How has Switzerland remained neutral through the years?

International Dec 02, 2020

How Has Switzerland remained neutral??

Swiss neutrality is one of the main principles of Switzerland's foreign policy. It dictates that Switzerland is not to be involved in armed or political conflicts between other countries. This policy was self-imposed, permanent, and armed, designed to ensure external security and promote peace in the area

Switzerland has the oldest policy of military neutrality in the world, the swiss are not a part of the European Union(EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) nor United Nations (UN) until as late as 2002. It hasn’t participated in any war since it stated its neutrality in the 1815 Treaty of Paris but the step towards neutrality was taken much earlier; in 1515 when the Swiss lost to the French in the war of Marignano, they stopped their plans of expansion to avoid future conflicts. Nevertheless, the Swiss pursue an active foreign policy and are frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world.

So how have they been neutral all this while?

Staying out of conflicts has big benefits for a country and its economy,  yet maintaining neutrality is much harder than it seems. But the Swiss have done it using their mountains of exceptional engineering and obsessive commitment.


First, they looked around the country’s borders for linkages to the outside world, then chose key points of entry and exit that might give access to invading armies like roads bridges tunnels and packed it full of explosives - dynamite, (Trinitrotoluene)TNT, anything that can destroy the entry point - stop invading armies in their tracks. The serene snow-capped mountains of Switzerland are rigged with TNT and explosives to create artificial landslides that can block roads leading into the city. The idea was simply to make it harder for countries to invade and give themselves time to retreat to the mountains.


The southern border of the country is flanked by The Great Swiss Alps with thousands of built-in giant fortresses, bunkers and tunnels that can withstand nuclear warheads and radiations, packed with weapons, supplies and living space for people. The Swiss are good at drilling holes in mountains; the country has over a thousand tunnels, one of which is a whopping 57.09 km long and is known as the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

But is it really necessary now?

The Swiss measures of neutrality seem too far-fetched. It turns out that the military has slowly started to dismantle all of the security measures. As of 2014, the military says that all of the TNT, bombs and mines have been removed from public infrastructure. The bunkers, however, still exist and are used as storage rooms while some were bought by cheesemakers to store the country’s hallmark Swiss Cheese. Some of them were converted into hotels and cafes, the most well-known of which is the Null Stern Hotel in Teufen. One of the bunkers was purchased by a tech security company called “MOUNT10” that specializes in data safekeeping so important data can be stored securely in remote servers. The company claims that its servers are so well-protected that they can withstand electromagnetic shocks too.

Bombing borders and making bunkers for safety was good during the World War era but as we move towards a peaceful generation,  the Swiss don’t have to take such extreme measures as they took in the past.

This article has been written by Siddhesh Patil for The Paradigm

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