Why Did the Axis Powers Form During World War II

The Axis Powers were formed on the basis of three countries – Germany, Italy, and Japan. The powers later expanded to include the states that fell victims to fascist violence and surrendered themselves to the military superiority of the Axis Powers. Reasons behind the creation of the Axis Powers were numerous, but the most important was the desire of Germany, Italy and Japan to expand their territorial possessions. The territorial ambitions of the Axis states had been explicit even before the beginning of WWII, and the creation of the Axis Powers made it easier for Germany, Italy and Japan to expand their territorial presence in Europe and beyond. The Second World War is fairly considered as one of the most complicated military conflicts in the history of humanity. Just a hundred years after Karl von Clausewitz created his landmark paper on strategic planning in military operations, the entire world engaged in one of the most terrible and destructive military conflicts.1 Before World War II, all military conflicts, including international ones, had been fairly simple: one country would attack another one, defeat or retreat it to occupy a new position.2 During the Second World War, even the simplest things became extremely complicated, and the creation of the Axis Powers reflected the discussed complexity. The formation of the Axis Powers marked a new stage in the development of the international military conflict and had the goal of fulfilling the desires and ambitions of its members. During WWII, enemies fought as members of one of the two alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The Axis Powers based on Germany, Italy, and Japan.3 German hegemony within the Axis Powers was undeniable. Italy and Japan followed German orders without any opposition. Simultaneously, the Axis Powers were formed in ways that distributed the weight of political and military influence among its members: while Germany controlled most of continental Europe, Italy controlled the Mediterranean Sea and Japan was given the fullest control over the Pacific and East Asia.4 Apparently, territorial ambitions were the main reason why Italy and Japan joined the Axis Powers. The latter also had the goal of destroying the communist regime and weakening the unprecedented political and military strength of the Soviet Union.5 However, territorial expansion was still the major element of cooperation uniting Germany, Italy, and Japan. The Axis Powers fought hard to expand their territorial presence and create several large empires, based on conquering other states and overthrowing their political regimes.6 Among the Allies, the Axis Powers were considered as states that exhausted all honorable means to create peace and were willing to bargain even for a half of the loaf when they could not get the whole – this is what Mr. Myron Taylor said upon his visit to Rome in 1942.7 It should be noted, that the territorial ambitions of the Axis Powers had become visible even before the beginning of the Second World War. On November 1, 1936, Italy and Germany formed a Rome-Berlin Axis with the interest of destabilizing the peace and order in continental Europe.8 The Rome-Berlin Axis relied on friendship between the two countries and exemplified a productive attempt to expand the power of influence on other states in Europe and beyond. Just a month later, Japan and Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact against the Soviet Union. the Pact was joined by Italy on November 6, 1937.9 By the end of 1938, the territorial a