Direct Democracy In Switzerland Ch. 16-20

By Gregory Fossedal
16. Family

Swiss families are not radically different from their counterparts in
the United States or Europe, affirming the truism that "all happy
families are alike." They are, however, slightly more stable and
close. The laws of the state, likewise, are somewhat more pro-family,
or family based, than in most other highly developed countries. There
is, moreover, a somewhat greater modesty in manners and dress, and in
statutes governing such matters as decency in the mass media. Policies
like those of social welfare treat the family, rather than the
individual, as the fundamental unit of society, and thus, reinforce
family structure. Switzerland has divorce, child abuse and neglect,
deadbeat dads, and many of the other ills seen in the West. It has
them, though, with marginally less frequency. And it responds
differently, legally and socially, when these maladies appear.

The net result, for an American, is a feeling that one is somehow
visiting with a group of American families from the 1950s who have
been transplanted into modern Western society. It is not an
artificial, time-warp sort of feeling, and the culture does not in any
way feel restrictive. On the contrary, the time appears to be the
present, but the family structure somewhat transplanted. The modesty
of the Swiss, if you will, is modest - a quiet preference for stable,
family-based life and a disciplined and responsible commitment to it.
One probably hears appeals to "family values" and the like far less in
Switzerland than in the United States, or even much of Europe.

One of the first social impressions likely to strike someone visiting
Switzerland, second only perhaps to their facility with languages, is
that of the large number of couples still married to their original
spouse. My own sample in visiting was admittedly biased, at first,
toward meetings with affluent professionals. It felt unusual,
nevertheless, to meet one high-income man after another who was with
his wife of twenty, thirty, and even forty years. Of course, this
impression built up only cumulatively, until after many weeks it
struck me that very few divorces seemed to take place. A little
resolution formed, made both to test my own powers of observation and
to keep such observations fresh from any sociological preconceptions,
to make sure not to look at any statistics about Swiss family life.
Similar, but even more subtle, was the impression formed by meeting
young people in large numbers whose parents were still together. Time
after time, these youngsters did not describe, for example, plans to
spend the week before Christmas with their fathers and the week after
with their mothers, and the like. Mothers and fathers most commonly
lived in the same place, or so it seemed. After a time, a social
relaxation takes place in Switzerland. There are not quite as many
dual locations to keep track of; there are fewer Doreen Smiths no
longer married to Jasper Smith, and vice-versa; in Switzerland, one
worries just a little bit less that the Hendersons will disagree about
what restaurant to go to, or whether their daughter should study

Swiss couples exhibit a natural ease, a fitting-togetherness one
encounters in America and Europe as well, but perhaps not as often.
When Mr. and Mrs. Fred Isler entertained me and a friend, for example,
it became clear just how seamlessly their two lives intertwined. Mr.
Isler was going over a kind of bar chart of his various charitable and
community service activities over the years, telling little vignettes
about each bar or answering my questions - "yes, being a civilian in
the appeals court, I would be involved in several cases a month. We
shared the workload depending on the types of cases and who was
particularly busy at a certain time." Now and then, however, Isler
would be uncertain about who had attended a particular event, or what
had been the resolution of a particular event or activity. At such
times, Mrs. Isler would sometimes interject with words such as, "I
think this was even three years," rather than two. Mr. Isler, on the
other hand, frequently used the word "we" to describe a particular
activity or commitment - even if nominally it had been "his" position.
In an unobtrusive, unpretentious way, they seemed to agree that such
tasks had been joint. In fact, of course, they had. "I went to the
meetings," Isler said of the town council (or some similar task), for
instance. "But when we got into a real disagreement, I would bring
everyone here, and she always knew how to smooth it over."

Similarly, when Dr. Paul Jolies, the former Swiss State Secretary and
Chairman of Nestlé, would review his decisions and involvements in
government, he would rely on Mrs. Jolies to fill in blanks - and at
times, correct him - regarding important events or details. It is
natural for many couples to settle into a routine of mutual
skepticism. Such raillery between the Jolleses, however, seemed
largely to consist of her insisting that his actions had been much
more wise or incisive than he would admit - and his countering that it
was Mrs. Jolies who had encouraged him to do this or that. When some
of Switzerland's differences with the United States and Europe in
recent years came up for discussion, for example, Dr. Jolies was
inclined to sympathize with Swiss officials. He said they had made
mistakes, but that some of these were a heritage from years of neglect
by other governments. Mrs. Jolies agreed but added a simpler
explanation, which was, "They don't listen to you or people like you.
In fact," she added, looking at me, "they don't even really ask for
his advice or opinion at all." Dr. Jolies smiled, "which means they
also don't get hers - a real mistake."

It is difficult, of course, to paint a portrait of this ordinary
family life that works without seeming wide-eyed and, indeed, a bit
sappy. The fact is, though, that the Swiss have retained a degree of
family solidarity that many would envy, whether or not it has an
element of Ozzie and Harriet. Indeed, an honest search of my memory of
interviews with more than 500 Swiss brings to mind only a few divorced
men or women. Of course, many of these conversations were too short to
be likely to have obtained such information. And undoubtedly, some of
these people were divorced, some even remarried. It is perhaps
revealing, though, that even in cases where there have been divorces,
the subject is less apt to come up among the Swiss. There is just a
little more of the melancholy that used to attend the matter,
socially, still present among the Swiss.

In addition, the relative reserve of the Swiss generally explains
much. In the United States and Europe, one sometimes encounters the
corporate giant who rides a bicycle to work, or flies coach even on
long trips.(1) In Switzerland, such behavior, if not the mathematical
norm, is certainly frequent. The chairman of ABB for many years rode a
bicycle to work through the streets of Baden. François Loeb, head of
one of the largest retail chains in Switzerland, drives a two-seat
car, apparently spun off from the Yugo and achieving something like 70
miles per gallon of gasoline in the city. It is difficult enough to
imagine a Swiss living in the imperial manner of some American or
British corporate chieftans. To picture a Swiss executive bouncing
between several wives, or dating young women twenty to forty years his
junior, is difficult. It must happen in Switzerland, but it happens
infrequently, and when it does, it is less the object of snickering
admiration or newspaper headlines than of quiet embarrassment.

The Swiss man is close to family without being a house husband or
highly sensitive child coddler. Swiss men with young children seemed
less familiar with their day-to-day affairs than their mothers. But
when the children reach age ten or older, the fathers become more
highly engaged in their schooling and later, their professional life
or family life. In conversations about women, Swiss men are less
coarse than is the Western norm, and far less coarse than the American
norm. There is less of an obsession with sex in normal conversation -
whether there is less interest in sex, is impossible to say, but
certainly it is less obvious.

The statistics, it turns out, do more or less bear out the
impressionistic picture of the Swiss as enjoying a closeness of family
life rare in developed societies, as Table 16.1 suggests.

Table 16-1
The Families of Nations (selected comparative statistics)

Divorces per 100 marriages
Percent of families with one parent
Divorces per 1000 population
Married (%of population over 16 years)


United States


Source: U.S. Census Bureau; René Levy, The Social Structure of
Switzerland, Helvetica; Swiss Statistical Abstract, and author's
calculations based on data.

In addition to all the factors mentioned above, Swiss family law
probably plays a role in the relatively high rate of family stability.
Divorce laws, of course, vary by the canton, but as a general matter
the advance of no-fault divorce has not been as great as in many
Western countries. Even in such cantons as Geneva and Vaud,
requirements are higher than the P.O.-box divorce systems of some U.S.
states. And in the Waldsättte, or the central Forest Cantons with
large numbers of orthodox Catholics, rules are more demanding
substantively and procedures more rigorous.

As well, the social implications of divorce are more serious than in
America. Swiss attitudes and laws, and the familiar character of most
communities, make it very difficult for fathers to default on
supporting their children both financially and emotionally, and for
mothers to neglect a child who needs attention, support, or
discipline. There are thus somewhat firmer supports for marriage and
less of a "ticket to freedom" from marital breakup than in many
developed countries.

Children in Switzerland are neither as revered as in Germany, treated
as informally as in America, nor shunted aside as in England, Spain,
or France. The Swiss take their children seriously and systematically.
There is less emphasis than in the United States on early formal
instruction, but perhaps more parent-to-child discipline and self-
responsibility taught. An American four or five years of age is more
likely to read than a Swiss child of that age, or to make a precocious
comment, but is also more likely to wander off into the house and
scribble all over one of the walls with a pen or waddle out into a
busy parking lot where drivers are maneuvering aggressively for a
choice spot or a fast exit.

From figures on women in the workplace, and my own anecdotal
observations, a larger share of Swiss children aged zero through five
are taken care of by their own mothers the bulk of the day, and a
smaller proportion sent to day care or pre-school so their mothers can
work part or full time, or manage the rest of the children. Although
this could not be verified directly from international statistics, it
seems supported by estimates of the number of Swiss mothers in the
labor force - about one-third of mothers with children at home, and
perhaps a fifth or less of mothers with children younger than age six,
work outside the home. The same conclusion would also seem to be
supported by the complaint of many Swiss that young children do not
receive enough formal schooling. From the performance of its economy,
the Swiss do not appear to have suffered significantly from this. And
there may be benefits in the greater socialization and feelings of
greater security of Swiss youngsters.

Sheer geography may even lend a hand to Swiss marriages. Americans
with a large number of children often bemoan the great distances that
extended families find between parents and grandparents, brothers, and
other relatives. Of course, there is little to stop individual Swiss
families from living 2,000 miles apart, but if they do so, they will
find their relatives in Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria, or even Western
Russia. Since emigration is a large step, the vast majority of persons
in any country, barring dire circumstances, are bound to remain in the
country of their birth. For the Swiss, remaining in the country means
living no more than a few hours from any other relatives still in
Switzerland. Even relatives who move to Germany or France, two of the
most common destinations, are relatively close compared to the
distances that often separate members of an extended family in the
United States.

As in other countries, the Swiss encounter some problems with their
children in the adolescent years. Swiss suicide rates, in fact, are
among the highest in the world. Surely one factor in these is the
absence of some Swiss fathers in the more sexually divided work roles
of dad at the office, mom at home. Others attribute these rates to
mere density of population (a la Japan), particularly when one factors
in the consideration that two-thirds of the Swiss nation is nearly
uninhabitable mountains. Still another factor, according to some
Swiss, is the high pressure placed on Swiss youth in the teenage years
and early twenties to perform in school and other areas of life.

Among all Swiss, the fact of a seeming permanent affluence has led to
a search for meaning. As the suicide rates indicated, not all are
successful in finding it. Religion has withered, particularly among
Protestants and among Catholics outside the highly Orthodox churches
of Schwyz and the surrounding cantons. Even much religious life is
quasi-secular. Church services in the major cities, and even to some
extent the more fervent countryside, are not highly sacramental or
theological. The religion of many Swiss has become almost the civic,
Godless religion of Rousseau, though this trend is not as advanced as
in France, Italy, or the United States.

A more happy picture, for the Swiss, emerges when one considers other
social indices of adolescent adjustment. Perhaps the turmoil that
seems evident in teen suicides, for example, is driven largely by
accidental factors. Rates of violent crimes, which are normally
committed by persons under thirty, are low. Teen pregnancy, abortion
both by juveniles and as an overall rate, and similar unhappy
statistics are relatively low, as Table 16.2 shows.

Public laws on abortion are characteristically Swiss - federalist and
nuanced. A national law prohibits certain kinds of abortion
restrictions and guards a right to abortion - but the latter does not
cover all cases, and the former allows for exceptions for cases
involving the mental or physical health of the mother. In some
cantons, these rules are interpreted quite liberally so that there is
little practical restriction on abortion at all. In others, especially
the Central and Eastern Waldstätte, women must visit a doctor, confer
with a cantonal or community health official, and so on - a series of
three, four, or more steps. According to a 1996 article in the Swiss
Medical Bulletin,(2) rates

Table 16.2
Teen Pregnancy, Birth, and Abortion Rates

Adolescent abortion rate
Adolescent pregnancy rate
Adolescent birth rate









United States


Notes: "Abortion rate" is legal abortions per 1,000 residents aged 15-
19. "Pregnancy rate" equals pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-19.
"Birth rate" equals births per 1,000 women aged 15-19.

Source: Alan Guttmacher Institute, from country data. Swiss data on
adolescent pregnancy calculated by author from Swiss data.

of abortion varied by a factor of three and more from canton to
canton. Some of this disparity, of course, may reflect women seeking
out abortion services in the cantons where laws are more relaxed, but
of course this is frowned on, and often entails a lack of health
insurance coverage.

Few people in Switzerland are entirely happy with this cluttered
situation, especially those who crave a clear-cut decision either to
allow or to abolish abortion. The degree of unhappiness, however, is
much less than in many Western countries where one side or the other
has achieved a winner-take-all victory. Abortion rights advocates have
achieved no national decision - but can take solace that there is some
liberty to obtain an abortion for most Swiss women, especially in the
major cities. Opponents enjoy less than total ban, but neither have
they had to endure, in the manner of the U.S., a sweeping decision by
judicial elites to wipe out the action of democratic legislatures.
Federalism allows Swiss families to seek out a community where the
existing laws on abortion and other social matters comport with their
sense of propriety and morality, while letting other cantons and cells
establish the order that seems best to them. Where there is lobbying,
it is by its nature decentralized, focused in two dozen cantonal
parliaments and in thousands of communities overseeing the
implementation of local standards by doctors and other professionals.

Periodic initiatives and referenda, at the national and cantonal
levels, have the effect of giving voters a feeling of fine motor
control, and the voters have generally opted to make compromises in
the middle of the abortion debate, preferring not to enact the program
of either the committed restrictionists nor the advocates of abortion
rights. Whereas in other countries vast campaigns must be launched
merely to achieve a vote on public financing, or third-trimester
restrictions, before the appropriate congressional committee, in the
Swiss system there is always access. This access - the fact of its
availability, even if it is not always used - has a soothing impact on
the nerves of both the passionate advocates of both sides of the
spectrum and of voters in between. The net result is, perhaps, a messy
compromise, but one that works for the Swiss. Ironically, given their
reticence toward controversy, the Swiss feel that the abortion
question is a sensitive one and the controversy hot. This may so be in
Swiss terms, but one has the impression that the abortion question and
like issues are in fact less agitated in Switzerland than in most
Western countries, and far less so than in countries with significant
ethnic and religious differences underlying the disputes.

Women at Work

Some Swiss women felt, until recently, stranded "not in the 1950s but
in the nineteenth century," as a Swiss feminist leader proclaimed in
1981. Pay for the same work by similarly qualified women runs about a
quarter to a third less than for the same work done by a man,
according to sociologist René Levy, although like most such
statistics, these measurements appear not to account for the greater
likelihood that a woman's career will be interrupted by children.
Women occupy almost no CEO or COO positions among the top one-hundred
Swiss corporations. The highest-ranking woman among major Swiss
companies appears to be one of eighty division vice presidents at
Nestlé, who oversees the company's operations in Poland.

Swiss executives are so sensitive about the topic that when a high-
ranking Nestlé official was told his company has been praised by some
as encouraging a more rapid rise by female executives, he preferred
not to discuss the matter.(3) "This is an area where all Swiss
companies, including ours, would like to do more, and need to do more,
" he said.

What is true at the top is less true, but somewhat, throughout the
work force. Swiss women make up about 44 percent of the work force; in
the United States, 47 percent. On this macroeconomic level, the
picture for working women in Switzerland is not radically better or
worse than in most Western countries. Salaries in the banking,
service, and professional sectors are 30 percent higher for men than
women, with a lower gap among Swiss age thirty-nine or younger. This
is similar to U.S. and European levels. In government service, average
salaries are within 20 percent for men and women as a whole, and for
men and women under forty the gap is less than 10 percent. All these
figures suggest a work equation in which there are differences of
opportunity, some of which can be explained by home care and other
social choices made by women and men, some of which cannot.

If we start from 1940 as a base year, women's wages have been
outpacing men's in Switzerland ever since. In absolute terms, this
only means they have been catching up. The years of the most dramatic
improvement were from 1960 to 1980, when general economic growth and
the decline of large families encouraged women to seek work outside
the home in greater numbers. In the 1990s, the rate of closure slowed,
partly due to an influx of foreign women (more likely to raise
children at home), partly due to the economic slowdown.

Swiss women do not appear to feel marginalized, and the vast majority
do not consider themselves the object of any systematic or conscious
antifeminine bias by employers. "Many women prefer to work part time,
or be away from work for some period to be with their families,"
comments Beatrice Gyssler, who works with a Swiss investment firm in
Zürich. To that extent, some women are choosing to forego some
earnings and professional opportunities in order to care for their
children and be in the home more. Surveys indicate that for most Swiss
married women who continue to work, the decisive reason is the belief
that the husband's earnings alone are insufficient. The flip side is
that many women, given the choice, would prefer to remain part of one-
earner families. Even after the bumpy recession of 1990-96

Figure 16.1
Swiss Women's Wages, 1940-2000

Women (approx.), Men (approx.)

1940 - 100, 100
1950 - 135, 115
1960 - 160, 140
1970 - 220, 190
1980 - 275, 240
1990 - 305, 260
2000 - 315, 270

Switzerland's economy still generates sufficient high-paying jobs for
men to permit many families to prosper with only one worker outside
the home.

In Swiss families with one or more children under the age of fifteen,
there are 700,000 fathers working outside the home, and 450,000
mothers. (This figure includes foreign-born residents.) In Swiss
families with no children under the age of fifteen, there are 1.4
million fathers working outside the home, and 1.2 million mothers - a
much closer ratio.

"The more the husband earns, the less likely the wife is to go out to
work," as René Levy, a sociologist at the University of Lausanne,
writes. "Many Swiss women prefer a role in the home over work, and if
they must work, they prefer the maximum role in the home," observes
Esther Girsberger, former editor of the Zürich daily Tages Anzeiger.
"The statistics on women's pay and employment overstate the problem if
you look at them expecting a statistical equality. Women's
expectations and their preferences differ from that of Swiss men."
Girsberger is an example of a field that has proven a natural entry
point for women, journalism. Women are also making rapid strides in
such professions as the law, computer software and service functions,
and politics, to name just a few.

Small business has proven to be a natural venue for women in
Switzerland as it has in a number of other developed countries. Home-
based and small businesses often offer flexibility in hours that is
highly valuable to women with children. In 1970, less than 20 percent
of self-employed Swiss were women. In 1996,34 percent were. (This
excludes farm wives and family workers.) This figure compares
favorably to the absolute levels of small-business ownership by women
in other Western countries - 39 percent in the United States, 30
percent in Britain, and less than 30 percent in Germany, Sweden,
Italy, and Finland - and is growing at a faster rate. To be sure, some
of these businesses are of marginal profitability, and have difficulty
obtaining capital for expansion if they desire it. But they offer
another alternative for women who want some income, and some
activities outside the home, but may not have the time for
uninterrupted employment in a traditional 9-to-5 pattern.

For many, of course, the role of Swiss women was symbolized by the
country's decision, in 1971, to allow women to vote - a right
previously not recognized. The long delay was not quite as backward as
it might have sounded. Women were neither that militant about the
right to vote, nor had men (the only voters allowed to act on previous
proposals, of course) been firmly opposed. The proposal, needing a
supermajority of voters and cantons, however, had always fared poorly
in a few of the central cantons - some for substantive reasons, some
because they feared that cantonal and community Landsgemeinde,
literally overfilled by too many people, would become unworkable if
the voting population suddenly doubled. Women mostly wanted the vote,
understandably, not merely because they might occasionally make the
difference in a specific decision on policy, but because they wanted
to be heard and to have the institutional respect granted them in all
the other democracies.

Ironically, although gaining the vote at a much later date, Swiss
women have made great advances in elective politics in Switzerland.
Well-educated and articulate, and experienced in thinking about issues
as are all Swiss, the Swiss woman brings much to the profession of
politics. Given the nature of Swiss government, however, politics is
still something of a part-time profession. The cantonal legislatures
and even federal parliament are paid little, have no dedicated staff,
and are in session less than ten weeks a year. "There is a good fit
between the Swiss militia system," meaning citizen government, "and
the immense talent offered by Swiss women," as the late investor and
publisher David dePury observed.

Indeed, the Swiss have a higher percentage of women in their
parliament, more than 20 percent of the combined chambers, than the
United States or most European countries. (In the lower house of the
federal parliament, more than 23 percent are women, and of the
combined membership of the cantonal parliaments, more then 25 percent.
) Switzerland has now had one woman president, and following the
election of another woman to the federal council in 1998, will have
two more terms by women presidents by 2010, under the country's
rotating presidency.

Swiss families feel the same strains as families throughout the West,
tugged between economic forces outside and the job of raising children
inside. It cannot be said that the Swiss have invented any unique
answers to these modern tensions, but their institutions have coped
with them in interesting and different ways. The Swiss family has
proven flexible and, in some ways - such as the rapid movement of
women into positions in the country's citizen-government - innovative.


There is a German joke about Swiss frugality that the Swiss enjoy
telling, which goes: "Why did the Swiss executive fly third class?
Because there was no fourth class."

M. Dondénaz, et al., "Interruptions de grossese en Suisse 1991-1994,"
Bulletin demedicins suisses, 1996, vol. 77, pp. 308-14.

Asked for the names of prominent women chief executive officers of
Swiss corporations, editor Markus Gisler of CASH, the Zürich-based
financial weekly, said, "There really aren't any. I think Nestlé has a
woman running its Poland division, and possibly one or two others.
They are known as one of the companies where women have been
encouraged." Gisler's staff helped me track down several other female
executives, mostly at much smaller companies

 17. Army

Switzerland's army cannot be fully understood except in combination
with Swiss neutrality, and Swiss neutrality likewise cannot be
understood in isolation from the Swiss army. Even as the country
prepares to enact significant changes in the size and structure of the
army in the early twenty-first century, it remains a uniquely
universalist institution, and a force for social integration. Whatever
adjustments are made to it in the coming years, the Swiss army is
likely to remain such a force for the foreseeable future.

