History of Switzerland
The more recent history of Switzerland as a federal state begins in its current form with the adoption of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation in 1848. The forerunners of modern Switzerland were the old Confederation , which had been organized as a loose federation since the end of the 13th century and which had a centralized structure from 1798 to 1803 Helvetic Republic and the "Swiss Confederation", founded in 1803 and reorganized in 1815.
The Swiss cantons won in 1648 in the Peace of Westphalia , the sovereignty of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation . This sovereignty was confirmed by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the borders of Switzerland that existed before the " French era " and are still valid today, apart from minor deviations, recognized. Important principles in Swiss history are pronounced federalism and, since the Second Peace of Paris in 1815, international neutrality , based on the decisions of the Congress of Vienna.
Modern Switzerland goes back to three forerunners:
- The " Old Confederation ", a loose structure of different countries and city-states ( confederation of states ), partly on the territory of today's Switzerland. Traditionally, the founding year was the renewal of an older alliance by the Drei Waldstätte Uri , Schwyz and Unterwalden in 1291 . The so-called 13 “places” (cantons) fought for a large degree of autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire , most recently in the Swabian War in 1499. The Peace of Westphalia made the federal estates, their subject areas and allies (“allies”) sovereign under international law, i. H. independent of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The French invasion of Switzerland and the Helvetic Revolution in 1798 marked the end of what had been divided internally since the Reformation .
- Under pressure from the French Republic , i. H. Above all Napoleon Bonapartes, in 1798 the area of the former Old Confederation was largely amalgamated into the centrally structured " Helvetic Republic ". The previously independent states of the Confederation have been degraded to administrative units, partially split up or combined into larger units. After the withdrawal of the French troops in 1802, the Helvetic Republic perished in the civil war between the advocates of the unified state and the federalists. Due to the federal tradition of the old Confederation and its roots in the population, the federalists clearly retained the upper hand, the unitary state was never widely accepted.
- In 1803, the representatives of the cantons came to an agreement under the mediation ( French: médiation ) of Napoleon Bonaparte . The "Swiss Confederation" was re-established as a confederation of states through the act of mediation as a confederal constitution. After the fall of Napoleon, this union dissolved again in 1813. The 13 old cantons and the nine newly founded cantons since 1798 then merged to form a new confederation in the federal treaty of August 7, 1815. The structure of the Swiss Confederation, its territorial integrity and “perpetual neutrality” were recognized by the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15. In the 1830s, the aristocratic families, which had regained their strength since 1815 and 1803, were finally politically disempowered in the individual cantons, and the liberal-democratic form of government took hold. After the Sonderbund War on September 12, 1848, the Swiss Confederation was transformed into the federal state with the federal city of Bern, which still exists today, through the adoption of a federal constitution . “Swiss Confederation” or Confoederatio Helvetica continues to serve as the official name .
Overview of the history of today's Swiss territory before 1291
The area of today's Switzerland has been populated since the Paleolithic . Only after the last ice age was the Swiss plateau more densely populated, especially the areas around the lakes (→ pile dwellings ). With the beginning of the Iron Age , the Celtic settlement of the Central Plateau began. Celtic finds near La Tène in the canton of Neuchâtel gave the entire period of the younger Iron Age its name (→ Latène culture ). The Celts cultivated trade relations up to the Greek cultural area . It was probably during this phase that the first attempts at writing emerged in Swiss territory as well , although they were not yet of an alphabetical nature.
Before the conquest by the Romans, according to the records of the Roman general and politician Julius Caesar in his justification for the Gallic War (→ De bello Gallico ), various Celtic tribes and peoples lived in what is now Switzerland : the Helvetians (Central Plateau), the Lepontier ( Ticino), the Seduner (Valais, Lake Geneva) and the Raetier (Eastern Switzerland). In the course of the expansion of the Roman Empire over the Alps, the area of today's Switzerland was subjugated until the 1st century AD in order to secure the strategically important Alpine passes to Germania. Most of Switzerland was assigned to the Roman province of Germania superior during the imperial era . Eastern Switzerland, Valais and Graubünden belonged to the province of Raetia , parts of Ticino finally to the province of Gallia Transpadana . The centers of Roman Switzerland were the old Helvetic capital Aventicum ( Avenches ) and the Roman colonies Julia Equestris ( Nyon ), Augusta Raurica ( Augst ) and Forum Claudii Vallensium ( Martigny ). Until late antiquity , the Celtic population of Switzerland adopted Roman customs, culture and language, and most recently Christianity . During the reorganization of the Roman provinces in the 3rd century by Emperor Diocletian , northern Switzerland was assigned to the Maxima Sequanorum province and a dense chain of fortified towns, forts and watchtowers was created along the Rhine (→ Danube-Iller-Rhein-Limes ). After the Goths invaded the Western Roman Empire in 401, all Roman troops were withdrawn from the areas north of the Alps to protect Italy. Dominion over western Switzerland passed to the empire of the Burgundians , central and eastern Switzerland were controlled and settled by the Alamanni , while the alpine regions remained in the hands of local Celto-Roman rulers. Some Roman structures shaped Switzerland beyond the end of Roman rule: the road network, the Roman settlements and the old Roman spatial division, in particular the ecclesiastical organization with the diocese borders.
In the early Middle Ages , the Romansh population of eastern and central Switzerland adopted the Alemannic language, while in western Switzerland the Burgundian language could not prevail, but instead kept Latin dialects. The French language emerged from this later. In Graubünden and Ticino there were also Latin dialects, from which the Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic languages developed. After a short period of independence, the empires of the Burgundians and the Alemanni were incorporated into the Frankish Empire in the 6th century AD .
Under Frankish rule, the entire area of today's Switzerland was Christianized through the work of missionaries and the founding of numerous monasteries, such as St. Gallen , Reichenau , Moutier-Grandval and Romainmôtier . Feudalization also took place in the early Middle Ages: peasants entered into an inheritance relationship with clergy or noble landlords. With the division of the Franconian Empire of Charlemagne by his grandchildren in the Treaty of Verdun (843), western Switzerland came first to Lotharingia , then to a new kingdom of Burgundy , while eastern Switzerland, as part of the tribal duchy of Swabia, became part of eastern Franconia , the later Holy Roman Empire (German Nation) came. After the acquisition of Burgundy by the Ottonian imperial dynasty (1033), the entire area of today's Switzerland belonged to the Holy Roman Empire.
For the Roman-German emperors, the Alpine passes were of crucial importance for the control of Italy, especially for the trains to Rome on the occasion of the imperial coronations. For this reason, the emperors owned extensive areas in the Alpine region since the early Middle Ages, which they administered directly as imperial property and not as fiefdoms. In addition, various noble families rivaled in the Alpine region, the Zähringer , Kyburger , Lenzburger , Habsburg and Savoyer . Large areas of Switzerland belonged to various church institutions, for example monasteries, foundations or even directly to the bishops. Some of them managed to rise to the prince's status in the High Middle Ages, such as the prince abbots of St. Gallen or the prince-bishops of Basel , Chur , Sitten and Constance .
Formation and growth of the Old Confederation 1291–1515
The extinction of powerful aristocratic families and the disputes between the emperor and the pope favored the independence of the more important cities and valleys of Switzerland in the 13th century. In 1218 Zurich, Bern , Freiburg and Schaffhausen became " imperial cities " after the Zähringers died out ; Uri (1231) and Schwyz (1240) also received the privilege of imperial immediacy . This means that these cities and regions were directly under the emperor or the king and were excluded from the rulership of the local counts. With this, Emperor Friedrich II secured the route from the north over the Gotthard Pass to Italy while he was at war with the Lombard cities, and secured the loyalty of the cities in the fight with Pope Innocent IV. After Friedrich II banned by the Pope in 1245 and for had been declared deposed, Bern, Basel and Zurich also considered Emperor. The end of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and the beginning of the interregnum in the empire also marked the transition to the late Middle Ages for what is now Switzerland . At the same time, around 1230, the Gotthard Pass became a trade route with the construction of the Devil's Bridge . The Bündner passes were still more important, however.
The three forest sites Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden form the core of the Old Confederation . In 1291, following the death of the Roman-German King Rudolf I of Habsburg, they renewed an older alliance, which has been mythologically transfigured since 1891 as the "foundation" of the Old Confederation (→ Federal Letter of 1291 , → Rütli Oath ). In 1309 King Heinrich VII confirmed the imperial immediacy of Uri and Schwyz and now also included Unterwalden; the three forest sites were placed under a royal governor. In more recent research, the privilege of 1309 is viewed as an important step towards the formation of an alliance later, but the importance of the Federal Letter is viewed as overestimated. The core alliance of the three forest sites in what is now Central Switzerland was gradually expanded to include further partners, above all imperial cities in the Swiss plateau between the Rhine and Aare . In particular, the alliances with the imperial cities of Zurich from 1351 and Bern from 1353, after Bern had won the Laupenkrieg in 1339, contributed significantly to the consolidation of power and territorial expansion, as the cities had large subject areas. It was only through the three cities that the Swiss Confederation achieved a stable political significance, which was also tolerated by the European court centers in Vienna, Paris and Milan.
Since the first confrontation in 1315 (→ Battle of Morgarten ), about which little is known and which was only later transfigured in retrospect, there have been repeated conflicts between the noble family of the Habsburgs and the Old Confederation ( Battle of Sempach 1386) which led to the annexation of the Habsburg lands to the left of the Rhine by 1460. At the same time, however, there had always been changing alliances in which parts of the so-called Confederation came to an understanding with the Habsburgs in order to enforce their own expansionist interests. This was one reason for the old Zurich War . Recent research has criticized the fact that source reports have often been taken out of context and interpreted one-sidedly in the sense of national heroic narratives, which has led to a distorted public image of history that still has a political impact today. Rather, the early Confederation was loosely structured and not without role models; It was not until the conquest of Aargau in 1415 that they were forced to cooperate more strongly in order to be able to administer the so-called "common lords".
In the Appenzell Wars from 1401 to 1429, the communities of the Appenzellerland fought against the Prince Abbot of St. Gallen . The Appenzell Wars brought the decisive impetus to the separation of the State of Appenzell from the rule of the Prince Abbey of St. Gallen and the rapprochement with the Confederation.
