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Neutral Country

A neutral country is a state that is neutral towards belligerents in a specific war or holds itself as permanently neutral in all future conflicts (including avoiding entering into military alliances such as NATO or CSTO). As a type of non-combatant status, nationals of neutral countries enjoy protection under the law of war from belligerent actions to a greater extent than other non-combatants such as enemy civilians and prisoners of war. Different countries interpret their neutrality differently: some, such as Costa Rica, have demilitarized, while Switzerland holds to "armed neutrality", to deter aggression with a sizeable military, while barring itself from foreign deployment. Not all neutral countries avoid any foreign deployment or alliances, as Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden have active UN peacekeeping forces and a political alliance within the European Union. Sweden's traditional policy is not to participate in military alliances, with the intention of staying neutral in the case of war. Immediately before World War II, the Nordic countries stated their neutrality, but Sweden changed its position to that of non-belligerent at the start of the Winter War. There have been considerable changes to the interpretation of neutral conduct over the past centuries. During the Cold War, Yugoslavia claimed military and ideological neutrality, and that is continued by its successor, Serbia.

neutrality yugoslavia peacekeeping

1. Terminology

  • A neutral country in a particular war, is a sovereign state which refrains from joining either side of the conflict and adheres to the principle of the Law of Neutrality under international law. Although countries have historically often declared themselves as neutral at the outbreak of war, there is no obligation for them to do so.[1] The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5[2] and 13[3] of the Hague Convention of 1907.
  • A permanently neutral power is a sovereign state which is bound by international treaty, or by its own declaration, to be neutral towards the belligerents of all future wars. An example of a permanently neutral power is Switzerland. The concept of neutrality in war is narrowly defined and puts specific constraints on the neutral party in return for the internationally recognized right to remain neutral.
  • Neutralism or a "neutralist policy" is a foreign policy position wherein a state intends to remain neutral in future wars. 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.
  • A non-belligerent state is one that indirectly participates in a war, politically and/or materially helping one side of the conflict and thus not participating militarily. For example, it may allow its territory to be used for the war effort. Contrary to neutrality, this term is not defined under international law.

2. Rights and Responsibilities of a Neutral Power

Belligerents may not invade neutral territory,[4] and a neutral power's resisting any such attempt does not compromise its neutrality.[5]

A neutral power must intern belligerent troops who reach its territory,[6] but not escaped prisoners of war.[7] Belligerent armies may not recruit neutral citizens,[8] but they may go abroad to enlist.[9] Belligerent armies' personnel and materiel may not be transported across neutral territory,[10] but the wounded may be.[11] A neutral power may supply communication facilities to belligerents,[12] but not war materiel,[13] although it need not prevent export of such materiel.[14]

Belligerent naval vessels may use neutral ports for a maximum of 24 hours, though neutrals may impose different restrictions.[15] Exceptions are to make repairs—only the minimum necessary to put back to sea[16]—or if an opposing belligerent's vessel is already in port, in which case it must have a 24-hour head start.[17] A prize ship captured by a belligerent in the territorial waters of a neutral power must be surrendered by the belligerent to the neutral, which must intern its crew.[18]

3. Recognition and Codification

Neutrality has been recognised in different ways, and sometimes involves a formal guarantor. For example, Austria has its neutrality guaranteed by its four former occupying powers, Switzerland by the signatories of the Congress of Vienna and Finland by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The form of recognition varies, often by bilateral treaty (Finland), multilateral treaty (Austria) or a UN declaration (Turkmenistan). These treaties can in some ways be forced on a country (Austria's neutrality was insisted upon by the Soviet Union) but in other cases it is an active policy of the country concerned to respond to a geopolitical situation (Ireland in the Second World War).[19]

For the country concerned, the policy is usually codified beyond the treaty itself. Austria and Japan codify their neutrality in their constitutions, but they do so with different levels of detail. Some details of neutrality are left to be interpreted by the government while others are explicitly stated, for example Austria may not host any foreign bases and Japan cannot participate in foreign wars. Yet Sweden, lacking formal codification, was more flexible during the Second World War in allowing troops to pass through its territory.[19]

4. Armed Neutrality

Switzerland is a key example of a country outside of any military alliance, but maintaining a strong deterrent force.

