Choosing Sides in the Global Cold War:Switzerland, Neutrality, and the Divided States of Korea and Vietnam

Schaufelbuehl, Janick Marina and Wyss, Marco and Bott, Sandra (2015) Choosing Sides in the Global Cold War:Switzerland, Neutrality, and the Divided States of Korea and Vietnam. The International History Review, 37 (5). pp. 1014-1036. ISSN 1949-6540

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This article examines neutral Switzerland's recognition policy towards the divided states of Korea and Vietnam. Drawing comparisons with other neutrals, notably Austria and Sweden, allows us to assess the credibility of neutrality in the Global Cold War. All three neutrals explicitly or implicitly aimed to reinforce their neutrality through the principle of universality, which entailed the recognition of all regimes, no matter their political couleur. Yet this principle was not applied consistently, but rather pragmatically. Until the beginning of the 1970s, Switzerland, as well as Austria and Sweden, favoured the Western-oriented over the Communist halves of Korea and Vietnam. Thereby, this article argues, they undermined the credibility of neutrality. They were, however, willing to take that risk, because they feared that the recognition of North Korea and North Vietnam could irritate the United States, and provoke East German claims for recognition, which was undesirable due to the Hallstein doctrine and West Germany's economic weight. It was only with the rise of the Third World as a political force, and the softening of the US position that the neutrals, which saw themselves in competition with each other for status and influence, eventually recognised North Korea and North Vietnam.

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Journal Article
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The International History Review
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02 May 2017 15:30
Last Modified:
16 Sep 2023 01:31