Working paper
Open access

Neutral Switzerland, Summer 1940: A reappraisal

Publication date2022-11-09

This article proposes a fresh view on the history of Switzerland in 1940, especially focusing on the reasons the country was not invaded by the Axis powers at the time. Indeed, in the last two decades, while Swiss historians have concentrated mainly on the commercial and financial relations between Switzerland and Nazi Germany during the war, the aforementioned question has been widely neglected.

This article sustains that financial services offered by the Swiss economy played almost no role in the maintenance of the country’s independence. The geopolitical and military strategies of Germany, the hesitant attitude of Italy, and the preservation of the transit through the Swiss Alps between the two Axis powers were the main explanations for this situation. Therefore, above all, exogeneous factors to Switzerland’s political and economic decisions taken in spring and summer 1940 must be considered first. It is true that the combination of adaptation of Swiss foreign policies, including a commercial rapprochement with Axis powers, and resistance within the country to Germany’s attempts at influencing Swiss internal politics was an efficient political synthesis. However this only slightly influenced German rulers. This article thus offers an essential clarification on one of the most important moments of Switzerland’s history and also a modest, but meaningful contribution to the history of World War II.

  • Neutralité
  • Suisse
  • Deuxième guerre mondiale
  • Relations internationales
  • Diplomatie
Citation (ISO format)
FARQUET, Christophe. <i>Neutral Switzerland, Summer 1940: </i>A reappraisal. 2022
Main files (1)
Working paper
  • PID : unige:164987

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