During World War II, there were two groups of countries on opposing sides. The Axis and the Allies. Not all countries in the world fought in the war. In fact, there was another group – the neutral powers – that chose not to take sides during the war.
These nations took a neutral position in order to avoid attacks and invasion. However, despite their efforts, many of these nations were attacked. For example, Nazi Germany invaded Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in 1940. Later that year, the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia in just three days.
Other nations claimed to be neutral, but still helped or rallied behind one side or the other. An example of this is Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland, all of which helped the Allies by providing the United Kingdom with voluntary brigades. The United States also remained neutral at the beginning of the war but became involved following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
In Europe, there were several nations that were neutral during the war. Those nations include:
There were also microstates that were neutral during the war including:
- San Marino
- Vatican City
In the Americas, Nicaragua and the United States remained neutral until the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In Asia, the neutral countries during World War II were:
- Saudi Arabia