Neither friend nor foe : the European neutrals in World War II /

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Main Author: Packard, Jerrold M.
Format: Book
Language:English
Published: New York : Toronto : New York : Scribner ; Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; Maxwell Macmillan International, c1992.
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Review by Choice Review

Packard charts the delicate course Europe's five neutrals Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal followed in order to avoid belligerency in WW II. This fine synthesis clearly illustrates Packard's assertion that neutrality must be earned, and that even the most successful neutral country must compromise with those who menace it. The book's evenhanded coverage shows that although Nazi Germany was certainly the gravest threat to the neutrals, all the great powers including Britain and the US pressed for concessions. In all the neutral countries save Franco's Spain, governments did seek to minimize their contributions to the Nazi Reich while going to extraordinary lengths to help the Allies, even in the years when Hitler was triumphant. Neither Friend nor Foe is a reliable source of reference for general readers and undergraduates; for graduate students and specialists, Packard's work will be the essential first step before more specialized research. G. P. Cox; Air University, USAF

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Unpretentious, well-developed history of WW II from the viewpoints of the European neutrals, by Packard (History/Univ. of Portland; Sons of Heaven, 1987, etc.). Packard writes highly readable, down-to-earth history, and he explicates the practical and ethical problems of neutrality with a convincing concreteness as well, making it clear that realism, flexibility, and diplomatic finesse were required to survive as a neutral living cheek by jowl with great and greedy powers. And courage, too: Switzerland's General Guisan and Sweden's Prime Minister Hannson never blinked when threatened by Germany. Packard presents his neutrals' situations clearly: Switzerland, located at the juncture of Maginot and Siegfried lines, was a convenient area for flanking movements by either side in the war, and its tunnels connected Germany with Italy. Swedish iron-ore was crucial to the German war effort, and ties between Sweden and Germany were close. Though without an army, Ireland, through an incomprehensible Neville Chamberlain decision on the eve of the war, controlled ports crucial to British defense, prompting Churchill to advocate any means to regain them. And Portugal had to balance its traditional alliance with England (which protected Portugal's colonies) against the possibility of German victory and the geographic proximity of a Spain too weakened by civil war to be of use to Germany, but still a threat to Portugal. Packard explores the developments step by intricate step, presenting Sweden's case, complicated by geography, as the most difficult, requiring that nation to repeatedly resist Allied and German pressures for access to its transport. King Gustav's brinkmanship with Hitler over the priceless iron-ore fields is riveting. Within this long but well-told cliffhanger, Packard weaves a message: that neutrals are not mere cowardly inconveniences to the great powers, but are nations with cultures and agendas (and diplomatic know-how) of durable value. (Maps.)

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