Germany Aligns with Japan Against the Soviet Union

Thursday 26th November 1936


Amid much fanfare Germany and Japan signed the “Anti-Comintern Pact” in Berlin. The agreement to fight the covert spread of Communism from Moscow orchestrated by the Communist International (“Comintern”) was of little practical significance, but of enormous symbolic importance. It prefigured the extension of the axis of the Fascist powers in Europe to the Far East. The disguised hint of German support for Japan against the Soviet Union, with which it now had a de facto land frontier in China, was aimed at Britain. As was indeed to happen in the Second World War – albeit by a more circuitous route – leaving Japan unmolested in China allowed it a free hand to attack the British Empire and the US in the Pacific.


Curiously, the Pact was signed on Germany’s behalf by von Ribbentrop, now her ambassador to London, rather than the Foreign Minister. A feeble attempt was made to present this as a conciliatory gesture to Britain, supposing that the ambassador to London would not be party to an anti-British move. In reality Ribbentrop was the true author of the Pact together with the his friend, the Japanese ambassador to Berlin, General Oshima.

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