Switzerland and America have some shared history, interests in common and, more importantly, a shared future. For such a small country, Switzerland has much to be proud of. In many ways Switzerland and America are similar—America is (at least theoretically) a federal union of 50 sovereign states, while Switzerland is a confederation of 26 full cantons. Switzerland was neutral until very recently, while America traditionally was neutral or non-interventionist until it was subverted by the likes of Woodrow Wilson and his fellow travelers.
BY ARTHUR KEMP & JOHN TIFFANY
Switzerland is a small nation, about the size of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island together, but a scenic one. Nestled in the Alps, it is one of the most mountainous countries in the world and is entirely surrounded by Germany, France, Italy, Austria and tiny Liechtenstein. (Incidentally, the tallest mountain in Switzerland is one you may not have heard of, not the Matterhorn, but the Dufourspitze, on the Swiss-Italian border at 15,771 feet. Mont Blanc, which is the tallest of the Alps, is actually in France.)
Switzerland has many different names, among them: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, Confédération Suisse, Confoederatio Helvetica, all of which mean, in various native languages and Latin, “Swiss Confederation.”
The history of this land is very complex, and it is impossible to give more than a “nutshell” version in these pages, but the earliest recorded inhabitants of the country now known as Switzerland were “Old Europeans” called the Rhaetians, who are believed to have been related to the mysterious Etruscans in Italy.
The Rhaetians, like the Etruscans and other “Old Europeans” (except for the Basques), are believed to have been overrun by great waves of Indo-European invaders. The Keltic Indo-European tribe who settled in the valleys among the Alps was known (at least to the Romans) as the Helvetii, and this name has stuck to the country of Switzerland ever since, in the form of Helvetia.
Lying directly to the north of Italy, the small land of the Helvetii was in turn overrun by the Roman general Julius Caesar during the 1st century B.C.—and the entire region became completely Romanized. It survived as a peaceful Roman province for the next 300 years.
The province of Helvetia was overrun by the Germanic invasions that swept over the decaying Roman Empire in the 4th century A.D. Two tribes in particular occupied the region: the Bourguignons and the Alamanni.
Apart from the original Old Europeans, who had a number of Mediterranean types among their numbers, all the “peoplings” were Nordic racial elements.
The Romanized Helvetii had been introduced to Christianity in the closing years of the Roman empire, but in common with many of the Germanic tribes, the invaders were pagans, or polytheists, worshiping their old gods native to their peoples.
It was up to the Franks under King Charlemagne to introduce Christianity to the Alamanni and the other Germanics in Helvetia—an event that occurred after the Franks invaded the region in the 5th century.
When the Frankish empire dissolved upon Charlemagne’s death, most of what would someday be modern Switzerland became incorporated into the duchy of Alemannia, or Swabia, one of the feudal states making up the German kingdom or empire. The only part that was not incorporated into the German empire was acquired in 1033, becoming part of the Germanic Holy Roman empire.
By 1276, the Austrian House of Hapsburg, which was not much liked by most Swiss, had taken over the crown of the Holy Roman empire. In that year, its emperor, Rudolf I, introduced a number of oppressive measures in Switzerland, sparking off war with the Swiss, which was to last nearly 200 years.
In 1291, with the death of Rudolph, according to legend, local notables in heavily forested central Switzerland pledged to form an alliance, bringing together Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, the first three “free” or autonomous cantons, but still under the Holy Roman empire. These were called the Forest Cantons or Waldstaetter.
In 1332, Luzern (Lucerne) joined the Forest Cantons as the fourth canton. Additional cantons or states came into the alliance as largely autonomous entities. The four cantons were joined by four more cantons and states—Zurich, Bern, Glarus and Zug—between 1353 and 1481. In this piecemeal fashion, the “Old Confederacy” was built up. It is from Schwyz that the name “Switzerland” derives.
