Why did Germany become allies with Japan in WW2 even though Japan was fighting against the Germans in WW1

Why were the Germans allies with Japan even though they were enemies in WW1 and why did they choose to have Japan as an ally over the Chinese whom they had good relations with.


Why did Germany allied up with Italy wherease they were enemies during the Great War? This is the main reason why the series of ‘between two wars’ is so interesting!
The forming of the Tripartite ultimately, imho, was the downfall for all three parties and allies.


Not sure :thinking: if they were real Allies or just accidentally had the same enemies and had they won the war would have fought eachother. The German National Socialists didn’t include the Japanese in their übermensch hierarchy and Japan signed a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union.

Hitler might have thought Japan would provide a free Navy. However Japan fortunately did nothing for Nazi Germany, including not sharing details on its atomic programs. Why help people who hate you because of your colour?


Honorary Aryans, iirc.


German Japanese relation have a very long history that dates back to 1861 (I very much hope that TG makes a video about the history behind G J relationship). In the 19th century japanses officials visited europe to asses which european military was the best and they came to the conclusion that it was the prussian military. So they asked if german advisers could come to Japan and help them build up their military and they said yes. This was the beginn of a very good relationship between the two countries. 1904 was even the founding of the “German school of Tokyo Yokaham”. And then came WW1 and the Japanese only got pulled into the war because they were allied to Britain. And they fought each other in a way like “He we both are at war but we are still good friends”. F.ex after the battle of Tsingtao the german garrison saluted to the japanese when they marched into the city and when the British marched into the city they turned their backs on them. The japanese also treated the german pows extrordinary well and many of the pows even stayed in Japan after the war. That and the fact that Japan didnt send any troops to Europe and didnt really contribute Germany`s defeat made it for both sides easier to brush this “German-Japanese war” under the carpet


Well 20 years changes many things, and it sure did for Japan and Germany… Japan went from a participating country for the Allies during WWI, to a formidable militant nation in the Pacific during WWII. Germany went from a broken country after WWI to a Fascist, militaristic juggernaut during WWII. They also both seemed to have their problems with the West, Japan needing oil to expand its growing empire and Germany needing land and resources for the Third Reich. In addition Germany was incensed by the Versailles Treaty and its crippled status. Both these countries wanted to stretch their legs and become superpowers.


My thought too, but Germany did not declare war on US until after the Pearl Harbor attack, and thus provoked the Germany first strategy to great advantage of Japan. So could be interesting to read more about that. (In a book I allready have, but have not read yet) I think the strategic interest for the Japan was to have Germany counter Russia to release the pressure of Japan. That happend to the extent that Stalin could move troops from the far east to save Moscow. So You could argue that Germany ended up paying a high price for the alliance.


Indeed, Weinberg World at Arms who is a real authority also mentions the unwritten agreement that if Japan left the lend-lease convoys alone the Soviets would not let the USA use their bases in order to bomb Japan. Moscow is really close and had been at war with Japan in 1939 so that was not unthinkable.

So the Soviets had a great supply line of trucks/meat and other material as well as tanks and planes.

The Japanese would be raving lunatics to stab the Soviets in the back from behind. So declaring war against the USA was not a very good idea from the start. In the end the Japanese received a lot of tech fom Germany but didn’t send stuff the other way. Japan was actually further than Germany with its nuclear research in Korea(Navy) and Tokio (The Army nuke program was wiped out by the “hated bombers”.

So in essence declaring war on the US so quickly made it quite clearly to even the most “German/Nazi apologizers” that the National Socialist and their willing bootlicker states were just the same as “murderers or Pearl”. From that point the USA and its massive industry went for total victory and no more mr. Nice guy!

Don’t poke bears, especially not the Russian and then the US Grizzly!


Do you have any sources for the Prussian-Japanese friendship? German is OK, I can read German.

The Japanese also send out people to the UK/USA and the Netherlands had a trading post in Nagasaki from 1609-1853 (as apart from China they only ones who were allowed to trade). While it seems as friendshiply the main reason Japan did it was to gain Western stuff they need while keeping the Westerners out. In the 1700s some Japanese textscomplain that the Netherlands with its then powerful Navy BORDERED Japan. Which actually is correct as Navies were nasty armies that could go anywhere wet.

As for the 19th century, in 1853 US commodore Perry did some gunboat diplomacy in Tokio which instigated Japan to get Western tech from the UK/Germany and all over really. They also closed the Dutch trading post to keep Westerners OUT!

They did really wel and unlike China the Japanese (as the only Asian power) were invited in the 1899 peace conference organized by Tsar Nicholas the second in order to stop the arms race. This was followed up in 1907 and 1919 were Japan secured its place because of World War 1 and got a bunch of German protectorates. One of them being Tarawa where they but guns bought from the UK earlier.

So my impression of Japan in World War 1 was that they really saw it as an opportunity to take the easy pickings e.g. the Tsingtao and the Pacific Islands like Tarawa which will become nasty battlegrounds next year (in our timeline). As for World War 1 they did do great work in stopping the U-Boat thread in the Mediteranean and there are still 72 Japanese graves on Malta.

So I am not sure there was a “real special” with Germany. Also not in World War 2 were Japan was happily trading some raw materials for German tech but never reciprocated. in 1945 Japan was ahead in nuclear tech and bio weapons but never shared with Germany. Germany would have done a lot better in the battle of Britain had they have had the long range zero fighter or the REALLY long range submarines of Japan. With the latter it might have been design choices as well.

So I am not sure it was special relationship, maybe the Russians was just the first European power who had give up territory to the Japanese (1905) and then Germany was just the first Colonial power to get kicked out completely, with the Dutch/British/US next on the list. As a European I have to accept that the Japanese were invited to the Hague in 1899 because they were a threat and also were looked down upon because they were Asians. Their calls for racial equality were always shoved aside, which is the other side of the coin which is mostly ignored sadly.