In a period of great change in Europe, Portugal is obliged, through its Head of State, António de Oliveira Salazar, managing a neutrality between two groups with interests in Portugal.
During the conflict, there were several problems in Portuguese politics. Among them the issue of Timor and the problems of tungsten and the Azores.
War in Portugal
The problems of Portuguese foreign policy has always been referred to the background in favor of other issues considered most relevant. But the Spanish Civil War has changed this reality. From 1936, Salazar calls itself the foreign folder (until 1947) and the war (until 1944). The Portuguese diplomacy will then be governed by a series of basic guidelines for the national interests:
- Neutralize the neighboring Spanish (thanks to the signing of the Pact of Friendship and Non-Aggression in March 1939, reinforced by an additional protocol in July 1940 and later by the creation of Peninsular Block in December 1942).
- Building on the secular Luso-British alliance in order to protect and preserve national sovereignty.
- Buy time in order to manage the best possible way, on behalf of Portuguese interests, the complexity related to the status of neutrality (...) and take advantage of the asset that the special geographical position of Portugal and its Atlantic islands represent.  .
In 1936 the Republican forces and the Spanish nationalists armed conflict. By many considered inevitable, this confrontation has given the tone for the birth of very striking ideological divisions in Europe.
Salazar remains neutral in relation to conflict, but strives to help the nationalist forces, giving them facilities near the border with Portugal. Some thousands of Portuguese volunteers they even fight alongside the Spanish stealing huge praise from Salazar at the end of the war in Spain, when the victory of the nationalists.
Moreover, the ideological affinities between the two Iberian regimes will remain in post-war, as can be seen this speech Marechal Carmona, on the position of the Iberian Peninsula in the war - in Si fuera presunción too much for you that nosotros respecta yo ambicionaria to cure Europe Mientras sus Heridas, fuera la Peninsula reserve ideal y una mansion orden y social discipline. Franco en Portugal, p. 27">.
On the other hand, the same idea of cohesion existed Iberian by Franco, who proclaimed in Portugal (...) quiso Dios y el don concedernos Celestre peace because of it, determined to mantenerla trance at all, in another en el apoyamos feel firm una amistad nacida nuestro of historical destiny común of nuestra y del vencidad geographical parallelism nuestras Instituciones policies. .
But in 1939 begins World War II. On September 1, Hitler's armies invaded Poland and sow the seed of what would become a war on an unprecedented scale.
Never combining any of the blocks, Salazar adopted an ambiguous position throughout the war, (...) taking advantage of strategic interest to the Atlantic islands making up the account and stop on the Azores. Salazar turns out to be a master of pragmatism in the conduct of foreign policy, not without leaving flags stir feelings of affinity and favorable to the Axis or the Allies around him. .Salazar also says: The government will consider as the highest service or the greatest grace of providence to maintain peace for the Portuguese people (...) .
However, it should be borne in mind that the cornerstone of Portuguese foreign policy during the Second World War is the Luso-British alliance, concluded the treaty of Windsor.This alliance, which remains steady during the conflict, expresses well the dependence of the Portuguese society for the British Empire. However it is extremely important for the British during the war, since it has a key role in the defense of economic and strategic interests of England in Portugal. Likewise, Portugal's won nothing to end the alliance, so take your loyalty to it: For me (...) I take both breasts faithfully fulfill the duties of the alliance as not to leave, for the honor and interest of both parties, corrupt it (...). . May consider the alliance as the force balance between the Luso-British relations. The ideological differences between the English and the Estado Novo regime readily legitimize a series of suspicious. Like the other schemes of the allies (with obvious exception of the USSR), the English rule is democratic, liberal and parliamentary, while Salazar is assumed to be critical of democracies - If there is a fact borne out by experience, is that democracy and liberalism exhausted in the last century.  - and leader of an undemocratic regime, illiberal and unparliamentary. Who are ideologically distant the two regimes, there are other ways to approach that end, to a point, to allow overtaking these differences. Economic interests and the appointment of renowned ambassadors between the two countries have resulted in a mutual tolerance and permissiveness policy.
On the other hand, should be considered just as important to the Treaty of Friendship and Non-Aggression (Iberian Pact) signed between Portugal and Spain to March 17, 1939, the result of politically active Portuguese neutrality.
