The Eye of the Hurricane

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The Eye of the Hurricane

Switzerland’s role as a neutral nation proved an anomaly, especially considering its geographic location in the center of mainland Europe. In the face of Nazi aggression, Switzerland deterred the threat of attack with its formidably trained military and its important economic status, since it maintained its trade with Germany. Switzerland’s struggle against fascism stemmed from its fundamental disagreement with the Nazi ideology.

With a total land mass of 41,284 square kilometers, Switzerland is one of Europe’s smaller countries. Although landlocked and mountainous, several large lakes form natural borders. As a country, it supports several nations of people, and four official languages: German, French,
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The Allies were reluctant to send any supplies to Switzerland, for fear the Axis would intercept them (Chapter 1).

Since Hitler had plans to put all German-speaking countries under his rule, Switzerland regarded German invasion as an immediate threat.

“From 1933 to 1939, while many other countries remained idle and passive, Switzerland raised money for defense spending” (Chapter 1).

To prevent attack, the Swiss utilized a strategy of deterrence: military readiness to make Germany view conquest as too costly to be undertaken. The Swiss mobilized 20% of their employed population, guarding their borders with 430,000 soldiers, Europe’s highest per capita of trained riflemen (Switzerland’s Role in World War II) (Target Switzerland). Realizing their dated military technology put them at a disadvantage, the Swiss commander-in-chief developed the “Reduit Concept” in 1940. Under this plan, the Swiss Army would retreat into the Alps, securing the most favorable defensive position in the advent of an attack, where they would employ guerilla warfare tactics ( Switzerland’s Role in World War II). In addition, the Swiss Army mined railroads, bridges, tunnels, and major roadways with the intention to sever the connection to Germany’s ally, Italy in case of an invasion ( Switzerland’s Role in World War II). The Swiss installed machine gun nests and put obstacles on roads near the
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