During World War II, the Axis Powers shared the goals of territorial expansion, the destruction of Soviet communism and forcing the United States to maintain its isolationist position. Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito viewed their alliance as a means of regaining what they had lost during World War I and expanding their global influence.
In the aftermath of World War I and the Great Depression, Germany, Italy and Japan joined forces and signed the 1937 Anti-Comintern Pact. The agreement outlined plans for each nation to obtain larger shares of the world's resources and markets by claiming territories and expanding their individual empires; Germany over Europe, Italy over the Mediterranean and Japan over the Pacific and East Asia. The pact also solidified the alliance's commitment to fighting against communism and created a Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis from which to launch attacks against the Soviets and their allies. Much to the surprise of Mussolini and Hirohito, Hitler violated the agreement when he signed the 1939 German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact. By 1940, the Axis Powers joined forces again and signed the Tripartite Act in an attempt to keep the United States from entering the war and aiding Britain. This tactic failed after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and by 1945 Allied forces had defeated the Axis powers and declared victory.