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Switzerland

SwissSwiss ConfederationSWI
Some, such as Costa Rica, have demilitarized; whereas Switzerland holds to "armed neutrality" in which it deters aggression with a sizeable military while barring itself from foreign deployment. 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.
Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002.

Belligerent

belligerentsbelligerencybelligerent power
]]A neutral country is a state which 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).
In times of war, belligerent countries can be contrasted with neutral countries, and non-belligerents.

Austria

AUTAustrianRepublic of Austria
Not all neutral countries avoid any foreign deployment or alliances, however, as Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden have active UN peacekeeping forces and a political alliance within the 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.
The Second Republic declared its perpetual neutrality in foreign political affairs in 1955.

Non-combatant

non-combatantsnoncombatantnoncombatants
As a type of non-combatant status, neutral nationals 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.
They are persons, such as combat medics and military chaplains, who are members of the belligerent armed forces but are protected because of their specific duties (as currently described in Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, adopted in June 1977); combatants who are placed hors de combat; and neutral persons not involved in fighting for one of the belligerents involved in a war.

Civilian

civilianscivilcivilian population
As a type of non-combatant status, neutral nationals 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.
It is slightly different from a non-combatant, as some non-combatants are not civilians (for example, military chaplains attached to the belligerent party or military personnel serving with a neutral country).

Non-belligerent

non-belligerencebelligerentnon-belligerency
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.
A non-belligerent state differs from a neutral one in that it may support certain belligerents in a war but is not directly involved in military operations.

Finland

FinnishFINRepublic of Finland
Not all neutral countries avoid any foreign deployment or alliances, however, as Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden have active UN peacekeeping forces and a political alliance within the 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.
Officially claiming to be neutral, Finland lay in the grey zone between the Western countries and the Soviet Union.

Internment

concentration campconcentration campsinterned
A neutral power must intern belligerent troops who reach its territory, but not escaped prisoners of war.
Internment also refers to a neutral country's practice of detaining belligerent armed forces and equipment on its territory during times of war under the Hague Convention of 1907.

Irish neutrality during World War II

Irelandneutral IrelandIreland declared neutrality
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).
Pursuing a policy of neutrality required attaining a balance between the strict observance of non-alignment and the taking of practical steps to repel or discourage an invasion from either of the two concerned parties.

First League of Armed Neutrality

League of Armed Neutralitydeclarations of neutralityArmed Neutrality
The term derives from the historic maritime neutrality of the League of Armed Neutrality that the Nordic countries and Russia under the leadership of Katherine the Great invented in the late 18th Century, but has since been used only to refer to country neutralities.
The first League of Armed Neutrality was an alliance of European naval powers between 1780 and 1783 which was intended to protect neutral shipping against the Royal Navy's wartime policy of unlimited search of neutral shipping for French contraband.

Iceland

IcelandicISLRepublic of Iceland
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.
A month later, British armed forces conducted Operation Fork, the invasion and occupation of the country, violating Icelandic neutrality.

Republic of Ireland

IrelandIrishRepublic
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. 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.
The Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since immediately prior to World War II and the country is consequently not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace and aspects of PESCO.

Peacekeeping

peacekeeperspeace-keepingpeacekeeper
Peacekeeping missions for the United Nations are seen as intertwined with it.
Under international law, peacekeepers are non-combatants due to their neutral stance in the conflict between two or more belligerent parties (to the same extent as neutral personnel and properties outside of peacekeeping duties) and are to be protected from attacks at all times.

Sweden

SwedishSWEKingdom of Sweden
Not all neutral countries avoid any foreign deployment or alliances, however, as Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden have active UN peacekeeping forces and a political alliance within the 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. 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.
Throughout the 20th century, Swedish foreign policy was based on the principle of non-alignment in peacetime and neutrality in wartime.

European Union

EUEuropeanEurope
Not all neutral countries avoid any foreign deployment or alliances, however, as Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden have active UN peacekeeping forces and a political alliance within the 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.
22 EU members are members of NATO while the remaining member states follow policies of neutrality.

Lend-Lease

Lend LeaseLend-Lease ActLend-Lease program
The "Cash and carry" program was replaced in March 1941 by Lend-Lease, effectively ending the US pretense of neutrality.
Lend-Lease effectively ended the United States' pretense of neutrality which had been enshrined in the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s.

Malta

MalteseMaltese IslandsRepublic of Malta
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.
Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in 1980.

Midsummer crisis

Midsommarkrisen
The decision caused a political "Midsummer Crisis" of 1941, about Sweden's neutrality.
Sweden's neutrality was tested when Nazi Germany and Finland demanded that Sweden allow the transit of the Wehrmacht's 163rd Infantry Division by railroad from Norway to Finland.

Declaration of Neutrality

Austrian neutralitydeclared its neutralityAustria
The Declaration of Neutrality was a declaration by the Austrian Parliament declaring the country permanently neutral.

Moldova

Republic of MoldovaMDAMoldavian
The neutrality of Moldova is an interesting case.
Declaring itself a neutral state, Moldova did not join the military branch of the CIS.

Allies of World War II

AlliedAlliesAllied forces
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.
Before the war, Belgium had pursued a policy of neutrality and only became an Allied member after being invaded by Germany on 10 May 1940.

Vatican City

VaticanVatican City Statethe Vatican
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.
However, there is no formal defence treaty with Italy, as the Vatican City is a neutral state.

Liechtenstein

Principality of LiechtensteinLIEFürstentum Liechtenstein
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. 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 defence and the maintenance of its neutrality.
Liechtenstein follows a policy of neutrality and is one of the few countries in the world that maintain no military.

Treaty of London (1839)

Treaty of London1839 Treaty of LondonTreaty of London, 1839
Article VII required Belgium to remain perpetually neutral, and by implication committed the signatory powers to guard that neutrality in the event of invasion.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

Pearl HarborPearl Harbor attackJapanese attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise preemptive military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States (a neutral country at the time) against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941.