Neutrality (international relations)

Neutrality (international relations)

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A neutral power in a particular war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

 is a sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerent
Belligerent
A belligerent is an individual, group, country or other entity which acts in a hostile manner, such as engaging in combat. Belligerent comes from Latin, literally meaning "to wage war"...

s. A non-belligerent
Non-belligerent
A non-belligerent is a person, a state, or other organization that does not fight in a given conflict. The term is often used to describe a country that does not take part militarily in a war...

 state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

. A permanently neutral power is a sovereign state which is bound by international treaty to be neutral towards the belligerents of all future wars, an example of a permanently neutral power is Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. The concept of neutrality in war is narrowly defined and puts specific constraints on the neutral party in return for the internationally recognised right to remain neutral.

Neutralism or a "neutralist policy" is a foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 position wherein a state intends to remain neutral in future wars. Non-alignment is the implementation of neutralism by avoiding military alliances. A sovereign state that reserves the right to become a belligerent if attacked by a party to the war is in a condition of armed neutrality
Armed neutrality
Armed neutrality, in international politics, is the posture of a state or group of states which makes no alliance with either side in a war, but asserts that it will defend itself against resulting incursions from all parties....

.

Rights and responsibilities of a neutral power


Belligerents may not invade neutral territory, and a neutral power's resisting any such attempt does not compromise its neutrality.

A neutral power must intern
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

 belligerent troops who reach its territory, but not escaped prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

. Belligerent armies may not recruit its citizens, but they may go abroad to enlist. Belligerent armies' men and material may not be transported across neutral territory, but the wounded may be. A neutral power may supply communication facilities to belligerents, but not war material, although it need not prevent export of such material.

Belligerent naval vessels may use neutral ports for a maximum of 24 hours, though neutrals may impose different restrictions. Exceptions are to make repairs — only the minimum necessary to put back to sea — or if an opposing belligerent's vessel is already in port, in which case it must have a 24-hour head start. A prize ship captured by a belligerent in the territorial waters
Territorial waters
Territorial waters, or a territorial sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a belt of coastal waters extending at most from the baseline of a coastal state...

 of a neutral power must be surrendered by the belligerent to the neutral, which must intern its crew.

Recognised as neutral


Recognised as neutral:
Country EU member? Neutral since Notes
Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

Yes 1955 Maintain external independence and inviolability of borders (expressly modelled on the Swiss neutrality).
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

No 1949 Neutral country after abolishing its military in 1949.
Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

Yes 1947? Military doctrine of competent, "credible" independent defence, not depending on any outside support, and the desire to remain outside international conflicts. In 2006, Finland's neutrality was brought into question by Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen
Matti Vanhanen
Matti Taneli Vanhanen is a Finnish politician. He is a former Prime Minister of Finland and a former Chairman of the Centre Party. In the second half of 2006 he was President of the European Council. In his earlier career he was a journalist...

 during the inauguration of the Finnish EU presidency.
Ireland
Irish neutrality
Ireland has a "traditional policy of military neutrality". In particular, Ireland remained neutral during World War II, and has never been a member of NATO or the Non-Aligned Movement. The formulation and justification of the neutrality policy has varied over time...

Yes 1937 A traditional policy of military neutrality defined as non-membership of mutual defence alliances.
Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

No 1947 Constitutionally forbidden
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a clause in the National Constitution of Japan that prohibits an act of war by the state. The Constitution came into effect on May 3, 1947, immediately following World War II. In its text, the state formally renounces war as a sovereign right and bans...

 from participating in wars, but maintains heavily-armed self-defence forces and a military alliance
Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan
The was signed between the United States and Japan in Washington, D.C. on January 19, 1960. It strengthened Japan's ties to the West during the Cold War era...

Liechtenstein No 1868 Neutral since its army was dissolved in 1868.
Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

Yes 1980 Policy of neutrality since 1980, guaranteed in a treaty with Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 concluded in 1983.
Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

No 1989
San Marino
San Marino
San Marino, officially the Republic of San Marino , is a state situated on the Italian Peninsula on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains. It is an enclave surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over with an estimated population of over 30,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino...

