|Spying for Peace: |
General Guisan and Swiss Neutrality
by Jon Kimche
(London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1961).
Gen. Guisan understood that however it was defined Switzerland's neutrality would be meaningless--in fact, it would be impossible--without Swiss independence. Therefore, on July 25, 1940, he addressed his officers in speech known as the Rütli Rapport. Nascent nationalism in the 18th century established a historiography to explain Rütli as the site of the first Swiss Confederation. The Rütlischwur (lit: Rütli Swear = the Oath of Rütli) brought the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden into a common league traditionally dated to 1307. It was also associated with the legend of Wilhelm Tell, certainly as told by Friedrich Schiller.
|"Swiss Shooting Thaler"|
1872 Shooting Festival Zuerich
(Some local issues are rare,
but there is no shortage of the kind.)
Civitas Galleries, Calgary.
Then came Allen Dulles. For Dulles, espionage and counter-espionage were more important than guns. By 1943,. Hitler had lost the confidence of his military command and an agent known as “Viking Line” provided intelligence to the Swiss, and through them to the Allies. As Victor Davis Hanson argued in The Second World Wars this was not a simple matter of Three of Us versus Three of Them. Some Germans held back-channel communications with the USSR, the UK, and the USA. In Yugoslavia, Marshall Tito, acting in accordance with Stalin’s instructions, was willing to throw in with the Germans in order to prevent an Allied landing across the Adriatic. Heinrich Himmler’s SS was willing to write off most of Italy, if they could hold the Alps as the ramparts of Festung Europa. To that end German agents in Switzerland negotiated through Swiss contacts with the Americans and British. Eventually, the American point of view was made clear and the German army in Italy surrendered unconditionally. Switzerland was safe and secure.
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