Swiss neutrality and collective security : the League of Nations and the United Nations
Yost, David S.
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This thesis explains Swiss accession to collective security organizations by analyzing key domestic and international factors relating to Switzerland's permanent neutrality. The study provides historical and theoretical background regarding the concepts of neutrality and collective security before examining the positive vote in the referendum for accession to the League of Nations in 1920, the consequent adoption of differential neutrality, and the return to traditional neutrality in 1938. The study then considers Switzerland's refusal to join the United Nations (UN) in 1945, Swiss neutrality during the Cold War, the failed UN referendum in 1986, and Swiss accession to the UN after the successful referendum in 2002. The thesis concludes that international solidarity is an inherent part of Swiss neutrality in addition to its security function. These elements together constitute a flexible neutrality conception that is capable of contributing to collective security while enjoying the safety of traditional neutrality. Changes in the international system and the institutional character of Swiss politics have significantly influenced Swiss relations with collective security organizations. Neutrality will continue to be a major factor as long as the concept is linked to national identity and the idea of a Swiss "special role."
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