User Tools

Site Tools


Uninvadable Super-Duper Switzerland

One of the most pervasive, pernicious and most ridiculous AH clichés is the status/standing of Switzerland in most alternate timelines.

Either out of laziness to research some actual Swiss history or laziness to do anything allohistorical with the country, an astounding amount of timelines has Switzerland existing pretty much in the same borders it has today. Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. A lot of people assume Switzerland had always been neutral, filthy rich, had the best banks in the world and always had unified, highly-trained volunteer/militia-style armies that could fend off any attack on the confederation.

It is true that Switzerland was really lucky from the 19th century onward, almost miraculously avoided being dragged into both world wars and is generally the go-to synonym for “prosperous, rich, well-armed but peaceful neutral country” these days. But it wasn't always like that. Switzerland had barely united by the Late Middle Ages and was under firm Habsburg rule until the 15th-16th century (the dynasty itself originates from Switzerland). In the uneasy post-Napoleonic era, Switzerland's economy was crumbling, the country almost went bankrupt and narrowly avoided an all-out civil war (though it still occured briefly). The Swiss success story only really took off in the second half of the 19th century and the country has been officially neutral only since the Vienna Congress of 1815.

With a sufficiently early (e.g. medieval) PoD, Switzerland could turn out to be a very different country than the one we know from our history. While there still might be a confederation of cantons and armies dominated by infantry, nothing else is truly set in stone. Especially the Swiss borders. They CAN change.

Doesn't have to do with the fact that even the Wehrmacht didn't dare to invade the country in WW2, or that they managed to preserve their neutrality in the “Nazis win” ATL of Fatherland.

Responses to this cliché by AH.commers

Summed up by Petike in this post :

Nothing ever happens in South America, Africa, etc. But… Bizzarely, nothing ever happens in Switzerland either - since 99,9 % of all TLs just turn it into an unchanging and uninvadable Space Filling Statelet. It kind of just exists in its own separate pocket universe, even though every AH map of Europe will trick you into thinking it actually might have some ties to historical processes, whether positive, negative or neutral. And don't you ever dare to redraw its sacred unchanging borders - that's a major no-no !!!”

Beedok responded to the “Switzerland as a pocket universe” sentence with the following witticism :

“That explains the neutrinos.”

One of catboy637's famous one-liners gleefully mocks this cliché :

“Sir, they're the SWISS ! We can't invade, magic spell !”

Thande took a more matter-of-fact stance in the Allohistorical Convergence Pet Peeves thread :

“Switzerland. Despite its reputation for staying exactly the same, Switzerland in fact added several additional cantons in OTL at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Maps with PODs before the Napoleonic Wars should bear this in mind.

Timelines attempting to avert this cliché

  • wolf brother's ongoing The Smallest Possible Difference TL has a seemingly minor POD occuring in Switzerland during the revolutionary year of 1848 and severely changing the 19th century history of the country and parts of Europe. For one thing, the civil war fully escalates.
  • maverick's older The Fallen Prince TL averted this a lot.
  • A more ASB take on this was crackersncheese's older Blasters of the Swiss : A Wank TL, in which - you guessed it - the Swiss receive Star Wars military technology during the early 20th century.
  • Though what's going on in Switzerland is not explicitly shown in Zach's Pax Napoleonica, the maps of Europe from that TL display the Swiss borders with one major difference: Geneva and its surrounding francophone cantons have been annexed/bought off by Napoleonic France. Also, the author has recently mentioned that he'd like to flesh out the country's ATL standing a bit more in additional updates or small retcons.
  • Kaiser K's TL, The Reverse Cold War avoids this heavily, as during the TL's Alternate World War II, Switzerland is invaded by France, which invades up the Swiss Plateau from both sides, it loses in 2 months and capitulates to the Axis in early 1943, being partitioned between France, Italy, and the French puppet state along the Rhine, the “Rhineish Republic”
  • In Max Sinister's Chaos TL, Switzerland is more powerful - it annexes most of what became Baden-Württemberg IOTL - but stays a part of Germany, and is even occupied by Russians and Italians in TTL's World War 2, although there is a fierce resistance in the Alps.
  • In Jared's Decades of Darkness, Switzerland becomes a kingdom, of all things, because Saxony is annexed by Prussia and its king needs a new country… even later, parts of Switzerland are split off and given to other German princes!

See Also

alternate_history/uninvadable_super-duper_switzerland.txt · Last modified: 2024/05/17 21:49 by max_sinister

Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki