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What is your view on countries that remain neutral during wars?

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    I'm referring to countries that have reasonably strong connections to one side and instead of getting their hands dirty, they let the others do the work.

    For example, Sweden during WW2 allowed Getman soldiers to use their railways and sell them iron ore, however, they did help protect persecuted Jews and redistribute intelligence to the Allies. Is this acceptable or should Sweden have helped more?

    On a similar note, even as an Irishman, I am ashamed that we didn't help Britain, it was a European battle that should have taken precedence over that.

    Thoughts?
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    It's very hard to make sweeping statements about neutrality. I live in a neutral country (Switzerland) and I kinda like the craftiness that comes along with being a neutral country negotiating ones way through various wars whilst being opportunistic about whatever outcome there is. Certainly better than actually being involved with any direct killing, even if it can be seen as a little cowardly.

    Then there's the whole thing about neutral countries such as Switzerland harbouring dissidents as well as funds from either side. Hard to make a single judgement of it since its dissidents and funds from both combatant sides flow into the country so it exists for both the benefit, and detriment, of either side.
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    For me it just depends on the war. I think it's dangerous to just raise your hands and say, "we're neutral and won't ever fight". For example, I think the second world war was a just war (from the allied point of view) and I think countries like Switzerland etc should have fought with us then. However, there's a danger that you could become a militarised country which will fight a war largely to protect a military alliance (e.g. arguably the first world war) rather than because it's necessary to fight.
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    It completely depends. In the second World War given that Switzerland was trapped between Italy and Germany (including from the North in Bavaria, and the East from Austria), it could of been walked over fairly quickly and pointlessly, cities like Geneva which is overlooked by France, would be particularly vulnerable to being shelled into submission. Sweden is probably in a fairly similar position. All Hitler needed to do was overrun the South of the country around Stockholm, he could of done it in a matter of days with a combined move from Norway, Denmark and even amphibious landings.

    It was probably for the best that they stayed out. It would of just been more land for the Germans to occupy and exploit.
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    (Original post by Patriot Rich)
    It completely depends. In the second World War given that Switzerland was trapped between Italy and Germany (including from the North in Bavaria, and the East from Austria), it could of been walked over fairly quickly and pointlessly, cities like Geneva which is overlooked by France, would be particularly vulnerable to being shelled into submission. Sweden is probably in a fairly similar position. All Hitler needed to do was overrun the South of the country around Stockholm, he could of done it in a matter of days with a combined move from Norway, Denmark and even amphibious landings.

    It was probably for the best that they stayed out. It would of just been more land for the Germans to occupy and exploit.
    In regards to Sweden, if Norway and Sweden had aligned themselves to the Allies from the beginning instead of sticking thier heads in the sand and attempting to remain nuetral, a combined British-French-Scandanavian force would have been much more likely to repel the German invasion of Norway, and by extension keep Sweden safe as well.
    The same goes for Belgium. They refused to let France extend the Maginot line along their border of for Britain to station troops in Belgium as a deterrent, and by attempting to remain nuetral all they did was make themselves easier pickings for Germany, where as if they and the Netherlands had thrown their hats in with the Allies from the beginning then the British and French could have co-ordinated a common defence strategy that would have been more likely to save the low countries.
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    As other people have said, you can't really make a one-size-fits-all judgement on neutrality. It depends entirely on circumstances. And those circumstances aren't just about whether it would be considered a 'just war'; it also depends on much more prosaic things like public opinion, a country's fighting capability (there's no point entering a war if you just going to get smooshed), that kind of stuff.

    In regard to the morality issue, it's also difficult to judge. We think of WWII as the ultimate example of a just war, in which every right-minded person should have fought against fascism. But you have to look at from the point of view of a person then and there, rather than from ours. For instance, a lot of Eastern Europeans fought with Nazi Germany during the war. That might seem strange, and even downright immoral to us, but for them the real enemy was the Soviet Union, under whose occupation those countries had experienced brutal oppression. Nazi Germany offered a convenient way out of their difficulties. The same goes for a lot of Indians who fought with the Japanese, because for them Britain was the enemy. And I imagine, to relate to your example, a lot of Irish people felt the same way.
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    I can sympathise with countries like Switzerland, surrounded on all sides by warring enemies and wanting to remain 'out of it', as it were; I can't quite place my finger on what I feel is wrong about countries who act as Ireland did in WWII and not take part if it means fighting on the side of an ex-coloniser.
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    Irelands neutrality during ww2 was a statement of our sovernity and was needed for us to be taken more seriously internationally and not viewed as Britain puppet plus im sure about half the population were admirers of Hitler at the time, take the blueshirts for example so entering the war would have been a disaster
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    Ireland did not enter the war because it was a backwards mess of a country with nothing to show for itself, sparse population still reeling from the famine, stagnant cities, no industries, no infrastructure, no money. We have all seen how amazingly Britain and other strong countries were able to utilise their industries and build themselves back up again. Ireland didn't have that and entering the war would have bankrupted it and set its future growth back a few decades. Dev was wise enough to see that. It wasn't a big **** you to Britain. You do realise Churchill was dangling the carrot of giving Ireland back the north? Wasn't an easy decision by any means.

    Tens of thousands of Irish fought in both wars. There were entirely Irish regiments. When Belfast was bombed, the Irish government helped out. Operation kinder transport send loads of children on to Ireland and war orphans were also sent after the war. Not exactly a country ignoring the war.
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    If none of their interests are at stake its a wise move.
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    I guess basically that argument like:

    They came for my neighbour. I didn't do anything.
    Then they came for me. No-one could do anything.

    Whatever that saying is. But we've been neutral, technically, out of most wars that happen, so not declaring war isn't really a strange scenario. However, I can imagine the scene being a little different if you can imagine something like Germany taking over Europe and Switzerland just stepping to the side and let them pass it's probably a little different but the reason the Germans took over all of Europe was because of lack of alliances between the countries.
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    (Original post by StarsAreFixed)
    Ireland did not enter the war because it was a backwards mess of a country with nothing to show for itself, sparse population still reeling from the famine, stagnant cities, no industries, no infrastructure, no money. We have all seen how amazingly Britain and other strong countries were able to utilise their industries and build themselves back up again. Ireland didn't have that and entering the war would have bankrupted it and set its future growth back a few decades. Dev was wise enough to see that. It wasn't a big **** you to Britain. You do realise Churchill was dangling the carrot of giving Ireland back the north? Wasn't an easy decision by any means.

    Tens of thousands of Irish fought in both wars. There were entirely Irish regiments. When Belfast was bombed, the Irish government helped out. Operation kinder transport send loads of children on to Ireland and war orphans were also sent after the war. Not exactly a country ignoring the war.
    Yes we didn't exactly ignore the war but we did have ports which would have been of aid to Churchill who did of course consider an invasion of Ireland during the war. As for the offering of the north to Dev I believe that was a bluff on Churchills part, times were desperate during the Battle of Britain and he didnt really care once he got the ports he had just recently lost to Dev.
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    I admire their restraint at a time when other governments are systematically murdering people. War is nothing more than a population check and it is never justified.
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    Well it depends on which wars, doesn't it?

    Some wars aren't for all countries to get involved in.

    But a country that will always be neutral in all wars as policy? Why that's a phaggot country.

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