Neutral Switzerland

Discussions on the Allies and the Neutral States in general and the countries that does not have sections of their own.
South
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Neutral Switzerland

Post by South » 30 Jan 2019 09:37

https://www.newhistorian.com/how-did-sw ... r-ii/9055/


Good morning all,

Per ...

Note "the infamously neutral Swiss bank ..."

Note the color-coded map. Had not known that the Canary Islands, Spain were neutral territory.

Humor: "Obviously, accepting gold from both sides does not impede ... "

......

I've got to look up when Geneva became part of Switzerland.

......

Meanwhile, with the global warming arriving soon, time for some Swiss Miss hot chocolate.

~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

ManfredV
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by ManfredV » 06 Feb 2019 17:54

This article contains some faults and errors and is superficial. Not really worth to read.

South
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by South » 06 Feb 2019 18:58

Good afternoon Manfred,

Appreciate contribution to thread.

The article does have value - because it is an article with an audience; it's what people read AND accept as correct.

~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

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Ironmachine
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by Ironmachine » 07 Feb 2019 08:00

South wrote:Note the color-coded map. Had not known that the Canary Islands, Spain were neutral territory.
Seriously? I thought that would have been well known by anyone with just a passing interest in WWII. However, just in case there is the same lack of knowlege in geography as there is in history, I should point that the Canary Islands are not shown in that map; they are beyond the area included in it. :)
But in fact for a significant period of WWII Spain was not neutral but non-belligerent.
South wrote: The article does have value - because it is an article with an audience; it's what people read AND accept as correct.
It's what some (or many, if you want) people read and accept as correct, but I hope that in this forum people is better educated, or at least use better sources. :wink:

South
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by South » 07 Feb 2019 08:25

Good morning Iron Machine,

That's a real good term: "not neutral but non-belligerent".

My comments were not focused to AHF participants. AHF historians - and geographers - have strong foundations.

My point is that the reading - and listening - public are influenced by what's presented.


~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

ManfredV
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by ManfredV » 08 Feb 2019 13:42

Some information:
It says: "Switzerland...has not taken a part in a war since 1505.". Thats wrong. Old Swiss confederation took part in Italian wars around 1500 until their great defeat inthe battle of Marignano 1515 (not 1505). From this time Swiss confederation had no foreign wars until time of french revolution, but it had some civil wars. Geneva and Grissons, (which weren't part of old swiss confederation) had wars, f.e. Grissons in 30 years war. Then around 1800 french troups invaded Switzerland. Most members didn't fight but f.e. Bern troups fought and were beaten. Later Swiss became battlefield of wars France vs Austria and Russia. Swiss troups took part in Napoleon's war campaign against Russia 1812.
Vienna congress guaranteed Swiss neutrality and so declared "Tagsatzung" (Swiss confederation at that time). Since then Switzerland never fought in foreign wars. But it had civil wars until modern Switzerland was founded 1848. And in 19th century Switzerland nearly led wars three times:
around 1830 in Tägermoos conflict between Thurgau and Baden. Troups were sent to border but both sides (Swiss Confederation and German Confederation didn't want a war) and so Thurgau and Baden found a solution.
1856 "Neuenburger Handel" when Prussia neraly declared war but they also found a peaceful solution
1859 "Savoyerhandel" when some swiss politicians wanted war against France but majority in Nationalversammlung didn't .
WWII:
Swiss was neutral, but Swiss Airforce fought (sucessfully) against german planes flying over Switzerland. They didn't fight against Allied bombers because Switzerland had no planes that could fight against bombers at night.
Axis freight transports by train: when Gotthard railway was built in 1880ies century Switzerland hadn't enough money, so Germany and Italy helped and became share holders of Gotthardbahn. 1909 it was incorporated into Swiss federal railway SBB but Germany and Italy were guaranteed to use it also in war times. Not for soldiers and military equipment but freight of all other kind. To stop axis freight trains in WWII would have meant that Switzerland broke contract: possible a reason for a german invasion.
Germany had plans for invading Switzerland by they didn't. Many german speaking swiss people sympathised with Germany, many others thought "we have no chance". But general Guisan an swiss army were willing to fight. Hitler thought "after winning war I'll get Switzerland sooner or later without fight, so why invade?"

Switzerland's role in WWII was very difficult and its no so easy to be rated. Even historian have different positions and there's a lot which is not evaluated yet.

South
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by South » 08 Feb 2019 14:50

Good morning Manfred V,

Quality material presented.

Appreciate mentioning that Geneva was not part of the old Swiss Confederation.

I'm most appreciative of your closing "...different positions...a lot which is not evaluated yet".

That's why I recently wrote that the linked article has value so we can understand what the general public reads (that - reads - and this is a small segment) and learns about the subject.

How many articles tell of the "stab in the back" end of the Great War and have no mention of the German army in full retreat by 1918 ?!

Again, appreciate the high quality contribution to the thread.


