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axis

ax·is / ˈaksis/ • n. (pl. ax·es / ˈaksēz/ ) 1. an imaginary line about which a body rotates: the earth revolves on its axis once every 24 hours. ∎ Geom. an imaginary straight line passing through the center of a symmetrical solid, and about which a plane figure can be conceived as rotating to generate the solid. ∎  an imaginary line that divides something into equal or roughly equal halves, esp. in the direction of its greatest length. 2. Math. a fixed reference line for the measurement of coordinates: the horizontal axis. 3. a straight central part in a structure to which other parts are connected. ∎  Bot. the central column of an inflorescence or other growth. ∎  Zool. the skull and backbone of a vertebrate animal. 4. Anat. the second cervical vertebra, below the atlas at the top of the backbone. 5. an agreement or alliance between two or more countries that forms a center for an eventual larger grouping of nations: the Anglo-American axis. ∎  (the Axis) the alliance of Germany and Italy formed before and during World War II, later extended to include Japan and other countries: [as adj.] the Axis Powers.

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Axis

Axis, coalition of countries headed by Germany, Italy, and Japan, 1936–45 (see World War II). The expression "Rome-Berlin axis" originated in Oct., 1936, with an accord reached by Hitler and Mussolini. The Axis was solidified by an Italo-German alliance in May, 1939. This was extended (Sept., 1940) by a military alliance among Germany, Italy, and Japan—the so-called Berlin Pact, to which Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Croatia adhered later. The related Anti-Comintern Pact (see Comintern), originally concluded between Germany and Japan in 1936, later had as adherents, besides the Berlin Pact nations, Spain, Denmark, Finland, and the puppet governments of Manchukuo and Nanjing.

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axis

axis the name the Axis denotes the alliance of Germany and Italy formed before and during the Second World War, later extended to include Japan and other countries.
axis of evil a term coined by George W. Bush in his State of the Union address of February 2002, when he said of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, ‘States like these…constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of this world.’ The term is now used to encapsulate the political stance of the Bush government in foreign relations, as ‘the Evil Empire’ (see evil) was once used of the Reagan administration's view of the Soviet Union.

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axis

axis Imaginary straight line about which a body rotates. In mechanics, an axis runs longitudinally through the centre of an axle or rotating shaft. In geography and astronomy, it is a line through the centre of a planet or star, about which the planet or star rotates. Earth's axis between the North and South geographic poles is 12,700km (7900mi) long and is inclined at an angle of 66.5° to the plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun. A mathematical axis is a fixed line, such as the x, y or z axis, chosen for reference.

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axis

axis The second cervical vertebra, which articulates with the atlas (the first cervical vertebra, which articulates with the skull). The articulation between the axis and atlas in reptiles, birds, and mammals permits side-to-side movement of the head. The body of the axis is elongated to form a peg (the odontoid process), which extends into the ring of the atlas and acts as a pivot on which the atlas (and skull) can turn.

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axis

axis.
1. Straight line laid down as a guide on either side of which elements of the plan are symmetrically or systematically disposed. In a sphere it would run through the centre. See axial.

2. Thickness of the thinnest portion of the Ionic volute cushion, i.e. the fillet.

3. Hanging-stile of a door.

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axis

axis (aks-is) n.
1. a real or imaginary line through the centre of the body or one of its parts or a line about which the body or a part rotates.

2. the second cervical vertebra, which articulates with the atlas vertebra above and allows rotational movement of the head.

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axis

axis XIV. — L. axis axle, etc., rel. to Skr. ákṣa-, Gr. áxōn, and OE. eax, æx, OHG. ahsa (G. achse) :- Gmc. *aχsō; cf. next.

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Axis

Axis

the association of the countries that formed the German/Italian/Japanese alliance in World War II.

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axis

axis (pl. axes) The main (or central) stem of a plant or infloresence.

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axis

axisglacis, Onassis •abscess •anaphylaxis, axis, praxis, taxis •Chalcis • Jancis • synapsis • catharsis •Frances, Francis •thesis • Alexis • amanuensis •prolepsis, sepsis, syllepsis •basis, oasis, stasis •amniocentesis, anamnesis, ascesis, catechesis, exegesis, mimesis, prosthesis, psychokinesis, telekinesis •ellipsis, paralipsis •Lachesis •analysis, catalysis, dialysis, paralysis, psychoanalysis •electrolysis • nemesis •genesis, parthenogenesis, pathogenesis •diaeresis (US dieresis) • metathesis •parenthesis •photosynthesis, synthesis •hypothesis, prothesis •crisis, Isis •proboscis • synopsis •apotheosis, chlorosis, cirrhosis, diagnosis, halitosis, hypnosis, kenosis, meiosis, metempsychosis, misdiagnosis, mononucleosis, myxomatosis, necrosis, neurosis, osmosis, osteoporosis, prognosis, psittacosis, psychosis, sclerosis, symbiosis, thrombosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, tuberculosis •archdiocese, diocese, elephantiasis, psoriasis •anabasis • apodosis •emphasis, underemphasis •anamorphosis, metamorphosis •periphrasis • entasis • protasis •hypostasis, iconostasis

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Axis

Axis

The Axis powers were the countries that unified against the Allied coalition (which included Poland, Great Britain, France, and, later, the United States and the Soviet Union) in World War II (1939–45). Germany, Japan, and Italy were the founding powers of the Axis alliance. Later it included Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary, among others. Military planning was led by German dictator Adolf Hitler (1889–1945), Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (1883–1945), and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo (1884–1948) of Japan.

