20 Cardozo L. Rev. 459 (1998-1999)
Neutrality Law in World War II

handle is hein.journals/cdozo20 and id is 481 raw text is: NEUTRALITY LAW IN WORLD WAR II
Detlev F. Vagts*
INTRODUCTION
This Article assesses the performance of the states that re-
mained neutral during World War II as measured by the interna-
tional law of neutrality as understood at the time. The structure of
my analysis can be likened to a grid with the names of the neutral
states on one axis and the issues on the other. I can be relatively
firm about the relation of their actions to the law, but so limiting
the analysis leaves unsettled many questions about morality. As to
these questions, I will not try to usurp the functions of your inner
voice but will call your attention to aspects of history that may
color your views.
Three principal questions form the foundation of this Article.
First question: Who was neutral? For the purposes of this Article
I will consider, in the main, the European neutrals-Ireland, Por-
tugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. I include Turkey,
although it declared war on Germany in 1945-when it was safe-
in order to persuade the United Nations to consider Turkey
peace-loving and hence eligible for membership. Some atten-
tion also needs to be paid to two neutrals who eventually became
belligerents-the Soviet Union and the United States. Prior to
June 1941 Stalin provided Hitler with far more assistance than any
other neutral-indeed more than any of Hitler's allies.        The
United States was neutral for over two years, and its views as to
the rules governing the duties and rights of neutrals need to be
considered in evaluating the behavior of our six subjects. The
Latin American countries remained neutral for a time even after
* Bemis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School.
1 I have previously discussed the issues treated in this Article with respect to Switzer-
land in Detlev F. Vagts, Switzerland, International Law and World War 11, 91 AM. J. INT.
L. 466 (1997) (editorial comment).
2 Interestingly, in the Eizenstat Report, all of the European neutrals are referred to
except Ireland. See WILLIAM SLANY, U.S. DEP'T OF STATE, U.S. AND ALLIED EFFORTS
TO RECOVER AND RESTORE GOLD AND OTHER ASSETS STOLEN OR HIDDEN BY
GERMANY DURING WORLD WAR 11: PRELIMINARY STUDY v-xi (1997) [hereinafter
Eizenstat Report].

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