~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

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henryk
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by henryk » 08 Feb 2019 22:32

On my first drive between Zurich and Konstanz, in 1974, and to the early 80s, there was a tank barrier that could raised above the highway, and a barbed wire fence on each side of the road, about 5 km before the border with Germany (then Federal Republic of Germany), outside Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. The Swiss were prepared.

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Loïc
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by Loïc » 08 Feb 2019 23:47

hello

the Swiss troops were until Russia and even whole napoleonic Europe and in West Indies under Napoleon, indeed, but only as foreign regiments of the French Army (4 regiments more both battalions Neuchâtel & Valaisan while Louis XVI had 12 regiments including the Swiss Guards Regt) and others Spanish, Italian armies, so not at all as troops from Swiss Army or more exactly cantonal militias

but in 1815 the Confederation and its own Army participated in the last Coalition and war against France, invading and occupying the East with Austrians Prussians and Russians, something totally forgotten of course for the myth of Swiss neutrality since 1515
so the last foreign war was in 1815 against France

totally agree that Franquist Spain was all but neutral:
non-belligerent or according to herself , "moral belligerent" with the Axis, de facto co-belligerent
more, actually "in war against Soviet Union" even before Germany "since 1936"
promising to send "one million of spanish soldiers for the defence of Berlin" and Germany her "friend", "wanted the german victory as soon as possible"
"enemy of France, the bolchevism, United States, and Great Britain"
sending congratulations to Japan for the raid in Pearl Harbor and others pro-allied and neutral postures of that kind

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Ironmachine
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by Ironmachine » 09 Feb 2019 09:45

Loïc wrote:totally agree that Franquist Spain was all but neutral:
Yes, Spain was not strictly neutral, and even the Spanish government acknowledged it, but some clarifications are in order:
Loïc wrote:non-belligerent or according to herself , "moral belligerent" with the Axis, de facto co-belligerent
De facto co-belligerent is, IMHO, taking things too far. At least, there was a great difference between Spanish and Finnish actions in the war. And no Allied country considered Spain as "co-belligerent" AFAIK.
Loïc wrote:more, actually "in war against Soviet Union" even before Germany "since 1936"
A war undeclared and unfighted, and if since 1936 different from WWII.
Loïc wrote: promising to send "one million of spanish soldiers for the defence of Berlin" and Germany her "friend", "wanted the german victory as soon as possible"
Didn't knew that promises (unfulfilled) and wishes made you any less neutral. If that's the case, it would be difficult to find a single country that was truly neutral.
Loïc wrote:"enemy of France, the bolchevism, United States, and Great Britain"
And viceversa. But being enemy of, and being in war with, are two different things.
Loïc wrote: sending congratulations to Japan for the raid in Pearl Harbor and others pro-allied and neutral postures of that kind
Pro-allied, in this regard, is neither better nor worse that pro-Axis, and again I used to think that congratulations, just as promises and wishes, did not count as a break of neutrality. You may be better informed, though.
At the end, Spain's stance may be more reprehensible for it was in support of the Axis, but you would be hard pressed to find a significant country (significant in the context of the war) that was truly neutral per your arguments.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by Ironmachine » 09 Feb 2019 12:27

Loïc wrote:the Swiss troops were until Russia and even whole napoleonic Europe and in West Indies under Napoleon, indeed, but only as foreign regiments of the French Army (4 regiments more both battalions Neuchâtel & Valaisan while Louis XVI had 12 regiments including the Swiss Guards Regt) and others Spanish, Italian armies
For the sake of completeness, Swiss soldiers served in Spanish armies since the times of the Catholic Monarchs. En 1808 there were six regiments (of two battalions each); only three of them survived the War of Independence against Napoleon. They ceased to exist officially in 1841, though by that time they had few troops and were of little value as combat units.
In addition to French, Spanish and Italian armies, Swiss troops could also be found in other armies, like Dutch or British armies, for example.

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Loïc
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by Loïc » 09 Feb 2019 12:57

Truly or not really neutral maybe, but Switzerland at least tried to save her traditional neutrality,
that is totally different with Spain as a non-occupied fully sovereign and independant State who could easily follow the same policy like in WWI but chose to raise, organize, maintain until a whole Division officially under german uniform against Soviet Union in the eastern front giving to her de facto a status of co-belligerent with the Axis side, the fact is the Soviet Union didn't forget that until 1977 and that the Spanish State recognized as its own and even celebrated a such participation in World War II, while Switzerland with the few brigadists in the SCW or participating in the Maquis in France the treatment had been completely different for them, like people betraying the official neutral policy, the veterans of the Blue Division, officially 250th german division were honored by giving names of streets or places as an official military spanish participation like we used to baptize streets and places with French Army units in many garrison towns
Last edited by Loïc on 09 Feb 2019 13:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by South » 09 Feb 2019 12:59

Good morning Henryk, Loic and Ironmachine,

I really appreciate these posts to the thread.

"Bilateral" commentary is far inferior than to multiple interpretations of material being presented.

I do want to scribble something about the term Ironmachine introduced: "not neutral but non-belligerent"; ......