The expansionist policy of the city of Bern, which in what is now western Switzerland itself was the center of a " Burgundian Confederation ", led the loosely joined Confederation into a first confrontation on a European level with the Burgundian Duke Charles the Bold . The Burgundian Wars ended with a sensational victory for the Confederation over Burgundy and established the good reputation of the Swiss mercenaries . Since then, "Reislauf", military service in foreign wages, has formed an important part of the economy of the Old Confederation, especially in central Switzerland. Internal disputes between countries and towns were settled in 1481 following the Burgundian Wars by the Stans Decree.
After the victory over Burgundy, the Swiss Confederation had become the dominant power in southern Germany. The Swabian nobility, above all the Habsburgs, opposed the growing influence of the Confederates in Central Europe in the Waldshut War of 1468 and in the Swabian War of 1499 in vain. The Swabian War was primarily about implementing the imperial reform of 1495, but actually this was the last attempt by the House of Habsburg to prevail over the Confederates. In the peace treaty at Basel , the German King Maximilian I had to recognize the de facto independence of the Confederation within the Holy Roman Empire . The affiliation of the confederates to the empire remained until 1648. The Swabian War marked the end of the expansion of the Confederation towards the north. In 1513 Appenzell became the last and 13th cantons to join the Old Confederation, which were linked to one another by a complex network of alliances. They ruled common subject areas (→ common rule ) and almost every canton had individual, “individual-town” subject areas, especially the city cantons, in which actually only the city citizens were confederates of equal rank. Around the " XIII-local Confederation " were grouped the associated places , which were connected with the Confederation, but had no say in the only common organ, the daily statute. At that time, areas such as the Valtellina or the city of Mulhouse were still part of the Swiss Confederation. Based on the development at that time, the roots of today's multicultural Switzerland can be reconstructed: Either due to conquests at the time or on a voluntary basis (due to a need for military protection or economic interest), the Romansh-speaking areas were integrated into the confederation.
The Habsburg-French conflict that arose after 1477 about Burgundy and the Duchy of Milan drew the Confederation as the main supplier of mercenaries to both warring parties and as an independent power into a conflict at European level. In the Ennetbirgischen campaigns in the context of the Milan wars between 1499 and 1525 the military importance of the Confederation found both its climax and its end. The campaigns to Italy remained victorious for the time being and brought the Confederation control over Ticino and Valtellina as well as the protectorate over the Duchy of Milan. The beginning of the Reformation divided the various parts of the Confederation even more than before and weakened their position in the Italian disputes between Habsburg, the Pope and France. In 1515 the French King Francis I defeated a federal army near Marignano, which had been decimated by the withdrawal of numerous cantons . The Thirteen Places concluded the Eternal Peace in 1516 and a pay alliance with the Kingdom of France in 1521 and received pensions , tariff and trade privileges and political assistance in internal and external conflicts. In addition, a large part of the Ennetberg area was finally assigned to the Confederation.
In traditional Swiss history, the expansionist phase of the Confederation ends and gives way to a neutrality out of internal weakness. Whether it is possible to speak of neutrality in view of the pay alliances with France is disputed, especially since Vaud was conquered in 1536. The export of Swiss mercenaries through various federal locations continued after 1515 until the final ban in 1859. Since then, the only exception has been the papal Swiss Guard .
Reformation and Counter-Reformation 1519–1712
In Zurich, Ulrich Zwingli began , after surviving the Marignano catastrophe and a plague and now regarded the Bible as the most important measure of decision-making in relation to religion, to reform the church from 1519, which led to the establishment of the Reformed Church . Zwingli preached against the veneration of images, relics and saints, and he was also active against celibacy and the Eucharist . He tried to spread his Reformation throughout Switzerland, as a politician he dreamed of a strengthened Confederation of Reformed faith. An important success for Zwingli was the introduction of the new faith in his hometown of Zurich in 1528. At that time, Zurich was on the side of the Franco-German coalition against Habsburg and the Pope - the introduction of the Reformation should also be seen from this political point of view. Later, the cities of Basel, Schaffhausen and St. Gallen followed the Zurich example, as did Bern. In the estates of Appenzell, Glarus and in the Three Leagues as well as in Thurgau, in the Rhine Valley and in the Prince Abbey of St. Gallen, the Reformation was also largely able to prevail.
The estates in Central Switzerland, which were allied with the Pope and opposed to the city cantons, fought bitterly against the Reformation. Zwingli's politics also contributed to alienating the Central Swiss, as he advocated a strong leadership role for the cities of Bern and Zurich in a politically reformed Confederation and the abolition of mercenaries. In contrast to the trading cities in the Central Plateau, the local elite in central Switzerland was dependent on the lucrative mercenary system.
The disputes between the Catholic and Reformed estates over the spread of the Reformation in the common rulers led to the two Kappel Wars between Zurich and the central Swiss cantons in 1529/31. In the Second Kappel peace , a compromise was found: Religion Highness was awarded the cantons that could decide what should apply to a belief in their territory. In around 1536, for example, Bern introduced the new faith into the newly conquered areas in Vaud . Furthermore, the spread of the Reformation in the common rulers was stopped. Toggenburg was recognized as a religiously mixed area . In the Three Leagues, the choice of religion was left to the judicial communities, which is why a religious patchwork quilt developed. The conflict between the religions there lasted until the 17th century ( Bündner Wirren ).
Geneva was the last city to introduce the Reformation through the influence of Bern in 1541 (a place that has been a part of it since 1526). The local reformer Jean Calvin founded " Calvinism " with his particularly strict interpretation of the Bible . Calvin founded the Geneva Academy in 1559 as a university of the Reformed Faith, which developed Europe-wide influence and made Geneva a “Protestant Rome”. Calvinism spread in France (" Huguenots " is a French transformation of "Confederates"), England (Puritans), Scotland and the Netherlands and from there to America. Only when it came to a head with Calvin did the Reformation gain worldwide importance. While in the Confederation, through the collaboration of the Zurich resident Heinrich Bullinger with Calvin in the Consensus Tigurinus of 1549, an agreement was reached between Reformed and Calvinists on the Last Supper issue, the fronts between Reformed and Lutherans have remained hardened until modern times. Calvinism spread further into the 17th century, especially among the active ruling classes and in the cities of Germany and Eastern Europe. According to Max Weber's controversial thesis of Protestant ethics, the special work ethic of Calvinism is said to have been largely responsible for the later economic success of the Reformed countries. On the Catholic side, Cardinal Matthäus Schiner from Valais should be mentioned as an influential advisor to the young Emperor Charles V , who narrowly failed even with his candidacy for Pope.
The Catholic towns in central Switzerland became the starting point for the Counter-Reformation in the Swiss Confederation in the 16th and 17th centuries . The initial spark of the Counter Reformation was the visitation trip of the Italian Cardinal Karl Borromeo to the Confederation in 1570. The first Jesuit school was opened in Lucerne in 1574 and the Collegium Helveticum was founded in Milan in 1579 , a university for Catholic Swiss priests as defined by the Council of Trent . While the country's first official university was founded in Basel in 1460 (by a papal bull ), it ceased to be a Catholic teaching facility due to its later Protestant affiliation. In 1586 the papal nuncio for the Confederation, Giovanni Francesco Bonomi , settled in Lucerne and the Capuchins were called to Switzerland. The Counter-Reformation caused constant conflicts in the mixed cantons. For this reason, the canton of Appenzell split into two half-cantons in 1597. Until the 17th century, large areas of the Swiss Confederation were regained for the Catholic faith, especially in north-western Switzerland ( Diocese of Basel ) and in eastern Switzerland ( Fürstenland , Uznach , Gaster , Sargans ).
Through the Reformation the Confederation was weakened in the long term, as joint resolutions of the Reformed and Catholic places in the daily statute were practically impossible. The Tagsatzung was a conference of ambassadors from the various federal locations and was the only joint institution with only very limited legislative and executive powers. The Catholic places even contributed to the fact that Reformed places lost territory. For example, an alliance of Catholic towns with Savoy forced Bern and Wallis in 1567/69 to cede the Chablais and Pays de Gex , which they had conquered in 1536, to Savoy again. The complete admission of the allied Reformed cities of Mulhouse, Geneva, Strasbourg and Constance into the Confederation was also prevented by the Catholic towns. Nevertheless, the reformed Geneva was able to assert itself against the Savoyard attacks ( Escalade 1602). The confessional and political division of the Confederation was sealed in 1586 by the Golden League of the seven Catholic cantons. In the Huguenot Wars in France, the confederates fought in different camps depending on their denomination: The Catholics supported Henry III. , later the League , the Reformed Henry of Navarre .
The division of the Confederation in two along the confessional boundaries was somewhat alleviated in 1602 by a pay alliance between the XIII towns without Zurich and France. The focus of European policy with regard to the Swiss Confederation shifted to the Three Leagues , where Spain and France fought for control of the Alpine passes since the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War in 1618. As a result, Graubünden was the only country in the Confederation to be devastated by the Thirty Years' War during the “ Bündner Wirren ” 1618-1641. The XIII localities refused to support the three leagues and were thus not drawn into this war, only Bern and Zurich intervened briefly and unsuccessfully in Graubünden in 1620. The Confederation as a whole remained neutral during the Thirty Years' War (see Naval War on Lake Constance 1632–1648 ), but France - the Catholic towns and Spain - provided mercenaries according to the treaty. The main reasons for the neutrality were the outdated military facilities and the religious division. Any partisanship would have meant the civil war and thus the end of the Swiss Confederation: in 1634 an alliance between Zurich and Bern and Sweden was about to be concluded and the Catholic towns negotiated with Spain, with the Swedish defeat at Nördlingen alone preventing the civil war. In the Defensionale von Wil , the first federal military constitution, the XIII Orte decided in 1647 to adopt armed neutrality . Throughout the war, from the German point of view, Switzerland was a calm island of prosperity and relative peace, surrounded by storms. In economic terms, many areas of Switzerland even benefited from the war, as food prices rose sharply due to the widespread devastation in Germany and Italy.
In the Peace of Westphalia on October 24, 1648, the Swiss cantons obtained their exemption through the representative Johann Rudolf Wettstein in Art. VI IPO or § 61 IPM : a privilege under imperial law with which an imperial estate lost its direct subordination to the emperor and empire and thus its own Was no longer subject to courts. The interpretation and the consequences of this measure was already controversial among contemporaries, but in the 18th century, following the spreading French doctrine of sovereignty, it was generally understood as a separation from the Holy Roman Empire and mainly interpreted as a recognition of sovereignty under international law . Since then, all federal locations have regarded themselves as sovereign states and dealt diplomatically with other European states on an equal footing. The status of the Swiss Confederation under constitutional and international law was consequently described as a sovereign, neutral republic.
