ANSWERS: 19
  • money. mutualy beneficial. played both sides. money
  • It is my understanding that they were too heavily patrolled and protected by the Allied Forces, just to prevent the Germans from doing exactly what you suggest they COULD have done.
  • Short version is he didnt have enough time. Quote Hitler "we will hunt little Switzerland, when we are returning home." We all know he didnt return
  • These two countries have been neutral for many decades and have never been in a war or invaded.This is just another example of this fact.
  • Switzerland because it was THE financial center of the world economy, Breaking it would generate many very powerful enemies. Sweden I am not so sure about. Most likely because a resentful occupied sweden would produce less iron and steel for trade (mines are vulnerable to sabotage). Also by the time he moved on Denmark and Norway he was already rather overextended. regards JakobA
  • Hitler was not the world's most brilliant strategist, for one. He pushed forward because he was driven and he knew how to stir people up with emotion. In that aspect, he was a master planner. He screwed up on a lot of his ideas becuase he was not that well read, completely self-absorbed and not aware of any real planning.
  • He did not want to risk loosing all the Swedish babes - they can keep you warm all winter
  • hitler wanted to arronise europe(whats sweden famous for?)switzerland(where did think he hid the money?)
  • He had bigger fish to fry.
  • Given enough time, Hitler would have likely invaded them. The benefits of invading them at the time were far outweighed by the disadvantages. Belgium was neutral, but Hitler ignored their neutrality because Belgium provided another flank for invading France.
  • There were very practical reasons. First, Switzerland was basically an ally or at least not a threat. Second, and more importantly, there would be a heavy cost to attacking it and almost no strategic gain. Switzerland has no important natural resources and they have no coastline for shipping or building ships. If Hitler took over all the rest of Europe and had defeated all his other enemies, then he could have simply overwhelmed Switzerland. Probably without a fight. Until then, no need to bother. Sweden, same sort of thing. Avoid unnecessary conflict. They didn't have anything Hitler wanted, so if they weren't going to attack him, why bother? Accept their neutrality, deal with them later.
  • Although not nominal allies, Sweden and Switzerland did in fact aid the Nazi war effort, at least initially. Sweden allowed Germany to transport its troops across its territory during the invasion of Norway as well as shipping iron ore from its Krona mines. Switzerland, as Germany's neutral banker, helped it to finance the war effort by offering plundered art, gold and other securities to unsuspecting international buyers, most of which came from the liquidation of Europe's Jews. Those Jews fleeing from the Holocaust and seeking refuge in a so-called neutral country, were either turned away at its borders or deported into the arms of the Gestapo. Also, Switzerland allowed Germany to transport by rail prisoners of war and Jews destined for the camps through its sovereign territory.
  • Both didn't represent a real danger for the German. Please notice that the liberation of Europe from the Axis powers was not started in Switzerland or in Sweden. It is not sure that they would have been so easy to take over either. 1) "During World War II, detailed invasion plans were drawn up by the German military command, such as Operation Tannenbaum, but Switzerland was never attacked. Switzerland was able to remain independent through a combination of economic concessions to Germany, military deterrence and good fortune as larger events during the war delayed an invasion. Attempts by Switzerland's small Nazi party to effect an Anschluss with Germany failed miserably, largely due to Switzerland's multicultural heritage, strong sense of national identity, and long tradition of direct democracy and civil liberties. The Swiss press vigorously criticized the Third Reich, often infuriating its leadership. Under General Henri Guisan, a massive mobilization of militia forces was ordered. The Swiss military strategy was changed from one of static defense at the borders, to a strategy of organized long-term attrition and withdrawal to strong, well-stockpiled positions high in the Alps known as the Réduit. This controversial strategy was essentially one of deterrence. The idea was to make clear to the Third Reich that the cost of an invasion would be very high. During an invasion, the Swiss Army would cede control of the economic heartland and population centers, but retain control of crucial rail links and passes in the Réduit. Switzerland was an important base for espionage by both sides in the conflict and often mediated communications between the Axis and Allied powers by serving as a protecting power. Though neutral the Swiss were very pro-Allies and were quite disturbed by any type of Nazi sympathizer within the military ranks." Source and further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland_during_the_World_Wars Further information: - "Publications of the Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland – Second World