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Swiss American Historical Society Review

Swiss American Historical Society Review

Authors

Keywords

Switzerland, Swiss history, European history

Abstract

Over the years, Switzerland has been a safe-haven for artists seeking refuge from war. Situated at the center of Europe, possessing great wealth and natural beauty, and surrounded as she is by potential enemies , Switzerland has long been unique in maintaining her neutrality, especially through the two world wars of the Twentieth Century. Other neutral countries have not been so successful enforcing their neutrality. Recall the fate of Belgium and Luxembourg in both world wars: the invasion and violation of these neutrals was a central part of German strategy. But in the two world wars of the Twentieth Century, Switzerland was spared. Even in the First World War (1914-1918) when the Allies, Britain and France to the west, and Germany to the east, raced to outflank each other on the Western Front. The English Channel provided the barrier on the northwest, and on the southeast, there was the Swiss border. So what stopped them there? Perhaps it's as Stephen O'Shea has said " ... both parties to the pointless savagery realized that stalemate had descended on the mountains and that war would be won or lost elsewhere.

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