Courtesy Reuters

The War Pattern of Swiss Life

AS the war in Europe reaches its climax the position of Switzerland becomes more precarious. The territory of each of the other neutrals -- Spain, Eire, Turkey and Sweden -- has a seacoast. Each of them -- even Sweden -- has a chance of direct contact with the Allies. Switzerland is completely trapped inside German-dominated Europe. So far, Hitler has not thought it to his advantage to cross the Swiss border. But if German troops are pushed out of the Po Valley or eastern or southern France they may try to continue their resistance on Swiss soil. And the German plans for the final, supreme battle on the "inner line" may include seizure of the vital Swiss network of railways which connects France with Austria and Germany with Italy.

Faced with these possibilities, the Swiss Government has called up more troops and has inducted youths of 19 for service. The Swiss Army of 500,000 men has been ordered to let no foreign soldier cross the border unless he is disarmed and on his way to an internment camp.

This determined Swiss Army is a peculiar one. It is fundamentally a militia, based on very short terms of service. But it now has been mobilized more than four years, and must be rated as a first-class standing army. In the years between 1940 and 1943 -- that is, until the landing of the Allies in Italy -- it was the only mobilized force on the European Continent which did not obey Hitler's orders. Every Swiss soldier is obliged by law to begin regular rifle practice when he is a schoolboy. In peacetime he keeps his army rifle at his home, with plenty of ammunition; if he belongs to a mounted unit, he keeps his own horse. The Swiss mobilization of 1939, which was proportionately the largest in Europe, comprising 40 percent of all Swiss men, was completed in two days. Besides the Army, Switzerland also has trained home guards and rifle clubs even in the remotest village. There

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