In May 1939, the Germans and Italians cemented their friendship with the Pact of Steel.(German: Stahlpakt; Italian: Patto d’Acciaio)

This pact committed both countries to support the other if one of them became involved in a war. The Duce saw this partnership as a defensive alliance, protection from the Western democracies, with whom he anticipated war. The two countries reconciled their past and sought to solidify their friendship.