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Why in WW1 or WW2 or ever nobody invaded Switzerland? All other countries was in some wars. How Switzerland do it and should we learn from them?

I hear that many people with power have money in swiss banks, is that factor or not?

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Serving the global elite (e.g. by hosting large international banks) is presumably part of the explanation, I guess. Neutrality and a well-equipped defense force also play a role, though I would argue it's a lesser one. – Drux May 15 '13 at 20:17
The phrase "I hear that ... " leads me to believe that this question is not based on any preliminary research. It is very difficult to apply historiography to "I hear that". Furthermore the FAQ discourages questions based on conspiracy theory. History shouldn't be about rumors and innuendo, it should be about scholarship, research, reasoning and analysis. (Note: this isn't an attack on @Adam, but a plea for more scholarship and research). – Mark C. Wallace May 16 '13 at 10:55
You may find these ICE reports on this matter of interest – James Woolfenden May 16 '13 at 15:38
I would think that geography was at least a contributing factor. Switzerland is a mountainous country, and therefore a lot harder to invade than Belgium. – Ben Crowell Sep 13 '13 at 3:38

4 Answers 4

up vote 24 down vote accepted

Simply because Switzerland was a worse alternative plan strategically than Netherlands and Belgium.

Hitler had a plan to attack Switzerland, named Operation Tannenbaum but the Maginot line could be breached through Belgium and Netherland. So it became needless conflict with no gain.

It is a less known fact that Switzerland (German part namely) was part of the Greater Reich Hitler dreamt of. He wanted to merge all Germanic territories under his control, but for strategic reasons he simply gave up on that. I am sure the logic behind it was: if Germany wins the war, Switzerland will have no choice, but to merge into the unified German Reich. So Hitler didn't have to waste resources on Switzerland, Operation Tannenbaum was about getting access point to France, a lot better one than through Maginot line.

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+1 since you point out that Hitler had his eyes certainly also on Switzerland (with its partly Germanic population), even if an invasion did not occur up to 1945. BTW, did not Göring have some of his collector art stored away in Switzerland (or is this maybe just an urban legend)? – Drux May 16 '13 at 5:31
and don't forget that Switzerland is a rather formidable tactical problem to attack, being protected by steep mountains and large lakes that make large scale troop deployments difficult to say the least, and make for many very easy to defend chokepoints. – jwenting May 16 '13 at 5:55
@Drux No, of course you are right about Germans they washed and saved their money in Switzerland. But this is more like a circumstance what they used, and they didn't cancel their Operation Tannenbaum because of banks. Otherwise just imagine they could seize the Banks and other valuables what stored in Switzerland if Tannenbaum would come to reality. Of course this is a speculation, but seems acceptable. Why would they ever leave alone those banks and their assets if they occupy Switzerland? – CsBalazsHungary May 16 '13 at 7:12
@jwenting True, that's why I wrote it was strategic decision. In Netherlands and Belgium they encountered more soldiers altogether, but that terrain was a piece of cake for panzers. – CsBalazsHungary May 16 '13 at 7:14

Switzerland isn't much of a "prize." It has about 16,000 square miles, and about 4.5 million people in 1940 making it twice the size of New Jersey, with about as many people. On both counts, it is one of the smaller countries in Europe, and less worth having.

On the other hand, Switzerland maintains a policy of armed neutrality. EVERY MAN (except those blind or crippled) has served a year or two in the army, and possesses a weapon. They mobilized 850000 men in 2nd world war as preparation according to WHKMLA source. About two thirds of the country is mountainous, and it can get quite cold in the wintertime, making it good for defense.

Also, Switzerland was very convenient as a "clearing house" for (both sides), in banking, but also in espionage and prisoner exchanges.

Basically, Switzerland was worth more to the Germans neutral than what it would have cost to subjugate her.

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I disagree with "everybody was practically a soldier", that wasn't the point, they really had high military potential but only on their level. Switzerland itself wasn't enough to stop Hitler, nothing close to it. The more worrying part was the terrain difficulties. Send tanks through Alpes? No unless it is really needed. – CsBalazsHungary May 15 '13 at 21:05
@CsBalazsHungary: "Every man has been trained, owns a gun, and knows how to shoot is a big deterrent. Imagine being a country (like Germany) where 20% of your men are in the army, and having to fight a country where 100% of the men are are armed. I also discussed terrain in the revised answer. – Tom Au May 15 '13 at 21:08
One point to add to this. The chief advantage Germany had in the Western front over the allies was their superior armored warfare doctrine. Switzerland is just not good tank country. That would have forced them to fight on far more equal terms militarily than if they went through the low countries instead. – T.E.D. May 16 '13 at 3:49
@TomAu it's larger and more populous than Luxembourg, which was attacked. Similar sized to Belgium and Denmark, which were attacked. So size and population aren't the deciding factors the Germans used to determine their targets. – jwenting May 16 '13 at 5:56
Well, Norway also had general conscription, every one did time in the military, and mountains. It was still not hard for Germany to invade. Conscript armies are not by default efficient and good just because there are a lot of people in them. :-) Sure, it wasn't like Denmark, where the Germans essentially just walked in, and neither would Switzerland have been. But I think the explanation is better seen as that it wasn't invaded because they didn't need to invade it, not because it was that hard. – Lennart Regebro Sep 12 '13 at 3:52

German statistics indicate approximately 16,000-18,000 Swiss citizens working in Germany during the Second World plus money laundering for the Nazis plus a shared Ideology.

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How does "Swiss citizens working in Germany affect the question? "Shared ideology" might, do you have proof of this? – Tom Au Sep 11 '13 at 17:28
Could you cite your sources? You've clearly done some research; it would help if you'd share both the sources you've used. And I'll second @TomAu's request for you to flesh out the conclusion. Did Germany avoid attacking Switzerland because there were 17K Swiss citizen in Germany, or were there 17K Swiss citizens in Germany because they were not belligerent nations? Are you asserting that Switzerland'd ideology was National Socialism? – Mark C. Wallace Sep 11 '13 at 17:44

Hitler needed the banks to launder all the precious metals stolen from the conquered countries including all the gold and silver fillings (teeth) taken from the dead jews . All this info has already been posted look it up . Hitler needed the banks for all his transactions to buy all his material for his war machine . A lot of people have no clue that Hitler dealt with international business men like Ford Motor Company, and american traitor Arnold Prescott Bush father and grandfather to the presidents of the united states bush familly for raw iron metals and he used the banks to keep himself going and everyone got filthy rich

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Please provide sources for your claims. – Gwenn Oct 29 at 7:23

protected by Semaphore Oct 29 at 6:11

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