In 1923, Benito Mussolini said that the axis of the world’s history ran through Berlin. Mussolini’s words were based on a practical interest towards Germany; he wanted to use it as an ally against Yugoslavia and France in the territorial conflict. However, the name “Axis” was officially used to signify the Berlin-Rome agreement in 1936. Later, it became a name for the military alliance formed during the Second World War, which opposed the Allies.
The core of the Axis comprised three countries with vast territorial appetites, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Each of them had its interests beyond its own lands. Japan was hungry for the territories in the Pacific region and a significant part of China, Italy had its colonial interests and was seeking for an ally to oppose France, and Germany could not overcome the defeat in the World War I and wanted to regain the territories that once were hers. Ideological justification of the war for all three of them was the necessity to free the world from the Soviet communism.
In the late 1930s, the Soviet Union viewed the Axis as potential partners. In 1939, the USSR and Germany signed a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and started a coordinated occupation of territories from Poland. However, Germany broke the pact soon, and on 22 June, 1941, the allied forces of Germany and Romania invaded the USSR with 3 million troops and a huge amount of machinery. This attack was known as Operation Barbarossa. The other Axis forces, Hungary and Finland, joined the invaders after some time. The plan was to reach the Arkhangelsk-Astrakhan line through the Baltic region and Ukraine, in order to eliminate the Soviet Union with its population and its communist ideology and to clear that immense area for Germany and its supporters.
While the Kiev offensive was successful, and the Axis troops took the city, they faced obstacles as they progressed east. Exhausted by sieges of Stalingrad, Moscow, and Sevastopol, and deprived of resources amidst the harsh weather conditions, the Germans were defeated by the renewed Soviet Armies and pushed back by 60 to 155 miles by December. That was the first major mistake of the Axis. The second one was made in 1941. Japan made an attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, which resulted in both Germany and Italy declaring war on the States. While the US was not actively participating in the military actions before the attack, Pearl Harbor events made the country join the war.
The united and reinforced powers of the Allies advanced on many fronts, including Europe, Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and North Africa. The Axis alliance was weakened by the opponents who now included the US, and especially demoralized by its defeats on the USSR territories. From the late 1941 and till spring 1945, the Axis forces were slowly stepping back, and they finally surrendered by the beginning of May when the Allies occupied Germany. Japan surrendered later, after it had suffered from the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 1945 marked the end of the WWII and one of its two main opposing forces, the Axis.
The Axis was a powerful alliance which consisted of three countries with a throng territorial hunger. Starting as a union between Germany and Italy, it quickly turned into a plague that took over a large part of Europe, Asia, and went beyond. Their aggression towards other countries made the rest of the world unite in their fight against Axis, which resulted in the usurper’s total defeat and further cooperation of world’s countries on preventing the future wars.
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