cover image Neither Friend Nor Foe: The European Neutrals in World War II

Neither Friend Nor Foe: The European Neutrals in World War II

Jerrold M. Packard / Author First Glance Books $30 (432p) ISBN

Packard's assiduously researched study examines how the governments of Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Ireland reacted to pressures from the Axis to declare themselves either allies or enemies during WW II, and how events forced these nations to accommmodate first the Axis powers and then the Allied ones. Packard brings their plight into sharp focus: their neutrality depended more on Hitler's whims than on their own brave declarations. He credits Portugal's premier Antonio Salazar with materially influencing Francisco Franco to keep Spain out of the war. He shows how Sweden avoided German incursion by threatening to destroy the high-grade ore desperately needed to keep the Nazi war machine rolling, and how Switzerland vowed to block the tunnels linking Germany to Italy. Finally, Packard emphasizes that Eire (the 26 southern counties of Ireland) was the only one of the five neutrals to have risked invasion by both the British and the Germans. A professor of history at the University of Portland in Oregon, Packard ( Sons of Heaven ) writes elegantly and informatively of an important but long-ignored aspect of WW II. (Nov.)