9781935149347 cover

The Swiss And The Nazis

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

By Stephen Halbrook

156 x 228 mm, 256 pages, 16 pp b/w photos, 9781935149347, £12.99, Paperback, Casemate
25 November 2010

Currently in stock.

  • Focuses on the Swiss nationals and the Nazi Intelligence who spied on them during WWIIExtensive coverage of a broad range of topics

    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.

    About the Author

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


    …Halbrook has used original Swiss Documents, interviews and a wide breadth of research to attempt to answer why Switzerland escaped the Nazi onslaught.

    DAILY HISTORY BLOG, 02/16/2011

    Halbrook has written an unapologetic celebration of Switzerland’s defiance of Hitler that does a good job of shedding some much-needed light on the subject.


    The Swiss have gotten well-deserved bad press about wartime financial tricks, ongoing opacity and so on. Halbrook presents the sympathetic parts of the complex picture.

    WORLD WAR II MAGAZINE, July/ August 2011

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