Unlike most other neutrals throughout history Swiss forces, while
small, have been tenacious fighters and even, for several centuries,
one of the most powerful armies in the world. Twice in two thousand
years have the ferocious peasant Helvetii of the Alpine redoubt been
defeated and occupied. The first time was by Julius Caesar, who, in 58
B.C., stopped the Helvetii when they tried to migrate en masse to what
is now Western France. Caesar carefully co-opted the beaten adversary
into the Roman security system, the Helvetii guarding the Rhine
against Germanic invasions and enjoying a measure of self-rule in
their internal affairs in exchange. Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1796-97,
consciously imitating Caesar, conquered upper Italy for France and
wanted to assure himself of the Swiss alpine passes. The Swiss
resisted in 1798, but not as strenuously as could be expected. Part of
this was due to initial sympathy to the values of the French
Revolution. Part was due to the fear of confiscation on the part of
Swiss elites - dividing a society whose poorer members mainly wanted
to resist. The French left and returned twice, but continued to enjoy
predominant influence in Switzerland until 1813. Napoleon, like many
French emperors before him, found the soldiers of Switzerland to be a
formidable addition to his armies. "The best troops - those in whom
you can have the most confidence," Napoleon advised one of his
generals, "are the Swiss." In this he mirrored the assessment of
Machiavelli, who considered them, "the new Romans."

Unlike the other nations of great bravery, meanwhile - such small but
tenacious powers such as Israel, Britain, Mongolia, Vietnam, or
Afghanistan - the Swiss have been able to maintain a policy of honest
neutrality, and a state of peace and freedom from external invasion,
for centuries. The Swiss felt tempted to engage themselves in the
conflicts swirling around them more than once. In 1914, there was
significant popular sentiment for Germany. More than one Swiss
official had to be removed for actions contrary to neutrality.
Nevertheless, the country has maintained a strict neutrality for
nearly five centuries, all the while remaining sufficiently armed to
scare away all but a handful of attempts at invasion.

Its toughness gives Swiss neutrality teeth. Meanwhile Swiss neutrality
and equality temper and discipline the toughness to be ready to die,
but only for defense of the country. "The Swiss have not fought a war
for nearly five hundred years," John McPhee writes, "and are
determined to know how so as not to."(1)

Today, Switzerland is no longer one of the most feared military
establishments in the world. Yet it is not inconsiderable. Some 2,000
or 3,000 airstrips dot the country like Band-Aids, ready to help repel
enemy air power and conduct Swiss defensive operations. Mountains,
caves, hills, and forest cellars the size of a Home Depot Store are
loaded with ammunition, explosives, food, trucks, and other military
equipment. People's barns, garages, and even tool sheds are available
for use for storage, hiding troop movements, housing troops overnight
- and are all mapped out and accounted for in elaborate mobilization
plans. Bridges and other transportation chokepoints are mined to be
blown up at a moment's notice. While the Northern strip of Switzerland
- a lowland of gently rolling hills and dense population - is highly
vulnerable to assault, the Southern "redoubt" would be an attacker's
nightmare. "You could defend the Gotthard highway with ten men," a
Swiss officer estimates.

At the battle of Morgarten, the fourteenth-century Swiss triumphed
shortly after the signing of the Bundesbrief. Austrian knights trapped
in a narrow pass were attacked by peasants rolling logs, boulders, and
other falling objects. There was a sensation, according to one later
perhaps mythologized report, that "the rocks themselves" were rising
up to take arms against the attacker. "Thorn and rose, there is
scarcely a scene in Switzerland that would not sell a calendar, and -
valley after valley, mountain after mountain - there is scarcely a
scene in Switzerland that is not ready to erupt in fire to repel an
invasive war," McPhee writes.

The real story of Switzerland's military bite, however, lies not in
hardware, but people. With a population of only six million, the Swiss
can place 400,000 trained, armed, highly skilled troops in the field
within forty-eight hours. On any given day, considering this, the
Swiss might have the third or fourth-largest fighting force in the

There is only one way, of course, for such a small country to man a
force of this size. Every male Swiss from the age of twenty until
approximately age forty-two is a soldier. The enlisted men serve a
total of 300 days over that twenty-year period; officers, sometimes
more than 1,000, continuing on to age fifty-two. Women are allowed to
join, and do, though not in combat roles, but they are not obligated
to do so. Men and women are paid by their regular employer while they
are on training, and the employer is reimbursed by the government -
though only for 70 percent, not 100 percent, of the lost time. Given
the number of hours put in informally by the Swiss on army matters,
especially by officers, this amounts to a significant subsidy of the
military by the private sector. Some companies are happy about this,
some acquiesce, some grumble.

After an initial "basic training" course of some 120 days, the Swiss
soldier will drill approximately fifteen days a year, and probably
commit some hours every month to filling out paperwork, keeping his
equipment in repair, practicing his shooting. The Swiss must pass a
shooting test every year, and take remedial practice if they fail the
test. Gun clubs and shops dot the city of Bern the way used bookstores
dot a college campus in the United States. More than 500,000 assault
rifles are kept at home by Swiss men, in part so that their sons can
get used to having a gun around.

One cannot but notice, even in peacetime, the signs of a nation the
whole population of which is involved in active defense. On a Friday
afternoon you see the young men in their early twenties boarding
trains in Bern, Zürich, or Luzern in military uniform. Businessmen in
a coffee shop in Geneva pull out their small military service book to
make notations or do paperwork on their lunch break. Walking down a
country road you hear regular gun bursts in the distance - too many
for a hunter - and know that someone is practicing. On a porch is an
old man, probably by now limited to one of the auxiliary services,
cleaning a pair of army boots.

The Swiss not only enjoy widespread volunteer involvement in the army;
they rely to an unusual degree on individual citizens to take personal
responsibility for their own perfection in military technique.
Simulator rooms, which help infantry and artillery forces practice in
battle, are open for training during off-duty hours and are used
heavily, according to an officer with the army's skeletal full-time
staff. Rifle training, of course, is everywhere.

On a Saturday, touring a 600-year-old castle ruin on the heights above
Baden, my solitude was broken by the sound of a gentle but high-
pitched hiss coming down the road. All of a sudden, three young men in
camouflage fatigues and white helmets - hiss, zip, hissss - whizzed by
me, guns on their shoulder. It appeared to me at the time as if they
were on their way to a training session somewhere, perhaps a bit late.
But a few hours later the same three young men were at the Banhof,
enjoying a bratwurst and bottles of beer at stand-up tables. One of
them struck up a conversation with me, during which he explained that
the men were not on their way to on-duty training, nor even taking
part in a formal training session itself. They were practicing
reconnaissance runs and moving about while keeping in electronic
contact over the hills, crags, and electronic interference of Baden -
on their own time.

The Swiss, it turns out, use not only mountains and barns in their
defense, but until recently common passenger bicycles. "The bicycle is
fast, quiet, cheap, and flexible," a staff officer later told me with
a ninja-master-like tone. "We use anything that contributes to the
defense of the country." The man or woman at work is always a citizen
- and the citizen does not leave his private skills and ideals at the
door, but brings them with him to the collective enterprise of
managing and defending the state. There is, in short, a great trust in
people. This trust tells much about Swiss assumptions regarding people
and the society. It is a sign, surely, of one of the most developed
and capable societies in the world.

Universal service thus works on many levels. It generates numbers. If
a comparable number of U.S. citizens were members of our army or naval
reserve, America would have some twenty-five million men at arms. It
also establishes a presence in society. The fact of citizens doing
their duty, universally, is too ubiquitous to be unseen. Military
activity is legitimized, and linked into practically every home and
family in the country. The people's consciousness is raised of the
sacrifices that are being made for the national safety. There are even
certain practical benefits to promoting an informed citizenry, and one
with a strong immediate interest in sound management of the military.
Nearly every male voter is also a military man - and, with a full-time
military establishment of only about 1,000 officials or less, nearly
every military man earns his living in the civilian economy. No doubt
this is one reason there have been relatively few of the military
scandals in Switzerland, either as to over-priced procurement items,
what weapons to purchase, or other matters.

The militia system is egalitarian in imposing its burden. There are a
few ways to get an exemption from military service, but only a few,
and none is advanced by social standing. Absolute mental or physical
inability will get you out. Policemen can sometimes earn a waiver
since they might be needed in two places at once. A 1977 ballot
initiative sought to allow men to fill their service obligation
outside the armed forces - cleaning parks, teaching reading, and so
on. It was rejected by more than 60 percent of the voters. A decade
later, a smaller proposed exception passed, but is still socially
frowned upon.

Importantly, all Swiss men start off as privates. The son or daughter
of a Swiss president, member of parliament, or captain of industry is
a grunt. The earliest promotion to officer generally takes place after
several years of service. Thus there is no separate officer class as
in most countries, even the democracies. Most of these officers
(roughly 98 percent or more) are part-time or "reservist" soldiers
with regular employment. A small, full-time force of less than 1,000
staff constitutes Switzerland's entire professional military.

There is, to be sure, a tendency for military and professional
advancement to correlate - but both are based on merit. Generally,
many of those who are advancing in their career often thrive in their
military service, and vice-versa. "The colonel and the barrister, the
banker and the captain, the major and the businessman are one," McPhee
writes. And while there are many cases of parallel advancement, there
are others of social criss-crossing - of nonprofessionals in daily
life advancing in the military, or of high-ranking business executives
continuing to serve as privates or sergeants. "There are at least two
bank presidents who march with the rank and file. An army captain has
told me that he once leaped to his feet because the soldier serving
him food was an executive vice-president of the company he worked for
in Basel. To be high in business and low in the army is less unusual
than the reverse."

Perhaps the most important impact of the militia is the way it
integrates the military and the society as a whole. In most developed
societies there is alienation between the people and the military
class, one of the reasons the American Founding Fathers, rightly,
feared such a class. The citizen-based force of the Swiss, by
contrast, is practical and efficient in military terms, and wholesome
for the society.

Can there be any higher function of the state than the preservation
and protection of the state and the people from external violence? As
in other walks of Swiss political life - making laws, altering the
constitution, defending the nation - we see supreme acts of
sovereignty being carried out, for the most part, by ordinary

In perhaps every fourth or fifth meeting with a Swiss of any length,
army contacts and experiences are likely to come up. Christian Kuoni,
the president of one of the largest privately owned manufacturing
companies in Switzerland, Jakob Muller, asks about my meetings later
in the day. One is with Carlo Schmid, an attorney, Landamann of Canton
Appenzell, and a member of the federal senate. "Carlo Schmid?" he
asks. "We drilled in the army together for years." And Kuoni whips out
his little service book, proceeding to tick through some of his
assignments with various other corporate officers, workers from his
own factory and others, journalists, a union leader from Geneva, the
fellow who runs the local post office. As he ticks along, it strikes
me that the Swiss have their confessional and other differences, but
there is one church they all attend: the army. There is, of course, no
even remotely comparable experience in the United States and most of
Europe. The Swiss Army slashes across all walks of life, institutions,
interest groups, and people and brings every citizen of the state - or
rather, every male citizen, but through them, involves a majority of
the women as well - together for an act of regular communion.

It is important to note that early in the twenty-first century the
Swiss began a reduction in the size and universality of their military
service. This reduction, of about one-third, was hard to argue against
in terms of the relative military peace in Europe, but the change will
have social impacts. The reduction especially of the principle of
broad, almost universal service, will change the psychology and role
of army service. Switzerland's rate of military service will still far
exceed that of nearly any other country in the world with the
exception of Israel. For this reason, the Swiss Army, albeit smaller,
will continue to play a significant social and economic role in the

As the Swiss army makes Swiss neutrality muscular, so Swiss neutrality
gives the army - and the society - both a strong moral raison d'etre
in foreign affairs and, to a degree, an ethos not only for the nation
as a whole but for the individual.

Swiss neutrality's roots are as deep as the oath on the Rütli, but the
decisive event in its development came with the Swiss defeat of 1515
at the hands of the French army at Marignano. "I have conquered those
whom only Caesar managed to conquer before me," boasted King Francois
I. Actually, he had not conquered the Swiss; he had defeated them in
battle. The impact, however, was still great. Switzerland was a poor
country, and, indeed, still only a country in the most generous sense
of the term - a loose confederation of thirteen cantons, linked by a
small, impermanent court that floated from one capital city to another
every year like Gulliver's island of Laputa. They decided, quite
prudently, that this was no core from which to build a vast empire
through military conquest. Nicholaus von der Flue, the respected friar
and political-religious activist, added powerful moral arguments to
these practical ones, and the policy took root.

For centuries, of course, neutrality as a policy of the confederation
was really something of a statement of impotence by that rather thin
body of government. The cantons aligned themselves with competing
princes all over Europe - usually renting the services of their highly
sought armies or units of them as mercenaries. For hundreds of years,
as one military historian has written, arms of this sort were
"Switzerland's leading export."

This practice indeed helped enrich the region, while at the same time
maintaining what De Gaulle called "the edge of the sword" - and thus,
while Switzerland was neutral, the Swiss were fighting all the time:
hard, sharp. This practice, however, led to its own absurdities. It
helped keep Switzerland divided and even encouraged foreign meddling,
since it was well known that for the right price most cantons could be
swayed to shift alliances. It also led to the repeated comedy - a sad
comedy at that - of Swiss troops from different cantons facing one
another in battle. With grim logic, the Swiss fought bravely in such
struggles, killing many of themselves.

On the more glorious side of the ledger, Swiss soldiers participated
in (and played a key role) in some of the most important battles of
the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. The French kings saw
the Swiss in action and hired them to guard the royal person. While
many French guards deserted during the seizure of Louis and Antoinette
during the Revolution, the Swiss fought to the death, and were thereby
honored and respected even by the revolutionaries for performing an
honest duty so bravely. Centuries before, the Popes, having seen the
Swiss bodyguards in action, decided to retain their own units for
protection of the Vatican. The brave Swiss guards of canton Fribourg
remained in this service at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

As a practical benefit most foreign powers, even the great empires,
while they certainly looked to the cantons for troops, generally
thought of any occupation or absorption of Switzerland as a high-cost
enterprise with few likely benefits. Thus the policy of neutrality,
while viewed with an understandable skepticism by some modern-day
critics, grew and evolved over time into something solid.

Franz Muheim, a typically Swiss Swiss - former industry leader,
military officer, senator, author, intellectual - explains some of the
deep roots and wide branches of that broad concept, Swiss neutrality.

"There is a basic point of view that you could call Swiss," he tells
me in English - his third or fourth language - at the Hotel Metropol
in Luzern, over a pleasant luncheon. "It is not predetermined by the
mountains and the geography, but certainly, these make it very

"The Swiss, you see, are not so much a mountain people, as a valley
people - separated by mountains. Farmers, small manufacturers, gate
keepers. The land makes it not inevitable, but certainly very easy,
for small, independent communities to form.

"If one of these communities even wanted to conquer and enslave one of
their neighbors, it would not be an easy task," he continued. A
picture of Jean-Jacques Rousseau flashed into my mind, with his
classic commentary on the impossibility of slavery in the state of
nature, from the essay on the origins of inequality to the Academy at
Dijon. "Of course, you could not do it, nor did the Swiss ever want to
do it.

"The Swiss wants primarily to be left alone by the next village, and
to cooperate with his friends and neighbors while retaining a certain
autonomy and independence even within this intimate cell. He does not
want to be involved in fights against or between his neighbors, both
because he knows how hard it is to intervene usefully, and because he
recognizes the limited ability his small village would have to
influence matters anyway."

"This way of thinking applies from the individual Swiss of those
villages, hundreds of years ago, up to the state - and today, as well,
from the state down to and through the individual."

Neutrality, thus, is a state of mind and personal philosophy, a
broadened version of that very wise beginning of the doctor's
Hippocratic Oath: "First do no harm." It is policy, but it is more
than that.

Likewise the Swiss military-industrial complex is an arm of the
government - but not just an arm of the government. It is, like many
Swiss institutions, inextricably linked with the society - achieving
something akin to the Maoist dictum that the guerrilla must be as a
fish is to the sea.

"You must understand," as Swiss Divisionnaire Adrien Tschumy, told the
journalist McPhee, "there is no difference between the Swiss people
and the Swiss Army."


1. La Place de la Concorde Suisse, Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1984.
McPhee's book is a quiet classic for Americans, but among the Swiss,
it is almost at the level of a cult. McPhee, a New Yorker editor,
drilled with several Swiss units and described his conversations and
experience in some detail. It is a bragging point among the Swiss not
merely to have been mentioned in the book, or to have had some contact
with McPhee, but to know someone who has. "I once drilled with someone
who had previously drilled in that unit, though he was not there at
the time McPhee was," a Swiss businessman, who heads a Fortune 500
company, told me proudly.

 18. Switzerland Accused

Hans Bär was not ready for my question. It was not on the list of
topics faxed before our talk and, in fact, wasn't even in my mind
until we were about half-way through. He wasn't angry about it - to my
relief. But he was surprised. It surprised me, too; my voice seemed to
come from someone else.

"How do you feel about Switzerland and the Holocaust?"

Simple words, but that last one evokes strong emotions. Hans Bär, the
head of an old and respected investment bank in Zürich, didn't know me
except as a writer interested in Switzerland. It would have been
understandable if he were taken aback, even offended.

At the same time, even before Bär answered, it felt right. The
question of the Nazi reign of terror and the country's response to it
is one that troubles the Swiss deeply. And the international grilling
of Switzerland in the late 1990s was a blow to the national pride and
a cause of deep hurt. Here was a man who felt all these emotions
strongly and personally - an informed man of some sensitivity. The
question had to be asked.

"I feel..." Bär said, and paused. He seemed to be thinking about his
feelings on this, improbable as it sounds, for the first time. "I feel
very proud and very ashamed of my country. I am a Swiss, and a Jew. I
am both."

"Switzerland made mistakes - was guilty of horrible political
stupidity after the war. There should have been an active effort to
recompense the owners and the descendants of the dormant accounts."
(Bär is speaking of accounts opened by foreign Jews in Swiss banks
before the war, but which lapsed afterward. In some cases, the account
holders died. In others, they simply forgot the accounts, or allowed
them to sit fallow. In some cases, money was paid out.) "At the same
time, Switzerland resisted the Nazis for years when she was completely
surrounded." Indeed, even before the war, Switzerland was the first
country to launch a significant armament program to defend against the
Nazi threat.

"It is even more complicated than this, because, for example, there
were elements of anti-Semitism here, too. They were not nearly as
strong as in Germany or elsewhere. But there was some. We would see
banners in Zürich occasionally, read newspaper articles, hear threats.

Bär's natural conflictedness was well captured when his preparatory
school in the United States, the Horace Mann School, asked him to
accept an award in 1998.(1) Bär was flattered. He would have liked to
receive the honor. "But I could not accept an award in the United
States, while my country was being treated as it was by the U.S.
government and in the U.S. press - and in the very circles of people
whom I would be receiving this award from. I told them, as a Swiss, I
could not accept."

A year passed. The U.S. government, while not explicitly apologizing
for its allegation that Swiss actions had "helped prolong" World War
II, issued a second report qualifying some of the more extreme claims
of the first one. Vice President Gore appeared in Davos, Switzerland,
to tell the Swiss President, Mrs. Dreifuss, that his government hoped
the controversy would wind down and planned no further actions
designed to bring pressure or opprobrium on the Swiss. The school
offered the award again. Bär accepted, using his speech as an
opportunity to put the Swiss record in context - and encourage his
American audience to consider our own sins of omission in the Nazi
Holocaust and other such events, before lecturing others. The crisis
seemed to be defusing itself, the wounds starting to heal. "There is
little doubt in my mind," Bär told the Horace Mann School, "that the
declared end of the very serious bickering between the United States
and Switzerland over its role during and after the Second World War,
as it was solemnly declared in Davos only a couple of weeks ago,
really marks the end of that episode."

Even if so, however, some painful historical questions remain - not
only for the Swiss but for other countries that, unlike Switzerland,
have not begun to come to terms with their wartime and postwar banking
transactions. Furthermore, it was far from clear, as Bär commented a
year later, that the Davos "ceasefire" represented anything more than
a temporary lull by some U.S. officials in a long and inexplicable
vendetta against the Swiss.

For the Swiss democracy, regardless of U.S. attitudes, there are
institutional questions raised by the Holocaust issue. These events
raise questions that the Swiss will have to address. The future is
bound to bring moral-political issues of this type, issues over the
Swiss banking system and issues that arise out of Swiss neutrality - a
policy that is always vulnerable to misinterpretation and, at times,
abuses. How will Switzerland handle them?

"The controversy," as the Swiss refer to it, was latent in the
practices of Swiss banks going back to the early postwar years, and,
indeed, to before the war itself. During the war and in the years
afterward, some 50,000 to 100,000 accounts fell dormant, or were
closed. It is doubtful that a majority of these belonged to Holocaust
victims or other Jews. In fact, according to studies of the Swiss
accounts, it is all but certain that a third or less were. It is
equally certain, however, that some finite percentage of these
accounts did belong to Jews. According to the Swiss Bankers
Association, nearly 20,000 persons have registered claims for dormant
accounts. (Many of these, of course, are duplicate claims from
relatives of the same prospective account holder.) The Volcker
Committee, headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul
Volcker, studied the matter of dormant accounts and other unclaimed
assets in Swiss banks deposited by victims of the Nazis. It concluded,
in an interim report, that when interest and inflation over the years
are added to the initial principal, perhaps $1 billion to $2 billion
in such assets exist. This committee was established by the Swiss
Bankers Association in cooperation with the World Jewish Relief
Organization and the World Jewish Congress.

