The Anti-Comintern Pact was concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan (later to be joined by other countries) on November 25, 1936 and was directed against the Communist International (Comintern) in general, and the Soviet Union in particular.
On November 6, 1937, Italy also joined the pact, thereby forming the group that would later be known as the Axis Powers. Italy's decision was more or less a reaction against the failed Stresa front, the Franco-British initiative of 1935 designed to keep Nazi Germany from extending beyond her present borders. In particular, both nations tried to block "German expansionism", especially the annexation of Austria, which was also in Italy's best interests to prevent. Distrustful relations and Benito Mussolini's own expansionism furthered the distance between Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as France. Italy invaded the African State of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in October 1935, an act of unprovoked aggression that was a breach of League of Nations policy.