Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini sign “Pact of Steel” in Berlin, Germany | MAY 22

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Galeazzo Ciano, Adolf Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop at the signing of the Pact of Steel in the Reichskanzlei in Berlin

The Pact of Steel (GermanStahlpaktItalianPatto d’Acciaio), known formally as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, was a military and political alliance between Italy and Germany.

The pact was initially drafted as a tripartite military alliance between Japan, Italy and Germany. While Japan wanted the focus of the pact to be aimed at the Soviet Union, Italy and Germany wanted it aimed at the British Empire and France. Due to this disagreement, the pact was signed without Japan and became an agreement between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, signed on 22 May 1939 by foreign ministers Galeazzo Ciano of Italy and Joachim von Ribbentrop of Germany.

The pact consisted of two parts. The first section was an open declaration of continuing trust and co-operation between Germany and Italy. The second section, the “Secret Supplementary Protocol”, encouraged a union of policies concerning the military and the economy.