The strong aristocratization of the cities in the course of the centralization of sovereignty, the absolutist tendency to exercise power and the economic crisis that followed the “boom” of the Thirty Years' War in Switzerland caused great dissatisfaction in the subject areas of the cities in the Central Plateau, especially among the peasants . In 1653, therefore, the Swiss Peasants' War broke out in the areas ruled by the cities of Bern, Lucerne, Solothurn and Basel , which was brutally suppressed. The war therefore even strengthened aristocratic tendencies and widened the gap between town and country. After the Peasants' War, numerous peasants emigrated to depopulated Germany, where various states attracted immigrants through privileges and financial incentives.
Just a few years after the Peasants' War, the project of a federal reform in 1655 caused the religious dispute to break out again. In the First Villmerger War in 1656, Bern and Zurich tried in vain to forcibly change the Second Kappel Peace in their favor. The victory of the Catholic places in the First Battle of Villmergen on January 24, 1656 once again confirmed the poor position of the Reformed in the common dominions. The internal weakness and division of the Confederation did not call into question the pay alliance with France, which was also renewed with Louis XIV by all localities and friends . From then on, the confederates allowed the recruitment of up to 16,000 mercenaries, in return they received trade benefits and regular high cash payments, so-called "pensions". Later France was also declared the arbitrator for internal conflicts in the Confederation and was given the right to march through Switzerland. Due to its close ties with France, the Swiss Confederation effectively became a French protectorate in the 18th century. Nevertheless, after the Edict of Nantes was repealed in 1685, around 60,000 Huguenots were accepted into Reformed Switzerland. They brought a strong revival of the textile and watch industry in the cities and in the Jura.
The economic upswing in the cities made the military advantage of the provincial towns fade, which is why the reformed cities gained the upper hand in the Second Villmerger War in 1712 , which was triggered by religious tensions in the prince abbey of St. Gallen. In the Peace of Aarau , which was concluded after the Second Battle of Villmergen , the Catholic towns lost their influence in the common lordships of Baden, Free Offices, and Rapperswil, and Bern had to be included in the administration of the lordships of Thurgau, Rheintal and Sargans. The principle of parity , i.e. equal rights for both denominations in the common rulers, ended Catholic supremacy in the Confederation.
Ancien Régime 1712–1798
In the 18th century, the old Swiss Confederation looked like a holdover from the late Middle Ages in view of the centrally ruled monarchies that dominated Europe, as it was by no means a state in the modern sense. Rather, it consisted of a network of sovereign small states that had come together in a loose confederation of states. However, not all areas of Switzerland were equally included in this league. The core was formed by the Thirteen Old Places , which were either urban or rural locations . Zurich, Bern , Lucerne, Freiburg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen and Basel were counted as city places or city republics , while Uri, Schwyz, Glarus, Zug, Obwalden and Nidwalden as well as Appenzell Inner- and Ausserrhoden were counted among the "countries". In addition, there were the subject areas, which were subordinate to the places with full rights and in which a considerable part of the population lived. They were either directly subordinate to one of the 13 places or were administered as common dominions by several places. With the exception of the Appenzell towns, all fully authorized towns had such subject areas, with the majority belonging to the town towns. Bern and Zurich alone account for around two-fifths of the Swiss population. In addition to the thirteen towns and their subject areas, there were also the facing towns of St. Gallen, Graubünden and Valais, which were loosely related to the core. The only common institution of the alliance network functioned the Tagsatzung , in which the fully authorized places were represented with two and the facing places with one ambassador each. Their most important tasks were the administration of the common rulers, foreign policy and defense. However, their power was very limited and decision-making in votes, which required unanimity, was seldom given the envoys instructed by the localities. So it turned out, as was to be shown later, that even when the French marched in, it was unable to offer serious military resistance.
The strengthening of state power based on the French model of absolutism resulted in three types of constitution in the various parts of Switzerland, which combined aristocratic forms and divine right with republican traditions:
- In the cities of Bern, Solothurn, Freiburg and Lucerne the patriciate , the regiment of less long-established families;
- the guild aristocracy in Zurich, Basel and Schaffhausen; it limited the oligarchy of the long-established families through the influence of the guilds;
- Finally, in the rural parishes, a common aristocracy also developed between the old landed gentry and the families who had acquired wealth and nobility thanks to their pay service.
The absolutist tendencies in the exercise of power brought about a whole series of revolts in the affected subject areas in the 18th century, all of which, however, were suppressed with extreme severity by 1798.
Despite European outrage, the maid Anna Göldi was executed in Glarus on June 13, 1782 after the last witch trial in Europe. According to a rough estimate, around 10,000 witch trials took place in what is now Switzerland.
The Enlightenment was able to gain a foothold in the Swiss Confederation, despite the aristocratic tendencies. Albrecht von Haller and Jean-Jacques Rousseau sparked a real enthusiasm for Switzerland and a first wave of tourism through their glorification of the naturalness, simplicity and unspoilt nature of the Swiss Confederation. With his theory of the state, Rousseau also made an important contribution to the later emergence of direct democracy. At the same time, Zurich became "Athens on the Limmat" thanks to a collection of scholars known throughout Europe, such as Johann Jakob Bodmer , Salomon Gessner , Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and Johann Caspar Lavater . The introduction of reason and planning brought, in addition to the improvement of infrastructure and economy, a relaxation of the strict religious discipline in the reformed places and a rapprochement of denominations under the sign of mutual tolerance.
The contemporary poets and scholars created a Swiss national consciousness for the first time by defending the existing or imagined Swiss idiosyncrasies. In 1761/62 these patriotic and enlightening currents manifested themselves in the founding of the Helvetic Society , which campaigned for freedom, tolerance, overcoming class differences and the patriotic solidarity of the confederates. In the second half of the 18th century, literature also discovered the motif of the shared heroic past in front of Marignano, which since then has determined the history of Switzerland as the "battle story" until the late 20th century. By referring back to the common idealized past, the confrontation with the difficult time of confessional tensions could be avoided.
The «French Era»: Helvetic and Mediation 1798–1814
In 1798 the Old Confederation, during the French invasion , was taken over by France resp. Troops of Napoleon Bonaparte occupied and the French model of centralized unitary state Helvetic Republic founded. The cantons (previously independent states) were relegated to administrative units and redistributed along the lines of the French departments . During the “Helvetik” the cantons of Léman , Oberland , Aargau , Waldstätte , Säntis , Linth , Thurgau , Bellinzona , Lugano , Rhaetia , Baden and Fricktal were created. Geneva , Mulhouse and the Jura with Biel came to France; Neuchâtel remained Prussian , but no longer had any connection with Switzerland. The capital of the unified state was initially Aarau . Between 1799 and 1803 there were four coups d'état in the Helvetic Republic (among other things, the Vaudois F. Laharpe wanted to establish sole rule - following Napoleon's example in France), the division of the cantons and the constitution were changed several times.
1802 it came after the withdrawal of the French. Troops to a short civil war (" Stecklikkrieg ") between the Unitarians, who for a central state according to French. Role model came in and the federalists who wanted the old cantons to be restored. However, due to their strong federal traditions, the Unitarians had little support from the population. Only with the intervention of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1803 did Switzerland calm down again. Napoleon gathered the political elite of Switzerland in Paris at the Helvetische Consulta and worked with them to draft the mediation act , a new federal constitution that Napoleon guaranteed. The independence of the cantons was strengthened again, and the unitary state became a confederation . According to the mediation act, the “Swiss Confederation”, the official name of the state, comprised 19 cantons, whose constitutions were also included in the mediation act. The 13 old cantons were restored. The cantons of St. Gallen , Graubünden , Aargau , Thurgau , Ticino and Vaud were added . Because of the strategic importance of the Simplon Pass for France, Valais first became an independent republic and became part of France in 1810.
Switzerland was a vassal state of France until Napoleon's defeat in the Wars of Liberation in autumn 1813. Swiss troops and mercenaries therefore took part both in the war in Spain and in the Russian campaign. In December 1813, the Swiss state created by Napoleon dissolved again under the pressure of the domestic counter-revolution and the advancing troops of the sixth coalition . For a short time there was considerable tension between the old and the new cantons, and Switzerland was facing civil war. It was only under external pressure from the victorious coalition of the great powers that the sovereign cantons, which were only loosely organized in the Federal Association of 1813, moved closer together in the summer of 1814, so that on August 7, 1815, with the newly joining cantons of Geneva , Valais and Neuchâtel, 22 cantons became involved the so-called federal treaty constituted Switzerland again as a confederation of states .
Switzerland as a confederation of states 1814–1847
In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, the internal and external borders of the Confederation were redefined and recognized internationally for the first time. In connection with the settlement of border conflicts, with road construction, with water corrections, the use of hydropower or to simplify the complicated borderline, only a few border corrections were agreed with the neighboring states in the 19th and 20th centuries .
The strengthening of the Confederation through the cession of Geneva, Neuchâtel, Valais and the former Principality of Basel was intended to serve the goal of building a stable buffer between France and Austria. As compensation for the losses of the Vaud and the Aargau, Bern received the areas of the former duchy of Basel including the city of Biel. The northern, catholic part of this area today forms the canton of Jura . However, the acquisition of further areas for Switzerland, such as the area around Geneva, the city of Constance or the Valtellina, failed. In order to free the strategically important Alpine region from France's sphere of influence, in the Second Peace of Paris on November 20, 1815 , the great powers decreed Switzerland to " perpetuate armed neutrality ".
Internally, the Confederation was held together during the Restoration by the " Federal Treaty" of 1815, which replaced the mediation act and allowed the cantons to be largely independent. Defense, coinage and customs sovereignty was again transferred to the cantons. As in the old days, the Swiss Federal Diet , which met annually in the three “ suburbs ” of Zurich, Bern and Lucerne, acted as the central authority . The only permanent institution there was a federal chancellery, which moved to the suburbs every year with the assembly. In the cantons of the Central Plateau, the phase of conservative restoration then culminated in the liberal " regeneration " of 1830/31: the aristocratic supremacy was finally broken and replaced by liberal-democratic systems. However, intra-cantonal tensions arose again during a transition phase under somewhat different circumstances: either liberals fought against Catholic conservatives or "old liberals " (supporters of representative democracy with census suffrage ) against "democrats" (supporters of direct democracy with general equal suffrage).
