European neutrality and a Cold War: The concept of neutrality during the Cold War from the perspectives of Austria, Sweden and their relationship with NATO.
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Modern day discussions about the situation in Ukraine have sparked the debate over whether or not Ukraine should be neutral. This thesis addresses the concept of neutrality and the viability of neutrality in a conflict. By taking a look at two distinct neutrals during the Cold War, Austria and Sweden, a limited conclusion can be drawn on the use of neutrality. The hypothesis is that neutrality in 20th and 21st century Europe is not a viable option if the avoidance of participation in armed warfare is the goal. This thesis approaches the hypothesis by defining neutrality as a concept and defining factors that would make a country neutral. It furthermore tries to find out what different versions of neutrality exist and how countries apply them. By using domestic politics, international relations and military planning the thesis will try to show how committed countries were to neutrality and how likely they were to remain neutral if escalation was to happen. Furthermore, the reliance of neutrality on the perception of the international community requires a perspective from one of the sides involved in the conflict. In this thesis, a NATO vision of both countries will give an insight into the NATO perception of the likelihood that both neutrals could remain neutral during an escalation of the Cold War.