INDEPENDENCE—WON BY 1499
By 1474, the Swiss had fought the Austrians to a standoff. In that year, the Swiss cantons were made into a confederation, still under the loose control of the Habsburgs. Fribourg and Solothurn joined the “Old Confederacy” of eight cantons following approval of the Stanser Treaty in 1481, which balanced the interests of the cities and countryside. In 1499, the Holy Roman emperor, Maximilian I, launched an attempt to crush this hard-won autonomy. A new war broke out between the Swiss and Austrians, resulting in victory for the Swiss. By the Treaty of Basel in 1499, Swiss independence was as good as won.
Shortly afterward some of the last regions in Switzerland became affiliated to the new nation. By 1513, Basel, Schaffhausen and Appenzell had signed on.
Currently there are 26 cantons, or, more precisely, 20 full cantons and six “half cantons.” Most of the cantons trace their roots back centuries.
The Swiss skill in defeating the mighty Austrians led them to become highly regarded soldiers all over Europe—they were recruited as mercenaries by all those who could afford them, including the pope in Rome, whose Swiss Guards remain, famously, to the present day. [See page 9.—Ed.]
While fighting as mercenaries with the French army during the wars of the early 16th century, Swiss troops annexed some additional parts of northern Italy, which became the southernmost canton of Switzerland. The Swiss then tried to take on the French and were, unexpectedly, soundly defeated in 1515.
This defeat caused Switzerland to adopt a policy of neutrality in all conflicts, one that it has more or less followed ever since, only breaking it to acquire more small territories, until recently.
The Protestant Reformation in Switzerland started in 1518, when a pastor named Uldrych Zwingli denounced the sale of indulgences—supposedly forgiveness by God, so one could spend less time in purgatory (a kind of waiting room for heaven according to Roman Catholic theology)—for money by representatives of the Catholic Church. Inflamed by Zwingli’s oratory, the people of Zurich rose up and attacked Catholic churches, smashing relics and “officially” releasing priests from their vows of celibacy.
Other Swiss towns, such as Basel and Bern, adopted similar religious platforms and in 1536, Geneva, where the French Protestant leader John Calvin had settled, rose up against the duchy of Savoy and refused to acknowledge the authority of its Roman Catholic bishop.
Despite all this, Swiss diplomatic skill prevented the country from becoming involved in the great Christian internecine wars that grew out of the Reformation.
By the end of the Protestant/Catholic Thirty Years War of 1618 to 1648 (one of the most destructive wars in European history), Switzerland was recognized as a fully independent state by the Treaty of Westphalia, formally releasing the little mountainous nation from the Holy Roman empire at long last. But it was only in 1649 and 1652 that the remaining Austrian rights in the Praettigau were bought up by what was then called the League of Ten Jurisdictions, which thus finalized its freedom.
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE AND UNIFICATION
The ideals of the French Revolution spread to Switzerland after 1789. Swiss revolutionaries also rose up against the system of lords and princes who ran the confederation of Swiss cantons. The local revolutionaries were, however, suppressed by the nobles, which led to the French revolutionaries sending a French army into Switzerland to help the Swiss rebels.
With French intervention, the Swiss revolutionaries managed to stage a comeback, and a republic based on the model of the French revolutionary state was established by 1798. This “Helvetic Revolution” of 1798 crushed the aristocratic rule in the old cantons.
Nine more territories became part of Switzerland between 1803 and 1815: St. Gallen, Graubünden, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Neuchatel and Geneva. Napoleon Bonaparte then unified the country under the name of the Helvetic Republic, instituting a form of government that proved to be unpopular with the Swiss. In 1803 Napoleon ordered the French occupation troops to leave—although by then a part of Switzerland had been settled by some Frenchmen, creating the French-speaking part of today’s Switzerland.
The Congress of Vienna in 1815, which ended the Napoleonic Wars, saw this unpopular constitution rejected and replaced by the former “confederal” canton system. The Congress of Vienna also made particular note of Swiss neutrality—from that time on, the Swiss were never again involved in any foreign war.
