalists, Sekule Drljević formed the Provisional Administrative Committee of Montenegro on July 12, 1941. The Committee originally tried to collaborate with the Italians.
Drljević's Montenegrin Federalists fought a confusing civil war alongside Axis forces against Yugoslav Partisans and Chetniks.
In October 1941, Drljević was exiled from Montenegro and in 1944, he formed the Montenegrin State Council locates in the Independent State of Croatia. It acted as the Federalists' government in exile.
Axis collaborator states
France (Vichy regime)
Pétain became the last Prime Minister of the French Third Republic on June 16, 1940 as French resistance to the German invasion of the country was collapsing. Pétain immediately sued for peace with Germany and six days later, on June 22, 1940, his government concluded an armistice with Hitler. Under the terms of the agreement, Germany occupied approximately two thirds of France, including Paris. Pétain was permitted to keep an army of 100,000 men to defend the unoccupied zone. This number includes neither the army based in French colonial empire nor the French fleet. In French North-Africa, a strength of 127,000 men was allowed after the rallying of Gabon to the Free French.
Relations between France and the United Kingdom quickly deteriorated. Fearful that the powerful French fleet might fall into German hands, the United Kingdom launched several naval attacks, the major one against the Algerian harbour of Mers el-Kebir on July 3, 1940. Though Churchill would defend his controversial decisions to attack the French Fleet and, later, invade French Syria, the French people themselves were less accepting of these decisions. German propaganda was able to trumpet these actions as an absolute betrayal of the French people by their former allies. France broke relations with the UK after the attack and considered declaring war.
On July 10, 1940, Pétain was given emergency powers by a vote of the French National Assembly, effectively creating the Vichy regime, for the resort town of Vichy where Petain chose to maintain his seat of government. The new government continued to be recognised as the lawful government of France by the United States until 1942. Racial laws were introduced in France and its colonies and many French Jews were deported to Germany.
The UK permitted French General Charles de Gaulle to headquarter his Free French movement in London in a largely unsuccessful effort to win over the French colonial empire. On September 26, 1940, de Gaulle led an attack by Allied forces on the Vichy port of Dakar in French West Africa. Forces loyal to Pétain fired on de Gaulle and repulsed the attack after two days of heavy fighting. Public opinion in France was further outraged, and Vichy France drew closer to Germany.
Allied forces attacked Syria and Lebanon in 1941, after the Vichy government in Syria allowed Germany to support an Iraqi revolt against the British. In 1942, Allied forces also attacked the Vichy French colony of Madagascar.
Vichy France did not become directly involved in the war on the Eastrn Front. Almost 7,000 volunteers joined the anti-communist Légion des Volontaires Français (LVF) from 1941 to 1944 and some 7500 formed the Division Charlemagne, a Waffen-SS unit, from 1944 to 1945. Both the LVF and the Division Charlemagne fought on the eastern front. Hitler never accepted that France could become a full military partner, and constantly prevented the buildup of Vichy's military strength.
Other than political, Vichy's collaboration with Germany essentially was industrial, with French factories providing many vehicles to the German armed forces.
In November 1942, Vichy French troops briefly but fiercely resisted the landing of Allied troops in French North Africa, but were unable to prevail. Admiral François Darlan negotiated a local ceasefire with the Allies. In response to the landings, and Vichy's inability to defend itself, German troops occupied southern France and the Vichy colony of Tunisia. Although French troops initially did not resist the German invasion of Tunisia, they eventually sided the Allies, and took part in the Tunisia Campaign.
In mid-1943, former Vichy authorities in North Africa came to an agreement with the Free French and setup a temporary French government in Algiers, known as the Comité Français de Libération Nationale, De Gaulle eventually emerging as the leader. The CFLN raised new troops, and re-organized, re-trained and re-equipped the French military under Allied supervision.
However, the Vichy government continued to function in mainland France until late 1944, but had lost most of its territorial sovereignty and military assets, with the exception of Forces stationed in Indochina.
