The National Socialist system of alliances

The alliance with Italy against France was part of Hitler’s basic foreign policy plan. Italy itself also needed the alliance for its expansionist plans in the Mediterranean area. Around the turn of the year 1935/1936, the rapprochement began which made Italy dependent on Germany. Hitler supported Italy’s war in Abyssinia and from July 1936 on Hitler and Mussolini intervened on Franco’s side in the Spanish Civil War. In the autumn of 1936 Mussolini announced the creation of the ‘Berlin-Rome Axis’, which was strengthened in 1939 through a military alliance (the ‘Pact of Steel’). In addition, Germany and Italy sought to coordinate their policy of expan-sion with Japan: Berlin and Tokyo concluded the ‘Anti-Comintern Pact’ on 25 No-vember 1936, which Italy joined on 6 November 1937: the ‘world-political triangle’ Berlin - Rome - Tokyo had been created. On the one hand anti-Communist and anti-Soviet, the alliance was intended at the same time to put Great Britain under pressure.

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