No 1862 Security guaranteed in treaty with Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 in 1862 and renewed again in 1931.
Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

Yes 1814 Sweden has not fought a war since ending its involvement in the Napoleonic Wars in 1814 with a short war with Norway, making it the oldest neutral country in the world.
Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

No 1815 Self-imposed, permanent, and armed, designed to ensure external security. Switzerland is the second oldest neutral country in the world; it has not fought a foreign war since its neutrality was established by the Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1815)
Treaty of Paris of 1815, was signed on 20 November 1815 following the defeat and second abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte. In February, Napoleon had escaped from his exile on Elba; he entered Paris on 20 March, beginning the Hundred Days of his restored rule. Four days after France's defeat in the...

 in 1815. Although the European powers ((Austria, France, Great Britain, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Spain and Sweden) agreed at the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 in May 1815 that Switzerland should be neutral, final ratification was delayed until after Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated so that some coalition forces could invade France via Swiss territory (see the minor campaigns of 1815
Minor campaigns of 1815
On 1 March 1815 Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from his imprisonment on the isle of Elba, and launched a bid to recover his empire. A confederation of European powers pledged to stop him. During the period known as the Hundred Days Napoleon chose to confront the armies of Prince Blücher and the Duke of...

 and the Act on the neutrality of Switzerland signed on 20 November 1815 by the Great Powers (Austria, France, Prussia, Great Britain, and Russia)).
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

No 1995 Declared its permanent neutrality and had it formally recognised by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in 1995.
Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

No 2010 Declared policy of state non-alignment in 2010.
Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

No 1929 The Lateran Treaty signed in 1929 with Italy imposed that "The Pope was pledged to perpetual neutrality in international relations and to abstention from mediation in a controversy unless specifically requested by all parties" thus making Vatican City neutral since then.

Claim to be neutral

Country Claimed neutrality Notes
Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

1955-1970, 1993-
Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

1939- With the exception of its participation on the side of the Allies in World War II. Opened its borders in the 20th century to political refugees fleeing the military dictatorships of South America. From 2000-2006, Mexico ignored the neutrality policy under foreign secretaries Jorge G. Castañeda and Luis Ernesto Derbez
Luis Ernesto Derbez
Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista is a Mexican politician and current rector of the Universidad de Las Américas.Upon assuming power in December 2000, President Vicente Fox chose him to serve as his Secretary of Economy...

. Whether historical neutrality is to be kept is now internally debated. The Mexican formulation of neutrality is known as Estrada doctrine
Estrada Doctrine
The Estrada Doctrine is the name of Mexico's core foreign policy ideal from 1930 to the early 2000s. Its name derives from Genaro Estrada, Secretary of Foreign Affairs during the presidency of Pascual Ortiz Rubio ....

.
Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

1994 Article 11 of the 1994 Constitution proclaims "permanent neutrality".
Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

2007- The National Assembly of Serbia declared armed neutrality in 2007.

Formerly neutral

Country Neutral between Notes
Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

1839-1918 Neutral stance since 1839, abolished through the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 after WWI and abolished again after WWII, non-neutral alignment confirmed by membership of NATO.
Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

1938-1939 Declared its neutrality on December 1, 1938, but Estonia's neutrality was questioned by the Soviet Union and Germany when a Polish submarine escaped from internment in Tallinn on September 18, 1939, which led to the Occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Now a NATO member.
Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

1962-? The International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos
International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos
The International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos is an international agreement signed in Geneva on July 23, 1962 between 14 states and Laos...

 was signed in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 on July 23, 1962, by 14 nations, including the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

.
Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

1938 Declared its neutrality on December 21, 1938, but was thereafter occupied by the Soviet Union in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Now a NATO member.
Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

1939 declared its neutrality on January 25, 1939, but was thereafter occupied by the Soviet Union in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Now a NATO member.
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

1839-1948 Neutral stance since 1839, abolished through its constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 in 1948, non-neutral alignment confirmed by membership of NATO.
Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

1839-1940 Self-imposed neutrality between 1839 and 1940 on the European continent
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. Now a NATO member.
Savoy
Savoy
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Monaco and the Mediterranean coast in the south....

1815-1919 The State of Savoy was included in the Swiss neutrality in the final Acte of the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 in 1815 and that year's Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1815)
Treaty of Paris of 1815, was signed on 20 November 1815 following the defeat and second abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte. In February, Napoleon had escaped from his exile on Elba; he entered Paris on 20 March, beginning the Hundred Days of his restored rule. Four days after France's defeat in the...

. The neutrality was maintained after the annexation of Savoy to France in 1860. The neutrality of Savoy
Savoy
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Monaco and the Mediterranean coast in the south....

 was abolished at the request of France by the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 in 1919. The abolition became effective on March 16, 1928.

European Union


The neutrality of some countries now in the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

) is under dispute, especially as the EU now operates a Common Foreign and Security Policy
Common Foreign and Security Policy
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the organised, agreed foreign policy of the European Union for mainly security and defence diplomacy and actions. CFSP deals only with a specific part of the EU's external relations, which domains include mainly Trade and Commercial Policy and other areas...

. This view was supported by the Finnish Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen
Matti Vanhanen
Matti Taneli Vanhanen is a Finnish politician. He is a former Prime Minister of Finland and a former Chairman of the Centre Party. In the second half of 2006 he was President of the European Council. In his earlier career he was a journalist...