Consider this hypothetical: An American citizen wants to visit the grave of a deceased relative in Madrid, Spain. This person would be a citizen of a neutral country visiting a neutral country. A US flagged cargo ship is laden with "duel use" cargo such as railroad locomotive spares;...... The marine insurance company might deem the voyage as not insurable because of the underwriter's interpretation of the "not neutral but non-belligerent" phrase governing the port of discharge is a war risk.

And, if I may continue to scribble in re:

"Moral belligerent" ANNOUNCED "promises and wishes"; ......

If a nation deems certain official public statements as hostile, this nation can deem the announcing state's pronouncements as approaching "red line" to a casus belli. Of course in post WWII times much of this is "perfected". The announcements come from a non-official source; the announcements are tempered to reflect defensive matters ("We will spare no efforts to protect our territorial seas").

A famous example, too sophisticated for outside of AHF, was in 1979. During the First Gulf War, there were "concerns" in Saudi Arabia and Israel that Iraq would use poison gas warheads on their missiles. An Israeli professor with a reserve 1 star rank, made the public statement "If the Iraqis use gas, Baghdad would become a pile of radioactive rubble" (Operation Codeword Viper). The 39 missiles that landed in Israel were HE only.

Back to Switzerland; Let's all join William Tell, his son, Swiss Miss hot chocolate and the Swiss Bankers' Association, for lunch.


~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

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Ironmachine
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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by Ironmachine » 09 Feb 2019 16:13

Loïc wrote:Truly or not really neutral maybe, but Switzerland at least tried to save her traditional neutrality,

Tried to save her traditional independence. Neutrality is a different thing and, as the article that opens this thread shows, is very questionable that Switzerland was truly (as in strictly to the letter) neutral.
Loïc wrote: that is totally different with Spain as a non-occupied fully sovereign and independant State who could easily follow the same policy like in WWI
It's very questionable that Spain could have maintained its independence if Hitler had considered that Spanish "neutrality" was not to his advantage; the situation was completely different to that of WWI. Spanish "neutrality" was indeed biased towards Germany, but the same can be said of other European neutrals that had German forces on their borders. And on the other hand, Portuguese neutrality was biased towards the Allies, for example. The neutrality of all those countries is not less questionable that Spain's neutrality.
Loïc wrote: but chose to raise, organize, maintain until a whole Division officially under german uniform against Soviet Union in the eastern front giving to her de facto a status of co-belligerent with the Axis side,
The division was organized, trained, equipped, maintained and paid by the Germans. I can't see how it could gave Spain a status of co-belligerent with the Axis, and it seems that the Allies thought the same. In fact, there are far better reasons to question Spanish neutrality than the 250th Infantry Division.
Loïc wrote:the fact is the Soviet Union didn't forget that until 1977
Did the Soviet Union declare war against Spain? And regarding the Sovieets, they did forget the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact that made them, by a similar standard of judgment, a de facto --- (fill the blank) with Nazi Germany.
Loïc wrote:and that the Spanish State recognized as its own and even celebrated a such participation in World War II,
The Spanish State may have celebrated the participation of Spaniards in the fight against the Soviet Union, but AFAIK not the participation of Spain as a nation. And even if they did, it just doesn't make it true.
Loïc wrote:while Switzerland with the few brigadists in the SCW or participating in the Maquis in France the treatment had been completely different for them, like people betraying the official neutral policy,
That's a Swiss problem, and in no way determines whether Spain was a neutral or a co-belligerent, or whether she participated in WWII or not.
Loïc wrote: the veterans of the Blue Division, officially 250th german division were honored by giving names of streets or places as an official military spanish participation like we used to baptize streets and places with French Army units in many garrison towns
Even if they were honored in that way, no one AFAIK considered the Blue Division an official Spanish participation in World War II (and if someone did, it still doesn't made it one). Just as, for example, the International Brigades are honored in some countries without they being considered an official military participations of their respective countries in the SCW.

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Re: Neutral Switzerland

Post by ManfredV » 10 Feb 2019 14:17

Switzerland got several allied air raids by bombers and hedgehoppers. Most of them were by mistake. Targets near border were hit. Along Hochrhein between Konstanz and Basel some parts of Switzerland are north of the river and also around Lake Constance and along Alpenrhein it was confusing for allied pilots. But some air raids were mysterious. USA claimed that air raids on Zurich and Schaffhausen were by mistace but "accidentally" they hit factories that produced military equipment for Germany.
To "confuse" Zurich with Stuttgart and Pforzheim or Schaffhausen with Ludwigshafen a. R.? Allies never bombed german Konstanz because they feared to hit swiss Kreuzlingen and Tägerwil.
German Luftwaffe flew over swiss area during France campaign 1940 because it was shorter way to South France. Later from time to time german planes flew over Switzerland by mistake or as "lets find out what they will do".
Swiss Airforce fought very sucessful against german planes. They (and anti-aircraft artillery) also shot some allied bombers, but Switzerland had no "Nachtjäger" or high flying interceptors that could stop bomber squads. They only hit some single flying or damaged bombers.

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