Armed neutrality is the posture of a state or group of states that has no alliance with either side of a war but asserts that it will defend itself against resulting incursions from any party.[20] This may include:

  • Military preparedness without commitment, especially as the expressed policy of a neutral nation in wartime, and the readiness to counter with force an invasion of rights by any belligerent power.[21]
  • Armed neutrality is a term used in international politics for the attitude of a state or group of states that makes no alliance with either side in a war. It is the condition of a neutral power during a war to hold itself ready to resist by force, any aggression of either belligerent.[22]
  • Armed neutrality makes a seemingly-neutral state take up arms for protection to maintain its neutrality.

The term derives from the historic maritime neutrality of the First League of Armed Neutrality of the Nordic countries and Russia under the leadership of Catherine the Great, which was invented in the late 18th century but has since been used only to refer to countries' neutralities.[23] Sweden and Switzerland are independently of each other famed for their armed neutralities, which they maintained throughout both World War I and World War II.[24] The Swiss and the Swedes each have a long history of neutrality: they have not been in a state of war internationally since 1815 and 1814, respectively. They pursue, however, active foreign policies and are frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world.[25] According to Edwin Reischauer, "To be neutral you must be ready to be highly militarized, like Switzerland or Sweden."[26]

In contrast, other neutral states may abandon military power (examples of states doing this include Costa Rica and Liechtenstein) or reduce it, but rather uses it for the express purpose of home defense and the maintenance of its neutrality. But the lack of a military does not result in neutrality as countries such as Iceland replaced a standing military with a military guarantee from a stronger power.

4.1. Leagues of Armed Neutrality

  • The First League of Armed Neutrality was an alliance of minor naval powers organized in 1780 by Catherine II of Russia to protect neutral shipping in the War of American Independence.[27] The establishment of the First League of Armed Neutrality was viewed by Americans as a mark of Russian friendship and sympathy. This league had a lasting impact of Russian-American relations and the relations of those two powers and Britain. It was also the basis for international maritime law, which is still in effect.[28] In the field of political science, this is the first historical example of armed neutrality, however, scholars like Dr. Carl Kulsrud argue that the concept of armed neutrality was introduced even earlier. Within 90 years before the First League of Armed Neutrality was established, neutral powers had joined forces no less than three times. As early as 1613, Lubeck and Holland joined powers to continue their maritime exploration without the commitment of being involved in wartime struggles on the sea.[29]
  • The Second League of Armed Neutrality was an effort to revive this during the French Revolutionary Wars.[30] It was an alliance with Denmark-Norway, Prussia, Sweden and Russia. It occurred during 1800 and 1801. The idea of this second league was to protect neutral shipping from the British Royal Navy. However, Britain took this as the alliance taking up sides with France, and attacked Denmark leading to the Battle of Copenhagen (1801) and the taking of Copenhagen by the British. The alliance was forced to withdraw from the league.
  • A potential Third League of Armed Neutrality was discussed during the American Civil War, but was never realized.[31]

5. Peacekeeping

Irish units on UN patrol in the Golan Heights, Syria.

For many states, such as Ireland and Sweden, neutrality does not mean the absence of any foreign interventionism. Peacekeeping missions for the United Nations are seen as intertwined with it.[32] The Swiss electorate rejected a 1994 proposal to join UN peacekeeping operations. Despite this, 23 Swiss observers and police have been deployed around the world in UN projects.[33]

6. Points of Debate

The legitimacy of whether some states are as neutral as they claim has been questioned in some circles, although this depends largely on a state's interpretation of its form of neutrality.

