David Olusoga reveals stories of the millions of Indian, African and Asian troops and ancillaries who fought during World War I.

The World's War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2014-08-06

The World's War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire - Axis powers - Netflix

The Axis powers (German: Achsenmächte; Italian: Potenze dell'Asse; Japanese: 枢軸国 Sūjikukoku), also known as the Axis and the Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis, were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allied forces. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity. The Axis grew out of the diplomatic efforts of Germany, Italy, and Japan to secure their own specific expansionist interests in the mid-1930s. The first step was the treaty signed by Germany and Italy in October 1936. Benito Mussolini declared on 1 November that all other European countries would from then on rotate on the Rome–Berlin axis, thus creating the term “Axis”. The almost simultaneous second step was the signing in November 1936 of the Anti-Comintern Pact, an anti-communist treaty between Germany and Japan. Italy joined the Pact in 1937. The “Rome–Berlin Axis” became a military alliance in 1939 under the so-called “Pact of Steel”, with the Tripartite Pact of 1940 leading to the integration of the military aims of Germany, Italy and Japan. At its zenith during World War II, the Axis presided over territories that occupied large parts of Europe, North Africa, and East Asia. There were no three-way summit meetings and cooperation and coordination was minimal, with slightly more between Germany and Italy. The war ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis powers and the dissolution of their alliance. As in the case of the Allies, membership of the Axis was fluid, with some nations switching sides or changing their degree of military involvement over the course of the war.

The World's War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire - Development of German–Italian–Japanese alliance - Netflix

Interest in Germany and Japan in forming an alliance began when Japanese diplomat Oshima Hiroshi visited Joachim von Ribbentrop in Berlin in 1935. Oshima informed von Ribbentrop of Japan's interest in forming a German–Japanese alliance against the Soviet Union. Von Ribbentrop expanded on Oshima's proposal by advocating that the alliance be based in a political context of a pact to oppose the Comintern. The proposed pact was met with mixed reviews in Japan, with a faction of ultra-nationalists within the government supporting the pact while the Japanese Navy and the Japanese Foreign Ministry were staunchly opposed to the pact. There was great concern in the Japanese government that such a pact with Germany could disrupt Japan's relations with Britain, endangering years of a beneficial Anglo-Japanese accord, that had allowed Japan to ascend in the international community in the first place. The response to the pact was met with similar division in Germany; while the proposed pact was popular amongst the upper echelons of the Nazi Party, it was opposed by many in the Foreign Ministry, the Army, and the business community who held financial interests in China to which Japan was hostile.

On learning of German–Japanese negotiations, Italy also began to take an interest in forming an alliance with Japan. Italy had hoped that due to Japan's long-term close relations with Britain, that an Italo-Japanese alliance could pressure Britain into adopting a more accommodating stance towards Italy in the Mediterranean. In the summer of 1936, Italian Foreign Minister Ciano informed Japanese Ambassador to Italy, Sugimura Yotaro, “I have heard that a Japanese–German agreement concerning the Soviet Union has been reached, and I think it would be natural for a similar agreement to be made between Italy and Japan”. Initially Japan's attitude towards Italy's proposal was generally dismissive, viewing a German–Japanese alliance against the Soviet Union as imperative while regarding an Italo-Japanese alliance as secondary, as Japan anticipated that an Italo-Japanese alliance would antagonize Britain that had condemned Italy's invasion of Ethiopia. This attitude by Japan towards Italy altered in 1937 after the League of Nations condemned Japan for aggression in China and faced international isolation, while Italy remained favourable to Japan. As a result of Italy's support for Japan against international condemnation, Japan took a more positive attitude towards Italy and offered proposals for a non-aggression or neutrality pact with Italy. The “Axis powers” formally took the name after the Tripartite Pact was signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan on 27 September 1940, in Berlin. The pact was subsequently joined by Hungary (20 November 1940), Romania (23 November 1940), Slovakia (24 November 1940), and Bulgaria (1 March 1941).

The World's War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire - References - Netflix