Cases of controversial relations with Axis
The case of Denmark
On May 31, 1939, Denmark and Germany signed a treaty of non-aggression, which did not contain any military obligations for either party. On April 9, 1940, citing intended British mining of Norwegian and Danish waters as a pretext, Germany occupied both countries. King Christian X and the Danish government, worried about German bombings if they resisted occupation, accepted "protection by the Reich" in exchange for nominal independence under German military occupation. Three successive Prime Ministers, Thorvald Stauning, Vilhelm Buhl and Erik Scavenius, maintained this samarbejdspolitik ("cooperation policy") of collaborating with Germany.
- Denmark coordinated its foreign policy with Germany, extending diplomatic recognition to Axis collaborator and puppet regimes and breaking diplomatic relations with the "governments-in-exile" formed by countries occupied by Germany. Denmark broke diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and signed the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941.
- In 1941, a Danish military corps, Frikorps Danmark was created at the initiative of the SS and the Danish Nazi Party, to fight alongside the Wehrmacht on Germany's Eastern Front. The government's following statement was widely interpreted as a sanctioning of the corps. Frikorps Danmark was open to members of the Danish Royal Army and those who had completed their service within the last ten years. Between 4,000 and 10,000 Danes joined the Frikorps Danmark, including 77 officers of the Royal Danish Army. An estimated 3,900 Danes died fighting for Germany during the Second World War.
- Denmark transferred six torpedo boats to Germany in 1941, although the bulk of its navy remain under Danish command until the declaration of martial law in 1943.
- Denmark supplied agricultural and industrial products to Germany as well as loans for armaments and fortifications. Denmark's central bank, Nationalbanken, financed Germany's construction of the Danish part of the Atlantic Wall fortifications at a cost of 5 billion kroner.
The Danish protectorate government lasted until August 29, 1943, when the cabinet resigned following a declaration of martial law by occupying German military officials. The Danish navy managed to scuttle several ships to prevent their use by Germany although most were seized by the Germans. Danish collaboration continued on an administrative level, with the Danish bureacracy functioning under German command.
Active resistance to the German occupation among the populace, virtually nonexistent before 1943, increased after the declaration of martial law. The intelligence operations of the Danish resistance was described as "second to none" by Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery after the liberation of Denmark.
The case of the Soviet Union
Relations between the Soviet Union and the major Axis powers were generally hostile before 1939. In the Spanish Civil War, the Soviet Union gave military aid to the Second Spanish Republic, against Spanish Nationalist forces, which were assisted by Germany and Italy. However the Nationalist forces were victorious. In 1938 and 1939, the USSR fought and defeated Japan in two separate border wars, at Lake Khasan and Khalkhin Gol. The Soviets suffered another political defeat when an ally, Czechoslovakia, was partitioned and partially annexed, by Germany, Hungary and Poland — with the agreement of Britain and France — in 1938-39.
There were talks between Soviet Union and United Kingdom and France for an alliance against the growing power of Germany but these talks failed. As a result, on August 23, 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which included a secret protocol whereby the independent countries of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania were divided into spheres of interest of the parties.
Soon after that, the Soviet Union occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in addition, it annexed Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from Romania. The Soviet Union attacked Finland on November 30, 1939 which started the Winter War. Finnish defence prevented an all-out invasion, but Finland was forced to cede strategically important border areas near Leningrad.
The Soviet Union supported Germany in the war effort against Western Europe through the German-Soviet Commercial Agreement with supplies of raw materials (phosphates, chrome and iron ore, mineral oil, grain, cotton, rubber). These and other supplies were being transported through Soviet and occupied Polish territories and allowed Germany to circumvent the British naval blockade. Germany ended the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by invading the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941. That resulted in the Soviet Union becoming one of the main members of Allies.
Germany then revived its Anti-Comintern Pact enlisting many European and Asian countries in opposition to the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union and Japan remained neutral towards each other for most of the war by Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact. The Soviet Union ended the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact by invading Manchukuo in Operation August Storm on August 8, 1945.
The cases of Spain and Portugal
Together, Generalísimo Francisco Franco's Spanish State and Salazar's Portugal gave considerable moral, economic, and military assistance to the Axis Powers while nominally maintaining its neutrality. Franco described Spain as a "nonbelligerent" member of the Axis and signed the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941 with Hitler and Mussolini. The Portuguese position was more ambivalent; although Salazar was personally sympathetic to the Axis, Portugal and the United Kingdom were bound by the world's oldest defence treaty, the Treaty of Windsor.
