Faces of Neutrality
This important book fills a historical gap and acts as a valuable corrective in the general treatment of Switzerland's role during the Second World War. In addressing all of the moral and historical charges laid at Switzerland's door in relation to Nazi Germany, it does not offer an apology but, far more valuably, provides a sustained, nuanced analysis of the issues at stake. Contending that Swiss neutrality during the Second World War has not only been misunderstood, but has also been unfairly stigmatized, the book's wide-ranging assessment offers a much-needed corrective to received wisdom on the subject. Commendably, it presents a comparative assessment, comparing the Swiss both to European neutrals, and to the U.S. - which, it is often forgotten, defended the posture of neutrality for the first two years of the war. The study highlights the need for careful assessment in the context of more than half a century ago. Seen in those terms, the behavior of the Swiss emerges far more nuanced, more driven by the desperate conditions of total war, and far less susceptible to present-day moralizations than in the work of many writers. This important contribution deepens our understanding of the Second World War.
Publication Date: 1/23/2009