In April 1815, the Tambora volcano erupted on the island of Sumbawa in what is now Indonesia with a magnitude of 7 on the volcanic explosion index . Huge amounts of ash and sulfur gas were dispersed around the earth by currents of air. The resulting volcanic winter caused bad harvests and famine in Europe. The summer of the following year 1816, popularly known as the " year without a summer ", was the coldest on record . Numerous European countries, including Switzerland, experienced crop failures, famines and economic crises that caused many people to emigrate.
With the Concordat on a common Swiss system of measures and weights of August 17, 1835, the metric system was introduced in Switzerland as the reference (not the measure) system.
In the course of the so-called Napoleon trade , the situation between Switzerland and France came to a head in 1838. Prince Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoleon III), who grew up at Arenenberg Castle in the canton of Thurgau and had Thurgau citizenship, had been back in Switzerland since 1837 after going into exile from France to the USA in 1836. He visited his mother on her death bed. When France demanded his expulsion on August 1, 1838, the Thurgau radicals backed the princes who were popular in the canton. When France again mobilized troops against Switzerland, the liberals throughout the country showed solidarity with Thurgau, the federal troops were also mobilized and even Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins was appointed general. An escalation was ultimately only avoided by Napoleon's voluntary departure.
Due to the ongoing polarization between the liberal (mostly urban-reformed) and the conservative (mostly rural-Catholic) cantons after the free marches, the Catholic cantons of Lucerne , Uri , Schwyz , Unterwalden , Zug , Friborg and Valais formed a special union in 1845 , to protect their interests. As a result, despite the threat of military intervention by the Viennese guaranteeing powers, the liberal majority of the Diet decided to dissolve the Sonderbund by force, which happened in November 1847 under General Henri Dufour .
The Sonderbund War, which lasted only from November 3 to November 28, 1847, was the last armed conflict in Switzerland. According to official information, the Sonderbund War killed 150 people and left around 400 injured. The victory of the liberal cantons paved the way for the centralization and liberalization of the previously loose confederation of more or less democratic individual cantons into a more uniform and tighter parliamentary federal state with a basic federal structure.
Foundation and consolidation of the new Swiss federal state
The new Swiss Federal Constitution came into force in September 1848. An essential feature of this federal constitution was the standardization of measures and coins as well as the abolition of the many internal tariffs, which created a uniform economic area in Switzerland. The Federal Constitution has only been completely revised twice, in 1874 and 1999 ( “total revision” ). The deposition movements in Neuchâtel from the Kingdom of Prussia in 1857 represented a major foreign policy challenge for the young federal state. While the mobilization was underway under General Dufour , the so-called Neuchâtel trade was managed diplomatically at the last moment . Further border occupations took place during the Austro-Italian wars in 1859 and 1866. The controversy about the role of the Swiss mercenaries in Italy finally led to the ban on traditional “ walking tours ” in 1859 . In 1860, the cession of Savoy to France by Sardinia-Piedmont caused another foreign policy crisis, as nationalist-minded circles under the leadership of Federal Councilor Jakob Stämpfli wanted to exercise Switzerland's right to occupy Chablais , Faucigny and parts of the Genevois . A plebiscite in Savoy, however, resulted in a clear majority in favor of joining France. The so-called Savoy trade was settled by the establishment of a free zone around Geneva. In 1870/71 the Franco-German War made it necessary to occupy the border under General Hans Herzog . In February 1871 around 87,000 men of the defeated French " Bourbaki Army " crossed the border in the cantons of Neuchâtel and Vaud under the eyes of the Swiss Army and were interned (→ Switzerland in the Franco-German War ).
The clashes between radicals and conservatives continued after 1848 at the cantonal level. From 1863, a new so-called democratic movement fought for the transition from representative to direct democracy and for economic-social reforms. The democrats received a boost from the increasingly urgent social question as a result of industrialization , which is why the workers' education association Grütli, founded in 1838, and left idealists supported the radical democratic demands. Although individual cantons issued protective provisions for factory workers and children (→ Factory Act of 1864), the workers' problems remained urgent.
In the first half of the 19th century, thousands of "homeless" lived in what is now Switzerland; People who were not citizens of any municipality or corporation. Most of them have already lost their ancestors' rights ; The reasons for this were lack of resources, a "dissolute lifestyle", births outside of wedlock, illegal marriages or religious conversions . The smaller group concerned the travelers . Homeless people were not allowed to settle anywhere and therefore moved from place to place. They were not allowed to marry legally and were excluded from municipal welfare. They lived in abject poverty. The Homeless Act of 1850 laid the basis for the formal legal integration of the homeless into society. By 1878 around 30,000 people were forcibly naturalized, some of them against the resistance of the affected communities. However, the law also aimed to make the traveling lifestyles disappear. A large part of the new citizens or their descendants were able to free themselves from their unfortunate situation and integrated themselves into bourgeois society. Some of the travelers evaded assimilation and continued their life on the country road.
In 1866 Swiss Jews were granted full civil rights and freedom of settlement throughout Switzerland. Complete freedom of belief, however, only followed with the constitutional revision of 1874 (→ Judaism in Switzerland ).
The Democrats gradually fought for constitutional revisions in the cantons. B. in Zurich in 1869 included the introduction of the popular initiative , the mandatory legal referendum and the popular election of the government. After a first failed attempt in 1872, the Federal Constitution was therefore also revised in 1874 in the interests of the Democrats. In addition to the expansion of direct democracy, the new constitution also included a centralization of the defense system and general legal standardization.
In 1873, because of the infallibility dogma of the First Vatican Council, the “ culture war ” between the state and the Catholic Church broke out in Switzerland . It was primarily about the influence of the church in the new liberal- secular state. A smaller part of the Roman Catholic believers split off to form the new Christian Catholic Church . There were strong tensions between the Roman Catholic Church and the liberal cantons in the area of the diocese of Basel , especially in the Catholic northern Jura, which was dominated by the reformed Bern. The Kulturkampf found its expression in the Federal Constitution of 1874, for example in the prohibition of the Jesuit order , in the introduction of civil marriage and the granting of full freedom of religion and worship.
Since the 1870s in particular, Switzerland has become a center of the anarchist tendency in the international labor movement. This included people such as B. Michail Bakunin , Peter Krapotkin or Johann Most , but also unorganized anarchists like the murderer of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary , Luigi Lucheni . A regional focus was the Jura , where many journeyman craftsmen from watchmaking joined the movement. Saint-Imier has been the meeting place for international anarchists since 1872.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the traditional lines of conflict between liberals and conservatives were softened by the rise of the labor movement. In 1888 cantonal workers' parties merged to form the Socialist Party (SP), today's Social Democratic Party . Only a few years later, the conservative and liberal-democratic movements united in parties at the national level: in 1894 the Free Democratic Party (FdP) and the Conservative-Catholic Party (KK), today's Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP), were founded. At that time, federal politics was dominated by clear majorities by the founders of the liberal democratic state, the liberalists. In 1891 the Federal Assembly elected Joseph Zemp from Lucerne as the first Catholic and representative of the moderate wing of the Catholic-conservative movement to the Federal Council. This began the integration of the Conservative Catholic forces, which were defeated in 1848 and 1874, into the state.
Also in the 19th century, on August 9, 1847, in the course of the general industrialization of the country between Zurich and Baden, the first railway line located entirely in Switzerland was opened, which was popularly known as the "Spanish Brötli Railway" . A few years earlier, Basel had already been connected to Strasbourg by a French railway line . The expansion of the Swiss rail network was initially carried out by private rail companies. After serious political and economic disputes over railway construction, many railway companies got into a crisis in the 1870s. Nevertheless, the Gotthard Railway opened in 1882 with financial help from Germany and Italy. After 1898 the railways were nationalized gradually until 1909 and transferred to the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) (→ History of the Swiss Railways ). After the first cantonal postage stamps, Zurich 4 and Zurich 6 , were issued in 1843, the Swiss Post was also founded in 1848 (→ Postal History and Postage Stamps of Switzerland ).
On the initiative of Henry Dunant (1828–1910) from Geneva, the later International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in Geneva in 1863 . Through the Geneva Convention , which all European states joined by 1868, the Red Cross was recognized as an auxiliary service of the army and the medical service was neutralized. As the seat of the Red Cross, Geneva became a metropolis with an international presence and attracted other important international organizations into the 20th century.
On June 14, 1891, the worst railway accident in Switzerland to date (as of 2020) occurred. When münchenstein rail disaster broke under a coming from Basel train law Simplon rail (JS) of the Gustave Eiffel built railway bridge over the Birs below the village Münchenstein together. 73 passengers were killed and 171 injured.
In 1894 the Federal Council introduced a uniform time in Switzerland. The Central European Time CET replaced the various regional time zones.
In economic and social terms, the second half of the 19th century was characterized by the industrialization of the Swiss Central Plateau and a sharp increase in the population. Switzerland went from being an agricultural country to being an industrial country. Up until the First World War, the textile industry in Eastern Switzerland was the leader . In its wake, the machine industry and especially in Basel the chemical industry developed. After the emergence of the electrical industry, the first large European river power plant (→ Altes Wasserkraftwerk Rheinfelden ) was built between Rheinfelden AG and Rheinfelden (Baden) , soon followed by numerous smaller and larger hydropower plants to generate electricity for the textile and aluminum industries, and later also for the Private households and the railways. In agriculture (→ History of Agriculture in Switzerland ), grain cultivation was increasingly abandoned in favor of dairy and cattle farming because of the cheaper imports. Cheese, chocolate and condensed milk became important export goods. Despite the industrial boom, the poor economic conditions forced many Swiss to emigrate to North and South America and Russia. The rural exodus caused strong urban growth, so that the percentage of the urban population in the total population rose from 6.4 to 27.6 percent between 1850 and 1920.
The first Zionist World Congress took place in Basel in 1897 under the direction of Theodor Herzl . In total, the congress took place ten times in Basel before the state of Israel was founded in 1948, more than in any other city in the world.
Since the founding of the federal state, ten federal interventions (with and without the deployment of troops) have taken place in cantons, including on the occasion of the Tonhalle riot in Zurich in 1871, on the occasion of the riots in Göschenen in 1875 and most recently on the occasion of the riots in Geneva in 1932 .
First World War
Switzerland maintained armed neutrality during the First World War . The border occupation took place under General Ulrich Wille . The Schlieffen Plan Deutsche looked before the war front, France via Belgium and attack rather than via Switzerland of time. Although French and Italian plans existed to attack the Central Powers by marching through Switzerland, Switzerland was spared military attacks on their territory.
