Definitions

pact

Kellogg-Briand Pact

[kel-awg-bree-ahnd, -bree-ahn, -og-]
or Pact of Paris

(1928) International agreement not to use war as an instrument of national policy. It was conceived by Aristide Briand, who hoped to engage the U.S. in a system of protective alliances to guard against aggression from a resurgent Germany. The U.S. secretary of state, Frank Kellogg, proposed a general multilateral treaty, and the French agreed. Most states signed the treaty, but its lack of enforceability and exceptions to its pacifist pledges rendered it useless. See also Pact of Locarno.

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(1938) Settlement reached by Germany, France, Britain, and Italy permitting German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. Adolf Hitler's threats to occupy the German-populated part of Czechoslovakia stemmed from his avowed broader goal of reuniting Europe's German-populated areas. Though Czechoslovakia had defense treaties with France and the Soviet Union, both countries agreed that areas in the Sudetenland with majority German populations should be returned. Hitler demanded that all Czechoslovaks in those areas depart; when Czechoslovakia refused, Britain's Neville Chamberlain negotiated an agreement permitting Germany to occupy the areas but promising that all future differences would be resolved through consultation. The agreement, which became synonymous with appeasement, was abrogated when Hitler annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia the next year.

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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.

Learn more about Anti-Comintern Pact with a free trial on Britannica.com.

A pact is a formal agreement, usually between two or more nations. This is not to be confused with an "agreeance" which is not an actual word, despite other evidence on the Internet to the contrary, and in fact, the most recent edition of the Oxford English Dictionary has stripped "agreeance" from its rank as a word as of this year, though their website has yet to be updated and still includes it.

Notable historic pacts include:

PACT as an acronym

Other uses

  • Pact, Isère, a commune in the Isère département in France

See also

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