Although it is generally known that Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and Ireland remained neutral throughout World War II, few realize just how and at what price each nation maintained its precious status. Packard chronicles the perilous diplomatic path followed by each nation during the war, clearly defining the degree to which all were forced to accommodate the ever-increasing requests for war material, transport, and even military installations demanded by the belligerents. Based largely on memoirs and secondary sources, the work provides an excellent overview of the internal politics of the neutrals from the end of World War I through 1945. The sections on Spain, Sweden, and tiny Switzerland are especially strong, largely owing to Packard's superior biographical sketches on Francisco Franco, Per Albin Hansson, and Swiss General Henri Guisan. Although it would have been bolstered by a greater reliance on archival records, this is an excellent work suitable for all academic libraries with diplomatic or World War II collections.-- Joseph W. Constance Jr., St. Anselm Coll. Lib., Manchester, N.H.
Before September 1, 1939, all European nations were nonbelligerents. Six years later only five had escaped the war: Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal. Packard tells of their plight because it makes good copy, and also to illustrate the difficulties of neutral status. Each country was coveted by both sides. Each sought to deflect encroachments by threats of future belligerency, deterrent displays of defensive ability, or payment of bribes when shipping strategic minerals. The five stories are similar, except that Ireland's wrangling with Britain over Ulster is scarcely comparable to Germany's threats against Switzerland. Neutral countries had to carefully calibrate their policies to shifting balances of military fortune. If Franco was a little too early to send a division to help Hitler in the East, luckier Portugal showed better timing in giving the Allies access to the Azores only when the war's outcome was clear. Essentially an overview summarized from standard sources on the war--no small task given the volume of such--Packard's tome is not completely peripheral for libraries dedicated to a core collection, since most of Europe failed where these countries succeeded.