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Neutral Tones. The Netherlands And Switzerland And Their Interpretations Of Neutrality 1914–1918

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Chapter Summary

Switzerland's neutrality was guaranteed by the leading nations at the Vienna Congress in 1815, Belgium was proclaimed a neutral nation after its separation from the Netherlands in 1831, Luxemburg followed in 1867. By that time the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries had concluded that adopting a policy of strict neutrality was the best safeguard for preserving their sovereignty. A closer look at Dutch and Swiss neutrality before and during the First World War illustrates discrepancy; and to account for these differences this chapter explores the origins and nature of the neutral status of both these small nations. It concludes that they were in fact two fundamentally different types of neutrality. A breach in neutral behaviour was always regarded as an isolated incident involving one or more individuals, but it could not damage or destroy the inviolable link between the Swiss federal republic and its age-old neutrality.

Keywords: First World War; Netherlands; Scandinavian countries; Swiss federal republic; Swiss neutrality; Vienna Congress



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