6.1. European Union

There are five members of the European Union that still describe themselves as a neutral country in some form: Austria, Ireland, Finland , Malta and Sweden. With the development of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy, the extent to which they are, or should be, neutral is debated. For example, former Finnish Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen, on 5 July 2006, stated that Finland was no longer neutral:

"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."[34]

However, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä on 5 December 2017 still described the country as "militarily non-aligned" and that it should remain so.[35] Ireland, which sought guarantees for its neutrality in EU treaties, argues that its neutrality does not mean that Ireland should avoid engagement in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations.[36]

Since the enactment of the Lisbon Treaty, EU members are bound by TEU, Article 42.7, which obliges states to assist a fellow member that is the victim of armed aggression. It accords "an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in [other member states'] power" but would "not prejudice the specific character of the security and defense policy of certain Member States" (neutral policies), allowing members to respond with non-military aid.

With the launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in defense at the end of 2017, the EU's activity on military matters has increased. The policy was designed to be inclusive and allows states to opt in or out of specific forms of military cooperation. That has allowed most of the neutral states to participate, but opinions still vary. Some members of the Irish Parliament considered Ireland's joining PESCO as an abandonment of neutrality. It was passed with the government arguing that its opt-in nature allowed Ireland to "join elements of PESCO that were beneficial such as counter-terrorism, cybersecurity and peacekeeping... what we are not going to be doing is buying aircraft carriers and fighter jets". Malta, as of December 2017, is the only neutral state not to participate in PESCO. The Maltese government argued that it was going to wait and see how PESCO develops to see whether it would compromise Maltese neutrality.[37]

6.2. Neutrality during World War II

Many countries made neutrality declarations during World War II. However, of the European states closest to the war, only Andorra, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (with Liechtenstein), and Vatican (the Holy See) remained neutral to the end.

Their fulfillment to the letter of the rules of neutrality has been questioned: Ireland supplied important secret information to the Allies; for instance, the date of D-Day was decided on the basis of incoming Atlantic weather information, some of it supplied by Ireland but kept from Germany. Ireland also secretly allowed Allied aircraft to use the Donegal Corridor, making it possible for British planes to attack German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic. On the other hand, both Axis and Allied pilots who crash landed in Ireland were interned.[38]

Sweden and Switzerland, surrounded by possessions and allies of Nazi Germany similarly made concessions to Nazi requests as well as to Allied requests.[39] Sweden was also involved in intelligence operations with the Allies, including listening stations in Sweden and espionage in Germany. Spain offered to join the war on the side of Nazi Germany in 1940, allowed Axis ships and submarines to use its ports, imported war materials for Germany, and sent a Spanish volunteer combat division to aid the Nazi war effort. Portugal officially stayed neutral, but actively supported both the Allies by providing overseas naval bases, and Germany by selling tungsten.

The United States was initially neutral and bound by the Neutrality Acts of 1936 not to sell war materials to belligerents. Once war broke out, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt persuaded Congress to replace the act with the Cash and carry program that allowed the US to provide military aid to the allies, despite opposition from non-interventionist members.[40] The "Cash and carry" program was replaced in March 1941 by Lend-Lease, effectively ending the US pretense of neutrality.

Sweden also made concessions to the German Reich during the war to maintain its neutrality, the biggest concession was to let the 163rd German Infantry Division to be transferred from Norway to Finland by Swedish trains, to aid the Finns in the Continuation War. The decision caused a political "Midsummer Crisis" of 1941, about Sweden's neutrality.

Equally, Vatican City made various diplomatic concessions to the Axis and Allied powers alike, while still keeping to the rules of the law of neutrality. The Holy See has been criticized—but largely exonerated later—for its silence on moral issues of the war.[41]

7. List of Neutral Countries

Some countries may occasionally claim to be "neutral" but not comply with the internationally agreed upon definition of neutrality as listed above.