These matters remained closed and generally uncontroversial for
several decades due to two factors. One was the renowned sacredness of
Swiss banking privacy. This policy has always been somewhat
misunderstood. For instance, the provisions provide no shield against
domestic or international criminal prosecutions. Nevertheless, the
policy did make it hard for relatives, journalists, and others both
from obtaining specific account information and from compiling a broad
profile of the scope and magnitude of the accounts. Often such
accounts were opened under fictitious names, or using passwords or
numeric codes. If the person who opened the account died, relatives
might have no idea where the money was. Relatives coming back after
the war, or even decades later, lacking the needed account information
might ask the Swiss banks for help, but the banks declined to give out
the needed information. The reputation of Swiss secrecy discouraged
many from even trying.

The second factor was a certain smugness, or at the least
indifference, on the part of Swiss bankers and politicians when
inquiries and appeals were made. In the case of some business and
political elites, in fact, more than indifference was involved. The
Swiss people, in plain terms, were sometimes lied to about the
activities of the government and the banks. Individual requests for
access to dormant accounts by Holocaust victims were treated no worse
than if they involved an account in no way linked to a Holocaust
victim, but they were treated no better. Group appeals (from Jewish
organizations, corporations, or governments) were politely referred to
the banks. This policy might be defensible from a narrow legal
standpoint, but it took little account of the special circumstances of
this group of people. To keep these matters in perspective, of course,
Americans and Europeans outside Switzerland must remember the
indifference of some of their own financial and political institutions
before, during, and after the war. Researchers have argued that
Deutsche Bank, Ford Motor Company, Allianz, and General Motors all
benefited from unsavory relations with the Nazi regime before or after
the war. "New York State," as Bär points out, "was the beneficiary of
most of the Holocaust funds transferred to the U.S. under your
escheatment laws - and never returned a penny."

What was underneath the surface became a heated debate when a group
representing the families of Holocaust victims filed a class action
suit against a number of Swiss banks in 1996. The suit called for the
return of what the plaintiffs said was some $20 billion owed in
principal and interest to the survivors and their families. The case
was ultimately settled for about $1.5 billion, more than the amount
estimated by the Volcker Commission as due on dormant accounts to
Holocaust victims, and much less than the original suit. As the press,
foreign governments, and others began to comment on the specific
situation with the accounts, however, they catalyzed a discussion of
several broader issues, including:

- gold and other transactions by the Swiss National Bank with the

- the broader Swiss economic relationship with Germany and the other
Axis powers;

- Swiss military efforts to resist potential Nazi aggression; and

- the meaning, benefits, and (if any) harms of Swiss neutrality

That the Swiss carried out large gold transactions with Nazi Germany
can not be denied, and never was. As a neutral nation, Switzerland
naturally kept up some economic and political relations with her
largest trading power. A secret British report late in the war
concluded that Swiss neutrality had been highly beneficial to the
allies, as did such American officials as William Clayton, Dean
Acheson, and John Foster Dulles. As well, as a practical matter,
Switzerland was physically surrounded for much of the war by Axis
troops. Dependent on other countries for energy and food imports,
Switzerland built machinery and other exports for trade, and carried
out that trade in the international medium of exchange at the time:

Given the volume of gold being transacted by the German central bank,
it is impossible to believe that the Swiss did not purchase some
amount of gold from Holocaust victims including but not limited to the
particular purchases identified in recent investigations that the
Swiss either conducted themselves, or cooperated with. In all, the
Swiss purchased some 1.5 billion Swiss francs worth of gold from the
German central bank from 1938 until 1945, most of it concentrated in
the peak war years of 1941 through 1943.

The supposition that the Swiss traded significantly in the gold stolen
and in some cases physically removed from Jewish victims, however, is
highly doubtful. Once the issue of gold transactions became a serious
issue and the Swiss were aroused to act - too late, but not too little
- the Swiss attacked the problem. The Confederation appointed a
commission to consider the gold transactions and other issues of
policy during the war. Working from shattered records and moldy
microfilms spread from Missouri to Moscow, the
commission managed to locate at least three specific bars of gold that
clearly originated in a shipment from SS Captain Bruno Melmer.

"Specifically," the commission reported, "these were bars from the
seventh Melmer shipment" to the German Reichsbank on 27 November 1942,
"bearing the numbers 36903, 36904, and 36905 and having a total weight
of 37.5411 kfg. They were sent by the Reichsbank to the SNB [Swiss
National Bank] in Bern on 5 January 1943." As well, "gold bars with
the numbers 36783 and 36784," as well as "numbers 36902 and 36907,"
were "delivered to the Prussian Mint on 25 February 1943." These four
bars were in turn resmelted and sold to the Swiss and to German
commercial banks.

There is a distinction between gold stolen from Jews when they were
rounded up, and gold literally taken from their bodies in the Nazi
death camps. That the latter was taking place was not known until the
final days of the war. The former phenomenon - the theft of gold from
people as they were rounded up for what were presumed to be horrible
work camps, but not genocide - was understood by the Swiss from their
own intelligence reports and indeed press accounts from Germany,
Italy, and elsewhere. "For those who want to know," an article in the
Neve Zürcher Zeitung on August 16, 1942, argued, "there can be no more
illusions concerning the real situation of gold trade with Germany."
The article went on to detail the looting of gold from foreign central
banks and from individuals. "It is known that assets held by private
individuals were also confiscated in the occupied territories," the
director of the Swiss National Bank's legal department commented on
December 2, 1943. "For example, from deported Jews or from persons
affected by sanctions, etc."

Nevertheless, Switzerland was not the only country to receive gold the
Nazis stole from Holocaust victims, or looted from foreign central
banks. From 1935 to 1945, some $20 billion flowed out of Europe to the
United States. Much of it, albeit indirectly, was Nazi gold. Swiss
purchases of gold from Germany, Italy, and Japan ($319 million) were
barely half that from the allies ($688 million), most of it coming
from the United States ($518 million). The U.S. was also the leading
purchaser of gold from the Swiss, at $165 million, numbers which imply
there was some victim gold involved.

The Swiss encirclement was exacerbated by the American economic
embargo of the Axis powers, which was a de facto quarantine on all of
Western Europe. In December, 1941, Washington froze Swiss assets in
the United States, including substantial gold reserves. The ironic
result was to drive Switzerland, needing gold reserves to conduct
trade and defend its currency, into the arms of Germany, a needy
supplier of gold and the one country that could unilaterally engage in
actual transfers of the metal. Figure 18.1 shows the pattern of Swiss
gold purchases from Germany, spiking in the first quarter of 1942, and
returning to normal after the third quarter of 1944, when the allies
opened a small transit corridor to Switzerland through France.

Figure 18.1
Swiss National Bank Gold Purchases from German Reichsbank, Expressed
as a Three-Quarter Moving Average

Millions of Swiss Francs (approx.)

1940.25 - 05
1940.50 - 10
1940.75 - 00
1941.00 - 13
1941.25 - 15
1941.50 - 23
1941.75 - 08 (Dec. 1941: U.S. freezes Swiss gold assets)
1942.00 - 40
1942.25 - 80
1942.50 - 110
1942.75 - 95
1943.00 - 83
1943.25 - 93
1943.50 - 90
1943.75 - 84
1944.00 - 80
1944.25 - 82
1944.50 - 60 (Aug. 1944: Allies open Swiss corridor)
1944.75 - 40
1945.00 - 20
1945.25 - 15
1945.50 - 13
1945.75 - 00

Source: Alexis de Tocqueville Institution from data supplied by SNB,
the Swiss Task Force on World War II, and the German Bundesbank.

Especially painful to the Swiss is the accusation that their country
was "neutral for Hitler." The accusation takes various forms. Some
argue that the Swiss, by selling specific equipment and armaments to
the Germans, or trading with them at all, were aiding the German war
effort. (The Swiss, despite their position, traded nearly as much with
the allies and smuggled out precision instruments vital to the allied
effort in the critical air war.) Others suggest that merely by trading
with Germany in any extensive way, the Swiss must have been helping
the Nazis, and therefore, are culpable.

An official U.S. document, the first Eisenstadt report, argues that
Swiss actions even helped "prolong the war." Still others convict the
Swiss of a kind of cultural affinity. "They're basically German," as a
staff aide who contributed to the Eisenstadt report commented. "You
have to keep that in mind." (Report author Stuart Eisenstadt later
said he regretted some of the report's conclusions, but critics noted
that this retraction took place only after Eisenstadt allegedly went
on the payroll of a major Swiss bank.)

These notions of an insufficient disdain for Hitler, and a kind of
tacit, cultural self-Anschluss, are highly insidious - nearly
impossible to combat.

Once motives are impugned, much objective evidence becomes
meaningless, even usable against itself. Any wartime action that
advanced Switzerland's own interests, no matter how legitimately, can
be added to the tally as another sign of shrewd Swiss venality.
Selling paper clips to the Germans? There they go again, providing
valuable supplies. Selling paper clips to the Americans? The Swiss are
always out to make a profit at our expense. At various points in the
war, both the allies and the Germans were furious with the Swiss for
what they perceived as a tilt toward the other. America, in a much
stronger position to chart its own course than Switzerland, continued
a substantial trade with Germany even after the attack on France. We
justified our policy as part of a needed effort to rebuild American
production capacity for armaments. Later, in order to expedite the war
against Nazism, the U.S. formed an alliance with Stalinist Russia.

Finally, the Swiss have no tradition of self-apologetics, and their
system is designed against it. America has had great power for a
century now, and, accordingly, attracted a long stream of insults and
denunciations. The U.S. is inured to being assaulted as corrupt,
aggressive, or insensitive. It has calluses for these attacks, and
experience at wooing and battering world opinion against them.
Switzerland, a small nation that has not threatened its neighbors
militarily for centuries, has not often been engaged in defending
itself from this kind of attack. The Swiss have faced and repelled
armies. The international press, Western politicians, and university
researchers are a different matter, and to the Swiss, in some ways
more threatening.

For the Swiss, World War II, as an economic phenomenon, began a few
weeks after the German leadership appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor in
January, 1933. In the Swiss tradition, the political leaders in Bern,
and newspaper readers around the country, had read Hitler's statements
before and after coming to power. Unlike most in the West, the Swiss
took them seriously. "Our people will never allow itself to be brought
into line according to the German pattern," Federal Councilor Rudolf
Minger, head of the military department, declared in March, 1933,
justifying his proposal for increased Swiss defense preparedness. That
October, as Hitler announced Germany's intention to withdraw from the
League of Nations, Minger drew up a plan to increase Swiss military
spending by 15 million francs in 1934, a 20 percent increase, as part
of a four-year addition of 100 million francs - a near doubling of
Swiss defense spending by 1938. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung, in an
October 12 editorial, approved, adding that the country not only
needed such armaments, but a vigorous "spiritual defense" as well - a
term that became a Swiss rallying cry. On December 10, The New York
Times published an article alleging that Germany had drawn up plans
for the invasion of France through Switzerland. The account may have
been spurious, but the Swiss could not assume that it was. On December
14, the federal council approved more than 80 million francs in
additional defense spending. Among the items was the start of
construction of a vast series of hidden mountain fortifications and
guns. This fortress Switzerland program became a $15 billion project
in today's dollars - not much less than what Ronald Reagan and the
United States spent on his Star Wars defense program during his entire
term in office. At the same time, the Swiss decided to build a new
museum to house the Bundesbrief and other documents of national
independence - exemplifying the Swiss political and sentimental
separation from Austria and Germany, or what one writer later called
"pan-this and pan-that." This is where Swiss policy toward Germany
stood in 1933, before Hitler had spent a full year in office.

The war measures continued and expanded through Hitler's abrogation of
the Versaille treaty (August, 1935), occupation of the Rhineland
(March, 1936), absorption of Austria (March, 1938), the Kristallnacht
assault on Jews (November, 1938), the annexation of Czechoslovakia
(1939), and the invasion of Poland (April, 1940), Denmark and Norway
(April, 1940), and France (May, 1941 ). In the spring of 1934, Nazi
textbook writers drew maps of showing Switzerland as part of a
conceived "Greater Germany" based on language and ethnic lines. "Quite
naturally, we count you Swiss as offshoots of the German nation," Nazi
historian Ewald Banse, author of one of the textbooks, commented.
Swiss newspapers and officials attacked his conception. Theodore
Fischer, the leader of Switzerland's tiny pro-German faction, promised
the country would be liberated from its status as a "vassal state of
France under Jewish control."

Federal Councillor Jean Marie Musy, the Swiss finance minister, spoke
for most of the country when he promised that Switzerland would
"remain a democracy or cease to be Switzerland." The "racial ideal,"
he said, "can never be the basis of Swiss nationality." Defense
Minister Minger echoed: "Events abroad have reawoken Switzerland's
ancient defiance and the feelings for justice and liberty have been

In the following twelve months the Swiss banned the wearing of
uniforms by political parties; expanded the period for basic military
training by twenty days; increased the defense budget by more than 30
percent; enacted additional protections for the press against German
threats and complaints; expelled German agents who were trolling
through Zürich and Basel hoping to identify private bank transfers
made by Jews; and rejected an initiative, supported by the small
national socialist group, calling for greater centralized economic
planning such as enacted in Germany, Italy, and the United States.

The Swiss people signaled their support for these measures whenever
tested. In some ways they were more anti-German than their leaders. In
1935, the Communist Party and others challenged the near doubling of
defense expenditures in a national vote - a "facultative" referendum.
They lost, 54 percent to 46 percent. This was the height of the Great
Depression in Switzerland. It was the only significant facultative
referendum between 1929 and 1946 that passed. And it was the only one
between 1916and 1946 that passed while calling for significant
government expenditures.

From 1933 to 1937, land cultivation in Switzerland doubled. While
there were government incentive programs, a large portion of the
increase was the result of appeals to the Swiss people to increase the
country's food supply voluntarily. On the eve of the war, the
government asked for volunteers for extra military home defense units.
The council hoped to find 20,000 to 30,000 able boys and old men who
could shuttle ammunition to key points, aid in communications, and
perform similar duties. Within three months, more than 200,000 had

Popular war preparations accelerated in the spring of 1938, as Hitler
swallowed Austria. This made Switzerland, as The New York Times noted,
"a democratic peninsula in a politically autocratic and economically
autarchic league." A few days later, the Socialist Party of Basel, the
city with the closest ties to Germany, collected signatures for an
initiative to criminalize membership in the Nazi Party. The initiative
achieved the highest number of signatures ever seen in the city. The
national parliament, meanwhile, had also approved a significant
revision of the penal code. Among other things, it allowed persons
charged with treason and other collaboration with the enemy -
including civilians - to be tried by military courts. This change was
challenged in a facultative referendum, but the new law was approved
in July, 1938, with 54 percent support.

In December, 1940, the leading Nazi group was banned and its leaders
arrested. In the United States, by contrast, Nazi groups, though
small, were still active. America completed its second consecutive
year of more than $100 million in trade with the Nazis as Henry Luce
and others tried (with little initial success) to rally popular
support for aid to Britain and other Nazi foes. The Swiss, of course,
faced a much greater threat than the Americans did in the 1930s, and
indeed throughout the war; they had more reason to prepare for the

Figure 18.2 compares Swiss military expenditures with those of other
European countries in dollars per capita for 1937. These figures
understate the relative Swiss resistance to Nazism, because of the
popular nature of the Swiss Army, which incorporated 400,000 members,
expanding to more than 750,000 during an actual attack. The former
figure meant that Switzerland, in 1938, had approximately 10 percent
of the population under arms. Only Finland (8 percent) and Belgium (8
percent) compare favorably and even these are significantly below the
lower Swiss figure. The Netherlands (5 percent), Norway (4 percent),
Denmark (4 percent), and France (3 percent) were even lower.

The Swiss looked not only to physical measures, but also to
psychological and even metaphysical ones as well. In 1937, Federal
Councillor Philipp Etter published a book entitled Geistige
Landesverteidung - roughly, Spiritual Defense. The book was a Swiss
best seller and reportedly was distributed

Table 18.1
Meeting the Nazi Threat Military Spending per Capita, 1935

Finland 24.9
Switzerland 22.6
Belgium 19.7
Norway 17.9
The Netherlands 16.5
Denmark 14.3
Austria 11.9
(in 1935 Swiss francs)

Source: Alexis de Tocqueville Institution research memorandum, 1999,
from national data and population figures.

widely in Czechoslovakia, Austria, and other soon-to-be "possessions
of the German Reich," as Hitler termed them.

'The German people will never forget the attitude of the Swiss during
this war," growled the Frankfurter Zeitung on December 2, 1940. "A
nation of 80,000,000, while fighting for bare existence, finds itself
almost uninterruptedly attacked, insulted, and slandered by the
newspapers of a minuscule country whose government claims to be

The pages above place a lot of emphasis on Swiss actions prior to the
German Blitzkrieg of France in the spring of 1940 and in the immediate
months that followed. There's a good reason. We learn a lot about
Swiss hopes and intentions during the period when Nazism was reaching
its zenith. This was the time when Denmark, Belgium, and Austria were
either giving up without a fight, or fighting but offering only a few
days or weeks (France) of resistance.

On June 14, a Friday in 1940, Paris fell. The Swiss, neutral to the
teeth, were already aggressively engaged in the defense of their
national territory against "all potential aggressors" - i.e., Hitler.
American entry into the war was still more than 500 days away,
awaiting Pearl Harbor and the gratuitous German declaration of war
hours later. The following Monday, June 17, General Henri Guisan -
elected to head the Swiss war effort shortly after the German invasion
of Poland - called together the Swiss general staff to discuss
preparations for the defense of Switzerland against a possible
occupation by the Nazis. Late in June, as the German-French truce
became effective, German Captain Otto Wilhelm von Menges submitted a
plan for an attack on Switzerland to the German general staff. On July
25, Guisan and the Swiss general staff gathered in Luzern to boat down
the lake to the banks of the Rütli, where they renewed the sacred oath
of their ancestors from 1291 and the Bundesbrief. Author Stephen
Halbrook paints the scene:

  On a beautiful day, Guisan faced the senior officers of the army
standing in a semicircle on the Rütli Meadow, facing the lake. Canton
Uri's flag of the Battalion 87 flew above. Addressing the measures
taken "for the resistance in the reduit," Guisan ordered "resistance
to all aggression." He continued: "Here, soldiers of 1940, we will
inspire ourselves with the lessons and spirit of the past to envisage
resolution of the present and future of the country, to hear the
mysterious call that pervades this meadow."

Swiss elite troops had already been on active duty for almost a year -
they were called up on August 25, 1939. "The country has one tenth of
its population under arms; more than any other in the world," William
Shirer diarized. "They're ready to defend their way of life."

Switzerland's orders for organization of "the entire army for
resistance" promised the Germans that Switzerland as a nation would
never capitulate - even if its government did. The order was posted
all over the country both to reassure the people and to warn the
Germans. In the event of attack, it said, the Swiss would be notified
"through poster, radio, courier, town crier, storm bells, and the
dropping of leaflets from airplanes." The response would not be
limited to formal military groups acting as official units. "All
soldiers and those with them are to attack with ruthlessness
parachutists, airborne infantry, and saboteurs. Where no officers and
noncommissioned officers are present, each soldier acts under exertion
of all powers of his own initiative." Bearing in mind the case of
other countries which had been intimidated into surrendering because
of the capitulation of the national leadership, the order continued:

  If by radio, leaflets, or other media any information is transmitted
doubting the will of the Federal Council or of the Army High Command
to resist an attacker, this information must be regarded as lies of
enemy propaganda. Our country will resist the aggression with all
means in its power and to the bitter end.

In effect, the government was committing itself and the people to what
Etter had called "total spiritual warfare." They deprived themselves
of the ability to surrender even if they later wanted too: Swiss army
units and citizens were under orders to ignore reports of such a
decision and continue fighting.

All this makes it easy to understand the Swiss frustration at
accusations that their country was in complicity with the Nazis during
World War II. In fact, the Swiss people put up stiffer resistance,
against greater odds, to the Germans than those of any other country.
As Walter Lippmann, responding to an article in a U.S. magazine
implying Switzerland was "occupied" by the Germans, wrote in January,

  The Swiss nation is entirely surrounded by Axis armies, beyond reach
of any help from the democracies.... Switzerland, which cannot live
without trading with the surrounding Axis countries, still is an
independent democracy....

That is the remarkable thing about Switzerland. The real news is not
that her factories make munitions for Germany but that the Swiss have
an army which stands guard against invasion, that their frontiers are
defended, that their free institutions continue to exist, and that
there has been no Swiss Quisling, and no Swiss Laval. The Swiss
remained true to themselves even in the darkest days of 1940 and 1941,
when it seemed that nothing but the valor of the British and the blind
faith of free men elsewhere stood between Hitler and the creation of a
totalitarian new order in Europe.

Surely, if ever the honor of a people was put to the test, the honor
of the Swiss was tested and proved then and there... .They have
demonstrated that the traditions of freedom can be stronger than the
ties of race and of language and economic interest.

"Switzerland stands today as an island in a Nazi ocean," The New York
Times echoed in a January 28 editorial. Referring to German
publications that continually described Switzerland as a country
harboring, and dominated by, Jews, the Times added, "perhaps the Swiss
didn't mind being called a 'medley of criminals, particularly Jews.'
To be called a criminal by a Nazi is to receive a high compliment. To
be called a Jew by a Nazi is to be classed with those who have
suffered martyrdom for freedom's sake."

Over the nine years of Swiss vulnerability, the Germans developed more
than a dozen attack plans for Switzerland which were discussed at the
highest military levels. These included deliberations by Hitler
himself in 1934, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1944, and 1945.
Except for a respite in 1941-42 while the German army was occupied
with the assault on Russia - which ended as the Nazi retreat from
Russia raised interest in grabbing Switzerland as a final redoubt -
the Swiss were under near-constant peril.