About the relations between Portugal and its Spanish neighbor, said Salazar, 22 May 1839: Portugal and Spain are forced to live next door on the peninsula, the good or bad neighborhood favors us or hurts us both. Many times in eight centuries of Portugal fought against Spain or against Spanish states to maintain or consolidate their independence. (...) Irremovivelmente two independent states, two nations fraternal solidarity. .
This treaty will help decisively to neutralize the Iberian Peninsula:
- It serves the English, because the nationalist Spain away from Germany and maintains free access to the Mediterranean. It also ensures the protection of his interests in the Azores, central to the control of the North Atlantic. This is one of the main objectives of the English, and to expect to achieve Salazar's your pivot, taking income from all diplomatic skills. (...) Dr. Salazar is conceivable that one man is able to devote ago him the entire nation and possibly prevent the Franco commit some folly; .
- Serve the Portuguese, it strengthens the security and guarantees the inviolability of national territory. The concern with the Spanish neighbor decreases. They were already notorious ideas of annexation of Portugal, aiming to unify the Iberian peninsula, starting to worry the Portuguese head of state: Salazar is absolutely aware of the draft annexation fed by some members of the phalanx and the Falangist youth. . Salazar is aware that could, initially, to keep Spain out of Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula out of the war.Serving Portuguese interests and appeasing British interests, Salazar reflects on the strategic issue of the peninsula in the war and the treaty with Spain: Whoever has reflected in English and traditional policy towards essentially defensive of their international action will have been able to understand how England should consider the establishment of true peace zone in the peninsula, as one of the states is his old ally and the other was always his friend. . However, worries constantly disconnect from Franco's Spain and affirm their loyalty to the Luso-British alliance, because while the Civil War dragged on (in Spain) (...) the Portuguese and British governments deepened the problems of alliance and friendly cooperation in studying issues related to the defense of both countries. (...) This simple fact (...) is clearly indicative of how we understand ourselves in maintaining the constant in our history, ensuring fidelity to the covenant Luso-British defense of common interests (...). .
Finally, the unilateral declaration of Portuguese neutrality for the European conflict, issued by Salazar in the National Assembly, also serves to England. First, because the fragile Portugal represent more of a burden than a help. But also because the entry of Portugal into the war alongside the British could take the Spaniards to join with Hitler.
Salazar is thus seeking a neutrality that allows relations with all the warring states, in order to make economic compensations of the war. If Portugal has a duty to avoid being led astray by the general unrest  also (...) our comprehensive universal extension of our interests and allow the best and most friendly relations with all states. .
Decision of Neutrality
On September 1, 1939 gives the beginning of a war that, first of all, is strongly influenced by ideology, put in direct confrontation democracies and totalitarian regimes.
In this context, Portugal seeks to define its position in the conflict: if, ideologically, the Portugal authoritarian, undemocratic and illiberal seems closer to Germany and Italy, on the other, the danger exists that the annexation Franco's Spain (supported by Axis) makes provide an alignment on the Allied side. In this perspective, any slope can bring danger and jeopardize the system, so we try to keep Portugal out of the war, adopting a neutral stance in the conflict. Salazar says, in the National Assembly on 9 October 1939: Germany has made ??us know that they were prepared to respect the integrity of Portugal and its overseas possessions in case of neutrality, England asks nothing in return for the secular alliance and friendship we oblige the conflict (...). The government could well express the country's determination and the hope of maintaining peace in the Portuguese people, unless the dignity, interests or our duties in it were to cause abandonment. .
The declaration of Portuguese neutrality allows Portugal to assume a posture of detachment for England, since, unlike the First World War, the declaration of neutrality is not subject to British approval. On the other hand, it gives rise to the broadening of the scope of relations with other powers, and hence an approximation to the totalitarian states, whom Salazar is arguably closer ideologically.
Serving, as already stated, the British interests of the neutralization of the Iberian Peninsula, neutrality is legitimized in its bilateral nature, because there is an alternative to the alliance, was, by contrast, the expression of its vitality, and although based on the conjunction Portuguese and British interests, did not bring any embarrassment to the relations between Germany and Portugal..
Thus, Portugal is in a position to declare its neutrality with regard to the European conflict.