What Were the Axis Powers?

The Axis powers were those nations opposed to the Allies in World War II, namely, Germany, Italy and Japan. These three powers were known as the "Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis," collectively engaged in imperialist operations of expansion across Europe and Pacific Asia. They were supported at various points during the course of the war by a number of other nations, either in an active or passive capacity.

Spain, under the regime of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, supported the Axis powers ideologically, although the country remained ostensibly neutral throughout World War II. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union invaded a number of eastern European nations and had a private treaty with Germany until 1941, going so far as to divide Poland between themselves. The treaty was violated when Hitler invaded Soviet territories.

The Iraqi government was also in support of the Axis powers, offering natural resources and German access to its Jewish populations in return for recognition of Arab states' right to independence. The British intervened in these dealings, however, and forced the Iraqi leader, Rashid Ali al-Kaylani, to resign.

India was also supportive of Axis operations, allying with the Japanese and seizing their opportunity to claim independence from Britain, while the British military was overstretched and invested elsewhere. Other nations in direct support of the Axis powers were Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.