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Why didn't Hitler invade Switzerland?

Erm, hello?

Image: Victorinox

No one wants to fight a man who has time to file his nails, open a bottle of wine and then stab you.

Seriously though, let’s look at what happened.

In 1937 Adolf Hitler made many reassurances that:

at all times, whatever happens, we will respect the inviolability and neutrality of Switzerland.

There you go then. If he said it, you can trust him. It’s not like Hitler would lie.

Unfortunately, Hitler would change his tune a little bit in later years. In 1941 he gossiped with fellow dictator Mussolini, and stated that:

Switzerland possessed the most disgusting and miserable people and political system. The Swiss were the mortal enemies of the new Germany.

In 1942 he went even further, calling them:

a pimple on the face of Europe.

Now that’s just mean.

Hitler and Germany had actually started planning Operation Tannenbaum (the invasion of Switzerland) once France had surrendered, back in 1940.

Why didn’t it go ahead? Well, Switzerland’s mountainous terrain meant that an invasion would be a drawn-out and costly affair. There wasn’t that much strategic gain to be had, either. What did Switzerland have that other occupied countries didn’t?

The answer? Not much.

Well…

Worth it. You can’t get that in Poland. (Image: Swisstime)

Even though Hitler had said some nasty things about it, lil old Switzerland wasn’t really a threat to Germany either. While Germany could have successfully invaded, it was just a bit pointless to direct resources towards that goal.

In the end, Hitler never gave the order. Simply put, the costs outweighed the benefits.


This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

What are your thoughts concerning this topic?

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
78 Comments
Rebecca Merkli
My husband's family is of Swiss origin and the family story is that the Swiss are armed and the mountainous terrain both were deterrents to Germany.
46
Jan 18, 2019 12:31PM
jerryltaylor
I always was told Hitler was using Switzerland to store and exchange, transfer, move, sell, etc. MONEY, gold, diamonds, etc. to help support his war efforts? Wasn't Switzerland also being used as the "go between" for people ransoms as well? I thought even to this day there are Swiss bank accounts related to NAZI plundering, confiscations and concentration camp proceeds? Am I wrong?
32
Feb 6, 2019 6:02PM
Roy Mead
During World War 2 Switzerland allowed Germany to send military equipment through their country so did not require to invade to get that privilege also a great many art treasures taken by the German's were stored in Switzerland
13
Oct 11, 2019 8:59AM
Darrell Cole
Hitler would be at a disadvantage since most fighting would be uphill. As all military strategists know, whoever has the high ground has the advantage . Wise move on Hitler to forgo that fiasco. ( Glad he got his come-uppance the way he did)
9
Feb 8, 2020 7:27PM
rodb
Every Swiss man was trained as a soldier and could shoot. Hitler wanted to invade as it was a shortcut to Italy and he viewed Switzerland as being “German “ but his generals stopped him. Also Switzerland made it clear that they were prepared to destroy all their infrastructure and retreat to the mountains to stop him. Under these circumstances it would have been too costly for Germany in terms of time, men and material to invade.
6
Aug 20, 2021 7:21PM
John Bryan
They needed the Swiss Banks to process & Launder all the Nazi looted Gold ,Money and Treasure
6
Nov 18, 2021 5:15AM
Angeles Dembowski
Also because the Swiss were armed to the teeth, had many hidden fortified bases, and all the men had military training.
5
Aug 6, 2021 8:52AM
Scott
Switzerland is such a beautiful country.
0
Jan 15, 2023 4:44PM
Ed Pendleton
Switzerland was a natural fortress back then. You could hold off an army with just riflemen at a pass. It was not worth tying up at that time a Military that was sweeping across Europe. They also had their hands tied with England. Then the biggest mistake invading Russia then declaring war on the U.S.
0
Jul 12, 2022 6:10PM
lynellemasche
Hitler didn't want to mess with the Alps. It would be extremely difficult to cross into such a mountainous region.
0
Jul 6, 2022 9:14AM
Myrna Cooksey-Watson
My Swiss friends say it would be impossible for anyone to invade them due to the mountainous territory.
1
Mar 25, 2022 1:15AM
Leonardo Scamacca
I’ve known a few Swiss people in my time and all of them have been kind, interesting, humble, intelligent and generous. They are very much a Swiss cliche, very neutral, especially when it comes to things like politics and government.
1
Dec 10, 2021 5:15PM
Alana King
They hold all the money, why would you blow that up?
2
Nov 16, 2021 8:24PM
Claire Myers
All Swiss were armed and trained with hidden underground bunkers and they were armed to the teeth. It would have been guerrilla warfare and the Germans would have suffered great losses. Look at the American Revolutionary War was waged against the British who far outnumbered them.
4
Nov 13, 2021 5:14PM
Sim
Sim
From Citizen Kane: “Harry Lime: In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed. They producedd Michaelangelo, da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock.”
4
Nov 5, 2021 8:47PM
Sim
Sim
True, a nice place with dairy products and fresh air.
1
Nov 5, 2021 8:42PM
Maggie Hatton
Plus Braun Boveri Swiss company that makes trolly buses made gas ovens’!
0
Oct 17, 2021 5:42PM
Perk
He didn't really like their cheese.
0
Sep 16, 2021 10:04AM
Marie Pettigrew
Yes, and had many financial benefits.
1
Sep 4, 2021 4:24PM
Marie Pettigrew
That is what I understand. They took the Gold plundered from gold teeth from the massacred Jews and turned it into coinage for the Bazi war effort and handed rich Jews to the Nazis so they could keep their money and jeweljety and art banked in Switzerland. Not neutral at all.
2
Sep 4, 2021 4:23PM

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