Switzerland is known for its watches, its chocolate, its boarding schools (http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.ch/2017/04/tt-wells-at-le-rosey.html) and its secretive banks (the gnomes of Zurich). It is also known for having been stuck in neutral. Its neutrality and its strong currency do not, however seem to have hurt it any. On the contrary Switzerland seems to be a textbook example on the benefits of peace and free markets. The Swiss have no need for Brexit having passed on the EU long ago.
But if you were to conclude that Switzerland must never have been invaded you would be quite wrong.
In our book Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World we noted that Julius Caesar was invading the area now known as Switzerland over 2,000 years ago and many more would follow...
|Julius Caesar invaded Switzerland|
"The Romans took control of the territory of what is now Switzerland in a number of different stages.
For instance, in 121 BC, Quintus Fabius Maximus defeated the Allobroges, who were a tribe that occupied parts of what is now eastern France and a little bit of Switzerland. And in 58 BC, Caesar decisively defeated the Helvetii at the Battle of Bibracte, a victory that set the scene for the establishment of Roman sites like Noviodunum/Nyon and Colonia Raurica in western Switzerland. In 15 BC, Tiberius and Drusus seized Raetia, a territory that included much of what is now Switzerland. And in 6 BC, Augustus celebrated his triumph over the tribes of the Alps with a massive trophy constructed at what is now La Turbie in France, where much of it is still visible.
|Swiss Fighting in 1346|
Chateau Gruyere, Switzerland
|Italian Grenadier Guard|
Musée de l'Armée, Paris
And the Napoleonic Wars would see more Italians fighting in Switzerland. In 1798, French forces invaded Switzerland and occupied it. Shortly afterward, Andrea Massena, born in Nice (when Nice was Sardinian), was given a major French command in Switzerland and told to resist advancing Austrian and Russian forces. Massena not only managed to resist an Austrian advance on Zurich, but at the Second Battle of Zurich in September 1799, he also achieved a major and strategically important victory over a combined Russian and Austrian force.
|Napoleon Crossing the Alps!|
In the spring of 1800, Napoleon, whose family was from San Miniato, famously crossed the Alps through the St. Bernard Pass in what is now Switzerland. He soon led the French to victory over the Austrians in the Italian town of Marengo.
While Switzerland may be known for its bankers, it was the Italians who invented double-entry bookkeeping and the Medicis who pioneered merchant banking. And without Columbus’s discovery of the New World, the Swiss would not even have chocolate!"
|Swiss Guards, St. Peter's, Rome|
Today in Switzerland, just under 7 percent of Swiss citizens are Italian speaking. The pope continues to be protected by guards who must all be Swiss, Catholic bachelors between the ages of nineteen and thirty. There were 112 Swiss guards protecting the pope as of 2010."
Even we Americans have not missed out on invading Switzerland. In America Invades (www.americainvades.com) we wrote...
|Swiss Fondue, Gruyere, Switzerland|
Chateau Gruyere, Switzerland
With its strategic location at the heart of Europe, Switzerland became famous along with the fondue, clocks, and knives for spies during both world wars. There can be few more famous American spymasters than Allen Dulles, and he spent time in Switzerland during both wars. In World War I, he operated out of Berne and ran spies in Austria-Hungary, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. Also one night, he apparently hung up the phone after a conversation with a Russian revolutionary about to leave Switzerland and desperate to speak to an American diplomat. That revolutionary turned out to be Lenin, and his destination, Russia and the Bolshevik Revolution.
|ME 262, Evergreen Air & Space Museum|
Stalin, not a fan of capitalists anyway, denounced the Swiss as “swine” and urged US forces to attack from France. We didn’t. Well, as mentioned above, not intentionally anyway.
|P-47, Museum of Flight|
Sometimes, however, Switzerland was the intended destination of our men. A number of Allied bomber crews, for instance, thinking their planes were too damaged to return home, preferred to avoid becoming POWs and landed deliberately in neutral Switzerland where their planes and crews would be impounded for the duration of the war. And Switzerland was, of course, a destination of choice for American POWs attempting to escape from German prisoner-of-war camps."
So the Swiss HAVE been invaded. They have fought many wars, been bombed and certainly been spied upon. Even today they remain heavily armed and well fortified. They seem to have learned from their experiences.
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Coming later in 2017...
America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil