The First World War in Switzerland

7.1 Einleitung Erster Weltkrieg Bild Oberthema
Source: CH-BAR#E27#1000/721#14095#5176*

Switzerland's neutrality did not spare the country from the effects of economic warfare during the First World War. The Federal Council struggled to manage the crisis.

The First World War was not the "great seminal catastrophe" for Switzerland as it was for Europe as a whole. In fact, it rather functioned as a catalyst: it strengthened existing tendencies and exacerbated existing conflicts. The First World War represented an acid test for the fundamental values that defined the identity of the young federal state, such as neutrality and liberalism.

Threat to sovereignty

Switzerland was ready from a military viewpoint. However, the country was ill-prepared for other challenges. Switzerland as a small and neutral country was dragged into the economic warfare raging between the hostile nations of Europe and this represented a threat to the country's politico-economic sovereignty. It was further impacted by the great demands placed on the populace. The Federal Council was equipped with extensive authorisations and tried to mitigate the situation. Its measures, however, were half-hearted. It was unable to bring the economic and social crisis under control.

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