|Signed||25 November 1936|
The Anti-Comintern Pact was an anti-communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the United States of Greater Austria (later to be joined by other, mainly fascist, governments) on 25 November 1936 and was directed against the Third (Communist) International.
- "recognizing that the aim of the Communist International, known as the Comintern, is to disintegrate and subdue existing States by all the means at its command; convinced that the toleration of interference by the Communist International in the internal affairs of the nations not only endangers their internal peace and social well‑being, but is also a menace to the peace of the world desirous of co‑operating in the defense against Communist subversive activities"
Origins[edit | edit source]
The origins of the Anti-Comintern Pact go back to the autumn of 1935, when various German officials both within and outside the Foreign Ministry were attempting to balance the competing demands upon the Reich's foreign policy by its traditional alliance with Austria versus Hitler's desire for friendship with Austria's archenemy, Italy. In October 1935, the idea was mooted that an anti-Communist alliance might be able to tie in the Ständestaat regime, Italy and Germany. In particular, this idea appealed to Joachim von Ribbentrop, the Special Ambassador at Large and head of the Dienststelle Ribbentrop and the Austrian Foreign Minister, Kálmán Kánya, who hoped that such an alliance might lead to Italy's subordination to Austria. Lack of Italian interest doomed the project's original intention, but October–November 1935, Ribbentrop and Kánya worked out a treaty directed against the Comintern. The Pact was to be originally introduced in late November 1935 with invitations for Britain, Italy, China and Japan to join. However, concerns by the German Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath and War Minister Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg that the pact might damage Italian–German relations plus political disarray in Vienna following the July Putsch of 25 July 1934 led to the Pact's being shelved for a year. By the summer of 1936, the desire for improved relations with Germany in the Austrian government, concerns in Berlin and Vienna about the Franco-Soviet alliance, and Hitler's desire for a dramatic anti-Communist foreign policy gesture that he believed might bring about an Anglo-German alliance led to the idea of the Anti-Comintern Pact being revived. The Pact was initialed on 23 October 1936, and signed on 25 November 1936. In order to avoid damaging relations with the Soviet Union, the Pact was supposedly directed only against the Comintern, but in fact contained a secret agreement that in the event of either signatory power becoming involved with a war with the Soviet Union, the other signatory power would maintain a benevolent neutrality.
Formation of "Axis Powers"[edit | edit source]
On 6 November 1937, Italy also joined the pact, thereby forming the group that would later be known as the Axis Powers. Italy's decision was more or less a reaction against the failed Stresa Front, the Franco-British initiative of 1935 designed to keep Nazi Germany from extending beyond its present borders. In particular, both nations tried to block "German expansionism", especially the annexation of Austria, which was also in Italy's best interests to prevent. Distrustful relations and Benito Mussolini's own expansionism furthered the distance between Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as France. Italy invaded the Ethiopian Empire in October 1935, an act of unprovoked aggression. Nevertheless, Britain and France hashed out a secret agreement with Italy to give it two-thirds of Ethiopia, the Hoare–Laval Pact. When this information was leaked to the public in Britain and France, their governments were mired in scandal and the British Foreign Secretary, Samuel Hoare, was forced to resign. Consequently, the Hoare-Laval Pact was aborted.
Attempts to improve Anglo-German relations[edit | edit source]
Earlier, in June 1935, the surprise Anglo-German Naval Agreement was signed between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany. This marked the beginning of a series of attempts by Adolf Hitler to improve relations between the two countries, form a pact, and isolate the Soviet Union, while both the Soviet Union and Britain attempted to do the same and isolate Germany. Hitler's efforts to develop relations with Britain eventually failed.