|The following pact of friendship and alliance was signed
in Berlin. In one sense it represents the total commitment of Italy to
Hitler and vice versa. It looks here as if Italy virtually conveys to Germany
control of a basic element of foreign policy, the decision on peace
or war. The treaty was based on the assumption that no war would
take place for at least three years. This was necessary for Italy
in to build up supplies, as her involvement in the Spanish Civil War had
used up most of her stockpiles. On the other hand when it became clear
in August, 1939 that Hitler was bent on war with Poland, Italy protested
her unreadiness and in the event did not immediately fulfill her obligations
under the alliance.
|His Majesty the King of Italy and Albania and Emperor
of Ethiopia, and the Chancellor of the German Reich, hold that the moment
has come to confirm with a solemn Pact the intimate ties of friendship
and solidarity existing between Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany....
Art. 1. The two Contracting Parties shall keep in permanent contact with each other for the purpose of agreeing on all questions regarding their common interests or the general European situation.
Art. 2. In the event the common interests of the two Contracting
Parties were to be put in danger by international events of whatever nature,
they shall without delay enter into consultation on the measures to be
adopted for the safeguard of these interests.
Art. 3. If in spite of the desires and hopes of the two Contracting Parties it were to happen that one of them were to become involved in complications of war with one or more Powers, the other Contracting Party shall immediately come to its aid as ally and shall support it with all its military forces on land, on the seas, and in the air.
Art. 4. The governments of the two Contracting Parties
shall increase ever more deeply their collaboration in the military field
and in the field of war economy for the purpose of assuring, in the case
provided for, the rapid application of the duties of alliance assumed in
Art. 5. In the event of a war conducted in common the Contracting Parties are committed from this moment on not to conclude an armistice or peace without full agreement with each other.
Art. 6. The two Contracting Parties, conscious of the importance of their common relations with Powers friendly to them, are decided to maintain and to continue to develop these relations by common agreement and in harmony with the consonant relations that bind them with these Powers.
Art. 7. This Pact becomes operative immediately after
its signature. The two Contracting Parties agree to fix the first period
of its validity to ten years. Before the expiration of this term they shall
come to an agreement at an opportune time regarding the extension of the
validity of this Pact....
Signed: Galeazzo Ciano
Joachim von Ribbentrop
|Shepard B. Clough and Salvatore Saladino, A History of Modern Italy: Documents, Readings, and Commentary. New York: Columbia UJniversity Press, 1968, pp. 500-501.|