The existence of three main language groupings, German, French and a small Italian segment, combined with a split between Protestants and Catholics, made up the classic scenario for religioethnically based conflict. After the Protestant cantons sought to prevent the Jesuits’ takeover of religious education in Lucerne, by 1847, the seven Catholic cantons—mainly German speaking—formed a united league, the Sonderbund.
The Swiss government declared the Sonderbund unconstitutional and ordered them to disband. They refused, and a localized civil war followed, with two cantons remaining neutral in the war, ending in the defeat of the Sonderbund the next year.
The war caused the Swiss to rethink their constitutional arrangements. A new constitution in 1848 was loosely based on the U.S. Constitution.
In 1866, there was some revision, and in 1874, a newer constitution was introduced, which strengthened the central government but still reserved extraordinary powers to the various cantons, to ensure the maximum devolution of power on issues likely to cause conflict. This constitution worked very effectively and was, with only minor modifications (notably in 1874), in use in Switzerland to 1999, when it was revised again, and has since remained to the present day.
Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are prohibited by the Swiss Bill of Rights (Article 10.3). Freedom of the press is guaranteed (Art. 17), and all persons have the right to form, express and disseminate their opinions freely (Art. 16).Yet, on April 10, 2000, a Swiss court sentenced retired teacher Gaston-ArmandAmaudruz, 79, to one year in prison for “denying the existence of homicidal gas chambers in World War II German concentration camps”! Apparently “freedom of speech” means something quite different to the Swiss than to Americans.
The Swiss were of course famous for their steadfast neutrality. Refusing to join the United Nations (until 2002)made that country ideal “neutral territory,” upon which, ironically, many delicate UN conferences were held.
Switzerland tightly controls citizenship by biological descent and does not encourage immigration. However, the country has, like much of Western Europe, been the target of a considerable influx of illegal Third World immigrants.
Switzerland is very unusual among the countries in the world in that, while it is made up of several distinct ethnic groups, there is very little conflict among them, much less anything much in the way of secessionist movements. This is perhaps a result of the nation’s confederate system of government, with each state or canton being free to operate in its own manner, except when such things as national defense are involved.
The country has had little problem with secession since the Sonderbund War, with one small exception: the northern part of Jura, with two people being killed in the struggle for “Free Jura.” After some complex dissection and gerrymandering, the problem was solved by setting up a new autonomous canton within Switzerland.
As noted above, there is a German-speaking section of Switzerland, a French-speaking section and an Italian-speaking section. In addition, in one canton, there is a minority who continue to speak a Rhaeto-Romanic language (Romansh; also called Romansch or Romanche or Rumantsh or Rumantsch). Romansh, a Romance language related to Occitan, is a survival from Roman days. It is spoken by about 0.9 percent of Switzerland’s 7.5 million inhabitants.
Interestingly, the canton where this rare language is spoken is called Grisons or Graubuenden, “the Gray League”—which preserves the name of the self-defense organization of local people set up in the 15th century. Graubuenden is the largest canton in the nation, at over 7,000 square kilometers.
(The smallest canton is Basel City, at 37 square kilometers; the most populous is Zurich with 1.3 million inhabitants; the least populous is Appenzell Inner Rhodes, with little more than 15,000.)
As it happens, Rhaeto-Romanic languages are also spoken in parts of northern Italy—a dialect called Ladin in the Dolomite Mountains of Trentino-Alto Adige/Suedtirol, and a dialect called Friulian is spoken by over half a million people in northeastern Italy. (This Ladin is not to be confused with the Engadine dialects of Romansh, also called the “Ladin” dialects, namely Puter, spoken in the Upper Engadine valley, and Vallader, spoken in the Lower Engadine valley, in the southeast corner of Switzerland.)