War": http://www.uek.ch/en/index.htm 2) "Sweden remained officially neutral during World War I and World War II, although its neutrality during World War II has been debated. Sweden was under German influence for much of the war, as ties to the rest of the world were cut off through blockades. The Swedish government felt that it was in no position to openly contest Germany, and therefore made some concessions. Sweden also supplied steel and machined parts to Germany throughout the war. However, Sweden supported Norwegian resistance, and in 1943 helped rescue Danish Jews from deportation to concentration camps. Toward the end of the war, Sweden began to play a role in humanitarian efforts and many refugees, among them many Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe, were saved partly because of the Swedish involvement in rescue missions at the internment camps and partly because Sweden served as a haven for refugees, primarily from the Nordic countries and the Baltic states. Nevertheless, internal and external critics have argued that Sweden could have done more to resist the Nazi war effort, even if risking occupation." Source and further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden#World_Wars Further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden_during_World_War_II - "Why Didnt Hitler Invade Sweden?": http://www.warhistoryfans.com/why-didnt-hitler-invade-sweden-164342.html - "Why not Sweden?": http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=79548&start=0 http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080223191434AAuq1GG http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080527165359AAbIZZ8
  • One factor that I didn't see anyone mention was terrain. Fighting in mountains is very difficult and dangerous. There are places where tanks and trucks just can't go. It was a combination of factors, terrain being one. Money being another. I've read recent reports of documents coming to light that show Switzerland at least was aiding the Nazi's. Switzerland also has a long history of a well-armed citizenry.
  • I will just talk about Switzerland in here... in fact, you need to know something more than that. Switzerland was founded in 1291 as defence alliance against occupying power houses - like the Earls of Habsburg. This finally led to a military tradition of swiss mercenaries until the battle of Marignano in 1515, when both sides had their own "swiss troops" engaged. Napoleon's France invaded Switzerland in 1798 and forced them again to provide soldiers for the russian war - and finally, after Napoleon's defeat, the new power houses in Europe told Switzerland to be neutral an to form a pillow between them. As 1870 german-french war and the first world war passed - the swiss army responsibles noticed that they clearly needed a more powerful army. Germany was preparing for war (supporting Franco's regime in the spanish civil war - where in fact, a lot of swiss served for the liberals). Good, now... most people have already heard of Switzerland selling military equipment to Germany. In fact they sold it to both axis AND allies. Bankers made dealings with Germany receiving jewish gold (did they now where it came from?). And as main sponsors of the north-south tunnel construction before 1900 Italy and Germany still had their transportation privileges. This in fact, is only the situation Germany could live with in the late years of war... during the early ones the situation looked completely different. Germany attacked Poland in late 1939 and annexed Austria. Russia had signed a non-aggression pact with Germany, Italy was on germans' side, the USA didn't enter war before late 1941 and France looked like it would fall easily (what in fact it did in some way). About 450'000 swiss soldiers guarded the border during these days. Tunnels and bridges were armed with explosives and the defence plan "réduit" included a withdrawal of the troops into alpine area. All this and the clashes between swiss air force and Luftwaffe in mid 1940 postponed any german intentions. And as simply as that, after the battle of britain and the attack on Russia, Germany never again could concentrate enough forces to take on Switzerland. Let me tell you that Germany overrun Norway with 6 divisions, but that invasion plans for Switzerland included 15 tank and 15 infantry divisions... so I don't have a clue from where you got the "they were weak military nations" - i would say the german responsibles knew it better. And now war went on... including the armament and bank dealings. Beside this Switzerland had independent media - ever heard of radio Beromunster? Apparently as famous as the BBC in these times. About 1'000 US airmen were interned in Switzerland after the damaged bombers crashed there. Limiting the number of refugees (as a lot of other nations), still around 30'000 jews could enter Switzerland during war. Swiss government doesn't allow swiss citizens to serve in other armies... people doing so usually did hide their origin (the RAF ace Jan Zumbach i.e. got back to the roots of his father and simply joined a polish squadron).
  • They were not attacking him, and he needed his forces elsewhere. If he had won his other wars, he could have picked them off easily afterwards. Meanwhile, why waste troops on even an easy target?
