Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A non-belligerent is a person or country who does not take part in aggression. It is often used to describe a country that is not participating in a war. A non-belligerent country may be different from a neutral country in that it may be actively supporting one side or the other without actually fighting. A classic example is that of the United States in World War II prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Lend-lease Act of 1941 saw the United States provide the United Kingdom "all possible assistance short of war" in the words of Winston Churchill, but they remained a non-belligerent nation in the war until the end of that year. A more recent example is the position of The Netherlands during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This was described by politicians as political support, but no military support.
Non-belligerent may also be used of a person not involved in combat or aggression, especially in a situation where combat or aggression is likely. Thus in a situation of civil unrest, civilians may be divided in belligerents (those actually fighting or intending to fight) and non-belligerents (bystanders).
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