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53

No country is impossible to invade. Andorra could invade the USA. The question you should have asked was "Was Switzerland Impossible to Conquer during World War II?". The answer is no country is impossible to conquer. But there is great variation in the probability that a specific country will actually conquer another specific country if it tries to ...


41

Nevil Wylie's Britain, Switzerland and the Second World War (Oxford University Press, 2003) is a good source on this, and does not mention any attempts by either side to press Switzerland to take an active part in the war. The Swiss would have been extremely un-receptive to any such suggestions, given that neutrality had been the guiding principle of their ...


38

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 ...


38

Ok, since I think I finally got your real question (as I see it): I'm simply asking if the defense of Switzerland during WW2 was overrated. Many people claim that the country was impossible to occupy, I just want to know if this is not clearly exaggerated. The emphasis is what I interpret as your "real" question (since there is a lot of confusion here) ...


25

What factors were Hitler's / Germany's motivations for WW2? Revanchism, stealing raw materials, and racial hatreds. The Swiss are largely German-speaking / Germanic, so there's no "racial superiority" factor to promote invasion and de facto depopulation/extermination and colonization. They don't have a excessive amount of arable land for "true German" ...


21

The Germans were certain they could. For instance, their 1940 plans for Operation Tannenbaum estimated that a force of 300,000 to 500,000 men would have been sufficient. Swiss military leadership also thought that an invasion would have been successful: Their revised military plan for the event of an invasion, the Réduit national, called for a delaying ...


17

By not being a threat, and having no strategic benefit to either side worth fighting a professional army on excellent defensive terrain. Take a good at Switzerland and you'll notice one thing: mountains. Lots and lots of tall mountains. Mountains mean easily defended choke points. They mean peaks hiding guns and observers who can call down fire and ...


17

The Alpine Mountains were HUGE in the development of Switzerland. There is a reason that Switzerland contains French, German, and Italian speaking regions. These regions were the main area in each linguistic group that could successfully resist the feudal lords of what later became the "countries" of France, Germany, and Italy. The polyglot members of the ...


15

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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland 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 ...


13

The thing is that at the time in question, France was actually quite diverse (and yet sufficiently unified on a political level to become a rather successful democratic nation-state rather than crumble like Austria-Hungary). And as you correctly surmised, Alsace-Moselle (the German “Elsaß-Lothringen”) loomed large in French minds but not quite for the ...


13

In Switzerland, it had to pass a popular referendum. (Switzerland also joined the UN and legalized abortion only in 2002 — both decisions that were passed through referendum.) Similarly in Liechtenstein, 1984, where the 4th referendum in 16 years only narrowly passed despite support from newspapers and both major political parties. Passing a popular ...


12

Since its founding, Switzerland has been somewhat isolated from the rest of Europe. That's partly because of its mountainous geography, and partly because of its fierce desire for independence, and the ability NOT to participate in what was going on in Europe at any given time (feudalism in the Middle Ages, nationalism later on). This problem was ...


10

That's Biel / Bienne, see its coat of arms: By Aliman5040 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Swiss historian Markus Kutter confirms it in Zwischen Jura, Vogesen und Schwarzwald, 32. Hinter die Fassade verbannt (in German): Auf der ursprünglichen Fassade waren nur 11 Wappen abgebildet, also die achte alten Orte, ergänzt durch Freiburg und Solothurn, dazu ...


10

There were many practical reasons why Switzerland was not occupied of which none of the first answer of @AmorphouBob apply Some of these reasons are: militarily Switzerland was considered a 'thorny' problem, as expressed in the question and the Swiss strategy there was no strategic advantage (Switzerland was surrounded by the Axis powers) an economic ...


8

I have come to the conclusion that this bullet originated from an M61 Vulcan cannon. Developed shortly after WW2, and in common use over the last few decades in Switzerland. Even today the Swiss Airforce fly the F/A-18 with the M61 Vulcan cannon mounted. It is hard to place a timestamp on when the bullet was fired, given the many years of use. Based on the ...