"We woke up every morning and looked over the Rhein," a Jewish woman
who lived in Basel comments, "and wondered whether the Germans would
be invading that day." The woman, who asked that her name be withheld,
said that her family attempted several times to emigrate to the United
States. This was not because they were ill-treated in Switzerland -
she lives near Davos where her husband is in a nursing home - but
because they knew that if the Nazis did invade, they would be primary
targets. They were, however, turned down, as were most appeals for
asylum by European Jews to the U.S. State Department.

Why didn't the Germans actually seize Switzerland? The answer does not
lie in any especially beneficial economic relationship. Swiss supplies
of machinery to the Germans never totaled more than 3 percent of
industrial production for a month, and averaged less than 2 percent
over the war. Invasion would not have jeopardized much of this total
because the Germans could seize most of the factories in the flat,
Northern strip of the country that is most easily occupied.

The answer lies in German estimates that concluded that it would take
anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 men to subdue the country, followed
by a smaller but still substantial occupation presence. Had they done
this as well, the Germans were assured, the Swiss would destroy the
tunnel and bridges through the Alps, depriving the Nazis of the most
direct connection to their Italian allies. Such a move, in combination
with German occupation of the Northern plain, would also have
effectively destroyed the Swiss economy. It would have meant death for
many Swiss and internees (including Jews) who lived there; the rest
would have been, like other occupied populations, Nazi hostages. But
the Swiss repeatedly assured the Germans that they would take this
step and they mined key transportation points so as to be able to
carry that threat out almost the instant Nazi troops crossed the

A retired Swiss official who was part of the economic planning team
during the war told me that in regular meetings the Germans repeatedly
threatened both occupation and personal violence against the Swiss
officials who were standing up to the German demands. "We were never
belligerent back," he said, "but we did calmly and repeatedly refer
them to our government's policies for dealing with those
eventualities, which were published and repeated often to make sure
they understood that our government and our people intended to carry
them out."

In the context of all the country's actions, the Swiss threat to
commit suicide - but pull Germany down as they went; a reciprocating
Mosada - apparently struck the Germans as credible. "The Swiss are
just the people," as The New York Times observed, "if pushed a mite
too far, who would prefer to starve or die fighting rather than give
in. Because they are that kind of people, they may not have to prove
it in action."

Hitler seemed to sense this determination in the Swiss, and, as a
result, had a loathing for them as a nation that rivaled his hatred of
Winston Churchill as an individual and the Jews as a people.

At a war-planning conference with Mussolini in 1940, Hitler and the
Italian dictator discussed what Hitler saw as the need to occupy
Switzerland, to put an end to its "insolent defiance" of the New
Europe and "collaboration with and harboring of the Jews." Later that
year, Hitler learned of the delivery of precision engineering products
from Switzerland to England, and flew into a tantrum. He immediately
ordered his generals to draw up fresh invasion plans and described
Bern - accurately - as the "center of international spying against
Germany." Again in 1941, Hitler and the Italian dictator traded
insulting characterizations of Switzerland, discussing the matter for
more than half an hour. "The Führer characterized Switzerland as the
most despicable and wretched people," recalled an aide who attended
the meeting - the Swiss were, he later said, a "bastard" nation
because of the intermingling of German blood with those of inferior
races. "They frankly opposed the Reich," Hitler said, "hoping that by
parting from the common destiny of the German people, they would be
better off." Discussing his plans for the post-war economic order,
Hitler said: "As for the Swiss, we can use them, at the best, as

The Swiss press was a constant irritant to Hitler. It was not just
what it said about him, but the very fact of its freedom. In July of
1942, Hitler encountered Swiss press reports about the military
strength of Soviet Russia. "Not only in England and America," Hitler
groaned, but in Switzerland, "the population believes in Jewish
claptrap." The Jews, he told an aide, must have special influence with
the Swiss, because they cared about little other than grain prices,
cows, and clocks. That August, impatient with the estimates of his
generals that the Germans would need perhaps 500,000 men to subdue
Switzerland - many times the relative troop strength used to conquer
France - the Führer launched into another tirade about the Swiss.

"A state like Switzerland," Hitler told his staff, "which is nothing
but a pimple on the face of Europe, cannot be allowed to continue."
The wording is revealing: The Swiss state, for Hitler, must not be
suffered even to continue. To the Reich, Switzerland's existence was
an offense.

It was no accident that Hitler linked the Jews with the Swiss in many
of his eruptions. Although many Jewish refugees were turned away at
the Swiss border, thousands, particularly children and families with
children, were accepted. (More by far than were welcomed by any other
country in per capita terms.) The resulting Swiss ratio of rejection
to acceptance was not nearly high enough to please the Führer. "The
Jew must get out of Europe," he exploded at a meeting a few days after
the infamous Wannsee Conference, where the plan to annihilate the Jews
was drawn into a grisly blueprint. "Out of Switzerland and out of
Sweden, they must be driven out."

Like the Finns and the Poles, the Swiss had the special honor of
confronting both the German and Russian dictators, and exciting their
special contempt. At the Yalta conference in 1944, Stalin proposed the
invasion and occupation of Switzerland - ostensibly to foreclose the
German option of using it to stage a final defense. The allies
refused, and that night, in a conversation with Molotov, Stalin
denounced the Swiss as a "contemptible little nation of bankers and
farmers," and somewhere, Lenin, Bismarck, and Metternich smiled in
agreement. Several months later, Churchill commented on the discussion
in a memorandum to his foreign secretary:

  I put this down for the record. Of all the neutrals, Switzerland has
the greatest right to distinction. She has been the sole international
force linking the hideously surrendered nations and ourselves. What
does it matter whether she has been able to give us the commercial
advantages we desire or has given too many to the Germans, to keep
herself alive?

Swiss today, particularly those who remember the war, are proud of
Hitler's special disdain. They are, accordingly, hurt and angry at
accusations that their country was complicit in any way with the Nazi
regime. For all the superficial similarities of race and language, one
can argue that there is not a country in the world that less resembles
Nazi Germany than Switzerland.

 It is impossible to evaluate Switzerland's total moral position, if
you will, in World War II without mentioning the country's positive
contribution to the escape of thousands of Jews and other refugees
from the Nazis. Figure 18.3 compares the per capita number of refugees
accepted by the Swiss to those taken in by the United States, Great
Britain, and France.

These figures understate the contribution the Swiss made to the
protection of Jews and other refugees from Hitler's destruction, as
the country was economically isolated for most of the period. The
relative sacrifice made by the Swiss to care for several hundred
thousand total refugees, interned prisoners, and others was even
larger than the graphic suggests.

Statistics, moreover, omit the human face of Switzerland's
humanitarian mission. One such flesh-and-blood contribution was made
by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Lutz.

Carl Lutz was born in 1895 in Appenzell, the second youngest of ten
children. He emigrated to the United States at age eighteen to work in
a factory in Granite City, Illinois, not far from East St. Louis. For
most of the 1920s he worked in assorted Swiss diplomatic offices in
the U.S. Eventually, the Swiss Foreign Office appointed Lutz as a
consular official in Jaffa, Palestine, where he served from 1935 to
1939, an eyewitness to the Arab-Jewish conflicts. While there, he also
helped some 2,500 Jewish emigrants from Germany to escape deportation
by the British as illegal aliens.

From 1942 to 1944, Lutz worked closely with the Jewish Agency of
Palestine, headed by Moshe Krausz, to document and transport an
estimated 10,000 Jewish children and young adults to (what would soon
become) Israel. Some were orphans, others had parents who had been
deported. Most had been smuggled to Hungary from other countries
(Poland, Czechoslovakia,

Table 18.2
Havens from the Holocast

Jewish Refugees from Germany Accepted per 1 Million Persons in
Country's 1930 Population


United States

Great Britain







Source: Alexis de Tocqueville Institution from figures from the UN.
High Commission on Refugees, Yad Vashem, and the Statistical Yearbook
of the National Immigration and Naturalization Service.

even Germany itself) by Chalutzim, Jewish pioneers. To evade the
authorities, Lutz used British-approved Palestine Certificates, which
he countersigned and supplemented with Swiss Schutzbriefe, protective
"letters of transit."

In March of 1944, the Nazis, who had dominated the country but
refrained from blatant interference, occupied all of Hungary, imposing
a hand-picked government. On March 21, the Nazi regent closed the
borders to all further emigration. This blocked some 8,000 Jews who
should have been free to leave. Lutz demanded their immediate,
unconditional release. But soon the problem was much greater than a
matter of 8,000 emigrants waiting to leave. Though Lutz did not yet
know it, SS Chief Adolf Eichmann, aided by the puppet government, had
already made plans to deport all 762,000 Jews in Hungary to the
Auschwitz concentration camp. The situation grew even more acute in
October when the Arrow-Cross Party, the most extreme of the pro-German
factions, came to power. The Nazis, feeling the circle closing around
them, decided to slaughter as many Jews as they could through low-
technology methods: the infamous death march of November 1944, when
more than 70,000 Jews were scourged towards the Austrian border.

Working against the Nazis and the clock, Lutz and his wife used every
legal method they could think of to bring Jews under his protection.
They used many illegal methods as well. When the Germans promised to
respect the protection of the 8,000 visas he had issued, but only
provided he issue no more, Lutz agreed in order to gain time. In the
meantime he continued to print visas, perhaps 30,000 or 40,000 - but
always numbering them between 1 and 8,000, so that if individuals were
stopped and produced their papers, it might appear there had been no
duplication of visas. "This idea," the Encyclopedia of the Houlocaust
reports, "served as a model for various types of protective letters
issued by other neutral countries and by the International Red Cross."

When the Germans caught on to this device, Lutz transferred his
mission's emigration department to the now-famous Glass House on
Vadasz Street, placing the building under his diplomatic immunity. He
assembled several dozen leaders of the Jewish Community to act as
liaisons, and collected thousands of photographs and signatures in a
few days. Lutz then issued a series of "collective passports,"
covering some 40,000 persons in chunks of 1,000 and more apiece. Again
the Nazis eventually penetrated the legal ruse, but it took time, and
with the help of some of the Hungarians, Lutz had stalled the game out
still further.

The Lutzes formed a circle of sympathetic diplomats from the other
neutrals, such as papal nuncio Angelo Rotta, to build a network of
safe houses throughout the city where Jews could be placed under his
protection. He bought apartment buildings with help from sympathetic
officials in the government and transferred several thousand Jews to
them. When Eichmann and the SS demanded that the Jews of Budapest be
concentrated in one spot to facilitate deportation, Lutz persuaded
Hungarian officials to provide him with more than seventy protective
houses within the ghetto, in the Szent-Istvan area of Budapest. This
bought precious weeks for the more than 30,000 Schutzbrief holders
that Lutz placed there. Lutz also acted as a mentor to other
diplomats, such as Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden, recruiting them to the
cause and sharing his methods. By the end of the war these men and
women formed a wide network.

At times, the task was truly grim. Several times in the fall of 1944
and winter of 1945, Lutz and his wife were hauled out late at night to
the Obuda brickyard. On those occasions, the Nazis would line up Jews
holding authentic and forged Schutzbriefe with identical numbers,
demanding that Lutz decide which documents were legitimate and which
were not. If he did not so indicate, the SS guards were under orders
to simply deport all the assembled Jews. In effect, Lutz was being
asked to determine which people should live and which were sentenced
to death. After one such session, Lutz feared he was near a breakdown,
and his wife asked if they should consider leaving the country. The
next day, there was an attempt on Lutz's life, one of several apparent
efforts by the SS officers on hand.

Like the border guards and Swiss families who regularly allowed Jews
across the Swiss border, Lutz did not have the support of his
government - nor of the British and American governments he
represented. More than one exchange between Bern and London indicates
that the two states contemplated recalling Lutz - London because it
did not want so many Jews sent to Palestine, Bern because it worried
Lutz's methods would compromise Swiss neutrality.

Lutz worked to make sure Western governments and eventually Western
publics understood what was at stake. When two prisoners escaped from
Auschwitz and related the grisly reality of what was taking place
there, he immediately dispatched an urgent report to his superiors in
Bern and London. When these official channels failed to act, he
scurried copies of key documents to a friend who had taken an
assignment as a representative of El Salvador. The news of Auschwitz
broke in the Swiss press and soon produced an outcry in Paris, London,
and New York. Lutz, of course, was risking his job and his life with
each such maneuver.

The reward came in the frantic spring of 1945, as Russian troops
closed in and the Nazis moved to slaughter as many Jews as possible
before having to retreat. As the Soviet artillery neared, Lutz and his
wife had to take cover in an isolated part of the city and were
trapped for some weeks, out of contact with the world and unable to
determine whether their efforts had even succeeded. Not long before
the actual surrender of Germany, Lutz himself was liberated from his
cellar in Pest.

The letters, the safe houses, the bribes, and the leaks had saved, by
a conservative calculation, some 62,000 lives. It measures the
magnitude of the Holocaust to consider that this total was less than 1
percent of the number put to death by Hitler's Germany. On the other
hand, this was the work of one Swiss citizen.

Though Lutz was in a position to render aid on a large scale, there
were many Swiss who helped save others from the Hitler death camps one
victim at a time. Official Swiss policy was to turn away all would-be
entrants without passports, Jewish (whose passports carried a
stigmatizing "J") and otherwise. But the feelings of the Swiss people
were considerably more liberal, and families, sometimes whole
communities, were willing to defy their own government.

Leopold Koss, now a doctor in New York City, was a beneficiary of this
quiet heroism as he sought to escape the German occupation of France
in 1942:

  On August 24 or 25, 1942 - I no longer remember the exact date - I
crossed the French-Swiss border illegally on foot....The odds of being
arrested in France as a Polish Jew and former soldier, and sent to a
German concentration camp, were extremely high.

On the way to my destination, I heard that although the official
policies of the Swiss government were against acceptance of refugees
and that many (including some friends of mine) were returned to France
or into the hands of the Gestapo, there was a recent swell of public
opinion to open the border. In fact, a woman on the train, perhaps
guessing my destination, handed me an article in the Journal de
Geneve, published some days before, openly exhorting the government to
open the borders to the victims of Nazi persecution. Apparently
similar articles appeared in August 1942 in the German-speaking press,
notably the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

I entered Switzerland without difficulty and was soon several
kilometers inland, not having been molested by anyone. Rather
exhausted, hungry and thirsty, I voluntarily entered the barracks of a
military unit... I was fed and offered a cot. The soldiers, simple
Swiss citizens, couldn't have been nicer.

The next day... I was interrogated by a police officer who promptly
informed me that I was to be sent back to France as an illegal alien.
However, he consented to listen to my story, told through tears, and
offered to inquire of the authorities in Bern what should be done with
me. I discovered shortly thereafter that there was a group of at least
30 men in the same predicament.... We were all treated with great
consideration by the police and the guards. A few days later we were
apparently accepted and sent to a camp for political refugees -
Belchasse. I spent several months in Belchasse, followed by several
months in a labor camp in Aesch-bei-Birmensdorf, near Zürich. It was
hardly luxury - but it was safe. I only wish my parents and my sister,
who stayed in Poland, could have been with me. They all perished.

In September 1943, I was allowed to resume my studies of medicine in
Bern. During the three and a half years that I spent at the University
of Bern, I never had to pay any tuition.... The federal police, to
whom I had to report on a weekly and then a monthly basis, were
increasingly friendly.... In fact, as I was leaving Switzerland for
the United States in 1947 to start a new life, they addressed their
last communications to me with the title, "doctor," better than the
previous "refugee."

Dr. Koss remains grateful to the Swiss - and takes issue with the
"dreary image" of wartime Switzerland presented by some Western
governments and press reports. "There was another wartime Switzerland,
" he says - one "very remote" from the portrait of "greed and
collusion with the Nazis" that some present. Indeed, Koss writes:

  The Swiss have not only saved my life and that of many thousands of
other refugees, but also gave me an outstanding education that has
allowed me to forge a successful scientific career in the United
States. I am now 76 years old and eternally grateful to the Swiss
people for what they have done for me.

The question is not whether Switzerland or countries such as Britain
and the U.S. did enough to stop the Holocaust. None did. The question,
rather, is whether any countries did more to liberate Jews and other
potential victims of the Nazi death camps, or began a firm (and
unwavering) resistance to Hitler earlier than the Swiss. If there are
any, they are few.


1. Like many Jews, Bär's family left Europe in 1941 because of the
threat from Nazi Germany. Whole companies - Julius Bär, Credit Suisse,
Nestlé, and others - moved their headquarters overseas. Most went to
the U.S., some to Latin America.

 19 Diversity

"In Switzerland, minorities are not tolerated. They are favored." A.

As the country eases into social peace and unity, it is easy to forget
that, for most of its life, Switzerland was gripped by Europe's
grudges. Alexis de Tocqueville summed up the Swiss situation in 1835
as follows:

  One people, composed of several races, speaking several languages;
with several religious beliefs, various dissident sects, two churches
both equally established and privileged; all religious questions
turning into political ones, and all political questions turning
quickly into religious ones - in short, two societies, one very old
and the other very young, joined in marriage in spite of the age
difference. That is a fair sketch of Switzerland.

Even today, Switzerland suffers from natural divisions any one of
which would severely strain national solidarity in most countries. The
Swiss have three major languages, each of which is the home language
to a powerful nation and culture on the Swiss frontier. Those national
cultures along the Swiss border - in many cases less separated by
natural boundaries from their affinity group than the three major
Swiss language populations are from one another - have been an
entropic magnet, always urging the country apart. "Nature has hindered
movement and exchange within the country," as American sociologist
Carol Schmid observes, "more than with the neighboring countries of
the same language group."(1)

Ethnic Italians, Germans, French, Jews, and Arabs - groups that
haven't been able to get along anywhere else for centuries - swirl
together within a work force more than one-fifth foreign born. The
country has long been home to two of the sternest Protestant sects in
the world, the followers of Calvin and Zwingli, and to a highly
orthodox Roman Catholic population in the Forest Cantons. For hundreds
of years these sects have held sway in various cantons and communities
not merely as the religion of preference, but as state-sponsored
churches. Scholars and historians comparing Switzerland to such
multilingual nations as Belgium, Canada, India, Nigeria, and South
Africa are intrigued at the degree to which the Swiss have managed to
form a bona fide nation.

It is tempting to call the result a melting pot. Yet this would not be
accurate. The Swiss system is held together by something, but it does
not homogenize its members. In the United States, ethnic groups tend -
when not burdened by perverse incentives - to learn English, adopt
American customs, and thus, gradually, become one people in many
practices. The Swiss blend together on some customs, but tend to
retain their mother tongue. They learn to cooperate with others who
speak a different language, and, to an extent seen in few other
countries, tend to learn one or more tongues outside their first.

Visiting Switzerland today, one remarks at the smoothness with which
the Swiss handle their three-way language barrier. At first you notice
it everywhere. And then, after a while, you hardly notice it at all.

Riding from Bern to Geneva, the train crosses over an invisible
cantonal border - and the conductor shifts effortlessly from German to
French. The P.A. announcements continue to be in both languages, but
now French is first, and is spoken by the same voice with a nearly
perfect accent.

In a court room, one of the more formal and tense of situations, the
participants deal in their language of choice - with a translator if
necessary, though it seldom is if the languages are German, French,
Italian, or even English. In some cases, a listener simply followed
along in his second or third language where possible, then asked for a
translation if needed. What struck me in several different courts was
the matter-of-fact way in which language was simply dealt with. In
some ways, there seemed an advantage in the occasional pause for
translation. The hiatuses cut against any buildup of emotion of the
type one often sees even in an American traffic court. It never
caused, in my experience, significant friction. In general, as one
might expect, in dealings with the government poly-lingualism is
visible and its costs seem high. In almost any settings where
government documents are on display, one will see four or five stacks
of everything - always German and French, and frequently in Italian,
English, or Romansch. Even small public buildings or services often
seem to have a second or third official around who appears to be there
in large part to communicate with the occasional Italian, English, or
Romansch speaker.

Restaurant menus are normally printed in the language of the district,
though in the larger and more cosmopolitan cities there are invariably
French or German subtexts; occasionally Italian and English ones as
well. In German-speaking Switzerland, even in relatively remote parts
of Schwyz, Uri, Glarus, or Appenzell, my informal survey found that
more than 90 percent of the people could hold a basic conversation
outside of German - either in French or English. An American asking
for directions in Switzerland would, in many regions, have less
difficulty than if he or she were to visit a convenience store or a
gas station in the U.S. These statistics far exceed the levels one
obtains from more formal surveys, but the problem with the formal
studies is that they seek a higher level of competence than my
informal test. The level at which a Swiss calls himself or another
Swiss competent in a language is higher than the level at which a
taxicab driver or office security guard might be able to communicate,
with a few added hand signs or occasional German word, with another.

Language, for the Swiss, is the object of a whole invisible
superstructure of conventions and assumptions and social devices. When
a group of three Swiss, already conversing in German, is joined by a
Swiss they know to be much more comfortable in French - and if they do
not know at first, the Swiss are adept at finding out, so well-tuned
is their ear - then the existing line of conversation will shift into
French. On the other hand, an Italian-speaking Swiss, joining a larger
group, will resist being spoken to in Italian - feeling that surely
some of those present will not be comfortable in that language. He
will attempt to steer the conversation back to German - or the whole
group will ease into French, which as the second language of choice
for both German-speaking and Italian-speaking Swiss, is a handy unit
of exchange. In this way, everyone in the room is making some slight
adjustment, but no one feels patronized or patronizing.

Interestingly, even "German-speaking" Swiss do not speak true German -
but rather one of more than a dozen highly particularized local
dialects. "High German," as is used in Germany and Austria more
broadly, is virtually always used in Swiss written documents, even
unimportant ones. This sets off a whole further set of practices and
distinctions. One important effect of these dialects is to make all
German Swiss into quasi-minorities. As German speakers they add up to
a majority, but no dialect is anything more than a tiny minority. The
dialects also reinforce a certain Swiss pride in separation from
Germany and Austria. If one wants to insult a German-speaking Swiss on
a number of levels, one need only tell him that his German sounds like
the German spoken in Bonn or Berlin.