State Period(s) of neutrality Notes
Austria 1920–1938 (after World War I to annexation by Germany)
1955–present (Declaration of Neutrality)
  • Bound by Constitution of Austria and the 1955 Austrian State Treaty (demanded by Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War and guaranteed by the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and France).[19]
  • The constitution prohibits military alliances and foreign military bases in Austria.[19]
  • An EU Member since 1995: military non-aligned, see points of debate § European Union.
 Costa Rica 1949–present
  • Neutral since its military was dissolved in 1949.[42][43]
  • Ratified by law in 2014.[44]
 Finland 1935–1939 (to Winter War)
1956–present (from return of Porkkala rental area)
  • An EU Member since 1995: military non-aligned, see points of debate § European Union.
 Ireland 1939–present[45]
  • Established a policy of neutrality during World War II, known as the Emergency in Ireland.[19]
    • Despite this policy, Ireland made concessions to the Allied Powers by secretly sharing intelligence and weather reports as well as by repatriating downed Royal Air Force airmen.[46][47]
    • It was believed that Ireland would take the German side if the United Kingdom attempted to invade Ireland, but would take the British side if invaded by Nazi Germany.
    • After the war, it was discovered that Germany had drawn up plans to invade Ireland in order to use the country for launching attacks into the United Kingdom, known as Operation Green.
    • Conversely, had Ireland been invaded, the United Kingdom had drawn up secret plans to invade Ireland in collaboration with the Irish Government to push Germany back out, known as Plan W.[48]
  • Ireland was invited to join NATO but did not wish to be in an alliance that included the United Kingdom.[19]
    • Attached the condition of Irish reunification to membership.[19]
    • Was clear that NATO would defend Ireland in the event of war, in part because Northern Ireland belonged to the United Kingdom.[19]
  • An EU Member since 1973: military non-aligned, see points of debate § European Union.
    • Was granted a special acknowledgement in the Seville Declarations on the Treaty of Nice due to its views on the use of force in international politics.
 Japan 1947–present
  • Constitutionally forbidden from participating in wars, but has policy of maintaining the heavily armed Japanese Self-Defense Forces and a close military alliance with United States
 Liechtenstein 1868–present
  • Neutral because the military was dissolved in 1868.[49][50]
 Malta 1980–present
  • Policy of neutrality since 1980, guaranteed in a treaty with Italy.[51]
  • An EU Member since 2004: military non-aligned, see points of debate § European Union.
 Mexico 1930–1942 (to World War II)
  • Opened its borders in the 20th century to political refugees fleeing Francoist Spain and the military dictatorships of Central and South America.
  • Since 2000, Mexico ignored the neutrality policy under foreign secretaries Jorge G. Castañeda and Luis Ernesto Derbez. Whether historical neutrality is to be kept is now internally debated. The Mexican formulation of neutrality is known as Estrada doctrine.[52]
 Monaco 1814–1943 (to World War II)
  • Monaco was occupied first by the Italians and later the Germans in 1943, and was later liberated by the Allies.
 Mongolia 1914–1918
  • During World War I Mongolia was neutral, but became a belligerent country of World War II. In September 2015, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in the 70th UN General Assembly speech suddenly announced that Mongolia will implement the "policy of permanent neutrality," and called on the international community to recognise Mongolian neutrality.[53]
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • Article 11 of the 1994 Constitution proclaims "permanent neutrality".[54]
 Panama 1989–present
  • The neutrality of the Panama Canal is enshrined by specific treaty.[55]
  • Is member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 Rwanda 2009–present
  • After the 1994 genocide, Rwanda announced permanent neutrality in 2009 after joining the Commonwealth of Nations.[56]
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 San Marino 1815–1944 (to World War II)
  • Following its occupation by Nazi Germany in 1944, the Sammarinese government declared war on the Axis.
  • A United Nations member since 1992.
 Serbia 2007–present
  • The National Assembly of Serbia declared armed neutrality in 2007.[57]
    Serbia is the only state in the former Yugoslavia that is not seeking NATO membership, due to the NATO bombing in 1999 and the ensuing secession of Kosovo,[58] but also due to a close relationship with the Russia .[59]
 Singapore 1965–present
  • Expelled from the Federation of Malaysia after two years, gaining independence in 1965.
  • A founding member of ASEAN alongside its south-east Asian neighbours.
  • Has not been involved in any war since independence except had an incident in 1975 when a South Vietnamese pilot flew his family out of South Vietnam as war refugees in a stolen plane (a C-130 owned by the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum) from the Vietnam War as North Vietnam invaded in 1975.
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 Sweden 1814–1918 (to Finnish Civil War)
  • First nation in the world to declare neutrality in 1814.
    • Formally proclaimed by King Charles XIV John in 1834.[19]
  • Sweden has not been part of a war since 1814. This makes Sweden the nation which has had the longest period of peace.
    • Has adapted policy to protect its interests. In World War II it allowed the Wehrmacht through its territory to Finland for the invasion of the Soviet Union, while also protecting refugees from the Nazis.[19]
  • An EU Member since 1995: military non-aligned, see points of debate § European Union.
  • Has nevertheless deployed combat troops to military conflicts overseas under United Nations command as part of ONUC during the Congo Crisis (1961-1964), and as part of UNPROFOR during the Bosnian War (1992-1995). Swedish military forces also participated in the War in Afghanistan, the First Libyan Civil War and the Mali War.
  Switzerland 1815–present
  • Self-imposed, permanent, and armed, designed to ensure external security. Because of that, it is the most globally known example of a neutral country.
  • The 1815 Congress of Vienna re-established Switzerland and its permanent neutrality was guaranteed by, France, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom and others.[19]
  • Swiss neutrality was so rigorously defended that the country refused to even join the United Nations until 2002.[60]
  • However, the Swiss announced unprecedented sanctions to Russia in 2022, breaking its convention.[61]
 Turkmenistan 1995–present
  • Declared its complete neutrality and had it formally recognized by the United Nations in 1995.[62]
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 Uzbekistan 2012–present
  • In 2012, the law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On approval of the Concept of foreign policy of the Republic of Uzbekistan" was adopted[63]
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • 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.