The other “main” dialects of Swiss Romansh are classified as the Rhine dialects: Sursilvan, Sutsilvan and Surmiran. It should be noted that there is also a standardized form of Romansh, created in 1982 by linguist Heinrich Schmid, called Rumantsch Grischun. It is the only form of the language that is used by the Swiss central government, Romansh being one of the recognized official languages of Switzerland, along with French, German and Italian. But most people in Graubuenden dislike Rumantsch Grischun so much that they would rather use German (most of them are perfectly bilingual, although Italian is also spoken in southern parts of the canton).
There is little gun control in Switzerland, so that it has frequently been held up as an example of the benefits of gun freedom by American advocates of the Second Amendment. Switzerland’s “militia army” defense theory requires men above the age of 20 to be ready for call-up for national service (there is almost no standing army), and to keep a fully automatic SIG Sturmgewehr 90 military rifle locked up in their residences. Some half-million Swiss minutemen have such rifles in their homes, and it is estimated there are 1.2 million firearms.
This may have changed recently; after a disgruntled citizen “went postal” and shot up the local parliament in Zug on Sept. 27, 2001, the Swiss minister of justice, Ruth Metler, called for national gun registration as a safety measure. The Swiss Federal Police Office reports that, in 1997, there were 87 intentional homicides and 102 attempted homicides in the country. Some 91 of these 189 murders and attempts involved firearms. With its population of 7 million (which includes 1.2 million foreigners), Switzerland had a homicide rate of only 1.2 per 100,000. There were 2,498 robberies and attempted robberies, of which 546 involved firearms, giving a robbery rate of 36 per 100,000. Almost half of these criminal acts were committed by non-resident foreigners, which is why one hears reference in casual talk to “criminal tourists.”
In 1993, not a single armed robbery was reported in Geneva. Thus, Switzerland, which is awash in guns, has substantially lower murder and robbery rates than the UK, where most guns are banned. The cantons issue licenses for handgun purchases on a “must issue” basis. Most, but not all, cantons require handgun registration. Any ammunition bought on the private market is registered.
Ammunition can be bought unregistered at government subsidized shooting ranges, but, by law, one must use all the ammunition at the range. Apparently this law is not really enforced, which gives Swiss gun owners away to collect unregistered ammunition.
Because so many people own rifles, there are no regulations against carrying them, but 15 of the 26 cantons have regulations on carrying handguns.
The Swiss are ready for war at any time. Not only do they have their minutemen with machine guns, but a citizen is allowed to own a tank, anti-aircraft gun etc and is required to have 72 rounds of ammunition. Also the nation is set up so that it can quickly convert highways into military aircraft runways, and so on. And they have plenty of top-of-the line weapons systems of all sorts.
Switzerland’s industry always depended to a very large extent on exporting of machinery, watches, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The high population density, adverse conditions for agriculture, with most of the country being alpine, and a scarcity of most raw materials, are responsible for a notable shortfall in food production and a trade deficit.
During the 20th century, tourism, transportation services and financial services (banking and insurance) helped to provide for a favorable balance of payments. Lately, however, the once-famous Swiss banking privacy has not been what it used to be. Increasingly, resourceful Americans and others are finding better places to stash their money. In September 2000, the Swiss surprisingly voted against a plan to cut the number of foreigners in the country to 18% of the population (in 2000 foreigners made up 19.3%). Since 1970, four similar anti-immigration plans failed. In another stunning development, in September 2002, Switzerland gave up its neutrality by joining the United Nations.
For many Swiss people, the Great White Hope until now was Christoph Blocher—a successful, self-made billionaire, born into the large family of a rural minister. Blocher was celebrated as a man who rose by hard work to become a leader in the Swiss chemical industry, then the second-highest man in the Swiss Folk Party, currently the second-biggest party in Switzerland.
Blocher poses as a populist by talking about immigration and asylum seekers. However he never talks about race per se. He never attacks the Jews. In fact, he voted for a 1994 bill, Article 261, which makes holocaust debunking a felony in Switzerland. As a result of this, heroes such as René-Louis Berclaz and Juergen Graf have been sentenced to prison.
