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The Swiss And The Nazis (Paperback)

How the Alpine Republic Survived in the Shadow of the Third Reich


By Stephen Halbrook
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 16 pp b/w photos
ISBN: 9781935149347
Published: 25th November 2010

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While surrounded by the Axis powers in World War II, Switzerland remained democratic and never succumbed to 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 mobilised to defend the country and laboured on the farms. 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 reveal a chilling rendition of attack plans which would be dissuaded in part by Switzerland's armed populace and Alpine defences.

Laced with unique maps and photos, the book is organised into four units. The first, A War of Words and Nerves, depicts how the Swiss mobilised an active"spiritual defence" of their country. The second unit, To Resist to the Death, concerns military preparations.  Swiss soldiers recall an epoch when every day could have been "the day" when all hell would break lose and they would meet the enemy. Blitzkrieg plans against Switzerland devised by the German Wehrmacht in 1940 are described in detail.

Struggle for Survival: Food, Fuel and Fear, the third unit, presents oral histories of daily life during the war with its shortages, alarms, and rumours. Espionage and Subversion, the fourth and final unit, covers strategic issues and intelligence activities. In total, Halbrook brings together a complete picture of the unfaltering tenacity of the Swiss at War.



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About Stephen Halbrook

Stephen Halbrook's other books include the award-winning Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II, which was published in five languages.

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