How did Swiss neutrality affect WW2? What impact did Swiss neutrality have on the Axis powers? the Allies? Did Swiss neutrality have a significant effect on either side?

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    @RazieMah upvoting a question yourself consider bad isn't going to help the user in understanding how the site works. – o0'. Apr 6 '14 at 21:50
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    To my mind, alternate history would be "What would have happened if Switzerland had allied with Germany?". "Did decision X help actor Y?" is merely one way of coming to grips with the forces of history. The first question requires speculation; the second requires research & analysis. – MCW Apr 7 '14 at 12:03
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    I request that someone start a conversation in meta about the boundaries of counterfactuals. (I can no longer log into meta). If we close for counterfactuals, we should be clear about the rules for counterfactuals and how to avoid closure – MCW Apr 7 '14 at 17:43
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    @RazieMah - please never do "upvote to get you started". Upvotes are for quality content, not participation. ESPECIALLY when the question is clearly bad. See this META: meta.history.stackexchange.com/questions/346/… – DVK Apr 7 '14 at 20:26
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    The Swiss WERE neutral and this DID impact World War II, so I don't see anything "counterfactual" about this question. A truly "counterfactual" question would be, "What would have happened if the Swiss had sided with the Allies/Axis in WWII?" – Tom Au Apr 11 '14 at 23:55

Neutral Switzerland was an venue for communication between belligerents' intelligence services, and thus was of benefit to all sides.

Additionally, Germany used the Switzerland's famous watch-making industry to circumvent the allied blockade on Beryllium copper, used for springs in watches and machine guns. (The source: a book on history of metallurgy I read ~30 years ago; it claimed that during the WW2 Switzerland imported enough Beryllium for ~100(?) years of its watch-making).

Thus it appears that Swiss neutrality benefited Germany marginally more than the allies.

Swiss army was strong enough to make a German invasion unprofitable, but it had neither will nor ability for an offensive, so its neutrality was somewhat inevitable. In the inconceivable case of Germany invading Switzerland, Heer would have been bogged down in the mountains and MG-42s would have worked worse, so the war would have probably ended earlier.

PS. Even if the Germans overran the Swiss, the occupation forces would have had to be at least comparable to the pre-war border defenses: since no attack from the Swiss can be expected, the border defenses can be very weak; since Swiss (as opposed to, say, Danes or Czechs) would have fought, they would have required a non-trivial occupation force.

  • Nice comment - not an answer though. – Pieter Geerkens Apr 6 '14 at 23:53
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    @PieterGeerkens: why not? – sds Apr 7 '14 at 0:35
  • That's better now. – Pieter Geerkens Apr 7 '14 at 2:32
  • highly speculative. Anyway, the Swiss army was no stronger than that of other countries the Germans did overrun. And not invading them meant they had to maintain border defenses with Switzerland, draining troops that could have been employed elsewhere. – jwenting Apr 7 '14 at 6:42
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    Sources would be nice. Sources are what transform "highly speculative" into "nicely researched". – MCW Apr 7 '14 at 10:38

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