, on 5 July 2006, while speaking to the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 as Council President
President of the European Council
The President of the European Council is a principal representative of the European Union on the world stage, and the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council...

;

"Mr Pflüger described Finland as neutral. I must correct him on that: Finland is a member of the EU. We were at one time a politically neutral country, during the time of the Iron Curtain. Now we are a member of the Union, part of this community of values, which has a common policy and, moreover, a common foreign policy."


Later, the 'solidarity clause' in the Lisbon Treaty was deemed sufficient to replace the Western European Union
Western European Union
The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

 (WEU) military alliance's mutual defence clause (where an attack upon one state is deemed an attack on all, resulting in military support from other members). As a result the WEU was closed down with its mutual defence role having been absorbed by the European Union.

Irish neutrality
Irish neutrality
Ireland has a "traditional policy of military neutrality". In particular, Ireland remained neutral during World War II, and has never been a member of NATO or the Non-Aligned Movement. The formulation and justification of the neutrality policy has varied over time...

 is similarly debated; the state's "traditional policy of military neutrality" is not defined in law, and referendums on the Treaty of Nice and on the Treaty of Lisbon were lost in part because of fears these would undermine Irish neutrality.

Austrian neutrality
Declaration of Neutrality
The Declaration of Neutrality was a declaration by the Austrian Parliament declaring the country permanently neutral. It was enacted on 26 October 1955 as a constitutional act of parliament, i.e., as part of the Constitution of Austria....

 is special, as for many Austrian citizens neutrality is a main element of the Austrian state. So while in fact neutrality currently only exists on paper, politicians do not dare to adjust the constitution to reflect reality. Furthermore the topic is very complicated as strong political powers are against any ties to NATO while in fact NATO can be regarded as the major European defense institution.

Neutrality to forestall invasion


Other countries may be more active on the international stage, while emphasising an intention to remain neutral in case of war close to the country. By such a declaration of intentions, the country hopes that all belligerents will count on the country's territory as off limits for the enemy, and hence unnecessary to waste resources on. The neutrality of Republic of Moldova is an interesting case. According to Ion Marandici, Moldova has chosen neutrality in order to avoid Russian security schemes and Russian military presence on its territory. Even if the country is constitutionally neutral, some researchers argue that de facto this former Soviet republic never was neutral, because parts of the Russian 14th army are present
14th Army involvement in Transnistria
The involvement of the Soviet 14th Guards Army in the War of Transnistria was extensive and contributed to the outcome, which left the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic with de facto independence from the Republic of Moldova.-Background:...

 at Bendery. The same author suggests that one solution in order to avoid unnecessary contradictions and deepen at the same time the relations with NATO would be
"to interpret the concept of permanent neutrality in a flexible manner".

Many countries made such declarations during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Most, however, became occupied, and in the end only the states of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 (with Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

) remained neutral of the European countries closest to the war. Their fulfilment to the letter of the rules of neutrality have been questioned: Ireland supplied some important secret information to the Allies
Allies
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

; for instance, the date of D-Day
D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

 was decided on the basis of incoming Atlantic weather information
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

 secretly supplied to them by Ireland but kept from Germany. Also, German pilots who crash landed in Ireland were interned, whereas their Allied counterparts usually went "missing" close to the border
Republic of Ireland-United Kingdom border
The Republic of Ireland–United Kingdom border is the boundary between the sovereign states of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland...

. Sweden and Switzerland, as embedded within Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and its occupied territory, similarly made some concessions to Nazi requests as well as to Allied requests. Sweden was also involved in intelligence operations with the Allies, including listening stations in Sweden and espionage in Germany, as well as secret military training of Norwegian and Danish soldiers in Sweden. Spain also pursued a policy of "non-alignment" and sent a volunteer combat division to aid the Nazi war effort.

According to Edwin Reischauer, "To be neutral you must be ready to be highly militarized, like Switzerland or Sweden." However, other countries - like Costa Rica - have claimed that having no army would strengthen their neutrality and democratic stability.

See also

  • Non-belligerent
    Non-belligerent
    A non-belligerent is a person, a state, or other organization that does not fight in a given conflict. The term is often used to describe a country that does not take part militarily in a war...

  • Non-Aligned Movement
    Non-Aligned Movement
    The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

  • :Category:Neutral states in World War II
  • Irish neutrality
    Irish neutrality
    Ireland has a "traditional policy of military neutrality". In particular, Ireland remained neutral during World War II, and has never been a member of NATO or the Non-Aligned Movement. The formulation and justification of the neutrality policy has varied over time...


External links