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Neutral European countries: Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Ireland

Austria is bound to neutrality by the 1955 Austrian State Treaty and its constitution, which prohibits entry into military alliances and the establishment of foreign military bases on Austrian territory. Austrian neutrality is actually an enforced neutrality. The territory of Austria was occupied by allied forces until 1955. In 1955 the Soviet Union, in the Moscow memorandum, demanded Austria's neutrality on the model of Switzerland and expressed a preparedness for pledges by the four powers to the integrity and inviolability of Austrian territory. All of the countries with which Austria had diplomatic relations ratified the Austrian State Treaty.

Switzerland received its neutrality through the Peace of Westphalia (1640), which ended the Thirty Years' War in Europe. It also confirmed the independence of the Swiss Confederation. After 1789, France occupied a large part of the Confederation's territory. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 re-established the Swiss Confederation and an act, signed on 20 December 1815 by Austria, France, England, Prussia and Russia, guaranteed permanent neutrality for Switzerland.

Sweden bases its policy of neutrality on tradition rather than on an international treaty. During military conflicts in the first half of the 19th century Sweden maintained its neutral status. Neutrality was formally proclaimed by King Gustav XIV in 1834. Sweden had long been a strong military power, but it adapted the policy of neutrality to its own political interests. In 1941 it allowed German forces transit through Swedish territory to the Finnish front, and at the same time protected refugees from Nazism. After 1945 Sweden opted to preserve its neutral status. Sweden's security was strongly dependent on the status of Finland and indirectly on the policy of the USSR towards Finland as well.

Finland derives its policy of neutrality from the period directly following the Second World War. Its interest in remaining neutral in conflicts between great powers was first recognised in a treaty between Finland and the USSR in 1948 (the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance). The treaty forbids the signatories to join a military alliance against the other, and Finland could not allow its territory to be used for an attack on the USSR. Finland was also bound to preserve its neutrality through adequate armed forces. Finland's neutrality does not have roots in international law, and there are no international pledges for its neutrality. Thus Finland, like Austria, is a case of enforced neutrality, again by the USSR.

Ireland implemented a policy of neutrality during the Second World War. In 1949 Ireland was invited to join NATO, but did not accept the invitation because it did not wish to join an alliance that also included Great Britain. In doing so, Ireland established the unification of Ireland as a condition, which unacceptable to Great Britain. In actuality, during the cold war period Ireland belonged to the West in the political sense, and it was also clear that NATO would protect Ireland in case of war between the great powers, and also because part of the island is ruled by Great Britain.

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