What is the Pact of Steel?
Also known as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, the Pact of Steel was a political and military alliance signed on 22 May 1939.
Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy
The German Reich Chancellor and His Majesty the King of Italy and Albania, Emperor of Ethiopia, consider that the time has come to confirm through a solemn pact the close relation of friendship and affinity which exists between National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy.
Since a secure bridge for mutual help and assistance has been established through the common boundary between Germany and Italy, fixed for all time, the two Governments acknowledge anew the principles and aims of the policy previously agreed upon by them, and which has shown itself successful in furthering the interests of the two countries as well as in ensuring the peace of Europe.
Firmly bound together through the inner unity of their ideologies and the comprehensive solidarity of their interests, the German and the Italian people are determined also in future to stand side by side and to strive with united effort for the securing of their living space and the maintenance of peace.
In this way, prescribed for them by history, Germany and Italy wish, in a world of unrest and disintegration, to carry out the assignment of making safe the foundations of European culture.
In order to establish these principles in treaty form, they have named as plenipotentiaries, the German Reich Chancellor, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, von Ribbentrop, His Majesty the King of Italy and Albania, Emperor of Ethiopia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Galeazzo Ciano, who, after the exchange of proper credentials, have agreed upon the following terms:
ARTICLE I. The Contracting Parties will remain in permanent contact with each other, in order to come to an understanding of all common interests or the European situation as a whole.
ARTICLE II. In the event that the common interests of the Contracting Parties be jeopardized through international happenings of any kind, they will immediately enter into consultation regarding the necessary measures to preserve these interests.
Should the security or other vital interests of one of the Contracting Parties be threatened from outside, the other Contracting Party will afford the threatened Party its full political and diplomatic support in order to remove this threat.
ARTICLE III. If it should happen, against the wishes and hopes of the Contracting Parties, that one of them becomes involved in military complications with another tower or other Powers, the other Contracting Party will immediately step to its side as an ally and will support it with all its military might on land, at sea, and in the air.
ARTICLE IV. In order to ensure, in any given case, the rapid implementation of the alliance obligations of Article III, the Governments of the two Contracting Parties will further intensify their cooperation in the military sphere and the sphere of the war economy. Similarly, the two Governments will keep each other regularly informed of other measures necessary for the practical implementation of this pact. The two Governments will create standing commissions, under the direction of the Foreign Ministers, for the purposes indicated in paragraphs 1 and 2.
ARTICLE V. The Contracting Parties already at this point bind themselves, in the event of a jointly waged war, to conclude any armistice or peace only in full agreement with each other.
ARTICLE VI. The two Contracting Parties are aware of the importance of their joint relations to the Powers which are friendly to them. They are determined to maintain these relations in the future and to promote the adequate development of the common interests which bind them to these Powers.
ARTICLE VII. This pact comes into force immediately upon its signing. The two Contracting Parties are agreed upon fixing the first period of its validity at ten years. In good time before the elapse of this period, they will come to an agreement regarding the extension of the validity of the pact.
SECRET SUPPLEMENTARY PROTOCOL
On signing the friendship and alliance pact, an agreement has been established by both parties on the following points:
1. The two Foreign Ministers will as quickly as possible come to an agreement on the organization, the seat, and the methods of work on the pact of the commissions on military questions and questions of war economy as stipulated in Article IV of the pact.
2. For the execution of Article IV, par. 2, the two Foreign Ministers will as quickly as possible arrange the necessary measures, guaranteeing constant cooperation, conforming to the spirit and aims of the pact, in matters of the press, the news service, and the propaganda. For this purpose in particular, each of the two Foreign Ministers will assign to the embassy of his country in the respective capital one or several especially well-experienced specialists, for constant discussion in direct close cooperation with the resp. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the suitable steps to be taken in matters of the press, the news service and the propaganda for the promotion of the policy of the Axis, and as a countermeasure against the policy of the enemy powers.
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Berlin 22 May 1939
in the XVII year of the Fascist Era.