The Swiss linguistic codes are subtle, unwritten, seldom even
articulated. Probably for this reason they even vary occasionally from
one Swiss to another.(2) But they exist - and are part of a whole
ethos of adaptivity and businesslike consideration that is the essence
of Swiss culture and society.

In almost any social setting where a group of Swiss who didn't know me
(or my origins) came into contact with me, they made a tangible effort
to determine as quickly as possible what my primary language was, and
to use it. Generally this took place within thirty seconds - though my
later practice of speaking French in German-speaking cantons, and
German in the French-speaking ones often achieved a delay of up to
several minutes before my Americanism was ferreted out.

Watching the Swiss in these situations is like watching a beautiful
waltz or minuet danced by a couple emphasizing grace and simplicity,
not flair. There are few excesses, no gaudy shows, only an easy
agility. In America, the non-English speaker is met with a kind of
benign arrogance - the lovable but ugly American at home, who will
raise his voice and say to the Japanese tourist very slowly "It's next
to the World Trade Center." Germans now exert at least a friendly
helpless cultural smile, "nein, kann kein Englisch," in situations
where in Switzerland, there would be a prompt turn to a colleague and
a resolution. In France, there is an active contempt; even the
Frenchman who can speak English will often abstain from doing so, as
if exacting some petty revenge. Even in Belgium (Flemish and French)
or Canada (French and English) the determination of one party or
another to assert his linguistic heritage sometimes makes one feel he
is in a battle zone. The quiet dance of the tongues is one of the most
endearing elements of Swiss society, and this facility for dancing,
developed in one sphere, contributes to balance and grace in a host of

How have the Swiss achieved this facility at languages - and more
broadly, a national facility, almost an article of patriotism, for
listening and adapting to other languages, practices, and cultures?
The answer is a mixture of history, special factors, deliberate
policy, and predictable (but not necessarily intended) aspects of
policy - a tapestry of causes and effects. And yet, behind the
picture, or abstracting from it, are strong unifying themes, such as
the Willensnation concept of a people determined to be a people,
adhering by free choice to a credo of democratic ideals.

We can divide the causes of Switzerland's adaptation to diversity into
three general groups. The first group consists of historical factors
and accidents: some of them purely random - true "accidents" - and
others a mixture of luck and institutions. The second group consists
of deliberate acts of policy, such as intensive instruction in second
and even third languages in Swiss schools. The third group is composed
of deliberate policies or institutions that do not have assimilation
as their primary aim, but which nevertheless contribute to it. In this
group are a whole range of Swiss institutions from the army to the
people's strong patriotism and its basis in a set of shared ideals.

Facts, Tendencies, and Happy Accidents

Perhaps the most important fact about Switzerland's various groups is
that there are a number of them, and they tend to criss-cross and
overlap. There's a sufficient diversity of different societal
groupings (race, language, religion) and of different levels of
government and other institutions so that most Swiss are in some
important minority and some majority groups - particularly if one
considers more than one unit of society. Meanwhile the highly fluid,
nonpartisan, multiparty structure of Swiss politics brings these
groups into regular coalitions and cooperative enterprises. Much as
Madison counted on a multiplicity of special interests to act as a
check on one another in The Federalist, so Swiss society defuses some
of the rigid rivalries that have formed in other countries divided
into groups.

Religion and language cross-cuts offer one good illustration. In
Switzerland as a whole, Roman Catholics are a minority in the
population and a minority in the population of most cantons, albeit a
growing one. And, of course, the majority of Swiss people and of
cantons are primarily German-speaking. Yet there are many German-
speaking Catholics in Switzerland, as well as French-speaking
Protestants. Anyone who belongs to one of these groups is in one
national minority already.

The picture gets more subtle and interesting when we look at the
cantonal level. A German-speaking Swiss Catholic who now lives in the
Ticino, the Southern, Italian-speaking portion of the country, is in a
national majority as to language and a cantonal majority as to
religion, but is in a cantonal minority as to language and a national
minority as to religion. A French Protestant in Geneva is in the
cantonal minority but the national majority in his religion; but his
is in the cantonal majority and national minority as to his primary

"It is one of the fortunate accidents of Swiss history," Carol Schmid
writes, "that the linguistic and religious boundaries do not coincide.
Language conflict was moderated, since both religions had their
adherents in every language area." The Swiss have learned to respect
one another's rights as minorities - and, at the same time, the right
of local majorities to run schools, churches, and other institutions
by the language and faith of their heritage.

These dynamics become more powerful, not less, when we broaden our
scope and look at other group characteristics and interests.
Sociologist Jurg Steiner writes: "There is usually a cross-cutting
rather than a cumulative separation between political parties,
economic interest groups, voluntary associations, and newspapers."

Zürich, for instance, is considered a center of German culture,
wealth, and Protestantism. Yet it ranks behind French Geneva and
Catholic Zug in per capita income. In economic matters, the French
cantons have tended to vote for social democratic programs - higher
spending, higher taxes, greater federal powers. On cultural matters,
however, the French Swiss emphasize federalism and autonomy. Several
French cantons (Geneva, Vaud, and Neuchatel) are among the most
affluent in Switzerland, though shaken by 1990s fiscal crisis and tax
incentives. "The disparities are far greater within each linguistic
group than between them," Schmid notes.

The populations of the Italian-speaking cantons, being a distinct
minority nationally (about 5 percent of citizens and 9 percent of the
resident population), naturally view with reserve any proposal that
might empower Bern, or erode local identity and autonomy. The federal
government has proved a friend in some instances, however - for
example, in sponsoring language programs in the Ticino and the
Grisons, to preserve the Italian language and culture as well as
Romansch. Though less than 1 percent of Swiss nationally speak
Romansch, it is the primary language of almost one-fifth of the people
in Grisons canton. Hence the Italian Swiss have some suspicion of the
federal government, but also a certain affinity for it.

Yet these myriad divisions could simply balkanize the Swiss further.
Furthermore, some of these same criss-crosses are present today in
multilingual societies that do not enjoy Switzerland's harmony. So
there must be added explanations and factors that explain why the
system does not simply fly apart - some kind of binding that, while
allowing freedom of movement, holds the parts together as well.

A history and ethic of inclusion. Switzerland's tradition of accepting
immigrants, small border states, and relying on foreign trade for much
of its commerce has fostered a spirit of inclusion among the people
and their institutions. The history is as old as 1291 and the effort
of the Forest Cantons to form relationships with the powerful cities
and peoples of Bern and Zürich, or accept Protestant and Jewish
emigrés from Germany and France, and as recent as the repeated Swiss
votes against efforts to set tight limits on immigration, and for
promoting Romansch as an official language of Switzerland.

Foreign threats. For many nations, foreign threats become a spur to
ethnic rivalry - since many nations are based on, or have strong
elements of ethnicity. For the Swiss, a multiethnic nation, foreign
threats have generally functioned the other way around. It was ethnic
or cultural nationalism and exclusionism that threatened from the
outside. For the Swiss, unity against these threats meant unity, in
part, in support of their own diversity.

This phenomenon has deep roots, but is also a product of recent
experience. If not for the alliance with border areas, Switzerland
would have been swallowed up by Austria, Italy, or Germany in the
fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, or by the French in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - as they were, briefly, by
France in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, of course,
the threat from Germany led to a rallying against "Germanism" in Swiss
culture and politics, symbolized by the building of the Bundesbrief
Museum in 1935.

It is revealing that the one foreign invasion of Switzerland that
succeeded in 1,000 years, the French occupation of the late eighteenth
and early nine-teenth centuries, was at the front of a powerful
ideology - and a universalist, inclusionary ideology at that. By
contrast, in 1914, when Swiss leaders wanted to rally the people
against the Kaiser's Germany, the federal council issued a declaration
rallying the people to Swiss values. Among them was "the ideal of our
country as a cultural community and a political ideal above the diver

 sity of race and language." Switzerland's French-speaking general in
World War II insisted, "we are a people and culture of inclusion," in
calling for a military "and philosophical" resistance to Nazism.

- Elite leadership, and popular acceptance of it. Swiss elites have
long held a more or less self-consciously liberal view, in the
European sense, on the matter of dealing with diversity. This holds on
questions from trade and immigration to their own children's
education. It is a common practice, for example, among German-speaking
Swiss to send their children abroad for a year or two to improve their
French or (popular in recent years) English. Many German-speaking
Swiss attend a university, or take a first job, in the French-speaking

Arend Lijphart, the sociologist who first coined the term
"Consociational democracy," goes so far as to say that this leadership
is the key to effective acceptance of diversity. This may go a bit too
far. At best, it ignores the critical question of why Swiss elites
have been able to achieve such a positive sum outlook, while those in
many other countries seem to feel they have more to gain by engaging
in divisive, winner-take-all politics. The Swiss open door, moreover,
was not always laid out by elites first. During World War II, for
instance, it was the Swiss people who allowed thousands of Jewish
children (and in some cases their parents) over the border and into
their homes. In so doing they went against government policy and, in
fact, suffered occasional arrests by the border police.

Nevertheless it is true that Swiss leaders have adopted a generally
liberal attitude, and have a proud record of leadership on such
questions. Once again, the unusual degree of harmony between people
and elites in Switzerland, the mutual respect unusual even in
democratic societies, makes it very difficult to say who is leading

Deliberate Policies

The most visible and most important means by which the Swiss
deliberately encourage pluralistic harmony is through the schools.
Instruction in a second national language is mandatory, and in a third
and even fourth language is now the common practice, especially given
the popularity and importance of English.

In a 1973 survey of Swiss twenty years of age or older, two-thirds had
a working knowledge of at least one other official language. Sixty-
five percent of German-speaking Swiss had a working knowledge of
French, and 52 percent of French-speaking Swiss were capable in
German. Today the figures are higher in each category, and as well,
there are large numbers of Swiss who are capable in English: More than
60 percent according to official data, and more than 70 percent in my
experience, which probably accepts a lower level of English as
constituting some capability. Dozens of Swiss told me they were "not
very good in English, but willing to use English" - and then proceeded
to converse with high fluency.

This formal training is buttressed by Swiss arts, newspapers, and
other teachers from the school of life and culture. Most Swiss movie
theaters carry French movies with German subtitles and German movies
with French subtitles. Italian films and Italian subtitling is not
ubiquitous, but normally applies to 5 or 10 percent of the offerings
in any major German city, and more in the French zones. The result is
an easy way for students or adults to polish one language or another.
Newspaper stands, television, and other mass media offer a similar
range of cross-translated materials, now supplemented by the Internet.
Much of this activity would take place without government assistance;
some would not. The government aid, as much as adding sheer resources,
gives a stamp of approval and makes a statement that this is valuable
activity. The combined message of this policy and the private
activities is that serious Swiss citizens should be able to
communicate in two languages or more.

An important concept that contributes to Swiss harmony is the
principle of territoriality. Under this principle, the language of
instruction for schools, the first language of discourse for public
facilities and government agencies, and so on are all set by the
canton or the community. Furthermore, this language, as set, is not to
be challenged. Hence if in a particular district, the number of
French-speaking Swiss was to change from 47 percent to 53 percent,
this would not imply a change in the official language structure. It
would remain German.

This feature of medium-term immutability is not written down; it is a
tacit arrangement, a modus vivendi. It is, however, no less powerful
for being understood rather than explicit. It is, in fact, likely that
if a much larger shift were to occur in the language of usage, it
might, like other elements of Swiss politics, eventually be adjusted.
The formula by which seats on the executive council were allocated for
fifty years, for instance, appeared on the verge of change after the
1999 Swiss elections. One thing the principle would definitely rule
out, however, in its subtle way, would be any sort of agitation of the
question; such arrangements, once reached, tend to remain in place
until circumstances have long since rendered them clearly obsolete.
And by then, they are so clearly obsolete that the thing is changed
with minimal fanfare or excitement.

The great Swiss jurist Walter Burckhardt describes the subtle way in
which this practice can fairly be called a policy, and yet, is not a
matter of statute or regulation:

  It is now a tacitly recognized principle that each locality should
be able to retain its traditional language... and that linguistic
boundaries once settled should not be shifted, neither to the
detriment of the majority nor of minorities. It is trust in this tacit
agreement that provides a foundation for peaceful relations....
Adherence to this rule, as well as respect of each group for the
individuality of the others, is an obligation of Swiss loyalty. It is
no less sacred because it is not laid down in law; it is one of the
foundations of the state itself.

This implicit understanding, avoiding the persistent churning and
reopening of certain arrangements, is critical to making the principle
of territoriality work to defuse conflicts - rather than set off new
ones. If a society were to merely emulate Swiss federalism as a
negative concept - letting states and localities select their own
language, but allowing this to change on a regular basis - it is easy
to see that the result could be the very opposite of the social peace
enjoyed by the Swiss. Shifting populations would render temporary
majorities tenuous, and there would be constant battles in districts
with evenly balanced minority populations. It was this dynamic, in
part, that rendered the Kansas-Nebraska Act so odious to Abraham
Lincoln and the American Republicans in the 1850s, as against the
Missouri Compromise setting out accepted slave and free territories.
Efforts at mere federalism, especially with unit rule and spoils
systems, can provoke new conflicts rather than solving them.

This is an illustration of the dangers of adapting Swiss institutions
or lessons piecemeal into different situations. Swiss federalism takes
place in a cultural and social context. Of course, this is an argument
for care in adapting them - not for ignoring these precious lessons
merely because they are not an exact, test-tube match for situations
elsewhere. He who ignores history, because it contains slight
variations from his own situation, is condemned to repeat it, with
slight variations.

The Swiss do not give minority languages, institutions, and cultures
their due. They strive to give them a little more than their due.
Swiss majority groups do not demand what they have coming. They demand
a little less, and take comfort in their secure position as a

This approach by both minority and majority groupings is another
policy or tendency - or an element of many policies - that helps
explain much of Switzerland's ability to thrive on diversity. The
Swiss do this in both political situations such as the policies
mentioned for language, and in social ones, such as the gentle race to
find a person's first language and put him at ease by using it.

"No effort whatsoever is made by the Swiss Germans, who are in the
overwhelming majority numerically, to assert any linguistic dominance,
" writes Kurt Mayer. "There are no linguistic minorities, either in a
legal or in an informal sense."

Carol Schmid has an excellent term for this, suggesting that Swiss
linguistic and religious majorities often "do not act like majorities.
" Or, one might say, they act as confident majorities - majorities
that are not threatened by the rights of minorities, and gladly allow
them to flourish. When asked what foreign country they would most like
to live in, French-speaking Swiss, not surprisingly, named France
first (45 percent), followed by Holland (22 percent), and Austria (10
percent). Interestingly, though, German-speaking Swiss also listed
France first (30 percent), followed in this case by Austria (23
percent), and Holland (17 percent).

Perhaps Schmid's most interesting and certainly original evidence of
this comes from her survey, mentioned previously, in which she asked
members of the three major language groups to estimate what share of
the Swiss population belongs to each group. For example, she asked
German-speaking Swiss to estimate how many Swiss speak German as their
primary language, how many speak Italian, and how many speak French.
Then she repeated this procedure with speakers of French. By large
majorities, both French and German-speaking Swiss overestimated how
many Swiss speak one of the minority languages (French or Italian),
and members of both groups underestimated how many Swiss speak German.

In most other multilingual societies, the exact opposite phenomenon is
seen. Estimates of minority population and culture tend to understate
the presence of the minority, and overstate the majority. The minority
groups feel aggrieved, besieged, and hence their presence as smaller
than it really is. The majority feels a certain arrogance,
overestimating its own strength. The Swiss have escaped both tyranny
of the majority and tyranny of the minority, with both the minority
and the majority acting as if they were on a rough par.

The Swiss are similarly tolerant of religion, even in their government
institutions, in a way the United States, Canada, and much of Europe
are not. Diversity of religion includes individual rights to worship
in the church of a citizen's choice, and freedom from having religious
views or practices imposed. But diversity also includes a respect for
religious displays and practices by official policies. Religion and
atheism, worship and nonworship, are on an equal playing field.

In their classic History of Civilization, Will and Ariel Durant
ascribe much of the violence of the French Revolution to the preceding
repression of the ancient regime. By cracking down on dissent so
severely for so long, they argue, the French kings created a cauldron
of deep resentments. Once it boiled over, it did so with vengeance. It
may be that modern post-religious cultures are emulating the same
error (though only to a slight degree, to be sure) in their treatment
of the remaining religious elements of society. Clamped down on until
they feel little room to breathe, regarded contemptuously by elite
culture and official institutions, the religious of the United States,
for example, have begun a highly politicized counter-revolution in the
form of the Christian Right. This minority feels, at any right, that
it must fight an aggressive war for survival and recognition.

The Swiss have avoided these errors. Thus - probably not by accident -
while the Swiss have a substantial number of orthodox Catholics and
socially conservative Protestants, these groups do not feel under
siege the way such groups do in the United States, Canada, parts of
Europe, and much of Latin America. The toleration of community
standards and religious practices, while shielding the right of the
individual to abstain from them, has left both the religious and
nonreligious comfortable that their status is respected and secure.

The relative lack of involvement of the courts - the least democratic
of institutions even in Switzerland, though not nearly so remote as in
most democracies - has helped as well. Swiss religious policies, since
the constitution of 1848, have for the most part been worked out
through institutions such as the referendum, and to some extent the
different legislatures, that are highly democratic. Thus not only the
substantive solution, but the procedure, for finding workable
agreements about religion, have been populist and participatory in

The bottom-up nature of this elaborate patchwork of compromises,
worked out over many years, makes it difficult to picture its direct
transfer to other societies - perhaps even dangerous, as in the
example of federalism's two-edged sword. But the basic spirit - of
real tolerance (indeed, embracing) of all sorts of persons and ideas,
including the politically incorrect - may hold deep lessons for other
Western countries, not to mention universities, corporations, unions,
churches, and other institutions.

Indirect Policies and Impacts

Tolerance, federalism, live and let live - all these concepts, while
laudable, impart a negative or at best minimalist sense of how the
Swiss deal with diversity. These connote a kind of grudging social
armistice, in which warring factions, while they cannot agree, can at
least "agree to disagree" to go their own way and leave one another

In fact, the Swiss have achieved this minimalist respect for
individuality and separate communities. But they have achieved more
than this. The key to Swiss "tolerance" of diversity is that the
Swiss, in fact, embrace diversity. More than that, they embrace (and
take pride in) the ability of their democracy, and their ability as
people, to have worked out such a highly functional social contract
amidst such divisions.

It is not merely that the Swiss have decided to accept such cleavages.
Rather, they have a real, substantive unity behind certain principles,
such as civil freedom and political equality. In this sense, the Swiss
appear, more than any other country, to have an actual "body politic,"
an organic cooperation of the social parts. It is not that the liver
merely "tolerates" the heart, or the lungs "obey" the brain. The
organs cooperate.

Common ideals are the most important fact in Switzerland's
collaboration of the parts. None of these was invented as a conscious
effort to manage diversity, nor would they work very well if they
were. But whenever we tug very hard on one of the policies or
principles, such as federalism, that seems a partial explanation of
Swiss comity, we find these deeper dynamics of unity and idealism at
work behind them.

The lesson for other societies may be that an appreciation of
diversity is a thing best captured not by chasing around after it in a
mad search, but instead by building unity and a shared body of
principles. Happy diversity, like personal happiness, may be something
that is best attained indirectly.

One of the most important factors identified by Ms. Schmid in her
study of Swiss diversity is the way its highly accessible democracy
encourages crisscrossing political coalitions and cooperation.
Significantly, because of the number of decisions reached by direct
democracy at the federal, cantonal, and community levels, much of this
criss-crossing is popular in nature - people reaching agreement and
working with people across different religious, linguistic, and other

"There is a recurrent tendency," as Schmid notes, "for French
Switzerland to join forces with the Catholic forces of German
Switzerland in opposing measures they feel to be either too
centralizing or threatening to local autonomy." Swiss politics on the
European Union, to take a highly current example, have brought
together coalitions of greens, religious groups concerned with local
autonomy, and others in opposition to early efforts at Swiss
membership. The same issue has promoted combinations of business
interests and blue collar workers in parts of French - and German -
speaking Switzerland in favor of a more aggressive effort at

Swiss voting on issues of diversity itself have produced unifying
cross-alliances. When the Jura, a Catholic region of what was then
Bern canton, wished to form its own separate canton, Swiss voters of
all different religious and language groupings voted overwhelmingly
for the constitutional amendment necessary to create the new state.

'Thus, although the referendum process is not a device for minority
recognition as such," Schmid concludes, "its operation has enabled the
religious and linguistic minorities to combine for structural reasons.
" Schmid's emphasis on direct democracy as a key sociological device
is impressive because she does not appear to be seeking that
conclusion. Rather one feels part of an unexpected and intriguing

The Swiss army, like the referendum, is a great civic melting pot. It
brings together all male youths from the age of eighteen onward - and
continues the process, for most of them, for thirty years. Included in
this are the conventions by which officers address individual soldiers
in their primary language, whenever practicable, and other policies
directly having to do with the treatment of diversity.

In his study of America, Tocqueville was impressed by the effect that
juries had as a kind of "training ground" for citizenship. Yet jury
service is a rare event for Americans, something most of us will
experience once or twice, for a few days, in our life. The Swiss army,
as we have seen, permeates social, business, and political
relationships in a populist way - not through money or interlinking
interests or conflicts but through people, cooperating in a national
enterprise. The importance of the Swiss army - both as a practical
experience, and in the institutional message it sends to all citizens
as equals and necessary contributors - cannot be overestimated.

