Axis Powers formed through Anti-Comintern Pact

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.

Agreement concluded first between Germany and Japan (Nov. 25, 1936) and later between Italy, Germany, and Japan (Nov. 6, 1937). The pact, sought by Adolf Hitler, was ostensibly directed against the Comintern but was specifically directed against the Soviet Union. It was one of a series of agreements leading to the formation of the Axis Powers. Japan renounced the pact in 1939 but later acceded to the Tripartite Pact of 1940, which pledged Germany, Japan, and Italy to mutual assistance.