If Switzerland were attacked, would anyone help?

Switzerland had been neutral during wartime for centuries. Their geographic isolation makes invasion difficult, so they’ve managed to stay out of trouble. However, everyone’s number comes up eventually. So, if Switzerland were invaded, would anyone help? Martin Luther King once said, “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.” Would anyone help? Should anyone help?

I say no. Neutrality sounds good, until you realize it’s a fancy way of saying, “it’s not my problem, and I can’t be bothered to help.” Okay, well, sometimes I gotta be neutral too, so thanks for the cool pocketknives and tasty chocolate, it’s been nice knowing you…


If Russia were to attack Turkey from the rear, would Greece help? :slight_smile:

Very interesting question. Very interesting indeed. I think I’d have to say…yes, I would want to help the Swiss. You’d hope after helping them out they might reconsider their original position, but when push comes to shove, you can’t just let them get run over.

Here’s the problem, though: They didn’t just “remain neutral” during WWII, they allowed Nazis to shelter plundered money in their famed numbered bank accounts, and after the war was all over (and the Nazis’ atrocities came to light), they were complete dicks about not returning any of the assets to their rightful owners.

Well, let’s look at the map. Switzerland borders on France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Liechtenstein. Since Switzerland is landlocked, any attacker would have to either be one of these countries or bring its troops through one of them.

The first four countries are prominent members of the EU, and the other members would strongly disapprove of an attack on Switzerland or allowing such an attack to happen by letting troops pass through. One of the points of the EU was to preserve peace in Europe, after all. It would be politically and practically impossible.

As for Liechtenstein, if they were to attack Switzerland, Switzerland wouldn’t need help. Ditto for bringing troops through; the border is so small that defence would be extremely easy.

So I guess the answer is yes, Switzerland would get help in the sense that the surrounding countries’ pressure would be great enough to make sure the attack never happened. And if it did, what then? Would the rest of the European countries simply watch while Germany, France, Austria or Italy attacked another country, with all the historical memories that awakens (especially if it’s Germany)? I think not.

Priceguy hit it. Invaded by who? Besides, the Swiss wouldn’t need any help to rout the forces of any neighboring country. They are quite capable of defending themselves.

Yes. If I see a pacifist or a conscientious object being beaten up by a group of thugs, then I should step in to help him (through non-violent means if that’s my preference) even if he doesn’t want to strike his attackers. It is my moral duty as a human being.

Would other countries help Switzerland? Any other countries with vested economic interests probably would want to, I imagine, for example any countries with sizable assets in Swiss banks, or investments in the Swiss economy or Swiss real estate.

That being said, Switzerland, despite being neutral, has a (comparatively) large budget for an army and would attempt to defend itself against an attacker, as silenus said. They would be hampered, of course, by not being in possession of nuclear weapons. Any country in possessing such weapons could probably launch a few, destroy major cities, and force the Swiss to surrender. Though Switzerland does have a vast amount of underground shelters for such an eventuality (how effective that would be, I don’t know.) And any new house built in Switzerland still has to have some type of bomb shelter included in the structure (in my brother’s house, one room in the basement had to have a reinforced door and no windows to fit the building code.)

Oh, really? Every country will eventually be invaded? On what do you base this supposition?

Or, it could just be a way of saying (in a general sense, not specifically regarding Switzerland), “You guys work it out, it’s got nothing to do with me, and I refuse to get involved in your chickenshit squabbles”.

There’s always a different way of looking at things.

Your analysis isn’t wrong, but it is sort of missing the point. Okay, today they don’t have to worry. But think long term, maybe hundreds of years. In those terms, countries and borders are flexible. France, Italy, et al, might not be the same countries in 500 - 1000 years. Maybe they would attack, or allow attackers through their countries. More importantly, though: should anyone help if one of Switzerland’s neighbors invaded? Perhaps a better way to phrase the question: is anyone morally obliged to help considering how “neutral” Switzerland has been in the past?

I think he missed the point. It’s an ethical question, not a wargaming scenario. If a country has historically never attempted to aid other nations in times of war, should other nations attempt to aid it when it comes under attack?

I say, yes. Not every single Swiss citizen supported neutrality, or the actions of the Swiss banks in taking, and later not returning, Nazi gold. Absolutely, other countries should help. But we should, when it is over, demand that the Swiss repay our war debt.

In chocolate.

True, but I don’t think you’ve provided a different way of looking at things. You’ve just restated what Malienation did, but with more words.

Actually IMHO that would be remaining neutral. If they refused to comply with the wishes of anyone but the account holder in all situations regardless of its legality or legitimacy then you are truly a neutral party. Did the swiss happily hand over people account contents to the nazi’s on demand?

Thank you for paying attention :slight_smile:

Hmmm…interesting proposal :smiley:

No, you’re a money launderer. :rolleyes:

Works both ways, bad guys can’t seize your money if it was stored the same way.

But if the situation was reversed, and the thugs were beating you up, would the pacifist or a conscientious objector step in to help you? It is, after all, their moral duty as human beings.

With moral issues like this, I always ask myself “what would Zapp Brannigan do?”

I assume that they might, by either asking the attackers to back off, calling the police, trying to use their bodies as a human shield, helping me escape, or whatever means a pacifist could use.

But let’s suppose the contrary, that the pacifist has given me advance warning via a notarized document that he would not help me in case I was attacked. It is still my duty as a human being to help him if possible when I see him being the victim of an assault.

Other than the bankers (I don’t recall if the government was running the banks at that time) laundering the ill-gotten funds, the Swiss still weren’t uninvolved. They did do some humanitarian stuff regarding how prisoners of war were treated. That certainly must, IMHO, count for something.

Yeah. You’re probably right.

Send wave after wave of his own men at them.