Indeed, when we consider the activity generated by these Swiss
institutions, the phrase "cross-cutting cleavages," a favorite of
sociologists, emerges as too static, as insufficiently vital, to
convey what is going on. An improvement on such phrases might be
"cross-pollination," or "criss-crossing association-building." Swiss
diversity is not sterile, but active.

Over and above these operational impacts of institutions like the
referendum and the militia system is something still more profound - a
real national consciousness based on shared principles.

One such concept is the principle of a nation based on principle -
rather than ethnicity or language or economic interest alone - in and
of itself. This is the Swiss idea of Willensnation. In some ways, it
is difficult for other countries to even understand let alone emulate
this concept. America is an exception because it, too, is a
Willensnation, a nation of ideals whose ancestors, as Bill Murray once
put it, "were kicked out of all the best countries in Europe." Upon
reflection, however, it is not clear why the presence of a certain
ethnic affinity in countries like Germany, Russia, or France, would
not allow for national pride and identity based on a shared vision of
good. And these are nations no longer rent by fatal internal divisions
anyway. Countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, and India will have
no basis in national unity unless they can forge pride in their
accomplishments and principles - there is no ethnic, religious, or
even linguistic unity to start from. While a Swiss or American-style
act of national and individual wills is obviously not in the prospect
for them in the short term, it is what they must strive for.

Another important factor is Swiss neutrality. This includes not only
neutrality as a foreign affairs policy, but as a kind of national-
personal ethos of the Swiss - the act of self-abnegation and
renunciation of vast schemes or imprudent efforts. What Switzerland
has decided is a prudent realization of its limited influence as a
nation, most Swiss have internalized as a matter of their individual
philosophy. Their motto is the song of Psalm 119, "Yahweh, my heart
knows no lofty ambitions; my eyes do not look too high."

Konrad Falke provided an insightful description of this national-
personal philosophy in his work, Das demokratische Ideal und wiser
nationale Erziehung:

  It makes a tremendous difference whether man has been brought up to
the thought: "You belong to a great power which one day must fight for
world supremacy," or whether he must always say to himself: "If it
should come finally to fighting, we can hope for nothing better than
to keep what we already have." This is the influence of the politics
of a people upon its ethical attitude, and in the latter is influenced
by the former. In this mutual action and reaction, the character of a
people is formed.

It is these and other deeply shared beliefs and experiences that
enable many Swiss to credibly say, as Corriere Del Ticino editor
Giancarlo Dillena insists, "We are not a multi-cultural country. A
respect for these differences, and an appreciation of a country where
they can coexist - this is part of one, national Swiss culture. A
pride in our democracy, our direct democracy, and a deep love for it -
these are traits of nearly all Swiss."

This certainly appears to be the case on the basis of survey data and
other broad surveys of national attitudes. When asked an open-ended
question about their reasons for being proud to be Swiss, most named
some element of the political system, such as direct democracy. This
answer, provided by nearly 60 percent of Swiss, was larger than any
other two answers, and almost as large as the next three most frequent
answers combined. It is evidence, summarized in Figure 19.1, that the
Swiss have a deeply shared ethos - and an optimism about "politics"
perhaps unmatched in the world.

Yes, as Schmid concludes, "there are a number of accidental and human
factors" that have enabled the Swiss to thrive on diversity. But to a
large extent, "the so-called 'fortunate accidents' have often been
more attributable to public policy."

Figure 19.1 Reasons for Pride in Being Swiss

French Swiss (approx.), German Swiss (approx.)

a. Political system  35%, 63%
b. Landscape 18%, 23%
c. Socioeconomic 10%, 12%
d. Quality of life 15%, 12%
e. Swiss qualities 12%, 7%
f. Diversity 2%, 2%
g. Foreign relations 6%, 3%
h. Other 4%, 5%
i. Not especially proud 21%, 6%

Whatever the causes, Switzerland has managed to make diversity into a
strength - arguably a major source of Switzerland's greatness.

Business is only one example, but a prominent one. The Swiss facility
with different languages has made them a natural power in the emerging
world of global business. In an age with a premium on information, the
Swiss are expert listeners. Meanwhile, as science locates new wonders,
but in different languages, the Swiss are quick to assimilate its
lessons - and to generate their own innovations as well. This is seen
by the country's highly disproportionate share of Nobel science prizes
and international patents.

Swiss investment bankers enjoy an edge not only because of the
country's privacy, but because they are able to make people from many
different cultures and countries feel comfortable that their needs are
being heard, and will be met. Swiss manufacturers of products from
chocolates to major engineering projects are able to reach markets no
monolingual Frenchman, German, or American can. These countries may,
indeed are likely, to eventually close the gap with the Swiss in terms
of formal language instruction. But they may never be able to capture
the full advantage enjoyed by a Swiss who lives his entire life, and
most of every day, in a multi-lingual environment.

Ironically, perhaps - since they already have to deal with four
official languages - the Swiss leaped past much of Europe in becoming
a nation skilled in English, the new version of Latin as the language
of international business, politics, and culture. Some years ago when
a merger was announced involving Union Bank of Switzerland (which
joined with Swiss Bank Corporation), many Swiss employees of the bank
were informed in a press release and employee memorandum that was,
revealingly, written in English. Statistics suggest perhaps 50 percent
of Swiss are capable in English. In my experience, the number of Swiss
that had a workable competency was somewhere closer to 70 percent - 80
percent or more in the cities and in service industries there, and
still between 40 percent and 60 percent even in relatively remote (and
sparsely populated) areas.

As the Internet and other tools of global communication yield greater
physical efficiencies, the remaining costs of dealing across languages
and borders, even if declining in absolute terms, will be an even
higher percentage of the remaining costs of transaction in the world.
There will be even more of a premium on being able to communicate - to
listen and talk, literally to "share" - over and above those remaining

Far more important than the Swiss facility with language as such, with
words and symbols, is the ethic behind it. Ultimately, what the Swiss
emphasis on crossing various language and other barriers teaches is a
certain view of the person who is speaking the language. Swiss respect
for religion is not a respect for a building, but the people inside


From Schmid's important study of Swiss social relations, Conflict and
Consensus in Switzerland, University of California Press, 1981.

For instance, my Swiss friends are somewhat divided on the question of
whether it is advisable for an American to address a letter to a
person of some stature in business or the government in German or
English. (Particularly, let us say, some one not acquainted to the
American, who may speak English but may not.) The majority opinion
holds for English, because any awkwardness in the German will make the
exercise seem strained, and as well, as one Swiss put it, "it is
insulting to the person to act as if they can't speak English." But a
significant minority leans toward German, especially in light of my
argument that "a Swiss would write a letter to me in English,
normally, and this is merely the reciprocal or symmetrical courtesy."

 20. The End of History and the Next Citizen

"The people can never willfully betray their own interests; but they
may possibly be betrayed by the representatives of the people." - The
Federalist, No. 63

There is little point in studying Swiss democracy unless there is
something distinctive about it - and not only distinctive, but
importantly distinctive. If this is a bad assumption, then Switzerland
is worth thinking about only for the specialist. The historian
interested in quaintness, in a land of cheese and chocolates, will
find it diverting but not terribly urgent. The economist who would
like to emulate the country's material economic success may find a
survey of its institutions of use. What is more, as an age of global
communications and national integration sets in, we might expect even
these points of distinction to gradually decline, not sharpen, in

In that case, to paraphrase author Francis Fukiyama, then not only is
the world-historical evolution over, but it ends in Sweden or Chile. A
few economic variables may alter, but the political structure and the
guiding spirit of the system are identical and unchanged. Either in
the "nanny state" feared by Alexis de Tocuqeville or the new
libertarian world announced in the pompous commercials of the high-
tech Internet and cellular communications companies, it is the end of

There is, of course, a very different possibility. It may be that
Swiss democracy, while resembling European and American democracy in
many features, and most of its superficial ones, is so divergent in a
few vital particulars that it offers a meaningful alternative to the
parliamentary democracies of Europe and much of Asia, and the
presidential democracies of the United States and most of the

Certainly it tends in a different direction. This is made clear if one
merely mentions the possibility of greater use of direct democracy in
the United States or Europe. Immediately, from most elites anyway, one
encounters a mildly hostile reaction. Interestingly, though, the
reasons raised against direct democracy nearly all could be used, and
in earlier times were used, to argue against the American Revolution;
to argue it could not be extended elsewhere; to deny the vote to
blacks, women, and other groups deemed insufficiently educated, or
otherwise "not ready" as a cultural or traditional matter for

If so, it is indeed an irony that just at the moment that nearly all
proclaim the historical triumph of democracy, it becomes clear that we
may not even know what we mean when we say, "democracy has triumphed.
"(1) And it may make a difference to know which type of democracy has
won. First, it may matter because the types of democracy may have
important differences. Second, it may even affect the survivability of
"democracy" to know which version of it will cover the globe in fifty
or one-hundred years. Will it be the highly populist, accessible,
citizen's democracy of the Swiss; the relatively elitist, difficult-
to-access system of Britain, Japan, or Germany; or some amalgam or
mix, such as the American system? The latter, by both design and
accident, stands somewhat in between - closer, perhaps, in assumption
and present location to the European elitist democracies, but on a
gradual path of movement toward a more Swiss version over much of its

Is there an important difference between Swiss democracy and the
others? If we consider the discussion of democracy among Western and
developing-country elites, we certainly would come to this conclusion.

Among U.S. and European elites, for example, there is little interest
in political reforms that would increase popular leverage over
government. While many reforms are under discussion, they tend to be
elitist in nature. Some favor term limits, some favor spending limits,
some favor greater power to local and state governments or to private
economic interests - but none places much emphasis on increasing
popular access and elite accountability to the whole people. Instead,
the stress is on different arrangements of power within the existing
array of elite institutions. This is not to say none of those reforms
would be beneficial, and surely some of them would be bad - but as a
matter of fact, none of them even focuses much on popular leverage. As
Tocqueville noted, many "democratic" episodes and reform periods are
merely "weapons" used to defend the old regime.

When a group of elites does discuss the Swiss system of initiative and
referendum, it is generally with nervous contempt - such a system
would not be desirable other than under the highly specific conditions
of Switzerland, and certainly, the people in the country under
discussion "may not be ready for it yet." This applies even to the
leadership class of such highly developed countries as the United
States and Europe. Their proposals are always couched in terms of "the
people," as are most appeals in a democracy, representative or direct.
But any direct means of empowering the people to run the government is
considered unimportant, even contemptible. The only type of popular
empowerment that holds much interest is that which is achieved
indirectly, by placing greater control on some other elite group. Thus
a system already choking with indirection and elite maneuverings is to
be reformed through indirection and maneuvering.

The thing one seldom hears Western leaders of either the right or left
say, however, is that establishing a more populist or citizen's
democracy would not matter. For all the proclamations that the
Internet, the fax machine, or some other gizmo will change the nature
of democracy, few of the evangelists ever suggest using these new
devices to permit greater voter input directly on policy. When they
do, there is a hopeful silence, and a preference to talk about other

This becomes all the more striking if we consider the popular
frustration with democracy common in many of the democracies today -
just as democracy seemingly is at its historical and material zenith.
In the United States, Britain, and Germany, public opinion surveys
show widespread dissatisfaction with the political system. In recent
U.S. elections, for instance, leading members of both parties have
attacked the system as corrupted by money - William Clinton in his
1992 campaign against the "greed" of the Reagan-Bush years, the
Republicans in their efforts to impeach Clinton over various sexual
and financial scandals, and such recent presidential candidates as
John McCain and Bill Bradley in their efforts to place limits on "soft
money" donations.

The votes McCain and Bradley received are dismissed by some because
these challengers were not able to secure their party's nomination.
But the strength of their campaigns, particularly the previously
little-known Senator McCain, speaks to the powerful urge for change
felt by many Americans.

In focus groups and surveys, people express a rage at the system's
immobility, feelings that democracy (in America and Europe) is
unresponsive to their concerns and frustrations. These findings are
highly important to a discussion of representative democracy as
against direct forms. They suggest an impatience with the filtering
devices and indirection meant, in some sense deliberately, to temper
popular opinion. Elite opinion shares some of this analysis, though
leading press, business, and political figures are naturally more
sanguine about a system that they have the money or clout to access.
In February of 2000, The Wall Street Journal even ran an article
extolling pork-barrel politics as a key part of the democratic system
- confusing that which is necessary evil with that which is good, of
course, but in a revealing way that pushes the logic of representative
democracy to its logical conclusion.

In a prescient article in The Economist at the dawn of the new
democratic discussion, Brian Beedham predicted this rise of, and rage
at, the lobbyist - at least for the representative or indirect
democracies. With the end of the Cold War, he wrote (1993):

  The old central question that is asked at election-time - which of
these two noncompatible systems of politics and economics do you
prefer, and how does your preference bear upon the decisions that must
now be taken? - has disappeared. What is left of the agenda of
politics is, by comparison, pretty humdrum. It deals for the most part
with relatively minor differences of opinion over economic management,
relatively small altercations over the amount and direction of public
spending, and so on.... The new politics is full of dull detail.

It is therefore ideal ground for that freebooter of the modern
political world - the lobbyist. The two most dramatic things that have
happened to the developed world since the end of the second world war
- its huge increase in wealth, and its explosion of information
technology - have had as big an effect on politics as they have had on
everything else. The lobbyists, the people who want to influence
governments and parliaments on behalf of special interests, now
command more money than they ever did before. They also have at their
disposal a new armoury of persuasion in the computer, the fax machine,
and the rest of it.

In the new agenda of politics, where so much depends upon decisions of
detail, the power of the lobbyist can produce striking results. It
will at times be, literally, corrupting. But even when it is not as
bad as that it will make representative democracy seem increasingly
inadequate. The voter, already irritated at having so little control
over his representatives between elections, will be even angrier when
he discovers how much influence the special-interest propagandists are
now able to wield over those representatives. An interloper, it will
seem, has inserted himself into the democratic process. The result is
not hard to guess. The voter is liable to conclude that direct
democracy, in which decisions are taken by the whole people, is better
than representative democracy, because the many are harder to diddle -
to bribe - than the few.(2)

This is not to suggest that there is no such thing as the lobbyist,
the demagogue, or the corrupt politician in Switzerland. They do
appear, however, to be somewhat less of a factor, and when they are,
their presence, surrounded as they are by a system of greater popular
access and more popular checks, gives less offense. Most important,
the shape of lobbying and electioneering takes a different tone and
shape, and it focuses on different objects, than in representative

In Switzerland, by contrast, people asked an open-ended question about
what makes them proud about their country were more likely to give an
answer having to do with their political system than were the next
several answers combined.(3) This is a rough reversal of the
increasingly cynical view of politics today - and even the system - in
the United States and Europe.

Comparing the salient features of the Swiss system to that of other,
more indirect democracies, we see some clear differences. Indeed,
Swiss democracy appears to be more different from any other democracy,
than all the others differ among themselves. The distinction may be
even more sharp than when Tocqueville observed the Swiss system in the
1830s and 1840s, or Bryce in the early 1920s.

If democracies were a lot of used automobiles, we would not find the
Swiss model differing only in having a different color from most, or a
somewhat distinctive tail-fin or external appearance. The very means
of locomotion and direction - the engine and the steering apparatus,
and one might even say, the animating spirit - are different.

This difference is masked by the fact that all democracies have
voting, judges, some form of representation, and some degree of
popular access, of course. Even so, the differences are quite stark,
as becomes clear if we consider the process by which certain critical
and certain typical decisions are made by the different democratic
types - and whether such decisions can be made by the people, must be
made by the people, or cannot be made by the people at all except
through some intermediating elite.

These differences are reviewed in Table 20.1. There are, perforce,
generalizations made, but in its broad strokes, the figure presents an
accurate review of some of the key distinctions.

"Who commits acts of sovereignty," as Tocqueville noted in analyzing
the Swiss political scene in a report to the French parliament, "is
sovereign." Tocqueville based his report on two visits to Switzerland,
the first in 1836, the second in 1847 and early 1848 - just before the
unexpectedly rapid conclusion of a federal constitution whose basic
provisions have now governed the Swiss for more than 150 years.

Tocqueville was nervous about the prospects for Swiss democracy, or
for a nation of Switzerland, because the national government made so
few acts of sovereignty. As we have observed earlier, Switzerland had
federalism, at this point in time, in great measure, but little in the
way of a unifying central government. Tocqueville worried, as did many
Swiss, that absent some such strong central government - which the
Swiss feared - the confederation could not hold together.

Tocqueville's principle, however, applies not only to different
divisions of government or different elite bodies but to the division
of sovereign acts between the people and their representatives -
between direct and indirect democracy. Indeed, had he lived much
longer, Tocqueville would have seen both the formation of a more
coherent Swiss government, and the extension of a principle that was
to give the central government greater sphere for "acts of
sovereignty" - national referendum and initiative. In effect, for this
highly decentralized country, initiative and referendum may have been
a key legitimizing device which made action by the central and even to
some extent the cantonal governments a palatable thing - as any future
encroachments could be checked by the people.

Applying Tocqueville's observation to this realm of popular versus
elite action, of government by citizens versus government of citizens,
we see that the people of Switzerland are sovereign in a way the
people of France, Japan, Russia, Germany, and the United States are
not. This is not to say that the ultimate answerability of elected
officials to the people, in periodic elections over many issues, is
not important. Nor does it mean that the people of Swit-

Table 20.1
Sovereign Acts in Direct and Representative Democracies

Act of sovereignty
Swiss "direct democracy"
U.S.-European "representative democracy"

Pass a law
People may have direct vote
People have no direct role

Challenge a law passed by parliament or congress
People can do directly (referendum)
People cannot do directly; a law can be challenged only through their

Pass a treaty
Requires popular vote
No role for popular vote at all unless government desires it as a
special measure

Alter the constitution
People can do directly with no elite support (initiative) and must
approve for any change to be made
Some elite must initiate (Congress or convention) and a direct popular
vote plays no role (ratification is by 3/4 of state legislatures)

Choose chief executive
People vote only through parliament
People vote directly (in some countries) or more directly (in the U.S.

Send criminal to jail
People through a randomly selected jury
People through a randomly selected jury

Confer citizenship
Popular (communal or cantonal) vote
Decision of magistrate (usually unelected)

Declare federal law unconstitutional
Arguably impossible; in practice happens only when constitution is
altered - which requires a popular vote
Can be done by unelected court (U.S., Germany, France, other)

zerland exercise pure democratic rule: They don't, and instead rely on
a number of representative institutions to make certain decisions and
carry on certain acts. But these are not the only considerations.
Surely to understand a governmental system one must ask such questions
as, "Who actually has the final yes or no? Who sets the initial
choices that are on the agenda? Who does these things directly, by an
act of their own will? And who, while they may influence the
sovereign, must act indirectly, by influencing his or her superior?"
It is in the way we answer these sorts of questions that Swiss
democracy seems importantly different from its Western counterparts.

These distinctions become even clearer when we consider the one awful
and difficult question, "Where is the bottom line? Who ultimately acts
as sovereign?" This is, perforce, not a question that can be answered
by recourse to mathematical formulae. Political power is often used
without being visible - as when a threatened veto of a bill by the
president makes it unnecessary for him to issue a veto at all; or when
an idea is known to be so popular that it must be passed even if there
is no direct consultation of the people on the question; or when a
congressional committee kills a bill not by voting it down, but by
deciding not to have a vote. Beyond the elusiveness of political acts,
we have the general correspondence in form between so much of Swiss
democracy and the other democracies. All vote, all have some manner of
representation. All have a division of power between three or four
branches of government, and all have some distinction between
executive, legislative, judicial branches, as well as some sort of
civil service that is not subject to change by election.

Even so, one can make the case that the fundamental, animating spirit
of Swiss direct democracy is the people, the citizen - in a way that
U.S. democracy, and more so European democracy, do not experience.
Table 20.2 compares the character of popular consultation in direct
democracy (Switzerland) with that in representative democracies (a
composite sketch of the United States and major European democracies
plus Japan). While one might cavil about the particulars, there is
little avoiding the conclusion that Swiss democracy places greater
trust in popular rule, and the other democracies, substantially less

The consultation with the public is more frequent in Switzerland. It
is much broader as to its scope, particularly in covering policy
decisions. Yet on any given item, it is likely to admit of a much more
particular intervention by the people. In the communes and some of the
cantons, citizens may literally vote on whether to allow a new bridge,
hire this schoolteacher, outlaw (or allow) gay marriages - and so on.

When an American or European votes, he more or less accepts a train of
a hundred or a thousand votes that her or his representative promises
to cast - and that assumes that the promise is kept, and covers only
the issues that can be known, and forced to discussion, in the
election. When the Swiss votes, he

Table 20.2
How "The People" Are Heard - Direct versus Representative Democracy

Type of popular consultation

Swiss "direct democracy"

U.S.-European "representative democracy"

Federal or state (cantonal) elections - frequency

3-4 times a year in a typical canton - and more frequent "feedback"
through referenda

1 time a year or less, on average - no other formal, systematic

Direct votes on policy - approve or defeat acts of elites

Frequent: 2-3 times a year for national or cantonal policies

Infrequent; less than once a year; only in certain states; and none on
federal policy.

Given the above, the nature of most campaigns for office or
legislation, and of campaign spending is...

An ongoing, continuous effort to persuade voters - low key, and much
of it coming through the press. Nearly all focused on the public, and
on the public as an end in itself. Substantial fear of lost
credibility or seeming shrillness, since any temporary victory in
elite institutions can be overturned, and long-term losses of
credibility with the public may cause immediate losses.

Short, concentrated bursts of highly emotional attempts to get the
public's attention for a key vote - electing a president or
representative - the results of which will then be permanent for 2,4,
or 6 years. Much focus on elites, much on public - but that focused on
the public is only a means to an end, not an end in itself. The game
is to sway legislators by raising their fear of the public.