Blocher has sold the Swiss down the river. Read this, from the latest issue of the Courrier du Continent published by the valiant Swiss patriot G.-A. Amaudruz, who in his 80s was thrown in prison in Switzerland for his opinions under the law passed with the help of Blocher’s Swiss Folk Party:
When a few days ago our newsroom received a list of the participants this year at the international Bilderberg conference in Athens, we could not believe our eyes. The name of Christoph Blocher stood on the list of attendees. Christoph Blocher of all people as a guest of this secret cosmopolitan society? Incredible. In the meantime the participation of our former justice minister at the Bilderberg meeting has been confirmed.
For about 450 years Switzerland’s No. 1 exported skill was soldiering. It is estimated that between 1400 and 1848 more than 2 million Swiss mercenaries were employed by foreign powers.1
Many of them naturally settled where they were working. Starting in the 16th century, some Swiss people emigrated to escape religious persecution. As oppression of the Anabaptists spread, followers—who came from several European countries— migrated ever farther. Today we know them as the Mennonites and the Amish, many having settled in Pennsylvania.
About 400,000 Swiss emigrated between 1850 and 1914. In some places in North America and South America they founded “colonies.” Bern alone has 26 towns and villages named after it in the United States, while Lucerne has 16.
Switzerland may be landlocked, but Swiss-American Edward W. Eberle was a top admiral in the U.S. Navy. Famous Swiss-Americans include actress Renee Zellweger, songstress Jewel and her sister Q’Orianka Kilcher, film actor Victor Mature, Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, the multi-talented Albert Gallatin, Meyr Guggenheim, President Herbert Hoover, Adolph Rickenbacker, Eddie Rickenbacker, John Sutter, who discovered gold in California, and Henry Wirz of tragic “CivilWar” note.
Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) revolutionized geological theory by his study of glaciers, which led him to put forward the then controversial idea that most of Eurasia had once been covered by ice sheets about a mile thick.
Louis Chevrolet (1878-1941) was a racing driver and founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company.
Rudolph “Minnesota Fats” Wanderone was perhaps the best known pool player in America. Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) was the controversial chess player who minced no words when talking about the Jews. And football fans will be upset if we fail to mention Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last but not least, Christoph Meili, whistleblower, who now lives in California.
August 1 of each year is Swiss National Day and is celebrated with numerous events in the United States and abroad. For more on that, check your local news sources and/or http://www.swissworld.org/.
This article is based in part on the book March of the Titans: A History of the White Race. Available from TBR BOOKS for $47, it is a 596- page book, 8.5-by-11-inches, covering the entire history of the white race.) Arthur Kemp is the Rhodesian-born author of March of the Titans. He worked at the South African Conservative Party’s head office on their weekly newspaper, and authored the main “Vote No” party literature used in the 1992 referendum, which made him the single most distributed author in South African political history. He also worked as political secretary to the leader of the Conservative Party, Dr. Treurnicht, but was expelled from the party in 1993 for advocating the rejection of apartheid in favor of an Afrikaner homeland policy. John Tiffany is the assistant editor of THE BARNES REVIEW.
Diem, Aubrey, Switzerland: Land, People, Economy, Media International, Kitchener, Ont., 1994.
Gretler, Arnold, and Pierre-Emeric Mandl, Values, Trends and Alternatives in Swiss Society, Praeger, NewYork, 1973.
Hilowitz, Janet Eve (ed.), Switzerland in Perspective, Greenwood Press, NewYork, 1990.
Linder, Wolf, Swiss Democracy: Possible Solutions to Conflict in Multicultural Societies, Macmillan, Houndsmills, U.K., 1994.
Lloyd, William Bross, Jr. Waging Peace: The Swiss Experience, Public Affairs Press, Washington, D.C., 1958.
Δευτέρα, 22 Μαρτίου 2010
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