Countries Who Remained Neutral in World War II

In World War II, the following nations backed neither the Allies nor the Axis forces.

During World War II, The countries that opted not to take sides during the conflict were known as neutral powers. The neutral powers did not take sides in the hopes of averting invasion from the warring countries. Columbia, Portugal, Switzerland, and Sweden backed the Allies by providing “voluntary” troops to the United Kingdom, whilst Spain supported the Axis and avoided the Allies. Several nations were attacked despite their efforts to remain neutral. Nazi Germany attacked Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands; the British invaded Iceland; and the Soviet Union invaded Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. For different reasons, the following nations did not help either the Allies or the Axis forces during World War II.

In World War II, the following nations backed neither the Allies nor the Axis forces.
Countries Who Remained Neutral in World War II ( Image Credit: Flickr )

Countries Who Remained Neutral in World War II


When hostilities in Europe began during World War II, the Oireachtas established a policy of Irish neutrality. The strategy was continued throughout the war, despite many German air raids and attacks on the country’s maritime fleet by both Axis and Allied forces.


Switzerland remained neutral during World War II because it relied on Germany for coal and needed to safeguard its financial interests from the Axis nations. Every now and again, Swiss soldiers would open fire on Axis planes attempting to breach their airspace. The nation fired down planes belonging to the Allied forces on various occasions. Some cities in Switzerland were “unintentionally” bombed by Allied and Axis airplanes throughout World War II. Adolf Hitler could not conquer Switzerland because it had built elaborate defenses and assembled a large army to repel any assault. The harsh alpine terrain forced Hitler to reconsider conquering Switzerland and instead chose to invade the United Kingdom.

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The Republic of Turkey was neutral throughout World War II until it joined forces with the Allies months before the war ended. Prior to the onset of World War II, the nation had signed a Mutual Aid Pact with both Britain and France. Following the German invasion of France, Turkey elected to remain neutral, relying on a provision that exempted them from military action if it would cause conflict with the USSR. Bulgaria allowed German soldiers to cross through its territory in June 1941 to invade Greece and Yugoslavia, thereby joining the Axis. Turkey, fearful of its fate, opted to negotiate a non-aggression treaty with Germany. Turkey provided chromite to Germany and other Allies until ceasing deliveries to Germany in April 1944. By August, the two nations had severed diplomatic ties. Despite Turkey declaring war on the Axis powers, no Turkish forces ever saw battle.

Vatican City

Throughout World War II, Vatican City maintained a neutral position under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. Despite the fact that the city of Rome was controlled by the Germans from 1943 to 1944, Vatican City was never captured by either. Throughout the crisis, the Vatican coordinated extensive humanitarian help.

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Neutrality during war

Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, and Portugal adopted the notion of military neutrality while asserting their right to protect their countries against any intrusions from the other parties at war. The four nations gained the authority to become belligerent if they were attacked while remaining neutral. It is important to remember that neutral countries did not take sides in a conflict between other parties. In return, neutral countries hoped to avoid attack from either party.

Which Countries Were Neutral in World War II?

Ireland, Switzerland, Turkey, Vatican City, and Monaco did not help either the Allies or the Axis forces during WWII.

READ MORE: Major Battles of ww2 in Europe

Countries Who Remained Neutral in World War II

RankNeutral WWII Countries
6Portugal (and colonies)
7San Marino
8Saudi Arabia
13Vatican City

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