Why did Hitler honor Switzerland’s neutrality?


Why did Hitler honor Switzerland’s neutrality?

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12 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Switzerland was not a threat to Germany (it remained neutral for centuries), it has few natural resources, it was not in the way (you can go around it), and capturing it would be really hard (population is armed, trained, and motivated, and mountains perfect for defense)

In addition, Germany was buying Swiss optics for its weapons (and so did Allies), all the Nazi leadership had money stashed in Swiss banks, they were a useful as a diplomatic channel and spy waypoint.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Good question!


Wikipedia has a couple of thoughts:

For reasons that are still uncertain, Hitler never ordered the invasion. One theory is that a neutral Switzerland would have been useful to hide Nazi gold and to serve as a refuge for war criminals in case of defeat.[22] This may also explain Germany’s continued recognition of Switzerland’s neutrality. One simpler explanation is that there would have been little strategic gain in conquering Switzerland, while a drawn-out and costly alpine war might well have ensued. Although the Wehrmacht feigned moves against Switzerland in its offensives, it never attempted to invade. After D-Day, Operation Tannenbaum was put on hold.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Neutral doesn’t mean defenseless. Switzerland is easily defendable and had strong fortifications since the late 1800s. Mountains are hard to invade and there were a bunch of extensive fortifications. Key infrastructure (such as bridges and tunnels) required to move troops and equipment into the country were rigged to explode. In addition, they were prepared to wage a brutal guerrilla war if invaded (militias were told to ignore any potential surrender by the government), with stockpiles of supplies hidden in the mountains. It would have been extremely costly to conquer Switzerland, even if it was possible.

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

My answer isn’t educated but more an assumption based on personal experience. Switzerland has one hell of a landscape and it’s very easy to defend and offers little benefit strategically. Also the Swiss banks were nice to nazis.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because there was no advantage for Germany to capture Switzerland.

It did not have a strategic geographical location for most of the war. The only time there could be a possible advantage was during the invasion of France as a way to pass south of the Maginot line but there was no advantage after that.

Belgium was neutral too but Germany invaded them, it was the route they selected around the Maginot line. Netherland was also naturally invaded as a part of the same offense to get to France and secure the coast.

It you look at neutral countries Germany invades there is a reason for them they do it. The main goal of the war for Germany was to get new territories in the east and to recapture what they had lost to Frane in WWI. The invasion of natural countries to the west is a way to achieve that goal.

Look at France where they create Vichy France in the south which was officially an independent state. Germany occupied the north and Atlantic coast of France, it was still officially a part of Vichy France but Germany controlled it because it was used in the continuing war against the British. It was only the part Germany lost in WWI that was annexed into Germany.

The future plans for the western states in the eye of Germany was different than the plans for the east

Switzerland was also not a military threat to Germany. There were also no strategically important resources or production facilities there that Germany did not get access to. Switzerland had solid arms, ammunition, and other stuff that was useful for Germany. They did reduce and finally, stop the export in 1944 but at that point, Germany did not have the military capacity to invade them.

You have to remember that invading and then controlling a county has a cost. You loo people and equipment during the invasion and then you need to station troops there to control it. If you just trade with them you do not need to do that and can still gain the benefits.

If you look at smaller countries Germany invades like Denmark and Norway the reason for Denmark is as a way to access Norway and do control the access to the Baltic. Norway was important both as a way to get iron ore from Sweden during the winter when the baltic sea was frozen. It also added a port for German naval units in the battle of the Atlantic.

Germany was afraid that Great Britain and France would invade and take control of Norway before them. That was not an unfounded fear. The Franco-British plan to intervene in the Winter war by transiting troops from Narvik in Norway over land through Sweden to Finland was in large part intended to control the ore production in northern Sweden and stop export to Germany. Both the Swedish and Norwegians recognized this and did not allow them to do this. The stilled planed to do this but the end of the Winter war and the German invasion of Norway stoped that.

Sweden was not invaded by Germany. In large part for the same reason as Switzerland. The allies could not take control of either Sweden or Switzerland without going through Germany or other axis countries.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In addition to what others have said, Switzerland controlled two of the four rail tunnels that passed through the alps. Switzerland had explosive charges set to destroy these tunnels and let everyone know it. These were important logistic links between Germany and Italy. So long as Germany stayed out of Switzerland the Swiss allowed Germany to use these tunnels, though with some restrictions. The Swiss very plausibly threatened to destroy the tunnels if Germany attacked them.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Switzerland is neutral, this does not mean you can easily occupy/conquer it. It is very well defended also due to Alps. Also, it was (is) a banking hub, a diplomatic “safe haven”, and also a supplier for optics and other goods, including military goods. Conquering it would have required a massive amount of resources and time, and wouldn’t have been beneficial for Hitler’s plans.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The goodness of his heart.

Fr tho geography is the biggest reason. Surrounded by mountains. Also a banging army for the swiss relative to their geography.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They had such plans. I think it was called Operation Christmas Tree or something. but they resigned. SOme say it was because of Swiss banks.