Pact of Steel
The Pact of Steel known formally as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, was an agreement between Fascist Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

 and Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 signed on May 22, 1939, by the foreign ministers of each country and witnessed by Count Galeazzo Ciano
Galeazzo Ciano
Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari was an Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Benito Mussolini's son-in-law. In early 1944 Count Ciano was shot by firing squad at the behest of his father-in-law, Mussolini under pressure from Nazi Germany.-Early life:Ciano was born in...

 for Italy and Joachim von Ribbentrop
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945. He was later hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg Trials.-Early life:...

 for Germany.

The Pact consisted of two parts: the first section was an open declaration of continuing trust and cooperation between Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 while the second, a "Secret Supplementary Protocol"
encouraged a union of policies concerning the military and economy. However, certain members of the Italian government, including the signatory Ciano, were opposed to the Pact.

It was Italian leader Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 who dubbed the agreement "the Pact of Steel", after being told that its original name, "the Pact of Blood", would likely be received poorly in Italy.


Generally, the Pact of Steel obliged Germany and Italy to aid the other country immediately, militarily or otherwise, in the event of war being declared, and to collaborate in military and wartime production. The Pact ensured that neither country was able to make peace without the agreement of the other. The agreement was based on the assumption that a war would occur within three years. When Germany invaded Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 on September 1, 1939, and war broke out on September 3, Italy was not yet fully prepared for conflict, and had difficulty meeting its obligations. Consequently, Italy did not enter World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 until June 1940 with an aborted invasion of southern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


Article I

Article I stipulated that Germany and Italy were to stay in communication with one another, in order to 'come to an understanding of all common interests or the European situation as a whole'.

Article II

Article II obliged Italy and Germany to follow similar foreign policy: for example, the two countries agreed, in the event of any 'international happenings', to enter into mutual consultation.

Article III

Article III promised the full military support of the signatories should the other country go to war.

Article IV

Article IV supported the intentions of Article III, encouraging the establishment of greater cooperation in 'the military sphere and the sphere of war economy'. This article also supported greater communication between Italy and Germany in order to achieve economic and military cooperation.

Article V

Article V compelled Italy and Germany to agree to all future armistices, further supporting increasing military planning between the two countries.

Article VI

Article VI of the Pact instilled the importance of maintaining relations with countries which were friendly towards either Italy or Germany.

Article VII

Article VII of the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy dealt with the validity of the Pact: it stated that the Pact came into force upon completion and that it would last until 1949.

Secret Supplementary Protocols

The Secret Supplementary Protocols of the Pact of Steel, which were split into two sections, were not made public at the time of the signing of the Pact by Ribbentrop and Ciano.

The first section urged the countries to quicken their joint military and economic cooperation whilst the second section committed the two countries to cooperate in 'matters of the press, the news service and the propaganda' to promote the power and image of the fascist Axis. To aid in this, each country was to assign 'one or several specialists' of their country in the capital city of the other for close liaisons with the Foreign Minister of that country.


According to Article VII, the pact was to last ten years. With the Axis defeat in North Africa and the invasion of Sicily in 1943, however, the Italians signed an armistice with the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 in September. A new government under Marshal Pietro Badoglio
Pietro Badoglio
Pietro Badoglio, 1st Duke of Addis Abeba, 1st Marquess of Sabotino was an Italian soldier and politician...

 was established which became a co-belligerent and part of the allies. Although a government under Mussolini was established in Northern Italy, the Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
The Italian Social Republic was a puppet state of Nazi Germany led by the "Duce of the Nation" and "Minister of Foreign Affairs" Benito Mussolini and his Republican Fascist Party. The RSI exercised nominal sovereignty in northern Italy but was largely dependent on the Wehrmacht to maintain control...

, Italy continued as a member of the pact in name only.

See also

  • Anti-Comintern Pact
    Anti-Comintern Pact
    The Anti-Comintern Pact was an Anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on November 25, 1936 and was directed against the Communist International ....

  • Abyssinia
    Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

  • Triple Entente
    Triple Entente
    The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

  • Tripartite Pact
    Tripartite Pact
    The Tripartite Pact, also the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940, which established the Axis Powers of World War II...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.