Stephen Halbrook

Swiss and the Nazis

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The award-winning author of Target Switzerland uses “a wide breadth of research to attempt to answer why Switzerland escaped the Nazi onslaught” (Daly History Blog).
While surrounded by the Axis powers in World War II, Switzerland remained democratic and, unlike most of Europe, never succumbed to the siren songs and threats of the Nazi goliath.
This book tells the story with emphasis on two voices rarely heard. One voice is that of scores of Swiss who lived in those dark years, told through oral history. They mobilized to defend the country, labored on the farms, and helped refugees. The other voice is that of Nazi Intelligence, those who spied on the Swiss and planned subversion and invasion. Exhaustive documents from the German military archives reveals a chilling rendition of attack plans which would be dissuaded in part by Switzerland’s armed populace and Alpine defenses.
Laced with unique maps and photos, the book reveals how the Swiss mobilized an active “spiritual defense” of their country—including the use of the press and cabaret as weapons against totalitarianism—and explores the role of women in the military and economy, the role of Jewish officers in the highest levels of the Swiss army, and the role of Switzerland itself as America’s window on the Reich.
“Halbrook succeeds not only in achieving a thorough analysis of Switzerland’s armed neutrality, but also in revealing through their own voices the willingness of ordinary citizens to accept total war in order to preserve their freedom.”—Swiss American Historical Society Review
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541 printed pages
Original publication
2006

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