Initiate legislation

Citizen can do so directly (initiative) or through his representatives

Citizen can only do so through his elected officials

How does a citizen's vote make itself felt on the national laws?

In large clumps, by voting on representatives, but also in small,
focused decisions on dozens of policy questions (through referendum)

Only in large clumps-citizen can only make his voice felt by voting
for officials who have taken dozens or hundreds of positions.

Official blocking a piece of legislation can be circumvented by...

Initiative, referendum, and the influence that the threat of these
works on all elected officials.

Only by throwing the official out in a multi-issue election several
years hence, or swaying a vast number of elites (such as two-thirds of
the Senate) to act.
Lawmaking body or committee that can avoid a vote on a subject has
killed it?

No - see above.

Yes, in the overwhelming majority of cases.

Given the above, lobbyist who spends a fortune influencing a bill
through Congress and the White House, or preventing it, has won - his
money is well spent.

His money may be well spent, but may not be. Especially if the measure
is significantly contrary to the public interest, he now faces having
all his work overturned in a referendum challenge.

The lobbyist has spent his or her money well. The new law is law (or
not law), assuming it is not overturned by another elite body, such as
a federal court. The public has no direct recourse - angry citizens
must try to make enough noise to convince lawmakers to overturn the

accepts a large degree of judgment from his representative - but he
also knows that many of that representative's decisions will be
referred back to him for deliberation. And that his word, unlike that
given to a pollster or congressional surveyor, has the potential to
become the solemn law of the country.

The Swiss citizen even knows that if his representatives and the other
representatives are ignoring a particular issue that is highly
important to him - campaign finance reform, education vouchers,
guaranteed health insurance, and others - he can force a national vote
on the issue by collecting 100,000 signatures for a national

From the nature of how the citizen is dealt with flows the very
different orientation of the two systems.

In direct or populist democracy, most persuasion is directed at the
people, and such persuasion is an end in itself - it goes to the
bottom line sovereign2
of the regime. In indirect or representative democracy there is more
of an emphasis on reaching elites by arguing that the people want this
or that - and when there is an effort at popular persuasion, which to
be sure is common, the people are an ends, not a means; they are the
way you put pressure on the Congress or the president or the
bureaucracy to act.(4) The maxim of indirect or representative
democracy is, "Write your congressman." The maxim of direct or
populist democracy is, "vote yes (or no)."

The tool with which a citizen makes his voice felt in a representative
democracy are the sledge-hammer and the megaphone. Lacking the means
to commit acts of sovereignty himself or herself, the U.S. or European
voter needs implements that can get others who have the power to act
to do so. The tools of direct democracy are more in character with a
scalpel - certainly not a perfectly sharp one, nor held by a perfect
surgeon, in Switzerland. But it is possible for the citizen to cut
right into government and remove this, or adjust that, organ.

Representative democracy is a noisy affair, because so much of the
game involves even getting the attention of some elite, or forcing
that elite to take action. It is a game in which other elites (big
business, lobbyists, the press) seem to wield the only clout. Direct
democracy is more quiet, and more characterized by appeals to reason.
Anyone who doubts this need only witness a Swiss parliamentary or
federal council election, read the campaign materials and press
coverage of various referenda, or even simply compare the amounts
spent on campaigns and public affairs persuasion and what it is spent

In representative democracy, there is a greater temptation to blame
the government, big business, foreigners, the media, or some other
group for our problems. Swiss direct democracy has some of that
temptation, but it is less - because the ultimate authority of the
people is less ambiguous than in indirect systems. And with authority
comes responsibility.

In representative democracy, there are constant appeals for the
citizen to "pitch in" - in Switzerland, citizens appeal to themselves
to pitch in, because citizens by and large run the local and cantonal
and even federal government.

It is difficult to improve on Beedham's analysis, which has the added
value of having been an early report on the new democratic debate:

  In much of the world, democracy is still stuck at a half-way house,
as it were, in which the final word is delegated to the chosen few....
It has long been pointed out that to hold an election every few years
is not only a highly imprecise way of expressing the voter's wishes
(because on these rare election days he has to consider a large number
of issues, and his chosen "representative" will in fact not represent
him on several of them) but is also notably loose-waisted (because the
voter has little control over his representative between elections)
The end of the battle between communism and pluralism will make
representative democracy look more unsatisfactory than ever...

Deciding things by vote of the whole people is not, to be sure, a
flawless process. The voter in a referendum will find some of the
questions put to him dismayingly abstruse (but then so do many members
of parliament). He will be rather bored by a lot of the issues of
postideological politics (but then he can leave them for parliament to
deal with, if he is not interested enough to call for a referendum).
He will be subjected, via television, to a propaganda barrage from the
rich, high tech special-interest lobbies (but he is in one way less
vulnerable to the lobbyists' pressure than members of parliament are,
because lobbyists cannot bribe the whole adult population).

On the other hand, direct democracy has two great advantages.

First, it leaves no ambiguity about the answer to the question: What
did the people want? The decisions of parliament are ambiguous because
nobody can be sure, on any given issue, whether a parliamentary
majority really does represent the wishes of a majority of the people.
When the whole people does the deciding, the answer is there for all
to see.

Second, direct democracy sharpens the ordinary sense of political
responsibility. When one has to make up his own mind on a wide variety
of specific issues - the Swiss tackled 66 federal questions by general
vote in the 1980s, hundreds of cantonal ones and an unknown number
(nobody added them up) of local-community matters - he learns to take
politics seriously.

Since the voter is the foundation-stone of any sort of democracy,
representative or direct, anything that raises his level of political
efficiency is profoundly to be desired.

Other factors in the new age make the case for democracy - and
therefore, for direct democracy, its more pure application - even
stronger, Beedham notes. One that he does not detail is the rise of
the Internet and many other improvements in telecommunications. Of
course, the same observations might have been made about the rise of
printed books in the fifteenth century, newspapers and journals in the
eighteenth century, telegraphs in the nineteenth century, and radio
and television in the twentieth. At the least, however, the growth of
global telecommunications further strengthens the case that voters are
equipped to take on more and more tasks. Of course, in representative
democracy, the ruling class retains more means of obscuring issues,
delaying votes, and producing ambiguous results than does direct
democracy. That is why the hosannahs proclaimed by some are so shallow
- because without systemic change, these increases in communications
technology may ultimately be frustrated. There were telephones, TV
sets, and fax machines in Russia too, as there are personal computers
in Communist China today. The important change came when Russia's
leaders allowed the system to become more tolerant of and responsive
to the potential of these tools.

So too, as Beedham does note, the backgrounds of voters around the
world - educational, economic, and other - are becoming more amenable
to an extension of democracy. "A hundred years ago fewer than 2
percent of Americans aged between 18 and 24 went to university; now
more than a quarter do. The share of the British population that
stayed in education beyond the age of 15 rose sevenfold between 1921
and 1992; in western Germany, between 1955 (when the country was still
recovering from Hitler's war) and today, the increase was almost
double that." Rising income in the world, and especially among the
voters, has made education and general knowledge outside of formal
classroom still further. "We are all middle class now," Beedham quotes
a Western official - "Not quite; but we are surely headed that way."
Indeed, he notes ironically, "the democracies must therefore apply to
themselves the argument they used to direct against the communists. As
the old differences of education and social condition blur, it will be
increasingly hard to go on persuading people that most of them are fit
only to put a tick on a ballot paper every few years, and that the
handful of men and women they thereby send to parliament must be left
to make all the other decisions."

What is likely to come in the implicit competition between direct and
indirect democracy over the next fifty years? And, what should we hope
will come - in short, which system appears to be better?

In answering both these questions, the analyst is hampered by the fact
that so far, only the Swiss, as Tocqueville put it, have taken
democracy "to such an extent" of populism. Nevertheless, it is not too
early - especially given 1,000 years of Swiss history, and 200 years
of American evolution in the direction of direct democracy - to make
some meaningful speculations.

Of the likely direction of political evolution, it is nearly
impossible to say where the experiment is likely to begin. But we can
say with high confidence that experimentation with direct democracy is
extremely likely - almost certain.

There are nearly 150 democracies in the world today. The vast
majority, if not all, face a curiously urgent pressure to reform
either for experiential reasons (the recent democracies Russia and the
Eastern Bloc, and much of Latin America), spiritual ones (America and
Europe), practical political ones (Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and all
the way out to China in the still-authoritarian Asian world), or
material ones (Africa, India, Latin America).

We may think, in fact, in terms of those regional-political groups, as
we analyze the likely course of democracy - toward elitism, populism,
or a muddled middle of relatively unchanging stasis (in political

Western Europe, soon to be All-of-Europe, is closest to Swiss
democracy in its politics and its material conditions, not to mention
geography and language and common experience. It is, therefore, an
obvious candidate for evolution towards the Swiss system. Europe has
the least to fear from its affluent, well-informed citizens from
allowing them a greater role in political decision making, and the
flimsiest excuse for not doing so. As well, it has an obvious interest
in both the negative side of federalism (letting communities go their
own way where possible) and the positive side (finding political
instruments of unity such as European referendum and initiative - as
the Swiss did in the nineteenth century).

These pressures will be focused further by the process of European
integration. While the pressure from the rest of Europe on the Swiss
to conform to its elitist system is obvious, indeed blatant, there is
an equal and obvious pressure imposed from Switzerland on the European
Union and its components. This pressure is not an instrument of Swiss
policy at all; indeed, the Swiss fear to mention it. But much as Hong
Kong represents an enclave within China that must either be crushed or
emulated, so the Swiss populist system is within Europe. In this
sense, it is remarkable how little has changed over 1,000 years.

While much discussion focuses on whether Switzerland should and will
join the European Union, there is the equally important question of
whether the European Union will join Switzerland. It may be that the
latter will be extremely helpful to the former - even essential.

It does not follow, however, that Europe will be the easiest system to
reform, or the first to do so. The very fact that Western systems are
so close to a populist, democratic breakthrough in popular access sets
off powerful forces of resistance among those who like democracy the
way it is - comparatively inaccessible, vis-à-vis the Swiss direct
method. This does not imply any kind of conspiracy. In fact, it would
be impossible for the far Left, far Right, and (most important)
"extreme centrist" forces to work together to resist direct democracy
- they disagree about too much. Rather, as any student of history
knows, it is inertia and conventional wisdom that form the most
powerful cabal. Or, to paraphrase a character from one of C.S. Lewis's
novels, "Sometimes the most difficult heresy to combat is one very
close to the truth." Furthermore, while Europe is the closest to a
populist democratic system in terms of the sophistication and
development of its people, it simultaneously faces the least pressure
to reform.

Seldom in human affairs are revolutions made by those who need only
move a bit to reach the new revolutionary principle. They are usually
made by those who feel they may be about to fall over a cliff - and
will grasp at any expedient to stay in power.

Does anyone believe, for instance, that the Soviet Union was closer to
democracy than China was in the late 1980s? My own analysis of this
matter, in The Democratic Imperative, was that China was much closer
to Western-style freedom up until Tienanmen Square - and, in fact,
Tienanmen Square proves how close China was. Yet the country has now
lapsed back into a more profound authoritarianism, while Russia, for
all its economic clumsiness, has passed through many of the hard
choices and difficult transitions of trusting in the people.

The greatest likelihood of some European emulation of the Swiss system
is that it will come about through necessity in some Eastern Bloc
country, a Russia or Poland. The next most likely dynamic would be a
European Union adoption of federalism and Euro-nationalism - a
European-wide referendum, limited by subject, but used as a unifying
device in the formation of the new European Nation. The Swiss
themselves are often unimaginative about this matter - they see their
own helplessness in material terms, but often fail to understand the
power of an idea, however small its application. Thus one Swiss
author, considering the evolution of Europe, writes that "in the long
run, Europe and Switzerland must merge into one system." Indeed they
must - or, since nothing is inevitable in human affairs, they are
likely to - but on whose terms? Whether Europe joins the Swiss, or the
Swiss join Europe; whether China emulates Hong Kong, or Hong Kong is
swallowed by China - these are open questions. They will be settled,
like all human history, by a combination of forces, brilliant
personalities, and chance.

My own best guess is that there will be a European union, and it will
be closer to the Swiss system in principle. If my ideas can be proven
right or wrong by the record of prediction, this is one test for those
ideas to stand on.

By a similar logic, the United States is even closer to Switzerland -
and yet, by the same token, some greater evolutionary distance away at
the same time. There are two reasons, however, to suspect that the U.
S., even closer to the Swiss democracy, may yet move toward it with
even greater haste.

There are many forces which argue against this. One of them is the two
dominant political parties. Only occasionally does a populist
Republican, a Reagan, Kemp, or Roosevelt, break through the tone-deaf
ethos of GOP elitism. For the most part, this is the party of "Bush,
Eisenhower, and the golf course," as one foresighted author wrote in

The Democratic Party, though still mired in the economics of class
warfare, has evolved significantly, and may offer a better road to
consultative democracy than the Republicans. It is perhaps significant
that the first proposal to extend Internet technologies to new
institutional applications - the digital democracy proposal of
Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. - came out of the Democratic Party.

A third possible avenue for the concepts of direct democracy is for
some complete outsider to work under a banner of political reform.
This might be a third party, though recent U.S. third parties, while
speaking in populist rhetoric, have in fact had little to say about
political reform from a popular access perspective. More likely, it
would come from a complete outsider - a businessman, journalist, or
independent state politician who has a deep faith not in centrism, in
placing himself in the middle of Left and Right elites, but in
populism, the wisdom of the people.

It is hard to picture any of these three major parties making a major
issue of direct democracy. But the latent interest in political reform
among the American people is so strong that it would only take one

Against all this, moreover, are some strong reasons to suspect that
the United States will be the next great theater of advancement for
direct democracy - if not the next, the next major and pivotal

America enjoys a strong tradition of political entrepreneurship and
experimentation. A developed, "European" society, America was
nevertheless the first country to emulate the Swiss experiment with
referendum - though only at the state level, a critical exception. In
the late nineteenth century, America added direct election of
Senators. In the twentieth century came voting rights for women and
blacks. America, to a degree Europe outside of Switzerland is not, is
a nation of immigrants, a cauldron of new people and new ideas. Small-
business startups and entrepreneurship are traditionally higher per
capita. America, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, remains animated by the
philosophy, "make it new."

Perhaps most important, in the last fifty years, is the U.S. system of
presidential and party primaries. Lacking in the parliamentary systems
in Europe, the U.S. enjoys an ease of access at the front end not seen
in most of Europe. This access is only for persons, not for ideas, but
anyway, it matters.

It is difficult to imagine people like Jesse Ventura, Pat Buchanan,
Ross Perot, Jesse Jackson - and especially, a Ronald Reagan - becoming
major players in the European political scene. Rob Reiner (California
anti-smoking initiative), Richard Gann (Proposition 13), or Polly
Williams (Milwaukee voucher policy) are possible only in America - or
Switzerland. Europe is very comfortable with the idea of combining the
rhetoric of popular access with an elitist system of government.
America has some of that tradition, but also a vast experience at
punching through to provide an even higher level of popular access.

It seems likely to me that the United States will beat Europe to the
application of direct democracy at the national level, though this is
only a likelihood. In some ways, Europe has already taken a first
step, with the peoples of a number of European republics voting on EU
membership itself. But popular consultation at the discretion of
elites extends the new principle little, if at all. Hitler and Stalin,
Pinochet and Marcos - all held plebiscites when it suited them. The
test of a new application of direct democracy will be its
automaticity, the extent to which it takes place not at the caprice of
leaders, but of the people.

Developing countries - from Russia, a developed society but highly
underdeveloped economy, to countries like Nigeria and Brazil and India
- stand far away from Swiss development and a Swiss political economy.
But might they be more willing to take a stab at implementing some of
its lessons for popular government?

Some argue - perhaps wrongly - that the gulf is too great for such
countries for a leap-frog to direct democracy to be either plausible
or desirable.

It is true that the distance between developing-country society is
great. At the same time, such societies have less to lose and more to
gain by jumping beyond the tired permutations of representative
democracy and engaging in the greater risks but greater possibilities
of populism.

Is the fundamental difference between Indian democracy and American a
difference in the quality of citizens? Perhaps. But the far greater
difference seems to be in the level of institutional and systemic
development than in the capacity of the people. The same is true of
Bolivia, Brazil, China, Russia, Nigeria, or Uganda.

This is not to say that the evolution, if it takes place first in the
less affluent countries, should or will necessarily take the same
shape, or move at the same pace, as it could in the United States or
Europe. The racial, ethnic, and economic divisions of developing
society, for one thing, are such that a higher degree of federalism
might be needed - while, of course, so is a unifying device such as
the democratic quasi-sacrament of national referendum.

It might make sense for direct democracy, under such circumstances, to
be adopted incrementally. Beedham, for example, recommends that some
countries start with large, national matters, and small, particular
ones, while leaving the bulk of questions in the middle up to more
conventional, representative bodies for the time being. This is a
sensible general recommendation, and may have even greater urgency for
the developing world. It resembles, in fact, the road traveled by
Switzerland in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Even for leaders dominated by the desire for mere material success,
the logic of political experimentation is compelling. All nations are
competing within the realm of "economic" policy to produce the best
system - with the result that the field is crowded. Most nations are
competing to produce directly the most competitive educational,
corporate, and other institutions, with little chance for any country,
let alone one poor in resources, to stand out.

A country that tried to develop a somewhat superior political system,
by contrast, would stand out. It would find, in all probability, that
with superior political decision making would come better policies for
the economy, education, foreign affairs, and other matters. Is this,
in fact, not the road traveled by the United States and Switzerland
over the last 200 years? Did not Japan leap into the industrial age
most decisively in the mid-twentieth century, when alone among the
Asian despotisms it adopted a significant degree of democracy?

The developing world thus competes closely with the United States as
another likely arena for experimentation. Because the risks and
benefits are higher, so is the likelihood of a misstep or even a
crash. Possibly the idea of direct democracy will even suffer setbacks
in the developing world, by being tried in imprudent ways, or adopted
half-heartedly or in the wrong fields of activity. Even so there is a
compelling case for it: Developing country invention in the political
sphere is a vacuum, which politics abhors.

Which system is better?

The question is difficult to answer in a present time frame, except as
a matter of expressing one's arbitrary preference. We may speculate
endlessly about whether the people, or a group they choose, is more

Yet we need not confine ourselves to the present time frame, for in
discussing democracy, especially Swiss democracy, we have 700 years or
more of history for material - and we can look many years ahead in
making our forecast. It is sometimes easier to look across centuries,
than across a generation.

Indeed, much of the discussion above has neglected what may be the
most important element of discussion of all - time.

The most important impact of direct democracy in Switzerland is its
influence upon the citizen. There are, as we have mentioned, other
contributing causes. And there is causality in the other direction:
The high quality of Swiss citizens - their interest and involvement in
public affairs, their studious receptivity to information, their civic
pride and community ethos - helps make populist democracy possible.
This latter phenomenon, however, is well known, in Switzerland and the
West. The idea of a people being "ready" for democracy, being grown up
enough to stand on a par with their elites, is familiar and accepted.
Even the radical antitheses have some widespread acceptance. This was
captured famously by the journalist William F. Buckley, in his witty
declaration that he would rather be ruled by 200 persons chosen at
random from the Boston telephone directory, than by the faculty of
Harvard University.

What is poorly understood - or anyway, not accepted and indeed
vigorously denied by the collective subconsciousness of the Western
elite - is the extent to which democratic institutions help develop
the citizen. And, that the more democratic the institutions, the more
rapid and complete the development of the electorate.

The most important impact of Swiss democracy among the Swiss has
involved the development of the Swiss people over time. Even in the
short run, Swiss have a greater incentive to follow political issues
and to think seriously about them - they may well be voting on them in
a few months. Over the longer run, a synergism of development sets in.
The Swiss, with greater opportunity to make law, become skilled at
making law much as, in the theory of representative democracy, members
of Congress become skilled at legislative craftsmanship. The
difference is that this phenomenon is spread over a whole society -
government "by the people" in the broadest sense.

Swiss politicians, journalists, and business leaders all, in turn,
adjust their behavior accordingly. More focus is placed on informing,
and listening to, the people, than in any other democracy.

As a result, and following long experience with popular sovereignty,
the leaders and the led, the elites and the people, have a greater
mutual respect and less alienation than in any other regime.

Imagine if every American were to serve on a jury three or four times
a year. Is there any doubt that the people would be closer to the
legal system, and the legal system more responsive to the people, were
this the case? The mere proximity, the culture of greater interaction,
would produce such effects. If added to this the citizens enjoyed
greater leverage over the implementation of police policies, or the
development of law, the effect would be multifold.

It is no different with the frequent exercise of sovereignty by the
Swiss, over hundreds of years.

Indeed, it is ironic that in an age that so exults expertise,
experience, and knowledge, so little attention is paid to a people
that have more years of democratic history than any other. It seems
strange that amidst all the hosannahs of a "global information age,"
there is so little thinking about global principles, and so little
information about the world's most important and revealing democratic

At the center, radical in idea yet conservative in operation, is
Switzerland. It is quiet and unassuming, but highly revealing. In some
ways, it is the anti-America, but in this the two are naturally
complementary. America is great in space, and has extended the
democratic idea, as Lincoln and Thomas Paine hoped, across the world.
But Switzerland is great in time, and has extended the democratic idea
internally to an extent seen nowhere else.

"Empires such as the Swiss," as the advisor to King Louis once put it
with unintended irony, "extend their empire by the bad example of
their liberty."

It is possible to imagine our now-democratic world, like a latter-day
global Athens, lapsing into despotism. This is actually far more
possible than most present-day millenarians - who only a decade ago
were assuring us, "you can't change the Soviet system" - can imagine.

It is possible too to imagine an end of history, an everlasting stasis
in democracy as it is without further meaningful change. It is
possible even to picture an Aquarian end to political and economic
problems altogether.