Almost more dangerous for the continued existence of Switzerland was the political and cultural division of the country along the conflict lines between German and Welsch (→ “ Röstigraben ”) and between bourgeois and socialist. Parts of the German-speaking Swiss population sympathized with the Central Powers (Germany in particular), while France was supported in western Switzerland. In particular, the German - Swiss military elite around General Wille and Chief of Staff Theophil Sprecher von Bernegg were suspected of making pacts with Germany and Austria-Hungary after the “ Obersten Affair ” in western Switzerland .
The people's trust in the Swiss military and politics has repeatedly been shaken by affairs and scandals. In 1917 Federal Councilor Arthur Hoffmann attempted to mediate peace between Russia and Germany. Hoffmann finally had to resign under pressure from the Entente because he was accused of wanting to help Germany relieve pressure on the Eastern Front (→ Grimm-Hoffmann affair ). Throughout the war, Switzerland offered humanitarian services, such as the repatriation of internees from both sides, the organization of the exchange of wounded and the offer of recreational stays for the wounded in health resorts.
Economically, the world war meant a heavy burden for Switzerland and its people. The sharp rise in federal spending caused the debt to grow, so that a one-off war tax was introduced in 1915 and a war profit tax in 1916. In order to ensure the country's supply of coal, food and steel, the Federal Council agreed to the warring parties monitoring foreign trade and granted them larger loans. Only very late, in October 1917, was rationing introduced initially for bread and in March 1918 for fat. Due to the late introduction of rationing and the lack of a wage replacement scheme for the military men and the rising unemployment as a result of the lack of raw materials and foreign demand, poverty increased in Switzerland.
The political parties agreed in August 1914 in a truce , so that at the beginning of the war rested the party disputes. After the international socialist conferences of Zimmerwald (1915) (→ Zimmerwalder Manifesto ) and Kiental (1916) in the canton of Bern, however, the influence of anti-militarist and revolutionary-minded forces within the SP grew strongly. In 1917 the SP decided on a new anti-militarist and revolutionary party program that signaled a clear break with the rest of the party landscape. The worsening social problems strengthened the socialists, especially in the cities. From November 1917 tensions erupted in the form of violent unrest, strikes and demonstrations. The national strike of November 1918 is regarded as the climax of the political confrontation between the "civic bloc", the traditional liberal and conservative forces, and the labor movement. The national strike was put down by the army as an illegal act .
Between 1914 and 1917, the future Russian revolutionary leader Lenin lived as a refugee in Switzerland.
After the war the Austrian tried Vorarlberg , a connection to Switzerland to achieve. In the Paris suburb agreements , Switzerland's neutrality was confirmed again, but Vorarlberg was definitely assigned to Austria and the neutralization of Haute-Savoie was lifted. In 1920, after a referendum, Switzerland joined the League of Nations , which had its seat in Geneva . This marked the beginning of a phase of differentiated neutrality for Switzerland, which means that it took part in economic but not in military sanctions of the League of Nations.
In 1918 and 1919, the Spanish flu was rampant in Switzerland, as in much of the world . According to official statistics, 24,449 people died of the flu in Switzerland between July 1918 and the end of June 1919. This corresponds to 0.62 percent of the total population in 1918. In the absence of a medical reporting requirement, it is assumed that the number of unreported cases is large.
In 1919, the bourgeois Federal Council implemented reforms that largely met the demands of the labor movement, for example the introduction of the 48-hour week. In October 1919, the National Council was determined for the first time by proportional representation , which meant an end to the dominance of liberalism and a strong upswing for the socialists. Regardless of this, at the end of the year the SP decided on a party program that put the SP in clear opposition to the bourgeois-democratic state order. Nevertheless, radical socialists split off from the Swiss Communist Party . As a reaction, the big bourgeois parties formed the “ citizens' bloc ”, which provided the Swiss government during the interwar period and politically isolated the SP at the federal level. Swiss domestic politics in the interwar period was shaped by the growing contradictions between farmers and traders on the one hand and the employees or the parties and organizations that represented them. As a new bourgeois force, the farmers', trade and citizens' party (BGB) was founded in 1918 in the canton of Bern by the farmers' leader Rudolf Minger . Originally as a centrist peasant party, it was in opposition to the existing bourgeois and socialist parties, but was nevertheless integrated relatively quickly into the civic bloc and received a seat of government with Minger's election to the Federal Council in 1929.
After the end of the war, Switzerland suffered its first economic crisis, which hit eastern Switzerland in particular, where the textile industry practically collapsed due to the lack of foreign demand for luxury products. After the economic situation in Germany stabilized in 1924 (after hyperinflation in 1923 and currency reform ), the economy recovered, but in the course of 1930/31 it was also drawn into the maelstrom of the global economic crisis (in and around Germany and Austria the German banking crisis worsened from June 1931 the economic situation). The collapse of exports to almost a third led to a sharp fall in prices and a rise in unemployment. The public sector tried to bring about an end to the crisis at federal, cantonal and municipal level through emergency work, major projects and various other economic policy interventions. The state's price and wage reduction policy even intensified the crisis through its deflationary effect. In the face of the crisis, there was a strong radicalization among the workers. At the end of 1932, 13 workers were killed in the violent military crackdown on workers' protests in Geneva (→ riots in Geneva 1932 ).
As part of the fight against the "Landstreichertum" In 1926 the Fund was Children of the Street of the Pro Juventute established to Yenish children to wrest their parents. The goal was the forced integration of the Yeniche. From 1972 onwards, the federal government reacted to pressure from the media. Another dark chapter in the history of Switzerland in the early 20th century was dealing with so-called contract children . Children from poor or socially difficult backgrounds were usually referred to farmers by the guardianship authorities, who often exploited and / or abused the children as cheap labor. The responsible authorities looked the other way. The practice was not abandoned until the 1970s. At the beginning of the 21st century, the media took up this topic more intensively after it had long been suppressed or tabooed by society. The topic of administrative care was also discussed and worked on. People who did not quite conform to the social norm were locked away without a court order. This practice was also only abandoned after the ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1974.
The ongoing crisis also led to the emergence of a right-wing anti-Marxist national renewal movement in Switzerland, the front movement . After the Nazi regime came to power in Germany, the Swiss renewal movements experienced an upswing in the “ Frontenfrühling ” (spring 1933), but they were unable to post any noteworthy political successes. Despite strong political tensions and a crisis of confidence in the state government, the popular initiative launched by the National Front for a total revision of the federal constitution , which should have brought about a fascist reorganization of Switzerland , failed on September 8, 1935 (note: Dollfuss had one in Austria in March Started in 1933 and continued with Schuschnigg from July 1934, see here ). The fascist-national socialist threat brought the SP and the trade union movement with the bourgeois parties closer together. The SP gave up its role in the opposition and recognized national defense and democracy in a new party program. With a resolution of September 27, 1936, the Federal Council devalued the Swiss franc by 30 percent; this contributed to a recovery in the export economy and an end to the economic crisis. With the peace agreement in the metal and watchmaking industry in July 1937 between employer and employee organizations, the period of social partnership and collective labor agreements began .
In 1938, Romansh was recognized as the fourth national language in two referendums and the Swiss Penal Code was approved (it came into force on January 1, 1942). With him the death penalty was abolished. The last person to be executed after a civil criminal trial was the 32-year-old three-time murderer Hans Vollenweider on October 18, 1940 . During the Second World War, 17 traitors were shot under military criminal law. Since 1999, the death penalty has also been constitutionally prohibited.
After Austria was annexed to the German Reich (March 1938), Switzerland returned to integral neutrality, which was recognized by the League of Nations . Under the impression of German expansion ( armament of the Wehrmacht ), Swiss politicians, scholars and the military reaffirmed Switzerland's intellectual and military will to resist and assert itself. Federal Councilor Hermann Obrecht proclaimed «Anyone who should attack our independence […] will find war waiting! We Swiss will not go on pilgrimages abroad first. " “ Intellectual national defense ” became a formative element of Swiss cultural and intellectual life well into the post-war period .
After the introduction of the Nuremberg Race Laws in Germany, the emigration and flight of German Jews to Switzerland increased (→ Judaism in Switzerland ). In 1938 Germany began to mark passports of Jews with a J stamp ( regulation on passports of Jews ). Switzerland only granted asylum to political refugees (and to those who were not persecuted “on racial grounds”). At the Évian Conference in July 1938, Switzerland also refused to accept a certain contingent of refugees on a permanent basis and insisted on remaining solely a transit country , which is why only emigrants were allowed to enter Switzerland who could prove that they could continue their journey as soon as possible. In response, the Jewish National Councilor David Farbstein resigned in 1938 .
Second World War
After the outbreak of the Second World War , Switzerland again invoked armed neutrality and ordered the general mobilization of the army under General Henri Guisan, Commander-in-Chief . The parliament, citing a state of emergency and applying extra- constitutional emergency law , granted the Federal Council extensive powers that were actually unconstitutional (see state of emergency ) to take direct measures to defend Switzerland and its economic interests, which only had to be approved by the legislature afterwards (→ Power of attorney regime ). During the German invasion of France, the German Wehrmacht in La Charité-sur-Loire came across secret plans that revealed Swiss and French agreements in the event of a German attack on Switzerland. On May 10, 1940, the army triggered the second general mobilization . During the French campaign , around 42,000 French and Polish soldiers fled to Switzerland in early June 1940 and were interned until 1941, some of which were then returned to France. After the French defeat, General Guisan implemented the Réduit Plan to further defend Switzerland, which was now completely enclosed by the Axis powers . In the event of a German invasion, the Central Plateau and its civilian population would have been surrendered and the resistance would have been concentrated on the Alpine massif.
At times, the Axis powers planned the invasion of Switzerland ( Operation Tannenbaum ) in general staff simulation games . In this context, with Wilhelm Gustloff, who was later murdered, Rorschach laid the foundations for National Socialist policy in Switzerland. Switzerland was largely spared from military activity during the Second World War, but not entirely untouched. In addition to German airspace violations in the first phase of the war, the Allied bombing war led to constant overflights and accidental bombing of Swiss cities and villages until the end of the war, also because Switzerland introduced the blackout under pressure from the Axis powers. Swiss territory was bombed 77 times, killing 84 people. The most serious incident, with 40 dead, over 100 injured and the loss of cultural assets, was the bombing of Schaffhausen on April 1, 1944.