7.1. List of Formerly Neutral Countries

State Period(s) of neutrality Notes
Afghanistan 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1939–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement
 Albania 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1968 (attempted neutrality during the Prague Spring)
  • A NATO member since 2009.
Argentina 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1939–1945 (attempted neutrality during World War II)
  • Declared neutrality at the start of the Second World War, even though it was disrupted by the threat of economic sanctions, expulsion of the League of Nations and a very likely invasion out of suspicion of alliance with Nazi Germany by the United States to persuade Argentina to declare war to the Axis Powers, which they did in 1945.
 Belgium 1839–1914 (to World War I)
1936–1940 (to World War II)
  • Neutral stance from Treaty of London until the Treaty of Versailles, after the German invasion and occupation of Belgium.
  • Proclaimed neutrality in October 1936 and severed 1920 accord with France.
  • Neutrality abolished again after World War II following the Battle of Belgium.
  • A NATO member since 1949.
  • Is a member of the European Union.
 Bhutan 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1939–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • In accordance with the Treaty of Punakha in 1910, Bhutan during World War II to deal with foreign relations powers to the United Kingdom, Bhutan became the de facto wartime neutral country.
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 Cambodia 1955–1970 (to Vietnam War)
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 Denmark 1864–1940 (after Second Schleswig War to World War II)
  • A NATO member since 1949.
  • A European Union member since 1973.
 Estonia 1938–1939 (to World War II)
  • Declared its neutrality 1938, but was thereafter forced to allow troops of the Soviet Union to enter in 1939 and was occupied by it 1940 in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
  • A NATO and EU member since 2004.
Ethiopia 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Template:Country data Iroquois Haudenosaunee 1783–1917 (to World War I)
  • The confederation never made peace with Germany following the end of World War I.[64] They subsequently issued a second war declaration in 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States joining the war.[65]
Hungary 1956 (attempted neutrality during the Hungarian Revolution)
  • A NATO member since 1999.
  • A European Union member since 2004.
Template:Country data Persia (Iran) 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1939–1943 (neutral during World War II)
  • Occupied by the Allies in 1941, subsequently declared war on the Axis in 1943.
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Template:Country data Kingdom of Iceland 1918–1940 (to World War II)
  • Declared its neutrality in 1940 after the fall of Denmark, but was thereafter invaded and occupied by British troops. The government later requested the United States assume the role of its defense for the duration of the war.
  • A NATO member since 1949.
Italy 1914–1915 (to World War I)
  • Declared neutrality at the beginning of World War I despite being allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance.
  • Later renounced neutrality and joined the Allied Powers in exchange for territorial cessions through the secret Treaty of London.
  • A NATO member since 1949.
  • EU member since 1957.
Laos 1955–1975 (ostensibly neutral throughout the Vietnam War)
  • The International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos was signed in Geneva on July 23, 1962, by 14 nations, including the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. However throughout the Laotian Civil War, Laos was fighting the PAVN and Pathet Lao with the help of the United States among other anti-communist countries. Laos's neutrality can therefore be described as a "false neutrality".