Yet none of these is the most likely. Instead, a long but hopefully
happy struggle, striving toward ever-more-perfect freedom, if never
quite arriving - in a word, history - looms. A world of ideas and
facts, labor and thought, good and - yes - evil, which none of the
materialists, Marxist nor Libertarian, have abolished.

It is to this, real world of mankind that Switzerland has so much to
offer. In this world, it may well be, as Victor Hugo cryptically
insisted: "Switzerland will have the last word in history."


1. All this is quite aside from the fact that the dialectical
materialists of the Right and Left are wrong altogether. History never
ends, there are no completely new ideas under the sun, and what
appears at one point or another in history to be the "final verdict"
on behalf of good or evil is never more than a turn of the wheel from
a different order. Whether we are considering the end of war
proclaimed in the late nineteenth century, the end of material want in
the mid-twentieth century, or the "abolition of borders" and a "world
without money" by Internet companies and technology executives in the
early twenty-first century, the stubborn resiliency of human nature
remains. That history tends to favor the most just polity is clear, as
the author argues in The Democratic Imperative, especially Chap. 3,
"Ideopolitique." Between tendency and inevitability, however, is a
wide and important gulf.

Brian Beedham, "A better way to vote: Why letting the people
themselves take the decisions is the logical next step for the West,"
The Economist, 11 September 1993. Beedham is an associate editor of
The Economist and was its foreign editor from 1964 to 1989.

See Carol L. Schmid's interesting survey, Conflict and Consensus in
Switzerland, University of California Press, 1981.

In the paragraphs that follow we are speaking mainly about the spirit
of direct democracy and of its acts insofar as they are different.
Switzerland has a parliament and president too, and there is lobbying
and grass-roots lobbying aimed at the parliament. But in those cases
Switzerland, which itself is a mixed system, is acting as a
representative democracy. Because it frequently acts as a direct
democracy, however, the resulting "spirit of the laws," the animating
logic of political activity, may be very different.

In the combined national parliamentary elections of 1999, according to
an academic estimate cited by Aargauer Zeitung editor Peter Frey, the
Swiss spent a total of 100 million Swiss francs.


Allen, C. J. Switzerland's Amazing Railways. London, 1965.

Almond, Gabriel A., and Verba, Sidney. The Civic Culture: Political
Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1965.

Altermatt, Claude. Interview with the author, May 2000.

Altermatt, Urs (ed.). Die Schweizer Bundesrate...Ein biographisches
Lexicon. Artemis & Winkler, Artemis Verlag, Zürich and Miinchen, 1991.

Amman, Hektor, and Schib, Karl. Historischer Atlas der Schweiz. Aarau,

Angst, Walter. Progressive Rebels: The Founding Fathers of the Swiss
Confederation. Silver Spring, MD: Pelinicus Books, 1995.

Arnet, Morita. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Bar, Hans. "The Future of Globalization." Opening Remarks on the
occasion of Goldman Sachs Discussion, New York, March 16, 1999.
. "The Globalization of Horace Mann." After-Dinner Remarks, 1999
Distinguished Alumnus Award Dinner, Horace Mann School, New York,
March 15,1999.
. Interview with the author, February 1999, and conversation, March

Bar, Matthias. Interview with the author, May 2001.

Barber, Benjamin. The Death of Communal Liberty...A History of Freedom
in a Swiss Mountain Canton. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
. Strong Democracy. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1984.

Barenbold, Hans. Interview with the author, May 2001.

Bell, Jeffrey. Populism and Elitism. Alexis de Tocqueville
Institution. Washington, DC: Regnery-Gateway, 1992.

Bergier, Jean-Francois. Naissance et croissance de la Suisse
industrielle. Bern, 1973.

Bergier, Jean-Francois, et al. Independent Commission of Experts,
Switzerland, Second World War. "Switzerland and Gold Transactions in
the Second World War." Independent Commission of Experts, Switzerland.
Bern, July 1998.

Bierhanzel, Edward, and Dwartney, James. "Regulation, Unions, and
Labor Markets," Regulation Vol. 21, No. 3,1998, Florida State

Blocher, Christoph. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Bockli, H.R. Interviews with the author, January 2000 and June 2001.

Bodmer, Henry. Interview with the author, May 2001.

Boner, Wilhelm. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Bonjour, Edgar. Swiss Neutrality: Its History and Meaning. Trans. M.
Hottinger. London, 1946.

Bonjour, Edgar, et al. A Short History of Switzerland. Oxford, 1955.

Borer, Thomas. Interview with the author, April 1999.

Boss, Walter. Correspondence with the author, September 2000.

Brooks, Robert C. Civic Training in Switzerland: A Study of Democratic
Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930.

Brown Boveri. Brown Boveri 1891-1966. (Corporate History) Baden, 1966.

Brunner, Edgar. Interview with the author, June 2001, and
correspondence with the author, June-July 2001.

Bryce, James. Modern Democracies. The Macmillan Company, 1921.

Buhlmann, Cecile. Interview with the author, April 2000.

Buhrle, Dietrich. Interview with the author, May 2001.

Bundeskanzlei Chancellerie federal Cancelleria federale Chanzlia
federala. The Swiss Confederation...A Brief Guide 2001. Bundeskanzlei
Chancellerie federal Cancelleria federale Chanzlia federala

Bundeskanzlei Chancellerie federal Cancelleria federale Chanzlia
federala. DerBund kurz erklart 2001. Bundeskanzlei Chancellerie
federal Cancelleria federale Chanzlia federala.

Bundeskanzlei Chancellerie federal Cancelleria federale Chanzlia
federala. La Confederation en bref 2001. Bundeskanzlei Chancellerie
federal Cancelleria federale Chanzlia federala.

Burki, Elisabeth. Interviews with the author, December 1999 and May

Busser, E. Swiss Churches in the Twentieth Century. University of
Zürich, 1997.

Butler, David, and Ranney, Austin (eds.). Referendums... A Comparative
Study of Practice and Theory. Washington, DC: American Enterprise
Institute, 1978.

Butler, Hugo. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Castell, Anton. Geschichte des Landes Schwyz. Einsiedeln, Zürich,

Childs, Marquis. "No Peace for the Swiss." Saturday Evening Post, May
1, 1943.

Christen, Yves. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Codding, George. The Federal Government of Switzerland. Cambridge, MA:
Riverside Press, 1962.

Corti, Mario. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Cotti, Flavio. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Cronin, Thomas E. Direct Democracy... The Politics of Initiative,
Referendum, and Recall. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989.

Dahl, Robert. Democracy and Its Critics. New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press, 1989.

Danzeisen, Margrit. Interview with the author, February 1999.

de Pury, David. Interview with the author, March 1999, and subsequent

Defago, Alfred. Interviews with the author, August 1999; December
1999; May 2000; February 2001; and April 2001.

Dillena, Giancarlo. Interview with the author, June 2000.

Dulles, Allen W. Germany's Underground. New York: Macmillan, 1947.

Dunn, James. "Consociational Democracy and Language Conflict: A
Comparison of the Belgian and Swiss Experiences." Comparative
Political Studies, Issue 5, 1972.

Durmuller, Urs. Changing Patterns of Multilingualism. Pro Helvetia
Documentation Information Press, 1997.

Egger, Eugene, and Blanc, Emile. Education in Switzerland. Geneva:
Swiss Educational Development Center, 1974.

Ehrenzeller, Bernhard. Interview with the author, May 2001.

Enloe, Cynthia. Conflict and Political Development. Boston: Little,
Brown, 1973.

Farber, Marco. Interview with the author, May 2001.

Fahrmi, Dieter. An Outline History of Switzerland. Zürich: Pro
Helvetia Division Documentation-Information Press, 1987.

Falke, Konrad. Das demokratische Ideal und unser nationa Erzeihung.
Zürich: Rascher, 1915.

Fasel, Hugo. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Federal Chancellery of Switzerland. The Swiss Confederation: A Brief
Guide 1998. The Swiss Federal Chancellery, 1998.

Federal Office for Statistics, Switzerland. Switzerland in Figures:
1996. Federal Social Insurance Office of Switzerland Swiss Federal
Statistical Office, Neuchatel, 1999.

Federal Statistics Office, Switzerland (Bundesamt fur Statistik /
Office federal de lastatistique). Statistische Jahrbuch der Schweiz,
2001. NZZ Verlag: Neue Zurcher Zeitung,2001.

Fick, Fritz. Gibt es eine schweizerische Nation und Kultur? Zürich:
Verlag Rascher, 1910.

Fossedal, Gregory. The Democratic Imperative. New York: New Republic
Books, 1989.
. "What the tax reformers are missing." Wall Street Journal, November
. "What we can do for Africa." New York Times, March 24,1998.

Frey, Peter. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Fuhrer, Rita. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Furgler, Kurt. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Gagliardi, Ernst. Geschichte der Schweiz, 3 vols. (third edition).
Zürich: Orell Fussli Verlag, 1938.

Geiger, Gerard (also Ringier AG). Baromedia 2001...Jahrliches
Barometer der Schweizer Medien, Ringier AG. Zürich and Lausanne,
Switzerland, 2001.

Gilg, Peter. "Die Entstehung der demokratischen Bewegung und die
soziale Frage." Thesis, University of Bern, 1951.

Gillett, Nicholas. The Swiss Constitution:  Can It Be Exported?
Bristol: Yes Publications, 1989.

Girsberger, Esther. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Gisler, Markus. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Glazer, Nathan, and Moynihan, Daniel P. Beyond the Melting Pot.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1970.

Glenn, Jacob B. "The Jews in Switzerland." Contemporary Jewish Record,
American Jewish Committee, New York, 1941.

Gross, Andreas. Interviews with the author, March 1999; November 2000:
and June, 2001.

Gut, Rainer E. Interview with the author, November 1999.

Gyssler, Beatrice, and colleagues (Hittnau). Interview with the
author, February 1999.

Halbheer, Hans J. Understanding Swiss Neutrality. American-Swiss
Foundation, 1993 (reprinted).
."An Attempt to Explain Switzerland to a Foreigner." The World Today,
undated, Bulletin Credit Suisse,

Halbrook, Stephen. Target Switzerland. Rockville Centre, NY: Sarpedon,

Hansenberter, Irene. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Held, Thomas, and Levy, Rene. Femme, famille et societe, Realties
Sociales. Lausanne, Switzerland, 1984.

Honsicher, Q. Interview with the author, June 2001.

Horat, Erwin. Interview with the author, December 1998.

Huber, Hans. How Switzerland is Governed. Guggenbulbt & Hrber,
Schweizer Spiegel Vertag, Zürich, 1968.

Hughes, Christopher. The Federal Constitution of Switzerland. Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1954.
. The Parliament of Switzerland. London: Trinity Press/Cassell, 1962.
. Switzerland. London: Praeger/Ernest Benn, 1975.

Hutson, James H. The Sister Republics: Switzerland and the United
States from 1776 to the Present. Washington, DC: Library of Congress,

Isler, Fred. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Jolles, Paul L. "A Battle for Neutrality." Newsweek, September 1,1997.
. Interview with the author, December 1998.

Julius Bar & Co. The Euro: Europe's Single Currency. Zürich: Bank
Julius Baer & Co. Ltd, May 1998.

Jung, Joseph. Interview with the author, June 2001.

Kalin, Walter. Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit in der Demokratie. Bern:
Haupt, 1987.

Kappeler, Beat. Regieren Statt Revidieren: Weltwoche-ABC-Verlag,
Zürich 2. Auflage Umschlaggestaltung: Heinz Unternahrer, Zürich Alle
Rechte vorbehalten.
. Interview with the author, May 2001.

Katz, Richard (ed.). Party Governments: European and American
Experiences. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1987.

Kohn, H. Nationalism and Liberty: The Swiss Example. London: Allen and
Unwin, 1956.

Kuoni, Christian. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Lanius, Charles. "Switzerland, Axis Captive." Saturday Evening Post,
January 23,1943.

LeBor, Adam. Hitler's Secret Bankers: The Myth of Swiss Neutrality
During the Holocaust. Secaucus, NJ: Birch Lane Press, 1997.

Leuenberger, Andres. Interview with the author, June 2001.

Levy, Rene. The Social Structure of Switzerland. Pro Helvetia
Documentation Information Press, 1998.

Linder, Wolf. Swiss Democracy... Possible Solutions to Conflict in
Multicultural Societies. The MacMillan Press Ltd, Houndmills,
Basingstoke, Hampshire, 1994.
. Schweizerische Demokratie. Bern: Verlag Paul Haupt.
. Interview with the author, June 2001.

Lijphart, Arend. Democracies, Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus
Government in Twenty-One Countries. New Haven, CT, and London: Yale
University Press, 1984.

Lippman, Walter. "The Faithful Witness." New York Herald-Tribune,
January 26,1943.

Lipset, Seymour Martin. Political Man... The Social Bases of Politics.
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981 (revised from the
1960 edition).

Lipset, Seymour Martin, et al. Party Systems and Voter Alignments:
Cross-National Perspectives. New York: Free Press, 1967.

Loeb, Francois. Interviews with the author, March 1999 and November

Luck, J. Murray. Modern Switzerland. Palo Alto, CA: The Society for
the Promotion of Science and Scholarship Inc., 1978.
. History of Switzerland. Palo Alto, CA: The Society for the Promotion
of Science and Scholarship, Inc., 1985.

Luthy, Herbert. "Has Switzerland a Future? The Dilemma of the Small
Nation." Encounter, Issue 19, 1962.
. Die Schweizals Antithese. Zürich: Verlag der Arche, 1969.

Madison, James, Hamilton, Alexander, Jay, John. The Federalist Papers.
New York: Penguin, 1987.

Marty, Vera. Interview with the author, May 2001.

Mayer, Kurt. "Intra-European Migration During the Past Twenty Years"
International Migration Review, Issue 9,1975.
. "Migration, Cultural Tension, and Foreign Relations: Switzerland."
Journal of

Conflict Resolution, Issue 11,1967.
. The Population of Switzerland. New York: Columbia University Press,

McPhee, John. La Place de la Concorde Suisse. New York: Noonday Press,

McRae, Kenneth D. Conflict and Compromise in Multilingual Societies,
Vol. 1: Switzerland Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo,
Ontario, Canada.
. Switzerland: Example of Cultural Coexistence. Toronto: Canadian
Institute of International Affairs, 1964.
. (ed.). Consociational Democracy. Toronto: McClelland and Steward,

Meier, Werner A., and Schanne, Michael. Media-Landscape Switzerland.
Pro Helvetia Documentation Information Press, 1995.

Meyer, Werner. 1291 L'Histoire... Les premices de la Confederation
suisse. Zürich: Editions Silva, 1991.

Moll, Arthur. Interview with the author, June 2001.

Morikofer, Stephanie. Interview with the author, March 2000.

Muheim, Franz. Interviews with the author, December 1998 and May 2001,
and correspondence.
. Die Schweiz-Aufstieg oder Niedergang. Schaffhausen: Novalis Verlag,

Narring, Francoise, Pierre-Andre Michaud, and Vinit Sharma.
"Demographic and Behavioral Factors Associated with Adolescent
Pregnancy in Switzerland." Swiss Medical Journal, Vol. 28, No. 5,
September/October 1996.

Nordlinger, Eric A. "Conflict Regulation in Divided Societies."
Occasional Papers in International Affairs, Harvard University, No.
29, 1972.

OECD. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Historical
Statistics, 1960-1994. Paris: OECD, 1996.

Onken, H. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Orell Fussli Verlag (publishers). Who's Who in Switzerland. Zürich:
Orell Fussli Publishers, 1998.

Paldiel, Mordecai, and Rozett, Robert. Nur das Gewissen: Carl Lutz and
seine Budapester Aktion; Geschichte und Portrat. N.p., Switzerland,
1986, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

Pfinner, Albert. Henri Nestle... From Pharmacist's Assistant to
Founder of the World's Largest Food Company, Nestle S.A.Vevey,
Switzerland, 1995.

Pictet & Cie Banquiers. Switzerland Economic Trends: Research
Department. Bernard Lambert, Jean-Pierre Beguelin, December 1998.

Pictet, Ivan. Interview with the author, February 2000.

Plotke, Herbert. Rechtsgutachten Volksinitiative in der Stadt Luzern,
"Jedem Quartier sein Primarschule-Bestehende Quartierschulen erhalten,
" dem Stdtrat von Luzern erstattet von, October 1998.

Rabushka, Allan, and Shepsle, Kenneth. Politics in Plural Society: A
Theory of Democratic Instability. Columbus, OH: Merrill, 1972.

Rappard, William E. Collective Security in Swiss Experience, 1291-
1948. London: Allen &Unwin, 1948.
. La facteur economique dan I'avenement de la democratic moderne en
Suisse. George, Geneve, 1912.

Reimann, Maximilian. Interview with the author, February 2000.

Reist, Werner. Switzerland... Life and Activity. Mensch und Arvbeir,
Publishers, Zürich No. 25.

Remak, Joachim. A Very Civil War: The Swiss Sonderbund War of 1847.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993.

Renk, H.R. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Richardson, Donovan. "The Neutrals' Fight for Peace." Christian
Science Monitor, August 12, 1939.

Rickover, H.G. Swiss Schools and Ours: Why Theirs Are Better. Boston:
Little, Brown, 1962.

Rimli, E. T. (ed.). Histoire de la Confederation. Stauffacher, 1967.

Roduner, Ernst. Interview with the author, March 1999.

Rossier, Jacques. "Switzerland, Gold, and the Banks: Analysis of a
Crisis." AmericanSwiss Foundation Forum, Harvard Faculty Club, May 26,

Sager, Manuel. Interview with the author, February 2001, and

Sauser-Hall, George. The Political Institutions of Switzerland. Zürich
and New York: Swiss National Tourist Office, 1946.

Scarecrow Press, Inc. Dictionary of American Immigration History.
Metuchen, NJ,and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.,
Schaffner, Martin. Die demokratische Bewegung der 1860er Jahre. Basle
and Stuttgart, 1981.

Schattschneider, E. E. The Semisovereign People, A Realist View of
Democracy in America. Hinsdale: Dryden Press, 1960.

Schmid, Carol. Conflict and Consensus in Switzerland. University of
California Press,Ltd., 1981.

Schmid-Sutter, Carlo. Interview with the author, February 1999 and
March 1999, and subsequent correspondence.

Schramm, Patricia. Interviews with the author, November 2000 and April
2001, and related correspondence.

Selg, Casper. Interview with the author, June 2001.

Senn, Hans. Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II. Lyn Shepard,

Shirer, William. Berlin Diary. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1941.

Siegfried, Andr6. Switzerland: A Democratic Way of Life. Hyperion, CT,
. Le Suisse, democratie temoin, La Baconniere. Neuchatel, Switzerland,

Sigg, Oswald. Political Switzerland. Pro Helvetia Documentation
Information Press, 1997.

Soloveythik, George. Switzerland in Perspective. London: Oxford
University Press,1954.

Somm, Edwin. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Somm, Markus. Interviews with the author, February 1999 and June 2001,
and correspondence.
. "Schuld und Schulden der Schweiz." Tages-Anzeiger, December 4,1999.

Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich. New York: Macmillan, 1970.

Stadlin, Paul. Die Parlamente der schweizerischen Kantone. Kalt-
Zehnder, 1990.

Stamm, Konrad. Interview with the author, February 1999.

Stanyan, Abraham. An Account of Switzerland: Written in the Year 1714.
London, 1714(copy on file courtesy of Credit Suisse historical
archives, Zürich).

Stauch & Stauch. Switzerland's Major Goal during World War II: Task
Force Switzerland-Second World War, 1998 EDA memorandum.

Steinberg, Jonathan. Why Switzerland? London: Cambridge University
Press, 1976.

Steiner, Jurg. European Democracies. New York: Longman, 1998.
. Amicable Agreement versus Majority Rule: Conflict Resolution in
Switzerland. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press,

Steinman, Walter. Zwischen Markt und Staat, Verflechtungsformen von
Staat und Wirtschaft in der Schweiz. Wissit, Konstanz, 1988.

Stockli, Walter A. Church, State, and School in Switzerland and the
United States.Bern, Switzerland: Herbert Lang.

Stussi-Lauterburg, Jurg. "The Swiss Military System and Neutrality in
the Seventeenth Century as Seen by Contemporary Europe." War &
Society, September 1984.
. Interview with the author, March 1999, and associated
correspondence, June 2000-March 2001.

Stussi-Lauterburg, J., and Gysler-Schoni, R. Helvetias Tochter: Frauen
in derSchweizer Militargeschichte von 1291 bis 1939.

Sutter, Kaspar. Interview with the author, June 2001.

Thurer, G. Free and Swiss. Trans. R. P. Heller and E. Long. London,

Time Magazine. "Switzerland: Alone, Little, & Tough." December 7,1942.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Tocqueville Oeuvres. Vols. 1-18. Tour droits
de traduction, de reproduction et d 'adaptation reserves pour tous les
pays. Editions Gallimard, 1991.
. "Tocqueville's Report to the French Parliament on the Swiss
Situation in 1847. "Partial translation by Gregory Fossedal, from
Oeuvres, op cit. Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, 2000.

Togni, Alberto. Interviews with the author, March 1999 and May 2001.

Treichler, Hans, De Capitani, Francois, et al. Forum on Swiss History.
Swiss National Museum, March 23, 1996.

Treschel, Alexandra, and Sciarini, Pascal. "Direct Democracy in
Switzerland: Do Elites Matter?" European Journal of Political Research
33 (1), 1998.

Trevor-Roper, H.R. Hitler's Secret Conversations, 1941-1944
(introduction). New York: Signet, 1976.

Trosler, Ferdinand. "Two Burning Issues in Switzerland." Free Labour
World, Issue 295, 1975.

Previous     Contents