During the Second World War, Switzerland hosted a total of just under four million people in need of protection for a shorter or longer period of time. These included various categories such as interned military personnel (103,000), temporarily admitted border refugees (67,000), children on recreational leave (60,000), civil refugees (approx. 51,000, of which approx. 21,000 were of Jewish descent ), Emigrants (10,000) and political refugees (250). In view of the precarious supply situation, the acceptance of refugees was controversial in politics and the population. In this context, Federal Councilor Eduard von Steiger coined the political catchphrase “the boat is full”. From 1942, the Federal Council ordered tightened measures against illegal border crossings. Since the Swiss asylum law only recognized refugees for political reasons, Jewish refugees who tried to leave Germany or its sphere of influence “on racial grounds” were refused entry to Switzerland. Jews were only recognized as political refugees in July 1944. According to recent investigations, around 24,398 refugees were turned away at the border. A study in Geneva has shown, however, that despite the theoretically closed border, 86 percent of the “illegal” refugees were admitted.
In 1942 homosexual acts were legalized in Switzerland. (→ History of homosexuality in Switzerland ).
In contrast to the First World War, from 1939 the social burden of active service of the military men was dampened by the introduction of the wage and earnings replacement system, so that social unrest did not materialize. Nevertheless, in the parliamentary elections in 1943, the SP became the strongest faction in the National Council with 56 seats. The election of the Social Democrat Ernst Nobs to the Federal Council seals the integration of the SP into the Swiss party system and the end of the party struggles between the civic bloc and the socialists.
Public opinion was controlled by the censors ( press and radio communication department ), and extremist and subversive propaganda was banned. 1940 were Communist Party of Switzerland and the National Movement of Switzerland banned. Numerous Swiss and foreigners were arrested during the war for espionage for Germany. A total of 33 men were sentenced to death during active service for treason, with only 17 judgments being carried out. Numerous other people were sentenced to prison, expatriated or deported. The deployment of troops against the Steiner uprising of 1942 is considered to be the largest military security service in World War II.
Between 1933 and 1945 around 1,000 Swiss citizens suffered in the Nazi concentration camps, at least 200 of whom died. No violent confrontation has claimed more Swiss lives in the last 200 years. Many victims could have been helped if official Switzerland had done more for them. In the last years of the war, Germany showed a keen interest in exchanging large numbers of Swiss prisoners for Germans imprisoned in Switzerland. But official Switzerland did not take the chance. The Swiss authorities did not want to advocate an exchange of criminals and those «who had carried out an activity which is also criminalized in Switzerland or which at least seems to be detrimental to Swiss interests (such as espionage against Germany in favor of third countries, Participation in the resistance movement in France, communist activities) ». Swiss people who had actively campaigned against the Nazi dictatorship could not expect any help. (→ Swiss in Nazi concentration camps )
Thanks to the early economic preparation and the rapid introduction of rationing, as well as the “cultivation battle”, the Federal Council was able to ensure that Switzerland was supplied with food (→ Elections plan ). The high financial burdens on the federal budget made it necessary to levy one-off additional taxes and finally, in 1941, to introduce a military tax on income and assets, which still exists today as a direct federal tax. After Switzerland was completely encircled by the Axis powers, the Federal Council was forced to conclude an economic agreement with Germany to regulate the exchange of coal, steel and other war-essential goods. Switzerland had to grant Germany loans in excess of one billion francs. Despite the blockade, Switzerland was still able to supply the Allies with precision instruments that were essential for the war effort. The Allies kept "black lists" since 1939 in order to force the Swiss machine industry to stop exporting to Germany. In March 1945, Switzerland and the Allies agreed in the Currie Agreement to end Swiss exports to Germany and to partially surrender German assets. In the Washington Agreement of 1946, Switzerland finally granted the Allies the confiscation of all German property in Switzerland. The dispute over the so-called looted gold , which had come to Switzerland via the German Reichsbank, was ended with the payment of 250 million francs. After that, the Allies lifted all economic and financial measures against Switzerland. In the same year Switzerland and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations after the relationship had been heavily burdened for 23 years due to the Conradi affair . Between 1952 and 1971 the Federal Republic of Germany repaid CHF 650 million of the war debt to Switzerland. Switzerland's role in World War II was last revised in the 1990s by the Bergier report .
Over 2000 Swiss National Socialists fought in the German Waffen SS during the war . Between October 1944 and February 1945 the Swiss Johannes Pauli (1900–1969) was deputy camp leader in the Bisingen concentration camp . At the end of the war, Pauli fled to Switzerland, where he was arrested in Basel and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The fact that Swiss citizens war crimes in the service of the Nazis committed, was from the German historiography previously worked almost entirely inadequate and the Swiss historiography. Johannes Pauli was found guilty and convicted as only one of four war criminals in Swiss history.
Switzerland in the post-war period and during the Cold War
In its long tradition during the Cold War, Switzerland saw itself as politically and militarily neutral, but ideologically it clearly belonged to the liberal-western camp. For reasons of neutrality, Switzerland did not join the UN or NATO. The European seat of the UN remained in Geneva after the dissolution of the League of Nations. The superpowers USA and Soviet Union assessed this attitude negatively in 1945, nevertheless they tried to formally resume diplomatic relations, which was reflected in the conclusion of the Washington Agreement . With Resolution 11 of November 15, 1946, the Security Council laid down the conditions for Switzerland to join the International Court of Justice , which it finally joined on July 28, 1948. In the immediate post-war period in particular, undestroyed Switzerland was an important factor in Central Europe both economically and militarily. The beginning of the Cold War led, particularly since 1951, to the armament and modernization of the Swiss army, which was driven forward at great expense. Conscription in the militia army lasted for all Swiss fit for duty from the age of 20 to 50 (army reform 60). The first steps towards nuclear armament were taken by 1967, when Switzerland was regarded as an emerging nuclear country. With the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1969, Switzerland voluntarily gave up the nuclear option. In the post-war period, intellectual national defense was directed against the danger of the country being occupied by the Warsaw Pact troops and against communist infiltration of Switzerland. For this reason, around 13,000 Hungarians were accepted during the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and around 12,000 Czechoslovakians during the Prague Spring in 1968 , who fled the Soviet intervention in their countries. The neutrality of Switzerland favored the so-called “ good offices ” of Switzerland, so that repeated international peace conferences were held in Switzerland, mostly in Geneva, for example the 1954 Indochina conference or the regular summit meetings of the superpowers.
The federal popular initiative “Return to direct democracy” was launched in 1946 after it became apparent that the Federal Council no longer wanted to move away from the so-called power of attorney , which it and Parliament had claimed during the Second World War as a result of the war and economic crisis. It was narrowly approved in the referendum on September 11, 1949. This popular initiative indirectly ensured that the Federal Assembly repealed the last powers of attorney by the end of 1952.
In 1952, the Civil Rights Act was amended so that Swiss women who married a foreigner did not automatically lose Swiss citizenship . There have always been cases in which expatriated Swiss women were deported to their husbands' often foreign country because of poverty or illness. In some documented cases, the women were even murdered in Nazi concentration camps.
In 1969 Pope Paul VI visited. Switzerland. It was the first Pope's visit since 1418. At that time, Pope Martin V, newly elected at the Council of Constance , traveled through the Confederation to Rome.
Because Switzerland did not want to join the European Economic Community (EEC) for political reasons, it founded the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1960 together with Denmark , Norway , Austria , Portugal , Sweden and the United Kingdom . In 1961, Switzerland was one of the founding members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). On May 6, 1963, Switzerland also joined the Council of Europe . In 1970, the Federal Council took the first steps towards European integration in Switzerland, which in 1972 resulted in a free trade agreement with the EEC . In the same year, Switzerland also signed the European Convention on Human Rights . In 1973 she joined the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Economically, Switzerland experienced an unprecedented boom after 1945 that lasted into the 1970s. During this time, exports increased almost tenfold. With a steadily increasing population, the face of Switzerland changed due to heavy construction activity and increased mobility of the population. The central plateau between Geneva and Lausanne and between Bern and Zurich and St. Gallen in particular lost its rural character due to the urban sprawl. The growing energy demand was met by the construction of five nuclear power plants (→ nuclear energy by country (section Switzerland) ) and the expansion of hydropower generation, etc. a. satisfied by the construction of numerous reservoirs (→ List of reservoirs in Switzerland ). Economic development, particularly in the service sector, led to a sharp increase in private incomes and general prosperity. The expansion of the welfare state (introduction of old-age and survivors' insurance (AHV) in 1947 , disability insurance (IV) in 1959 ) and the reduction of working hours with simultaneous strong economic growth ensured social peace in Switzerland until the 1990s .
Since the 1960s, economic growth made it necessary to import “cheap” labor from abroad for the construction and tourism industries. The proportion of the foreign resident population rose between 1960 and 1970 from 10 percent to 17.5 percent, the Italians being the largest group of immigrants, as Italy had signed a contract with Switzerland in 1948 to place Italian workers. Since the end of the boom in the 1970s, fears of foreign infiltration have made themselves felt among parts of the population. Several attempts to limit the number of foreigners in Switzerland through so-called “foreign infiltration initiatives” ( James Schwarzenbach ) failed in the referendum. The Federal Council tried to prevent the permanent settlement of the so-called " guest workers " by enforcing the seasonal statute established in 1934, but only created cases of social hardship and hindered the rapid integration of migrants.
At the end of the 1950s, car traffic increased sharply in Switzerland. The existing road network was no longer sufficient for the increased volume of traffic. The law on a national road network passed by parliament in 1960 gave the federal government the authority to build national roads.
In 1969 and 1970, Switzerland was suddenly targeted by Palestinian terrorists . On February 18, 1969 four opened Fatah - bombers on the Zurich airport fire on a plane of the Israeli airline El Al . The copilot and an attacker died in the attack (→ attack in Kloten ). On February 21, 1970, the Swissair flight 330 crashed after a package bomb exploded near Würenlingen . All 47 people on board died. The attack by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was actually aimed at the Israeli airline El-Al. The series of attacks culminated in September 1970 with the hijacking of three passenger planes from Switzerland, the USA and Great Britain with more than 300 hostages to Jordan. The 143 passengers and 12 crew members of Swissair Flugs SR100, like all the other hostages, were released. Then the terrorists blew up the planes. In 2016, a journalist for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung published the thesis that the then foreign minister, Federal Councilor Pierre Graber , with the mediation of Jean Ziegler , had concluded a secret standstill agreement with the then openly terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization ( PLO). From now on, Switzerland should be spared further terrorist attacks. In return, Switzerland campaigned for the diplomatic recognition of the PLO at the UN headquarters in Geneva. The prosecution of a Palestinian suspect of the attack on Swissair flight 330, which left 47 dead, was discontinued by the judiciary for reasons that are still unknown. In 1995, the then Federal Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte opened the case again despite the statute of limitations, but closed the case again in 2000 (→ Palestinian terrorist attacks of 1969 and 1970 against Switzerland ).
