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Old March 23rd, 2018, 04:11 AM   #1

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German nationalism in Switzerland


My limited understanding of Switzerland and Swiss history is that religion has always been a much more important marker than language. Also, Switzerland lacked a strong national identity, at least until the First World War, in favour of regional identities that were tied to the various cantons. The war itself of course deeply divided and entrenched the country along 'national' or cultural lines.

Did German nationalism ever make serious inroads in Switzerland? I know there was some admiration for the second German Empire in the German parts of Switzerland and many Swiss Germans sympathized with it based on the close cultural bonds. For instance, did the Swiss Germans consider themselves German between 1871-1918? Would they have likely supported a closer affiliation with Germany and Austria in the case of Central Power victory in the First World War?

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Old March 23rd, 2018, 11:20 AM   #2
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German nationalism only had mild support among German-speaking Swiss because they saw their history as a campaign to retain their independence against larger German states.

Their reaction to the threat of a Nazi invasion shows that local identity was more important than any broader ethnic nationalism.
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Old March 23rd, 2018, 11:28 AM   #3
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Switzerland was once German.
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Old March 23rd, 2018, 12:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor of Wurttemburg 43 View Post
Switzerland was once German.
About the history of Switzerland, I think that they didn't like their German, Burgundian, French neighbours.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_...of_Switzerland
History of Switzerland: Old Swiss Confederacy 1291 - 1515
And it became the end of the Burgundians with Charles The Bold and Nancy

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Old March 23rd, 2018, 12:23 PM   #5

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Originally Posted by Gaius Julius Civilis View Post
My limited understanding of Switzerland and Swiss history is that religion has always been a much more important marker than language. Also, Switzerland lacked a strong national identity ...
That is true and false in the same time, depending on one's definition of "national identity".

Language is one of the fundamental composents of "nation", it's the common definition/belief. If we consider that true, we could accept that "Switzerland lacked a strong national identity".

But, as much as history shows, Switzerland has a very strong national identity, despite the lack of a common language (one might add, in a lesser extent, other European "exception", like Belgium, Andorra, Luxembourg). The example of medieval Swiss mercenaries refusing to fight each other abroad, while their cantons were in "civil war" at home is more than telling.

I believe we have to accept the premise that language isn't a sine qua non composant of the "nation", and that "Switzerland lacked a strong national identity" is false.

As for "German nationalism in Swizzerland", it was never an important factor. The "Swiss German (or better said: Allemanic) nationalism", yes. But that's another thing.

Last edited by deaf tuner; March 23rd, 2018 at 12:25 PM.
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Old March 23rd, 2018, 12:23 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by Emperor of Wurttemburg 43 View Post
Switzerland was once German.
Well, we could reasonably say it was never German, in fact.
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Old March 23rd, 2018, 06:07 PM   #7
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Switxerland lacked a strong identity !!!-what nonsense is this ?? Haven't you ever heard of William Tell? Swiss national hero and his resistance against the Austrians?
Switerland was once German ' is nonsense -Germany only dates from 1870 as a unitary state .Something that Switzerland was for centuries before 1870.
Naploeon conquered Switzerland and called it the Helvetian republic.
Bu that did not last.
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Old March 23rd, 2018, 06:14 PM   #8
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The Congres of Vienna in 1815 saw Switzerland restored to full independence and neutrality and all the powers Austrian Britain France guaranteed Swiiss neutrality and independence after it had been conquered and invaded in 1799 by the French revolutionary armies who gave it the Helvetic republic name.
Napoleon carried this on.too.
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Old March 23rd, 2018, 06:33 PM   #9
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Switxerland lacked a strong identity !!!-what nonsense is this ?? Haven't you ever heard of William Tell? Swiss national hero and his resistance against the Austrians?
Switerland was once German ' is nonsense -Germany only dates from 1870 as a unitary state .Something that Switzerland was for centuries before 1870.
Naploeon conquered Switzerland and called it the Helvetian republic.
Bu that did not last.
That is a fair point, German identity is new and by that measure Switzerland was never German. It was the ancestral home of the Hapsburgs though and it had been part of the HRE.
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Old March 24th, 2018, 08:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendennis View Post
Switxerland lacked a strong identity !!!-what nonsense is this ?? Haven't you ever heard of William Tell? Swiss national hero and his resistance against the Austrians?
Exactly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendennis View Post
...Germany only dates from 1870 as a unitary state...
No.



I know, that in 1856 in the republic and canton of Neuenburg, some royalists did rise up and tried to integrate it fully into Prussia. The (more numerous) republicans put it down.
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