8

This is an hypothetical question. I'll try to answer based only on the military concept. You have already answered your own question, in part 4. You don't need to conquer the whole country; only the main cities and the fields are desirable. Forget about the mountains; you don't need them. Once in a while they'll have to attack some places to prevent ...


7

No visa was needed to enter, strictly speaking. But it would be needed to enter legally and for staying there. There were no privileges for Germans from anywhere, but privileges for people citing a reason the Swiss accepted and for people having documented ties to people in Switzerland. Just hailing from Soviet occupied Germany would likely be not ...


7

Because they were settled by Germans who kept in contact with other Germanic regions. Upper Valais speaks a German dialect because it was extensively settled by Germanic immigrants during the Middle Ages. At the time, Switzerland in general was being gradually infiltrated by Germans. Upper Valais, specifically, was settled by German speaking colonists from ...


7

It does appear to be the Sauser family crest. Here are some colour versions: As you can see, the design consists of two trefoils (i.e. clovers), growing from a trimount (i.e. a mount of three hillocks), on a blue blackground. The crossed-seven-esque sign in gold appears to be a hausmarke. The trefoils are a symbol for perpetuity. As a side note, green ...


7

Well the "Reason" to this was the Swiss vote system. To make a change in the Swiss constitution, a "vote initiative" has to be submitted. If the prospective vote initiative fulfills some conditions and other things, it gets to be an initiative. This initiative goes out and then the people which are allow can vote about it. They can accept or decline it. If ...


6

First of all, I would not consider Switzerland to be politically isolated. After WWII, Switzerland got the European seat of the UN (and although it took forever for Switzerland to become a member of the UN, they have been active in many UN organizations), it was a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which was the competing ...


5

Adding to @Schwern's great answer, Switzerland had been internationally recognized as an independent neutral state at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Its neutral status changed in 1814 when it was allied to France. However, its neutrality was again recognized by the major European countries in Treaty of Paris of 1815. This helped it to stay neutral in both ...


5

Yes, it appears they did. Wikipedia's caption on the map below reads: Italian territory claims by Italian irredentism activists in the 1930s, including Nice, Ticino and Dalmatia in green, Malta in red, and later also claimed Corsica in purple "Ticino" is of course the Italian name for what German-speakers call "Tessin". How hard this was pushed is ...


5

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 ...


5

Shields up!!! It was advantageous for the Germans not to conquer Switzerland, and this would be a major factor in deciding the merit of doing so. A few only examples: Switzerland provided the Nazis access to bank accounts and "safe" deposits of Jews and others. Exactly how these were divied up is unknown to me, but one can safely assume that the Nazis did ...


5

It is not absolutely certain that the boy in the photo is a soldier. I have seen a photograph of my great grand uncle Ferdinand Andrew Demuth (1857-1911) as a child wearing what looked like a uniform from the US Civil War of 1961-1865, even though he would have been almost the youngest boy in the Union army if he had been a soldier in the war. I later ...


5

This doesn't answer who was in the photo, or what the uniform was, but I did find something historically interesting. "Welti" on the bottom and back likely refers to Swiss photographer Oswald Welti, who had a studio in Lausanne in 1880, according to Wikipedia. His nephew Albert Welti apprenticed with him that year, before going off to study at the Academy ...


4

Nearly all of the Swiss guards were killed during the storming of the Tuilleries on 10 August 1792, or in the immediate aftermath. Nearly a hundred were publicly executed in the square of the Hotel de Ville. After the palace and assembly were overrun, the revolutionaries went hunting through the buildings room by room, killing anyone they found, porters, ...


4

Universities (at least in the US) tend to give those out to famous people as favors for lecturing there. As such, having an "honorary" degree doesn't really mean a whole lot. There wouldn't be much incentive for making up a false story about somebody receiving one. It appears he did a speaking tour of the US in 1911, and did speak at several universities, ...


4

The evidence you have presented suggests that the card is meant to assist a Zwilchenbart customer in getting to the branch in New York upon arriving in the city. Presumably the customer has deposited funds with the bank in Basel, and will have need to collect some of it, in American currency, immediately after clearing the immigration facility. The Battery ...


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