  • Is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 Latvia 1938–1939 (to World War II)
  • Declared its neutrality 1938, but was thereafter forced to allow troops of the Soviet Union to enter in 1939 and was occupied by it 1940 in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
  • A NATO and EU member since 2004.
 Lithuania 1939 (to World War II)
  • Declared its neutrality 1939, but was thereafter forced to allow troops of the Soviet Union to enter in 1939 and was occupied by it 1940 in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
  • A NATO and EU member since 2004.
 Luxembourg 1839–1914 (to World War I)
1920–1940 (to World War II)
  • Neutral stance since 1839, abolished through its constitution in 1948.
  • A NATO member since 1949
  • EU member since 1957
 Netherlands 1839–1940 (to World War II)
  • Self-imposed neutrality between 1839 and 1940 on the European continent.
  • Ended after the Battle of the Netherlands
  • A NATO member since 1949.
  • EU member since 1957
 Norway 1814–1940 (to World War II)
  • A NATO member since 1949.
 Portugal 1932–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • While neutral throughout World War II, Portugal became non-belligerent towards the Allies, as evidenced in the Azores.
  • A NATO member since 1949.
  • EU member since 1986
 Spain 1914–1918 (neutral during World War I)
1940–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • While neutral throughout World War I and World War II, Spain did lean towards the Axis, as evidenced by the Blue Division.
  • A NATO member since 1982.
  • EU member since 1986
 Tibet 1939–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • While de facto independent under the rule of the Dalai Lama, Tibet was internationally recognized as a province of China.
  • Invaded and annexed by Communist China in 1951.
 Tonga 1845–1939 (until World War II)
  • Tonga retained its sovereignty while a protectorate of the United Kingdom. It declared war on the Axis in 1939 and 1941, respectively. Since the end of the war, Tongan forces have participated minimally in foreign conflicts.
 Turkey 1940–1945 (neutral during World War II)
  • Signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1941.
  • A NATO member since 1952.
 United States 1914–1917 (to World War I)
1939–1941 (to World War II)
  • Pursuant to the non-interventionist policy set forth by George Washington, the U.S. declared its neutrality at the beginning of both world wars.
  • However, it declared war on Germany during World War I in 1917 following the series of German U-boat attacks on American merchant ships supplying war material to the Allies in the Atlantic Ocean and declared war on Japan in World War II in 1941 following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • A NATO member since 1949.
 Ukraine 1990–2014 (to Russo-Ukrainian War)
  • Ukraine's parliament voted to drop non-aligned status on December 23, 2014.[66]
    In its Declaration of Sovereignty (1990), Ukraine declared it had the "intention of becoming a permanently neutral state that does not participate in military blocs and adheres to three nuclear free principles" (art. 9). The 1996 Ukrainian Constitution, based upon the Declaration of Independence of August 24, 1991, contained the basic principles of non-coalition and future neutrality.[67] Such policy of state non-alignment was re-confirmed by law in 2010.[68]
 Yugoslavia 1940–1941 (to World War II)
1949–1992 (to Yugoslav Wars)
  • Although founding member of the Little Entente committed to it until its dissolution in 1938, after much German pressure the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was forced to declare its neutrality between the Axis and Western powers.[69] However, following an anti-Axis coup, Yugoslavia was invaded and subsequently carved up by the Axis.
  • Ever since the Stalin-Tito split in 1949, the SFR Yugoslavia became a buffer zone between the Soviet bloc and the West. Insisting in its neutrality in the Cold War, Yugoslavia became a founder and a leading force of the Non-Aligned Movement.[70]


