Home Politics & Debate
If you need urgent support, call 999 or go to your nearest A&E. To contact our Crisis Messenger (open 24/7) text THEMIX to 85258.
Read the community guidelines before posting ✨

Neutral countries in World Wars

This isn't as much a debate as speculation, but hopefully those in the knowledge can enlighten me.

I've been wondering how some countries through history that chose to remain neutral during a major war or conflict managed to have their neutrality and territorial integrity respected by the warring powers around them.

Switzerland in WWII seems a poignant case. What would have stopped Nazi Germany from simply invading, appropriating all the gold held by the Swiss and establishing a base at a geographically significant place while they were at it? Militarily it would have been a walkover. Same goes for the Allies later on in the war when they were advancing towars Germany.

Curious.
Beep boop. I'm a bot.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    This isn't as much a debate as speculation, but hopefully those in the knowledge can enlighten me.

    I've been wondering how some countries through history that chose to remain neutral during a major war or conflict managed to have their neutrality and territorial integrity respected by the warring powers around them.

    Switzerland in WWII seems a poignant case. What would have stopped Nazi Germany from simply invading, appropriating all the gold held by the Swiss and establishing a base at a geographically significant place while they were at it? Militarily it would have been a walkover. Same goes for the Allies later on in the war when they were advancing towars Germany.

    Curious.

    Switzerland was tougher than it looked, having an extremely large army (its one of the most militarised countries in the world with every able bodied man having to keep a weapon at home). It also made sense to have a neutral place where the Western Allies and Germans could meet, for example to discuss the repatriation of crippled POWs, and in 1939/40 and 44/45 for peace feelers.

    Sweden - also difficult and no real point. Germany probably wouldn't have invaded Norway if they hadn't feared (probably realistically) that the UK was about to violate Norways neutrality and take the iron ore for itself.

    Ireland - if Germany had successfully landed in the UK (and that's a big if given a fast moving destroyer could have sunk the German invasion barges) its likely Southern Ireland would have invaded as the Germans would have had an easier time landing their and moving into Northern Ireland than moving into Northern Ireland direct. At various times the allies considered it - especially in 1941/42 when the convoy battles were going on, but it was felt that the political impact (especially in the US) would be too great.

    Spain - was exhausted and nearly bankrupt. Also whilst Franco was close to Mussolini he wasn't a great fan of Hitler (he did send some volunteers to fight in Russia which he withdrew in 1943 under allied pressure). The UK also expended a great deal of treasure on keeping Spain out. It's one of the great what if's of history what would have happened if Spain had invaded Gib in 1940 and taken the UK out of the desert.


    Vichy France - was neutral because it feared both the UK and the Germans. It's probably worth noting the British invaded a number of French colonies including Syria and Madagascar and when Vichy France outlived its usefulness it was occupied by the Germans

    The main reason generally was that the countries involved weren't playing Risk and randomly invading countries, but only did so for strategic reasons or as part of a long term politcal plan (in Hitler's case). If the Uk and France hadn't declared war on Germany it seems likely that he wouldn't have gone West, moving against Poland and the USSR.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'll try and remember some stuff I read a few years back and see if I can find you a link or two.
    It boils down to international bankers and the power of the Catholic church.
    Yes seriously.
    Call me a conspiracy nut I don't mind but explain this to me ...
    A wheel barrow full of money to buy a loaf in broken Germany.
    Germany could not buy anything from any country on the planet with their worthless currency ...steel oil grain textiles anything at all.
    They were on their knees.

    Suddenly out of the blue ...like falling out of the sky ...they could buy everything from anywhere in the world they wanted ...steel corn oil textiles etc.
    Suddenly ...they were building super highways mass producing cars fighter planes bombers submarines munitions textiles etc etc ....the most modern industrialised military machine with the smartest uniforms and equipment ever ...was suddenly made possible how ...and by who?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'll try and remember some stuff I read a few years back and see if I can find you a link or two.
    It boils down to international bankers and the power of the Catholic church.
    Yes seriously.
    Call me a conspiracy nut I don't mind but explain this to me ...
    A wheel barrow full of money to buy a loaf in broken Germany.
    Germany could not buy anything from any country on the planet with their worthless currency ...steel oil grain textiles anything at all.
    They were on their knees.

    Suddenly out of the blue ...like falling out of the sky ...they could buy everything from anywhere in the world they wanted ...steel corn oil textiles etc.
    Suddenly ...they were building super highways mass producing cars fighter planes bombers submarines munitions textiles etc etc ....the most modern industrialised military machine with the smartest uniforms and equipment ever ...was suddenly made possible how ...and by who?



    Centralised Labour. All work is organised and paid for by the government. Laws are enacted stipulating the maximum price for goods/services and the max anyone can be paid. You also have to remember that Germany was/is self-sufficient in most resources with the exception of oil.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Plus Switzerland have those little knives. You don't want to mess with those, they're sharp.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It boils down to international bankers and the power of the Catholic church.

    Lots of Catholic countries were invaded with terrible atrocities rained down on them. Why would the Catholic Church do that?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Teagan wrote: »
    Lots of Catholic countries were invaded with terrible atrocities rained down on them. Why would the Catholic Church do that?

    Sorry ...I should have said ...the Vatican and the Jesuits.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sorry ...I should have said ...the Vatican and the Jesuits.

    Well that makes much more sense then :rolleyes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Makes a change I suppose. It was the Jews that created WW1 as we all know... :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MoK wrote: »
    Makes a change I suppose. It was the Jews that created WW1 as we all know... :p

    You're out of date - they also caused WW2, 9/11, the Gulf War, the recent recession and are almost certainly the reason England were shit in the World Cup ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for the answers anyway. I guess Hitler saw the likes of Switzerland as a useful neutral territory for various reasons- a place to safely store assets even in the event of defeat being a deciding factor, I'm sure
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    Thanks for the answers anyway. I guess Hitler saw the likes of Switzerland as a useful neutral territory for various reasons- a place to safely store assets even in the event of defeat being a deciding factor, I'm sure

    Probably Hitler less so, but certainly Goering, Ribbentrop and host of lesser figures did
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    Thanks for the answers anyway. I guess Hitler saw the likes of Switzerland as a useful neutral territory for various reasons- a place to safely store assets even in the event of defeat being a deciding factor, I'm sure

    was also a way of buying things from countries which weren't selling to the nazis at the time
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    was also a way of buying things from countries which weren't selling to the nazis at the time

    Not so much of a huge deal, many US companies were supplying the nazis for a very long time.

    In 1939 the US very much wasn't on the side of the UK, it was only over the years that they came to be sympathetic to the allied cause.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Not so much of a huge deal, many US companies were supplying the nazis for a very long time.

    In 1939 the US very much wasn't on the side of the UK, it was only over the years that they came to be sympathetic to the allied cause.

    yeh but it helps having a neutral country on your border for being a safe convient middleman
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Reading up on it, any country that tried to invade Switzerland without significant air support is going to get a bloodied nose. The country is riddled with fortifications, trenches and tank traps. Every home has a bomb/fallout shelter, most military and government functions are duplicated beneath ground and all the tunnels leading in and out are booby-trapped.
Sign In or Register to comment.