The introduction of women's right to vote and suffrage at the federal level failed for the first time in a referendum in 1959. However, Vaud and Neuchâtel introduced it at cantonal level in the same year, while Basel-Stadt was the first canton to introduce it in German-speaking Switzerland. In 1971, in a referendum (of the Swiss men), women’s right to vote was accepted after decades of struggle. At the cantonal level, the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden last admitted women to the rural community in 1991 under pressure from the federal court . After political equality in 1981, women were also granted legal rights at the social level. In 1984 Elisabeth Kopp (FDP) was the first woman to be elected to the Federal Council.
The almost uninterrupted economic growth since 1950 came to an abrupt end in autumn 1973 due to the oil price crisis and, as in most industrialized countries, surprisingly gave way to an economic crisis. Large parts of the world economy were affected by it. However, the crisis was more pronounced in Switzerland than in the other OECD countries. In 1975 the gross domestic product fell by almost 7 percent in real terms. The oversized construction industry and the textile industry were particularly hard hit, as was mechanical and apparatus engineering. The watch industry, which is so important for export and long failed to recognize the importance of the quartz watch , was in dire straits. In addition to falling demand, the export economy also suffered from the strong Swiss franc. The oil price shock drove the already high annual inflation in Switzerland in December 1973 to almost 12 percent.
It was not until 1975 that voters, with a large majority, introduced “unrestricted freedom of settlement” for Swiss citizens throughout the country. Until then, the cantons were able to bring welfare recipients back to their home town .
Domestically, Switzerland has been shaped by the concordance reached between the leading parties since 1959 , which manifested itself in the so-called magic formula in the distribution of Federal Council seats . The Concordance only got into a crisis after the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the rise of the right-wing conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP), which in 2003 led to the magic formula being blown up. In the post-war period, the population's trust in the authorities was repeatedly tested by political affairs and scandals, such as the Mirage affair in 1964 and the Fichenskandal in 1989 and the P-26 uncovering in 1990 . In 1949, the voters refused to allow the Federal Council to continue the power of attorney by extending the optional referendum to include urgent federal resolutions.
In 1968 (→ 1968 movement ) and 1980 (→ youth riots in Switzerland ), the international youth movement led to clashes between young people and the authorities and sometimes bloody riots, especially in Zurich. Politically and socially, the old elites were replaced and spiritual national defense broke up, but at the same time a conservative counter-movement emerged in the bourgeois parties. A striking socio-political dispute arose in this context in 1989 on the occasion of the vote brought about by the Group for a Switzerland without an Army (GSoA) on the abolition of the Swiss army ("Army Abolition Initiative"). Despite the strong commitment of politicians, authorities and the army to keep the army, 35.6 percent of those entitled to vote approved the initiative. Together with the tremors of the Fichen affair, the controversy over the army brought about the final end of spiritual national defense.
At the Geneva Summit Conference (1985) the President of the United States Ronald Reagan and the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev met in Switzerland.
Between 1980 and 1989, 21 children disappeared in Switzerland, 14 of whom were found abused and murdered. 7 children, including Sarah Oberson , are still missing, despite intensive searches, to this day (as of 2020). Werner Ferrari was arrested in August 1989 and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995 by the Baden District Court for five murders. In 2007 he was acquitted in one of the cases. With the arrest, the series of missing children ended. The faces of the missing children in the police photos were burned into the collective memory of two generations, that of their parents and that of the children of that time.
Switzerland in the 1990s
The Federal Council repeatedly failed when it tried to end Switzerland's political self-isolation. In 1986 the electorate rejected Switzerland's accession to the UN and in 1992 also to the European Economic Area (EEA). Despite growing opposition from right-wing bourgeois circles, the Federal Council stuck to its European integration course and in the same year submitted a request for Switzerland to join the EU in Brussels. The rise of the Swiss People's Party (SVP), which was the only party in the Federal Council to oppose European integration, and the negative mood among the people pushed the Federal Council to take the “bilateral path”. Without formal accession, Switzerland implemented EU law autonomously and twice agreed with the EU in bilateral agreements on partial integration of Switzerland into the EU internal market and the liberalization of passenger and freight traffic.
The 1990s were also characterized by a long-term economic crisis and low economic growth, which resulted in a sharp rise in public debt. At the same time, the cantons and communes found themselves exposed to intense tax competition, which largely ruled out tax increases. The decline of the Swiss machine and textile industry led to deindustrialization, particularly in eastern Switzerland, which has continued to the present day, for example in the canton of Glarus and the canton of St. Gallen. For the first time since the Second World War, unemployment rose again for a long time to over four percent. The industrial workers were particularly hard hit. Only the international economic boom around the turn of the millennium brought an end to the crisis. Whether Switzerland's non-accession to the EEA or the EU, the failed economic policy of the federal government or the monetary policy of the National Bank were decisive for the long crisis is still politically controversial today.
During the 1990s, Switzerland took in numerous refugees from various international conflict regions, in particular from Sri Lanka, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia. During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995) Switzerland took in almost 30,000 asylum seekers; during the Kosovo conflict (1998/99) it was around 53,000. The significant influx of people from rural areas of Southeast Europe led to socio-political tensions, especially because of the difficult cultural integration of the refugees.
The defense policy debate about the future of the Swiss army continued in the 1990s. In 1993 the GSoA narrowly failed in a referendum with its motion to forego the cost-intensive procurement of new F / A-18 combat aircraft . Although the army regained confidence through the first army reform in 1995 , the structural crisis that broke out with the end of the Cold War and the elimination of the real threat scenarios was only partially overcome with the XXI Army Reform. Since the end of the 1990s, the continuation of the militia or a professionalization of the army was up for debate.
In the attack on Luxor on November 17, 1997 in Deir el-Bahari , an archaeological excavation site in Egypt , 62 people, including 36 tourists from Switzerland , died in a hail of bullets from Islamic terrorists from the Gamaa Islamija group .
On September 2, 1998, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 crashed into the Atlantic on Swissair Flight 111 from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Geneva off Peggy's Cove , Canada , after a cable fire in the on-board electronics. In the worst accident of Swissair , all 215 passengers and 14 crew members were killed, including 49 Swiss.
After a referendum on September 10, 2002, Switzerland became one of the last internationally recognized states to join the United Nations (UNO). (→ Switzerland in the United Nations ). Joining the UN had recently only been fought by right-wing conservative forces around the SVP .
On December 10, 2003, Christoph Blocher , the leading figure of the SVP, was elected to the Federal Council in place of Ruth Metzler ( CVP ) . The last time a ruling official was not re-elected occurred in 1872. This ended the phase of political concordance in the Bundesrat that had been going on since 1959 and made way for increased polarization between the parties. Formally, however, the concordance was preserved even with the new composition of the state government. The "deselection" of Christoph Blocher as Federal Councilor on December 12, 2007 through a previous agreement between the center-left groups, CVP, SP and the Greens , clearly revealed the disagreement among the Federal Council parties. The SVP no longer saw itself represented by the moderate SVP politician Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf , who was newly elected to replace Blocher , and announced that it would increasingly oppose the state government. The effects of this implementation of the opposition while maintaining representation in the government on national politics remained modest, however, but led to strong internal party tensions and ultimately to the split of the Civil Democratic Party (BDP) from the SVP.
Since the two SVP Federal Councilors Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Samuel Schmid joined the BDP, the SVP was no longer represented in the Federal Council until Samuel Schmid resigned at the end of 2008. Since then, she has managed to win back a Federal Council post with former party president Ueli Maurer, but the attack on the seat of Federal Councilor Widmer-Schlumpf held by the BDP on the occasion of the general election in 2011 failed. Since Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf announced her resignation at the end of 2015, the SVP was able to enter the general election of December 9, 2015 with a claim to a second seat . The Vaudois Guy Parmelin prevailed in the third ballot and thus the SVP again has two seats in the Federal Council.
The parliamentary elections in 2011 mostly confirmed the expectations. The relatively new parties of the Green Liberals and the BDP were definitely able to establish themselves at the national level and increased the share of voters and seats the most. All other parties lost shares of the vote, most of them the FDP and the SVP. The SVP's disproportionate loss of seats and the SP's gain in seats are explained by the proportional representation system and the Council of States elections, which went very badly for the SVP. The following shifts result in the United Federal Assembly: SVP −10 seats (new 59 seats), SP +5 (57), FDP −6 (51), CVP −5 (41), Greens −5 (17), GLP + 10 (14), BDP +10 (10). In the Federal Council, an alliance of the center-left parties SP, CVP and BDP has a majority with four seats after the SVP failed in the general renewal elections with its attack on Federal Councilor Widmer-Schlumpf. Even after the elections, the SVP continued to oppose European politics, foreigner politics and migration issues. For example, against the recommendation of the government and parliament, it was able to win over the electorate for the acceptance of popular initiatives that aim to automatically expel criminal foreigners ( deportation initiative ) and to restrict immigration through quotas. With the “ termination initiative ” submitted in August 2018, the SVP wants to attack the bilateral agreements with the EU directly for the first time.
The narrow acceptance of the mass immigration initiative on February 9, 2014 was followed by a lengthy domestic and foreign policy crisis. The initiative called for immigration to Switzerland to be regulated through quotas, which called the continued existence of the bilateral agreements with the EU into question. Switzerland then refused, referring to the vote, to extend the free movement of people to the new EU member Croatia, whereupon the EU suspended negotiations with Switzerland about participation in the Horizon 2020 research program and the Erasmus + student exchange . Switzerland was thus treated as a third country in these programs. It was not until the end of 2016 that the parties agreed, in the face of fierce resistance from the SVP, to implement the initiative that was compatible with the agreement on the free movement of persons. This implementation in the sense of a job registration requirement was accepted by the EU and Switzerland extended the free movement of people to Croatia on January 1, 2017.