  1. Neff, Stephen (2000). The Rights and Duties of Neutrals: A General History. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 
  2. "The Avalon Project - Laws of War : Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land (Hague V); October 18, 1907". 
  3. "The Avalon Project - Laws of War : Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War (Hague XIII); October 18, 1907". 
  4. Hague Convention, §5 Art.1
  5. Hague Convention, §5 Art.10
  6. Hague Convention, §5 Art.11
  7. Hague Convention, §5 Art.13
  8. Hague Convention, §5 Art.4,5
  9. Hague Convention, §5 Art.6
  10. Hague Convention, §5 Art.2
  11. Hague Convention, §5 Art.14
  12. Hague Convention, §5 Art.8
  13. Hague Convention, §13 Art.6
  14. Hague Convention, §13 Art.7
  15. Hague Convention, §13 Art.12
  16. Hague Convention, §13 Art.14
  17. Hague Convention, §13 Art.16
  18. Hague Convention, §13 Art.3
  19. "Neutral European countries". 
  20. Oppenheim, International Law: War and Neutrality, 1906, p. 325.
  21. "Armed Neutrality". 
  22. "Armed Neutrality Law & Legal Definition". USLegal. 
  23. Leos Müller: "The Forgotten History of Maritime Neutrality, 1500-1800". In: Pascal Lottaz/Herbert R. Reginbogin (eds.): Notions of Neutralities, Lanham (MD): Lexington Books 2019, pp.67-86
  24. Bissell and Gasteyger, The Missing link: West European Neutrals and Regional Security, 1990, p. 117; Murdoch and Sandler, "Swedish Military Expenditures and Armed Neutrality," in The Economics of Defence Spending, 1990, p. 148-149.
  25. "Switzerland - Knowledge Encyclopedia". Knowledge Encyclopedia. 
  26. Chapin, Emerson. "Edwin Reischauer, Diplomat and Scholar, Dies at 79," New York Times. September 2, 1990.
  27. See, generally, Scott, The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800: A Collection of Official Documents Preceded by the Views of Representative Publicists, 1918; Karsh, Neutrality and Small States, 1988, p. 16-17; Jones, Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations to 1913, 2009, p. 15-17.
  28. Vinarov, Mikhail. cards/the-first-league-of-armed-neutrality "The First League of Armed Neutrality". cards/the-first-league-of-armed-neutrality. 
  29. Kulsrud, Carl J.. "Armed Neutrality to 1780". American Journal of International Law. 
  30. See, generally, Scott, The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800: A Collection of Official Documents Preceded by the Views of Representative Publicists, 1918; Karsh, Neutrality and Small States, 1988, p. 17.
  31. Bienstock, The Struggle for the Pacific, 2007, p. 150.
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