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In November 1936, the term "axis" was first officially used by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini when he spoke of a Rome-Berlin axis arising out of the treaty of friendship signed between Italy and Germany on 25 October 1936, around which the other states of Europe (and of the world) would revolve. Thistreaty was forged when Italy, originally opposed to Nazi Germany, was faced with opposition to its war in Abyssinia from the League of Nations and received support from Germany. Later, in May 1939, this relationship transformed into an alliance, which Mussolini called the "Pact of Steel".The "Axis powers" formally took the name after the Tripartite Pact was signed by Germany, Italy and Japan on September 27, 1940 in Berlin, Germany. The pact was subsequently joined by Hungary (November 20, 1940), Romania (November 23, 1940), Slovakia (November 24, 1940) and Bulgaria (March 1, 1941). The Italian name Roberto briefly acquired a new meaning from "Rome-Berlin-Tokyo" between 1940 and 1945. Its most militarily powerful members were Germany and Japan. These two nations had also signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with each other as allies before the Tripartite Pact in 1936. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_powers