It was surrounded by the Nazis and their allies during World War II. How were they able to remain neutral and independent?
Didn''t the Swiss kind of secretly help out the Nazis? I thought I''d read that.
It didn''t have any strategic geographic importance and logistically would be too difficult to invade.
Free chocolate for everyone.
The Vatican secretly funneled funds to the Nazis through Swiss banks to fund the Nazis kill the Christ killers genocide.
The Allies and the Nazis were trading freely through backdoor channels throughout the war. Millionaires have to stay in business even as millions perish defending silly concepts like God and Country, no?
Link please, R4.
Switzerland, like Sweden, remained officially neutral, but in some respects helped both sides. In many ways, the German government actually profited by maintaining Switzerland as an intermediary.\
Swiss bankers established secret accounts for Nazi officers seeking safe storage of money and other valuables looted from countries overtaken by the German war machine. While Swiss diplomats also provided safe passage for victims of Nazi oppression, the Swiss government often came perilously close to appearing politically allied with Germany. The Swiss role in helping Nazi officials escape at the war''s end is also not creditable.
[quote]The Swiss role in helping Nazi officials escape at the war''s end is also not creditable.\
Neither is the USA''s. We defeated Hitler, yes. Nazism, on the other hand, emigrated and went underground in the USA. Fifty years later it blossomed and is now doing a booming business under the name of Neo-conservatism.\
Scoff at that notion but if a privately-owned but publicly-funded military like Blackwater isn''t proof of Fascism, what is?
Hmmm - I always was told the Swiss were closet Nazis.
Nazi with extra funds? Welcome to Switzerland!\
Frightened Jewish person with assets to hide? Welcome to Switzerland!\
Vatican rep wanting to tunnel money? Welcome to Switzerland!\
US company wanting to service German subsidiaries? Welcome to Switzerland!
I don''t much like the Swiss, myself.
It helped that they installed a secret tesseract in the mountains outside of Salzburg (in northeastern Austria) so children could hike there to safety.
Maria von Trapp
Neutral doesn''t mean independent, it means that when you do business with one side you also do business with the other side.\
Sadly when WWII comes up in school all that is bein taught is how the military secured the border and not much else. It''s a shame
Swiss, and never been proud of it
R6: google Switzerland in WWII and see what comes up. They not only kept money from Nazis in their banks, but also art and gold. And after the war, when Jewish survivors and their descendants tried to retrieve their money, the Swiss made it impossible for them. A group of survivors relatives sued them and the Swiss finally gave in. There was quite a scandal about it. They also turned Jews away during the war and let the Nazis know where the Jews were living in Switzerland. Neutral my a$$.
Little known fact: the holes in Swiss cheese were originally made by Nazi bullets.%0D\
Lesson learned: remain netural, get holes in your cheese
Dr. Schacht was very clubby with the Swiss bankers.
A Swiss acquaintance (a francophone) living here in Canada claims that he is not contemplating moving back to Switzerland any time soon since, in his words, he can''t stand xenophobia, racism, and insular and conservative mindset which is prevalent outside a couple of major cities.
r13, your paragraph makes no mention of the Vatican funneling money to the Nazis''
The Swiss are as bad as the Austrians- even more nazi and anti semitic than the Germans......lots of secrets there and not just in the vaults of banks.....made the nazi machine keep running during WW2 will billions in stolen loot. The Aryan Von Trapp family did manage to enter- but thousands of Jews were turned away.
"We defeated Hitler,"\
No, we didn''t. The Soviets did. A relatively small percentage of German troops were killed by Americans.\
I''ve never been to a place more Nazi-like than Zurich. Certainly no place in Germany.
[quote]The Aryan Von Trapp family did manage to enter- but thousands of Jews were turned away.\
The von Trapp family only went to Switzerland in the play & movie because American audiences would have been confused by the real family''s escape from Hitler''s Austria via Mussolini''s Italy to the USA. Salzburg is nowhere near Switzerland and the real von Trapps rode to freedom in a train then an ocean liner. \
The Swiss justified the theft of Jewish-owned billions as an act of "stealing back" fortunes that had been acquired for pennies on the dollar in the broken post-war European economy of the 1920s.
I like fondue.
[quote]The Swiss justified the theft of Jewish-owned billions as an act of "stealing back" fortunes that had been acquired for pennies on the dollar in the broken post-war European economy of the 1920s.\
But those were not the thefts of large fortunes -- more like the raids being made by corporations on the US middle class''s assets now, and not specifically a Jewish campaign. And those certainly were not Swiss fortunes, so it is not clear where this supposed self-righteousness stems.
