Armed neutrality, in international politics, is the posture of a state or group of states which makes no alliance with either side in a war, but asserts that it will defend itself against resulting incursions from all parties.
The phrase "armed neutrality" sometimes refers specifically to one of the 'Leagues of Armed Neutrality'. The First League of Armed Neutrality was an alliance of minor naval powers organized in 1780 by Catherine II of Russia to protect neutral shipping in the War of American Independence. The Second League of Armed Neutrality was an effort to revive this during the French Revolutionary Wars. A potential Third League of Armed Neutrality was discussed during the American Civil War, but was never realised.
Switzerland and Sweden are, independently of each other, famed for their armed neutrality, which they maintained throughout both World War I and World War II. Spain also maintained neutrality throughout both wars, and despite leaning slightly towards the Axis, as evidenced by the Blue Division, did not join World War II.
During World War II, it was believed that Ireland would take the German side if the United Kingdom attempted to invade the State, but would take the United Kingdom's side if invaded by Germany; historically, it is now known that both sides had in fact drawn up plans to invade Ireland (see Irish neutrality). Ireland was outwardly neutral during the conflict, but did make some concessions to the Allies by sharing intelligence and weather reports, as well as repatriating downed RAF airmen.
- Oppenheim, International Law: War and Neutrality, 1906, p. 325.
- See, generally, Scott, The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800: A Collection of Official Documents Preceded by the Views of Representative Publicists, 1918; Karsh, Neutrality and Small States, 1988, p. 16-17; Jones, Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations to 1913, 2009, p. 15-17.
- See, generally, Scott, The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800: A Collection of Official Documents Preceded by the Views of Representative Publicists, 1918; Karsh, Neutrality and Small States, 1988, p. 17.
- Bienstock, The Struggle for the Pacific, 2007, p. 150.
- Bissell and Gasteyger, The Missing link: West European Neutrals and Regional Security, 1990, p. 117; Murdoch and Sandler, "Swedish Military Expenditures and Armed Neutrality," in The Economics of Defence Spending, 1990, p. 148-149.
- John P. Duggan, Neutral Ireland and the Third Reich Lilliput Press; Rev. ed edition, 1989. p. 223
- Burke, Dan. "Benevolent Neutrality". The War Room. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Bienstock, Gregory. The Struggle for the Pacific. Alcester, Warwickshire, U.K.: READ BOOKS, 2007. ISBN 1-4067-7218-6
- Bissell, Richard E. and Gasteyger, Curt Walter. The Missing link: West European Neutrals and Regional Security. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-8223-0953-X
- Jones, Howard. Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations to 1913. 2d ed. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. ISBN 0-7425-6534-3
- Karsh, Efraim. Neutrality and Small States. Florence, Ky.: Routledge, 1988. ISBN 0-415-00507-8
- Murdoch, James C. and Sandler, Todd. "Swedish Military Expenditures and Armed Neutrality." In The Economics of Defence Spending: An International Survey. Keith Hartley and Todd Sandler, eds. Florence, Ky.: Routledge, 1990. ISBN 0-415-00161-7
- O'Sullivan, Michael Joseph. Ireland and the Global Question. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8156-3106-5
- Oppenheim, Lassa. International Law: War and Neutrality. London: Longmans, Green, 1906.
- Scott, James Brown. The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800: A Collection of Official Documents Preceded by the Views of Representative Publicists. New York: Oxford University Press, 1918.
- Wills, Clair. That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland During the Second World War. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-674-02682-9