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Old May 10th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #11
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Re: “Neutral” European countries during WWII


Spain played both sides, but she knew where the food stuffs came from (the Western Hemisphere), and who controlled the sea lanes. Sweden played it as well, but she knew who controlled the Baltic since 1940, and also who was going to win the war. Both of them gave and took what they needed to in order to wind up on the good side of the winning side.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 07:27 PM   #12

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Re: “Neutral” European countries during WWII


I guess it depends what one means by "neutral."

If both the Axis and Allied powers benefited from a country's "neutrality," then one "could say" that that country was on both sides at the same time.

What if every country did that all the time? What a wonderful world that would be!
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Old May 10th, 2010, 09:13 PM   #13
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Re: “Neutral” European countries during WWII


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Originally Posted by Lucius View Post
I guess it depends what one means by "neutral."

If both the Axis and Allied powers benefited from a country's "neutrality," then one "could say" that that country was on both sides at the same time.

What if every country did that all the time? What a wonderful world that would be!
Being gratuitously included in the massive destruction of a colossal war would hardly have been a better scenario...

BTW "neutral" here means any country not fighting in a war, let say like the US all along the Napoleonic Wars, when they definitively benefited from not being unnecessarily involved in another colossal war (at least up to the absurd war of 1812).

Last edited by sylla1; May 10th, 2010 at 10:09 PM.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 04:26 AM   #14

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Re: “Neutral” European countries during WWII


Well, yeah, that's what I meant. If every country were neutral all the time, then there wouldn't be any wars, wonderful world, etc.

Can two neutral countries go to war and remain neutral? Sure, they could be neutral in someone else's war, but they wouldn't be neutral in their own war. Would they?

I'm not saying that war will ever come to an end. But if it ever does, then this might be the way forward - all neutrality all the time.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 04:42 AM   #15

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Re: “Neutral” European countries during WWII


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Originally Posted by pikeshot1600 View Post
Spain played both sides, but she knew where the food stuffs came from (the Western Hemisphere), and who controlled the sea lanes. Sweden played it as well, but she knew who controlled the Baltic since 1940, and also who was going to win the war. Both of them gave and took what they needed to in order to wind up on the good side of the winning side.
And the downside of that successful strategy was ?
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Old May 11th, 2010, 12:15 PM   #16
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Re: “Neutral” European countries during WWII


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And the downside of that successful strategy was ?
I don't know what you had in mind, but Spain managed to stay out of the war (I know, Russia and all), and she didn't starve. The Swedes stayed afloat economically by selling materials to Germany - what else were they supposed to do? Sweden also was an important intelligence gathering location for the Allies - with the covert support of the Swedish army and navy. Numerous Swedish businessman and diplomats carried on espionage for the Allies on the Continent, in cooperation with Swedish military intel.

Spain may have been pro-Axis, and Sweden pro-Allies, but their respective positions (and their economic situations) did not permit them to openly support those sides.

Any downside you have in mind would seem to be outweighed by not being ruined by the war.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 06:15 AM   #17

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qte “It is time for Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal and Spain to acknowledge that there were no truly neutral countries on the European continent during World War II. It is now time for those four nations to acknowledge that they were part of the Nazis' New Order and that they bear some responsibility for the tragic history of the Thirties and Forties.” End of qte
I agree that there were no truly neutral countries on the European continent during WWII, but I think it would be very harsh to say they bear some responsibility for what the Nazis did.

Switzerland reputation was certainly stained after turning ways Jewish refugees. Nowadays this sort of behaviour would be unthinkable. There is also a question over Nazi gold. On the other hand the Swiss did not sit passively, they actively defended their neutrality. Most of the adult male population had military training and weapons and plans were in place for elements of the Swiss army to fight a rearguard action on the borders to allow the bulk of the army to retreat into the mountain strongholds and resits the invader. The Swiss Air Force also defended their air space vigorously. Many Axis and Allied aircraft that violated Swiss airspace were forced to land and were interned (many being housed in Alpine resorts - I often think if I was a pilot during this period I might have got lost over Swiss airspace ). Intercepted Axis aircraft that refused to surrender were often engaged and shot down.

Sweden did supply Germany with Iron Ore, this is a fact. However the Swedish army was prepared to defend its territory from any German invasion and continued to update its armed forces throughout the war. This armed neutrality made it too costly a target for Germany to invade and therefore the vast majority of its resources (including its modern arms industry) were denied to the Nazi war machine.

Turkey walked a diplomatic tightrope throughout the war and did what was in its own best interests as Ataturk had wanted them to do. Turkey managed to get arms and supplies from both sides on the promise of considering an alliance. Most importantly it stayed neutral in the critical 1941-42 period when the Germans could have used its territory to attack the middle east or the Caucasus.

Spain, weakened by its own Civil War, also resisted Hitler's persuasion. An attack on Gibraltar by Germany using Spanish territory would have made Operation Torch impossible. Spain did send the Blue Division to Russia, this is probably the very least it could have done to repay the Nazis for their help in the Civil War, but it could potentially have done a lot more to help and didn't.

Portugal gave the Azores for Allied use but didn't send troops as it had done in the first war. Which country, not directly involved, would gladly send its young men to die on some distant battlefield? It is not surprising that Ireland did not feel obliged to send troops to help Britain. As the saying goes, your enemies enemy is your friend!

All of the above are guilty of looking after number one, can anyone blame them for that?
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Old May 12th, 2010, 06:20 AM   #18
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Re: “Neutral” European countries during WWII


All treaties and alliances eventually are broken. Bedfellows are always strange. Nothing is sacred.
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