Switzerland during WW II

Essay by janickovasUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, January 2003

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Switzerland during World War II

Switzerland, neutralized by the Congress of Vienna (1815), has before World War II stood as an example of a perpetually neutral state. Swiss neutrality basically means that Switzerland is committed never to take part in any conflict that may arise in the future, and in case of war, be ready to enforce militarily its independence and neutral status. (Chavallez) But is this how Switzerland really reacted as a neutral country during 1939-1945? In this paper I am going to try to explain and discuss political and social impact on Switzerland during the World War II.

For a long time there has been a lot of questioning, a lot of accusations and controversy about several issues that resulted from the Switzerland's decisions to stay neutral rather than joining the Allies. Switzerland faced much heavier foreign pressure in the Second World War than it had in the first.

After the fall of France in 1940 it was surrounded by the Axis powers. Nazi maps showed that the Third Reich would eventually include Switzerland, just as it would include all portions of Europe with German-speaking people. While the majority of Switzerland's population is German-speaking, the nation was virtually unanimous in hoping and praying for the defeat of Germany. (LeBor) Hitler once predicted that Switzerland would be "liquidated" and that he would be known as "the butcher of the Swiss." Hitler wanted eventually conquer Switzerland, but it would be at a fearful price. The Wehrmacht expected 200,000 German casualties; it would have taken a very long time to remove the Swiss military from the Alpine country. And by the time the Swiss were defeated, every bridge and train track and everything else of value to the conquerors would have been destroyed. (Garlinski) Another reason that Switzerland was too difficult...