[quote]The Aryan Von Trapp family did manage to enter-%0D\
No they didn''t. They actually fled to Italy and from there, to the USA.%0D\
[quote]- but thousands of Jews were turned away.%0D\
and thousands were granted entry. Switzerland harbored more jewish refugees than any other country.
John McPhee''s La Place de le Concorde Suisse is fascinating and, for him, not so longwinded. All about how the peace-loving Swiss are armed to the TEETH.
[quote]All about how the peace-loving Swiss are armed to the TEETH.\
The Swiss aren''t neutral because they''re peace loving. They used to provide a lot of mercenary soldiers. Being neutral meant they could work for any side.
I saw a brochure for the Sound Of Music tour in Salzburg and one of the stops was the platz where Gretl dropped the tomato!- Swiss=Nazis- weird and back stabbing crowd. I''ve worked with and for many. YUCHHHHH.
How dare those Jews who wrote The Sound of Music change history!
Did you know that Swiss Miss hot cocoa isn''t actually made in Switzerland?
Maria, what is it you cuntface?
You''re all making it far too complicated. The Swiss don''t hate Jews, love Nazis, or vice versa. They didn''t take sides like WWII was a sporting event. You give them far too much credit. They dealt with WWII like they''ve dealt with everything that''s happened for 1000 years--they quickly calculated which course of action would make them the most money and acted accordingly.\
WWII was a giant game of Roulette with the Swiss running the wheel. The Nazis bet black and the Allies bet red. It didn''t matter, the Swiss got their percentage every time the wheel got spun.
All the neutral states - Switzerland, Sweden, the Vatican, Portugal, Spain - sympathized with the Axis.
People nowadays forget that in the 1930s "neutral" Europeans saw Hitler and Naziism as a bulwark protecting them from Stalin and Communism. Today all we think of the Third Reich is the Holocaust but back then, before the war, Europeans saw millions starve to death in the dysfunctional Soviet system while Hitler apparently made Germany thrive again. Compared to starvation, going Nazi seemed the more desirable alternative. \
The cartoon portrayal of Hitler and Nazi Germany that we have been fed in American culture for 70 years makes it seem like it was all Black & White, Good vs. Evil when at the time people in Europe were scrambling for security and stability after 25 years of war and chaos going back to 1914.
I remember them in the 1980s, gloating that they had nuclear shelters with spaces for every single Swiss CITIZEN, and if the US and the USSR had a standoff, they would emerge after the mutual destruction and be the rulers of the world.
What was the von Trapp family "escaping" from? They were going to make the father an admiral in the German Navy. What a horrible fate!
They were going to make the father an admiral in the Nazi Navy, R36 -- many of the old guard officers didn''t think much of politicizing the military (sort of like all those officers who got cashiered when the US military went fundie in the 90s and beyond).\
In terms of Germany, this was discussed in the film Das Boot.
On a related note, all housing units in Switzerland are required to maintain a nuclear bomb shelter to this day. My friends in Geneva have one in their 10-year-old building. Weird place. Still love the chocolate, though.
Did you know that Toblerone bars are triangle shaped to look like the Alps?
The Swiss forcefully defended their neutrality. When Goering orders bombers from his southern command to fly over Switzerland on their way to attack Britain to save on fuel, the Swiss protested.\
Goering ignored them, and the flyovers continued. So the Swiss airforce, flying Messerschmidts, forced several Germans to land, and impounded their aircraft.\
Furious, Goering ordered his fighters to attack any Swiss aircraft that intercepted them.\
At the next encounter, the Swiss shot down six German fighters, losing none themselves.\
After that, Goering had his southern formations fly around Switzerland.
We crossed into their airspace too, and we even bombed them several times by mistake. After the war was over we paid the Swiss about $25 million in damages. Typical Swiss, balancing the books at the end.\
My partner''s father lived just across the Rhine from Switzerland, and instead of observing the blackout orders during the war, his village lit themselves up like a Christmas Tree at night so the bomber would think the village was Swiss. Never had a bomb drop on them the entire war.
The Nazi horde approached the border but turned away. %0D\
Legend has it that the sight of an Austrian captain, his newlywed bride, and seven children wearing draperies, climbing the Alps and singing at the top of their lungs scared der scheiss out of the Germans.
 Thanks for that snippit - I find all this stuff fascinating. So much of what happened back then is disappearing from the historical record.
[quote]So much of what happened back then is disappearing from the historical record.\
What the hell are you talking about?
[quote]his village lit themselves up like a Christmas Tree at night so the bomber would think the village was Swiss.%0D\
That was clever.
But what about the Fondue?