  • In both cases these neutral nations cooperated with Germany.Sweden provided high grade iron ore and steel. Switzerland allowed Axis troop trains to pass through their country and aircraft their airspace.Switzerland also provided a convenient hiding place for the Nazis captured loot. Had the British/French invasion of Norway succeeded in 1940, Sweden might have entered the war on the side of the Axis. Sweden also almost went to war with the Soviet Union in 1939 over the attack on Finland. +3
  • Alot of the the reason with Switzerland had to do with the reality it would have required quite a bit of effort for not much gain. The Swiss do not have a large military in the sense that most understand it, another answer already addressed the way their military works by means of a heavily armed citizenry. These days it is not taken as seriously but back then you can bet they were serious about it. Switzerland is often castigated for its neutrality but I would pose this question, realistically what could they do? They helped and took in as many refugees as they could, one cannot throw open the gates and take in everyone without being overrun when you're a small state surrounded by hostile states as Switzerland was during WW2. It bears noting that for all the accusations that the Swiss aided and abetted the Nazis in their extermination of the Jews, the Swiss actually took in and sheltered more Jews during the war than the US did. Think about that for just a moment, they were in the thick of it and saved more of them from the camps than we did with an ocean to protect us. Similarly the claim about the Swiss allowing the Nazis unfettered access to their airspace, funny considering there were numerous skirmishes between the Swiss and the Luftwaffe. If you want to get some real information about the tightrope that the Swiss walked in WW2, I'd suggest picking up a copy of 'The Swiss and the Nazis' by Stephen Halbrook, it debunks alot of the garbage out there and provides some real illumination into their situation at the time. As for Sweden, the Swedes were still considered a reasonably strong military power at that time. Hitler likely could have taken them over but there again he would have had a pretty good fight on his hands especially considering the terrain and after what the Germans pulled off in Norway they were especially on their guard.
  • Contrary to the popular imagination, Hitler wasn't out to just conquer everything he could. Territorially, what he wanted was what he thought Germany was due but had been cheated of at the end of World War I - everything that had been ceded Germany by Russia at the 1st Treaty of Brest-Litovsk: Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. He also wanted the oil fields of the Caucasus and, perhaps most of all, to destroy Communism forever. He invaded Poland because he didn't think the UK and France had the stomach to go to war over Poland. When they did, he invaded Norway and Denmark only HOURS before the British did: it was essential to secure them to prevent the Allies from using them to launch air raids against the heart of Germany, to protect their northern flank, and to secure sea transport in and out of the Baltic. Both Germany and the Allies had plans to invade the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg just so that they could get at each other around the Maginot and Siegfried lines. Hitler kept giving France and Britain a chance to quit everytime he dealt them a heavy blow. All he wanted was for them to butt out so he could continue his eastward expansion - steam-rolling the "racially inferior Slavs". He had to occupy France to get them to surrender, but Churchill refused to quit even after that, and remained adamant through the blitz. (Germans just don't understand that not everyone caves to superior force, and that it can actually make people want to fight even more.) The Balkan and African campaigns were NOT anything Hitler wanted, but were forced on him by Mussolini (who declared war on France and the UK totally against Hitler's desires, instructions, and plans) and Italian military incompetance. Mussolini invaded Greece and Egypt, the Italians got their asses kicked, and Germany had to come in an bail them out to protect its southern flank. Yugoslavia was unfortunately in the way of their relief effort to the Italians in Greece and Albania. Sweden, though neutral, was decidedly pro-Nazi, and pro-Germany, and a srong trading partner of Germany. It was also very helpful to have Sweden neutral so it could be a middle-man, keeping back-door diplomatic channels open with other beligerants. There was also no need to invade Switzerland, a few good reasons for not (like it was where the German elite, rich, and corrupt kept their secret financial reserves - like the elite, rich and corrupt of other nations), and any invasion would have been disastrously costl and probably usuccessful. (Switzerland is catacombed with defense tunnels, every male citizen was armed to the teeth, expert in his local mountainous terrain, and inflexibly patriotic and independent. In WWI Germany tried to bully the Swiss into joining the Axis: a rep of the Kaiser harranging a Swiss assembly said: "What would 500,000 Swiss possibly do if they were invaded by 1 million of the Kaiser's finest troops?" To which one man stood up and said, "Shoot twice and go home!" for which he was treated to a 30 minute standing ovation and the German envoy was laughed out of the country.)

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