European Neutrality in Historical Perspective

  • Andrew Cottey
Part of the New Security Challenges book series (NSECH)


This chapter places the neutrality policies of the established European neutral states—Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland—in historical context. It explores the origins of neutrality in the idea of non-belligerency in war and the history of neutrality in modern European international politics, highlighting the way in which quite a wide variety of states were or sought to be neutral at various points in the nineteenth century or the first half of the twentieth century. The chapter then shows how the Cold War division of Europe resulted in Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland (along with Yugoslavia) emerging as a distinctive neutral group of states between the two blocs. The chapter also reviews how the European neutral states’ foreign and security policies have adapted since the end of the Cold War. It finishes with some conclusions about neutrality in general and the neutrality of the established European neutral states in particular.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Cottey
    • 1
  1. 1.University College CorkCorkIreland

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