R7 and others got it right. A couple times Hitler nearly invade Switzerland. Their willingness to launder Nazi plunder essentially kept them at bay.
This thread took a sad turn with the arrival of charlie.
That's enough, charlie.
Are the Swiss mostly German by ethnicity?
Switzerland is a beautiful, clean, efficient country but it is dull. And you are trapped by your family history.
In your case R49, one has to hit tolldar to know what kind of nonsense (personal off topic attacks) you "contribute". Coward.
[quote] We defeated Hitler, yes. Nazism, on the other hand, emigrated and went underground in the USA.
That's really not the case. Fascism existed in America prior to and during WWII, so it's surviving here afterward had nothing to do with our importing it from Germany.
Our real crime wasn't importing an ideology that had more than a few domestic proponents to begin with, but employing Nazi scientists afterward in an attempt at winning the Cold War. In fairness, Stalin did the same for the USSR.
Swiss feel offended to be called German, they look down on Germans especially since the economic crisis in recent years. Quite a few Germans are working in Swiss now like other immigrants from Eastern Europe or Turkey did in the past and Swiss look at them like they do at those foreigners.
[quote]So much of what happened back then is disappearing from the historical record.
This is so true. Schoolchildren everywhere are opening up their history books and where once there was a chapter on WWII, they're finding pages that have magically gone blank. Programmers at the History Channel have pulled oft-viewed documentaries off the shelves for reruns, only to find blank tapes and empty reels of film. Look up "World War Two" on Wikipedia and you'll get a 404 error on your monitor. Ask any Briton who Winston Churchill was and you'll get shrugs and blank stares.
I blame gremlins. Nazi gremlins.
R55- anyone with any interest in WW2 or Winston Churchill for that matter can find volumes of information in the history stacks at Barnes and Noble and on line and in libraries. The History and Military chanels on cable are full of WW2 documentaries of all kind more or less round the clock. Now, will they read something longer than a sound bite? Or turn away from reality TV? That's the question.
Will someone get Charlie his pills? Thanks.
Since we're on the subject of WWII, Hulu carries a Russian documentary series from 2011 on the Great Patriotic War. It's Soviet Storm: WWII in the East, in 18 episodes, with CGI, dramatic re-enactments, and original footage. It's been given British English narration, but the Russian-language maps remain, so the maps are a bit hard to follow.
While WWII was covered in my various modern history classes, for the most part I learned about western Europe and the Pacific theater. Watching this gave me an overview of the progress of the war in the east and Stalin's disastrously bad military judgment.
R55, and R57- what you state in R55 is simply not true. WW2 history is very easy to access. In fact it probably is the most dominant in terms of quantity historical topic in the written word in 2012. That is my point. Pills?
If Hitler hadn't invaded the USSR when he did, the Nazis may very well have won WWII, which is a horrifying thought.
Also a docu is being repeated regularly on the History Chanel on this very topic: the laundering of Nazi plunder during the war by Switzerland, and the real story behind the country's "neutrality". Perhaps what is where the OP got the idea for the thread.
Charlie is really off the rails in this thread. Is there someone we can call to check up on him? R55 is clearly joking. You'd have to have a cognitive disorder to miss the sarcasm.
OMG, Charlie. You've outdone yourself with this one.
Wiki's entry on WWII is very much there, filled with info, maps, and photos.
R55 is a conspiracy whacko, or doing an artful parody. With so many stupid people in the world it gets hard to tell them apart.
R55 was being sarcastic but needlessly so. A previous poster mentioned that a lot of oral anecdotes about WWII were being lost to history. R55 missed the point entirely. He flipped out and used sarcasm to demonstrate how officially well-documented WWII is. He didn't get that it was the curious lesser-known tales told by elderly witnesses that are slipping through the cracks.
Charlie is an autistic wonder. Satire zings past his brain at lightning speed.
[quote]A previous poster mentioned that a lot of oral anecdotes about WWII were being lost to history. R55 missed the point entirely.
I think it's you missing the point, and a few brain cells. The exact quote referenced at R55:
[quote]So much of what happened back then is disappearing from [bold]the historical record. [/bold]
Which is, of course, ludicrous.
No one said anything about anecdotes. They said "the historical record" was "disappearing".
Never historically considered "German" (i.e., were not a part of the First Reich (a/k/a/ "The Holy Roman Empire").
Never lusted after by the Pan-Germanist movement.
Had never waged a war with Germany.
Too mountainous to offer any "Lebensraum".
Yes, R68, but he didn't mean the major details that you refer to in your obnoxious post as R55. He meant the fascinating snippets and glimpses of that era as told by eye witnesses who are dying off.