Compare the "Axis powers" of Japan and Germany.

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In many respects, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany were natural allies. Both were far-right dictatorships with a fanatical ambition to build huge empires that would completely upend the existing international order. Under both regimes, militarism combined with a belief in racial superiority created a toxic mixture that threatened the peace...

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In many respects, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany were natural allies. Both were far-right dictatorships with a fanatical ambition to build huge empires that would completely upend the existing international order. Under both regimes, militarism combined with a belief in racial superiority created a toxic mixture that threatened the peace and stability of large parts of the globe.

Japanese nationalists had long dreamed of establishing an East Asian empire. This was largely because Japan lacked many of the raw materials necessary to compete in the international economy. But long-standing notions of racial superiority were also a factor. Nationalists regarded the Japanese as the undisputed master-race of East Asia, entitling them to carve their very own empire out of the existing colonial territories of the French and the British. With the entire apparatus of the Japanese state now firmly under the control of the military, it was possible to turn that long-standing dream of territorial expansion into reality.

Meanwhile, under the Nazis, Germany had become a major military power once more. As with Imperial Japan, this was for the purpose of creating an empire. In the case of the Nazis, this meant a racial empire in Eastern Europe, in which German settlers would form the so-called master race, and where those native Slavs who hadn't already been murdered or deported would become little more than slaves.

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While they found a common enemy in World War II, Japan and Germany were quite different as axis powers. To begin with, Japan was an empire, whose emperor could trace his lineage back hundreds of years. Even today, Japanese culture honors an Imperial House, which is the oldest continuing royalty in the world. In contrast, the National Socialists (Nazis) were a kind of far-right upstart, led by a man (Hitler) whose pedigree was less than illustrious.

Japan and Germany were similar in some respects, especially those pertaining to some of their motivations. Both countries sought to increase their territorial control in order to gain access to greater resource bases. In the case of Japan, this was a response to perceived American encroachment on their Pacific-realm. In the case of Germany, this philosophy of lebensraum was a justification for annexing Austria and Czechoslovakia and invading Poland, which then led to the outbreak of World War II.

Both Japan and Germany were, in principle, Fascist regimes which discouraged any criticism of their single-party states and instead insisted on complete obedience to their raison d'etat.

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