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Old February 1st, 2012, 07:59 PM   #11

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Hitler was a Loony Toon, but his biggest backers had their money in Swiss banks.

Second World War air power would have overcome the old terrain advantages of the Swiss. He would have taken the country eventually had he not been defeated by the Soviets.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 08:13 PM   #12

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Another good point i just came across.

Many of the road and rail links from Germany to Italy went through Switzerland. If the Germans invaded and the Swiss went through with their policy of destroying those bridges and tunnels then most trade and movement between the Axis powers would have been restricted for years, theres only so much can go through Austrias Brenner pass and that was already at full capacity with military transports, civil trade would have been decimated.

At the same time Switzerland is a net importer of food (its very short of flat places to grow crops) so while the Nazis could have taken the country at great cost it was easier to put diplomatic pressure on them, the Swiss needed to export industrial products for cash, they needed to import raw materials and food, the Germans had a controlling hold on them at the same time as they needed Swiss diplomacy and banks.

Why invade when you were already getting what you wanted, any more than the Germans needed to invade Sweden to get ballbearings.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:17 PM   #13
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I've never figured out why Hitler did not invade Germany. The defence argument doesn't ring true - he took on Russia for heaven's sake. A silly irrational move and his generals knew that, so did any one with half a brain.


He would have easily overun the Swiss miliatary (whether or not they would have fought back a little, medium, or a lot - who knows, I suspect they would have rolled over) and history has proven he was irrational and erratic - I doubt he gave a toss about private banking, negotiation centres, roads to Italy, common culture, on and on.

It was not on his map for some reason.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:42 PM   #14

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Like some have suggested, the Germans did not invade because they were hiding there loot there. There must have been Germans in high leadership positions that had no problem going along since it made them rich. But they must have known that the war could turn against them. So having Switzerland has insurance to fall back on if things got ugly was a smart move.

Also, I would think that the Germans would rather not invaded Switzerland since they could use it has a place to spy from. Chances are the allies also had plenty of spies in Switzerland.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:53 PM   #15

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Originally Posted by Watson View Post
On a map of occupied Europe during World War II, the "neutral" country of Switzerland sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. Why didn't Hitler feel the need to take it like he had the rest of Continental Europe? Was it the terrain, the Swiss military or some other reason?
He didn't need to, they were a sympathetic state anyway and not in the way why bother?

Swiss military wasn't great but wasn't poor either and could have been difficult-- due to Geography as much as anything-- so why bother.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:54 PM   #16

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The First World War as viewed from Switzerland:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 02:46 PM   #17

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Originally Posted by tonywalt View Post
I've never figured out why Hitler did not invade Germany.
This is a trick question isnt it?
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Old March 1st, 2013, 03:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
He didn't need to, they were a sympathetic state anyway and not in the way why bother?

Swiss military wasn't great but wasn't poor either and could have been difficult-- due to Geography as much as anything-- so why bother.
There was some pro-German sentiment in Switzerland, but not so much in the army. Pro-Nazi officers were held under arrest at the outbreak of the war. The C-in-C, Col. Gen. Henri Guisan, may have been the most influential person in Switzerland during the war, and pre-war plans called (in secret of course) for Swiss forces supporting France - especially in the event of violation of Swiss sovereignty.

IIRC, German planes that violated Swiss airspace were fired upon and some shot down. Allied aircrew who wound up in Switzerland were interned under international law.

Obviously, in view of France's collapse, Switzerland made accommodation with Germany. They were surrounded by fascist forces on all sides - Germany, Italy and Vichy France. Many crucial commodities had to be imported - coal; foodstuffs; other raw materials, etc. There was nothing else to do, and their situation was in some ways similar to Sweden's.

Had Sweden been invaded, they would have resisted; the same with Switzerland. Swiss frontier areas, and higher elevations, were heavily fortified, and the army numbered 500,000 on mobilization.

In both cases, there was more advantage to Germany in letting them alone. Sweden was a major source of iron ore, copper, timber and seafood. The Swiss provided a valuable central European stage for intelligence (as did Portugal in maritime Europe). Swiss banking institutions provided valuable "services," and profited from those.

You "don't need an enemy you don't need."

Last edited by pikeshot1600; March 1st, 2013 at 03:18 PM.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 06:58 PM   #19

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Germany didn't attack Switzerland because there was no reason to. It wasn't a threat, and it was useful in a variety of ways to the Third Reich. So why would Germany risk weakening its forces in critical sectors just to erase a tiny blemish on the map of its empire. It wouldn't. Even Adolf wasn't that unbalanced. He had bigger fish to fry.
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Old March 2nd, 2013, 12:45 AM   #20

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Originally Posted by tonywalt View Post
I've never figured out why Hitler did not invade Germany. .
It certainly would have had the element of surprise on it's side

ps: best typo I've seen in a while
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