The Axis powers concentrated efforts to conquer territory in two parts of the world. Germany led efforts in Europe while Japan led efforts in the Pacific. This strategy forced the Allied troops to split their resources between two areas of the world. At the height of their expansion, the Axis powers dominated large parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Ocean. In the end, however, they were completely defeated by the Allies .

The Axis alliance began to evolve in 1936 when Italy and Germany signed a pact of friendship. The term axis stems from a statement Mussolini made at the time that all of Europe would revolve around the Rome-Berlin axis resulting from the friendship. The Tripartite Treaty that officially established the Axis powers as a military threat was signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan on September 27, 1940. The three countries wanted to build empires and establish a new world order. The treaty recognized a sphere of interest for each country and contained promises that they would help each other attain their economic, political, and military goals. Other countries later joined the Axis efforts.

The Axis powers were defeated in World War II. In a twist of politics, Italy's Mussolini was imprisoned, and Italy entered into a pact with the Allies in September 1943. Germany continued to fight intensively until it was pushed back across Europe. It surrendered unconditionally on May 7, 1945. The Allies, however, continued to fight in the Pacific arena against Japan until August 1945. Japan surrendered only after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Axis

AXIS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The expression Axis, used to designate the enemies of the Allied forces during the Second World War, originated in the interwar period, when it was first employed by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) in 1936. The anti-democratic, militaristic, and totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy found common ground for joint activities in the form of the Spanish civil war (1936–1939), which at the time was being waged full-scale, and whose Republican and Nationalist camps were both looking to Europe for support.

Based on the aid they had only recently begun to lend the Spanish Nationalists of Francisco Franco (1892–1975), Italy and Germany formalized a nonmilitary accord on 25 October 1936, which Mussolini characterized as an "axis" around which other European nations would eventually gravitate. Thus was the expression born. The motivations behind the treaty stemmed from Italy's growing international isolation as a result of the Fascist regime's invasion of Ethiopia, and from the desire of the German dictator Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) to find an ally in Europe. After having secured Italy's neutrality in the first phase of its expansion into the Austrian Sudetenland, Germany transformed the nonmilitary accord into a formal alliance with the signing in May of 1939 of the "Pact of Steel," a treaty providing for both military and economic cooperation. However this "Rome-Berlin Axis" was to signal but the first phase in the constitution of a more ambitious alliance whose groundwork the two powers were only beginning to lay, in order to further the enactment of their aggressive and expansionist foreign policies. The founding act of their common policy in this respect was the expansion of the original Pact of Steel into a tripartite alliance with Japan, signed 27 September 1940, which cemented the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis in place.

Once established, however, the tripartite axis was not destined to remain as such. Two months later the three founding powers were joined by the majority of the authoritarian regimes of central Europe, including Hungary (20 November 1940), Romania (23 November 1940), Slovakia (24 November 1940), and finally Bulgaria (1 March 1941). The lone holdouts, Yugoslavia and Greece, were thus earmarked as the first targets of the Germano-Italian alliance in the Balkans.

Although it was highly diverse from a geostrategic perspective, the Axis was nonetheless surprisingly homogeneous as concerns the type of states that joined it. All of its participant regimes were either dictatorships or authoritarian, all echoed the antidemocratic and unyieldingly nationalist chorus, and all pursued expansionist foreign policy goals. The point here is not to compare the Nazi drive for world domination with the relatively modest foreign policy objectives of Bulgaria, but rather to emphasize the degree to which this homogeneity constituted one of the glues holding the alliance together, and how this figured as a favored theme of Allied propaganda, which found it thereby easier to maintain day in and day out that the war was indeed against tyranny itself. Although the question of negotiating the division of one or another specific territory never seriously arose, it was nonetheless clear that the Axis sought a fundamental reshuffling of the global geostrategic deck, and the institution of clearly defined spheres of influence between its three primary players. In this sense the second-tier members of the alliance did not relate to the first-tier powers on an equal footing, although their existence as states did not depend on their Axis membership as such. This was not the case with the third-tier Axis states, whose virtual existences were largely the incidental outcome of actions designed to create breathing room. The ranks of this hodge-podge of Axis members included for example the Central Council of Belarus, a phantom assembly on which the German occupiers bestowed independence just as Russian tanks were encircling Minsk, and Manchukuo, a Japanese puppet regime propped up in February 1932.

In this way the Axis developed into a disparate alliance effectively run by the three great powers and serving primarily to define each of the three countries' spheres of influence. Mussolini's downfall and the founding of the Italian Social Republic in September 1943 profoundly altered the state of relations at the heart of the treaty. From that point forward the Axis became synonymous with Berlin and Tokyo only, and the chronology of its demise went hand in hand with the crumbling of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan themselves.

See alsoFascism; Nazism; World War II.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Jacobsen, Hans-Adolf. Nationalsozialistische Aussenpolitik, 1933–1938. Frankfurt, 1968. This is the most complete account to date of German foreign policy during the early years of the Axis.

Christian Ingrao

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