Franco, who shared the fascist ideology of Hitler and Mussolini, had won the Spanish Civil War with the help Germany and Italy. Spain owed Germany over $212 million for supplies of matériel during the Spanish Civil War, and Italian combat troops had actually fought in Spain on the side of Franco's Nationalists. During the War, Salazar had been active in aiding the Nationalist factions, providing troops, equipment, and even executing Loyalists attempting to flee during the final collapse of resistance.
When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Franco immediately offered to form a unit of military volunteers to fight against the Bolsheviks. This was accepted by Hitler and, within two weeks, there were more than enough volunteers to form a division - the Blue Division (División Azul in Spanish) under General Agustín Muñoz Grandes.
Additionally, over 100,000 Spanish civilian workers were sent to Germany to help maintain industrial production to free up able bodied German men for military service, and Portugal implemented similar but smaller scale measures.
With Spain and Portugal's co-operation, the Abwehr, the German intelligence organisation, operated in Spain and Portugal themselves, and even in their African colonies, such as Spanish Morocco and Portuguese East Africa.
Relations between Portugal and the Axis deteriorated somewhat after Japanese incursions into Portugal's Asian colonies: the domination of Macau, from late 1941 onwards, and the killing of more than 40,000 civilians in the Japanese response to an Allied guerilla campaign in Portuguese Timor, during 1942-43.
In early 1944, when it became apparent that the Allies had gained the advantage over Germany, the Spanish government declared its "strict neutrality" and the Abwehr operation in southern Spain was consequently closed down. Portugal had done the same even earlier.
During the war, Franco's Spain was an escape route for several thousands of mainly Western European Jews fleeing occupied France to evade deportation to concentration camps. Likewise, Spain was an escape route for Nazi officials fleeing capture at the end of the war.
- Seppinen, Ilkka: Suomen ulkomaankaupan ehdot 1939-1940 (Conditions of Finnish foreign trade 1939-1940), 1983, ISBN 951-9254-48-X
- British Foreign Office Archive, 371/24809/461-556
- Jokipii, Mauno: Jatkosodan synty (Birth of the Continuation War), 1987, ISBN 951-1-08799-1
- Christian Bachelier, L'armée française entre la victoire et la défaite, in La France des années noires, dir. Azéma & Bédarida, Le Seuil, édition 2000, coll. points-histoire,Tome 1, p.98
- Robert O. Paxton, 1993, "La Collaboration d'État" in La France des Années Noires, Ed. J. P. Azéma & François Bédarida, Éditions du Seuil, Paris
- http://www.navalhistory.dk/Danish/Historien/1939_1945/IkkeAngrebsPagt.htm (Danish)
- Trommer, Aage. "Denmark". The Occupation 1940-45. Foreign Ministry of Denmark. Archived from the original on 2004-09-05. Retrieved on 2006-09-20.
- Lidegaard, Bo (2003). Dansk Udenrigspolitisk Historie, vol. 4. Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 461–463. (Danish)
- Danish Legion Military and Feldpost History. Retrieved on 2006-09-20.
- http://befrielsen1945.emu.dk/temaer/befrielsen/jubel/index.html (Danish)
- Gerhard L. Weinberg. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II.(NY: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2005) provides a scholarly overview.
- I. C. B. Dear and M. R. D. Foot, eds. The Oxford Companion to World War II. (2001) is a reference book with encyclopedic coverage of all military, political and economic topics.
- Kirschbaum, Stanislav (1995) A History of Slovakia: The Struggle for Survival. St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-10403-0 entails Slovakia's involvement during the World War II.
- World War II
- Allies of World War II
- Participants in World War II
- List of Pro-Axis Leaders and Governments or Direct Control in Occupied Territories
- Expansion plans of the Axis
- Expansion operations and planning of the Axis Powers
Pacts and treaties
- Tripartite Pact
- Pact of Steel
- Anti-Comintern Pact
- Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement
- Axis History Factbook
- Full text of The Tripartite Pact
- Full text of The Pact of Steel
- Silent movie of the signing of The Tripartite Pact
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