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Strangers in a Strange Land (2): Escape to Neutrality (Armor Specials 6056)
By Hans-Heiri Stapfer
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1992 80 Pages
PDF 23 MB
Switzerland is a Federal Republic consisting of twenty-live cantons (similar to the States of the U.S.) bordered by France, Germany. Austria and Italy. German is the dominant language in nineteen cantons, while French. Italian and Roman are spoken in the remaining cantons (Roman or "Romansh" is a language spoken in southeastern Switzerland).
Switzerland's 135 year-old policy of international impartiality and neutrality was maintained more in the letter than in the spirit of the lawduring the early years of the war. Uespitc.or perhaps because of, her neutrality. Switzerland had a difficult time during the Second World War. In 1940 Hitler took France in the notorious Blitzkrieg, completely surrounding Switzerland by Axis lorces. Asa result the Swiss were cut off from the United States and England. The Swiss claimed that they were willing to sell goods and weapons to both sides, although that became a little difficult as the Nazis cut off any avenue of export to the Allies. So for all intents and purposes. Germany and Switzerland became economic allies.
Switzerland. nevertheless, played an important part during the conflict and were able to act for the warring powers in matters relating to prisoners nf war. All International Red Cross delegates who visited and reported on POW camps and conveyed complaints to the various governments were Swiss. Switzerland also accorded tfsylum to refugees, escaped prisoners of war from Axis camps, civilians and Jewish refugee*. The number of refugees rose to 11.000 by May of 1945 and providing housing end food presented a considerable problem to the small Swiss nation.
At the beginning of the war. the Swiss Air Forces were under-equipped and. apart from the Messerschmitt Bf 109E, most fighters were tar below the latest standard. The numerically most important tighter in Swiss service was the Moranc Saulnicr MS-406 which was license manufactured in Switzerland. During May of 1940, the Swiss purchased an additional fifty Bf 109E-3 fighters from Germany.