Germany Italy and Japan sign a pact

Signing of tripartite pact 28 september 1940

The signing of the Tripartite Pact of mutual cooperation between Germany, Italy and Japan. Seated from left are Saburo Karuso, Count Ciano and Adolf Hitler. The three countries became known as the Axis powers.

Count Galeazzo Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister and son in law of Mussolini, records his impressions of the day:

The pact is signed. The signature takes place more or less like that of the Pact of Steel. But the atmosphere is cooler. Even the Berlin street crowd, a comparatively small one, composed mostly of school children, cheers with regularity but without conviction.Japan is far away. Its help is doubtful. Only one thing is certain: that it will be a long war. This does not please the Germans, who had come to believe that with the end of summer the war would also end.

A winter of war is hard to take. More so since food is scarce in Berlin, and it is easy to see that the window displays of the stores promise much more than what is actually inside. Another thing contributing to the depressed spirit of Berlin life is die constant recurrence of air raids. Every night citizens spend from four to five hours in the cellar. They lack sleep, there is promiscuity between men and women, cold, and these things do not create a good mood. The number of people with colds is incredible.

Bomb damage is slight; nervousness is very high. At ten o’clock in the evening everyone looks at his watch. People want to return home to their loved ones. All this does not yet justify the pessimism in certain quarters where the first war is being remembered and they are beginning to think of the worst.

See The Ciano Diaries 1939-1943: The Complete, Unabridged Diaries of Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1936-1943

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