Relations between Switzerland and the EU have been shaped since 2017 by negotiations to conclude a framework agreement for the bilateral agreements . This is intended to form an institutional umbrella for the existing and possible new market access agreements as well as to regulate the ongoing adjustment and uniform interpretation of the agreements as well as the settlement of legal disputes. As early as 2012, the EU decided not to conclude any new market access agreements with Switzerland without a solution to these issues. The corresponding negotiating mandate was already approved by the Federal Council on December 18, 2013, but the negotiations dragged on from their official start on May 6, 2014 until December 2018. The final negotiated agreement, however, was not signed by the Federal Council, it is the subject matter broad consultation among parties, associations and cantons. The focus of the discussion are the areas of wage protection, adoption of EU law and the question of arbitration in disputes with the EU. The EU expects Switzerland to provide an official statement on the framework agreement by June 2019.
In September 2001, an assassination attempt by a gunman in the parliament of the canton of Zug left 15 people dead. One month later, one of the biggest economic collapses in Swiss history happened: The Swissair aircraft fleet had to remain on the ground due to bankruptcy (commonly referred to as grounding in Switzerland ), and one year later the company finally had to cease operations. Remnants of the airline went into the new company Swiss .
In the summer and autumn of 2002, the state exhibition Expo.02 took place in the three-lake landscape around Lake Biel , Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Murten . The venues for the Arteplages (French: «Art Beaches») were Biel / Bienne , Yverdon-les-Bains , Neuchâtel , Murten and a mobile platform on the three lakes themselves, the Arteplage mobile du Jura . Each of the venues was devoted to an overarching theme, so Yverdon to the emotional level, Biel to science, Murten to art and culture, etc. The expo made waves in advance because of a messed up financial planning, but was able to record visitor records in the last few weeks.
For the first time since 1954, a major sporting event took place in Switzerland in cooperation with Austria in the summer of 2008 , the European Football Championship . In Switzerland, the venues were (stadiums in brackets): Basel ( St. Jakobspark ), Bern ( Stade de Suisse ), Zurich ( Letzigrund ) and Geneva ( Stade de Genève ). The St. Jakobspark in Basel had 42,500 seats and thus received the largest number of spectators in Switzerland.
While the economic upswing at the turn of the millennium was short-lived, the Swiss economy was able to achieve strong economic growth averaging 3 percent again from 2004 to 2008. The highest growth was registered in 2007 with +3.8 percent. As a result of the subprime crisis, there was also a brief recession in Switzerland in 2009 (–1.9%), which was replaced by a renewed growth phase in 2010 (+3%). Overall, Switzerland weathered the effects of the financial crisis and the Swiss franc shock in 2015 surprisingly well and has achieved average GDP growth of 1.4% since 2008. However, this was mainly due to immigration, which is why GDP growth per capita only reached 0.3%. In 2014, Switzerland was one of the very first countries to sign a free trade agreement with the People's Republic of China .
Economists and politicians also see the recovery of the Swiss economy in connection with the free movement of persons with the EU, which was introduced in 2002 , thanks to which numerous well-trained specialists from the EU, especially from Germany, have been able to immigrate to Switzerland. Switzerland is one of the few countries in Europe to show population growth due to positive net migration (2012: +84,398 people or +1.1%). The share of the permanent foreign resident population in the total population rose from around 15 percent in 1980 (0.9 million people) to over 25 percent at the end of 2017 (2.1 million people). In the same period, the permanent resident population grew from around 6.3 million to 8.48 million (2017). The Federal Statistical Office expects the population to reach the limit of 8.5 million in 2019.
On May 21, 2017, the Swiss population approved the Energy Strategy 2050 with 58.2% yes-votes. As a result, the construction of new nuclear power plants is prohibited. Furthermore, renewable energies and the more efficient use of energy are to be promoted (see measures of the Energy Strategy 2050 ).
Another, gloomy capital of Swiss history of the 20th century, in addition to the affairs about the children of the Landstrasse , the contract children and those who were administratively cared for , was only partially dealt with in an expert report in 2019. In many psychiatric clinics in the country, but especially in the Münsterlingen Psychiatric Clinic , illegal drug trials were carried out on more than 3,000 people between 1940 and 1980. Over 30 people died for reasons that were never clear. Psychiatry professor Roland Kuhn was in charge of the experiments . The pharmaceutical companies Geigy, Ciba, Ciba-Geigy (after the merger), Sandoz (all now Novartis ), Hoffmann-La Roche, Wander and, in one case, the US company Wyeth were the suppliers of the drugs and beneficiaries of the trials .
According to a study from 2020, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences , a baby out who in the eighties and nineties, around 700 Swiss couples Sri Lanka adopted . Many of the children have been put up for adoption with fake identities. Some of the children were also stolen from their birth parents or conceived on a “baby farm” especially for parents from Europe. The Federal Office of Justice has had the circumstances of the adoptions dealt with under pressure from the children affected, who are now adults. According to the study, the Swiss authorities had known about child trafficking since 1981 and collectively looked the other way.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic , the Federal Council banned events with more than 1000 visitors at the end of February 2020. Therefore u. a. the Engadin Skimarathon , the Geneva Motor Show and the Basel Carnival will all be canceled. On March 16, 2020, the Federal Council declared the “extraordinary situation” in accordance with the Epidemics Act. So u had to a. all shops (except grocery stores), restaurants, bars as well as entertainment and leisure establishments will be closed. Public and private events were banned. Schools and universities have had to switch to distance learning. Pursuant to a decision of the Federal Council of up to 8000 members of the Swiss army in the assistance service to be mobilized to assist the civil authorities. This is the largest group of troops in the Swiss Army since the Second World War. It is the first time since the Second World War that the Federal Council has governed with emergency law for a long time .
Timeline of major events
Anniversary celebrations and national events
- 1891: 600th anniversary
- 1991: 700 years of the Swiss Confederation
In addition to the anniversary celebrations, the Swiss national exhibitions and federal festivals such as the federal wrestling and alpine festivals and the Unspunnen festival are or were of national identity-creating importance.
Order of entry of the cantons into the Confederation
Uri Schwyz Unterwalden
St. Gallen Graubünden Aargau Thurgau Ticino Vaud
Valais Neuchâtel Geneva
General recent literature:
- Georg Kreis : Switzerland. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Marco Marcacci: Swiss Confederation. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Chronicle of Switzerland . (Red. Christian Schütt / Bernhard Pollmann). Chronicle, Dortmund / Ex Libris, Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-7178-0026-4 .
- History of Switzerland and the Swiss. 4th edition. Schwabe, Basel 2006, ISBN 3-7965-2067-7 .
- Handbook of Swiss History (collaborator: Hanno Helbling et al.). 2 volumes. Zurich 1972/1977, ISBN 3-85572-021-5 .
- Historical lexicon of Switzerland . Schwabe, Basel 2002–2014.
- Ulrich Im Hof : The Swiss Myth. Identity - Nation - History 1291–1991 . NZZ, Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-85823-270-X .
- Ulrich Im Hof: History of Switzerland. With an afterword by Kaspar von Gruyères . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-17-019912-5 .
- Georg circle (ed.): The history of Switzerland. Schwabe, Basel 2014, ISBN 978-3-7965-2772-2 .
- Thomas Maissen : History of Switzerland . Hier + now, Baden 2010, ISBN 978-3-03919-174-1 .
- Thomas Maissen: Swiss hero stories - and what's behind them. Hier + Jetzt, Baden 2015, ISBN 978-3-03919-340-0 .
- Otto Marchi : Swiss history for heretics or the wonderful emergence of the Swiss Confederation . Praeger, Zurich 1971 / Zytglogge, Bern 1981 / Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 1985, ISBN 3-85869-035-X .
- Bruno Meier : From Morgarten to Marignano. What we know about the creation of the Swiss Confederation. Hier + Jetzt, Baden 2015, ISBN 978-3-03919-233-5 .
- Helmut Meyer u. a .: Switzerland and its history . Lehrmittelverlag des Kantons Zürich , Zürich 1998, ISBN 3-906719-96-0 .
- Volker Reinhardt : History of Switzerland. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-53601-8 .
- Peter Stadler : Epochs in Swiss History . Orell Füssli, Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-280-06014-1 .
- Jakob Tanner : History of Switzerland in the 20th Century. Beck, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-406-68365-7 .
Atlases and maps
- Hektor Ammann , Karl Schib (Ed.): Historical Atlas of Switzerland . Sauerländer, Aarau 1958.
- Jörg Rentsch, Dominik Sauerländer (eds.): Putzger. Historical world atlas - Swiss edition . Cornelsen, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-464-64404-9 .
- Historical-biographical lexicon of Switzerland. Administration of the Historical-Biographical Lexicon of Switzerland, Neuchâtel 1921–1934.
- Anton von spokesman, Markus Lutz : Complete geographic-statistical hand-lexicon of the Swiss Confederation . HR Sauerlaender, 1856 ( Google eBook ).
Johannes Stumpf : Common praiseworthy Eydgnoſ creates Stetten Landen vnd Völckeren Chronik will bechreybung […] . 2 vols. Zurich: Christoph Froschauer 1547/48 ( digitized version), books 4–13.
- The two-volume chronicle is divided into thirteen books:
- 1st book: Europe
- 2. Book: Germany ( Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation )
- 3rd book: France
- 4th book: History of Switzerland from Julius Caesar to the establishment of the Confederation (according to Stumpf 1314) with a geographical overview.
- 5th - 12th Book: Description of the Swiss districts and places .
- 13th book: History of Switzerland from the founding of the Confederation (1314) to the present.
- Facsimile edition: Winterthur: Schellenberg 1975. Edition: Ed .: Gagliardi, Müller, Büsser. Basel: Birkhäuser 1952–1955 (= sources on Swiss history. Section 1, Chronicles, N. F., 5–6).
- The two-volume chronicle is divided into thirteen books:
- Factual issues
- Historical Association of the Five Places (ed.): Central Switzerland and the early Confederation. Anniversary publication 700 years of the Swiss Confederation. 2 volumes. Olten 1990.
- In the eye of the hurricane. Federal power elites and the Thirty Years War. Edited by André Holenstein, Georg von Erlach and Sarah Rindlisbacher. Hier + Jetzt, Baden 2015, ISBN 978-3-03919-366-0 .
- Roger Sablonier : Founding time without confederates. Politics and society in Central Switzerland around 1300. Hier + Jetzt, Baden 2008, ISBN 3-03919-085-7 .
- Andres Furger: Switzerland between antiquity and the Middle Ages. NZZ Verlag, Zurich 1996, ISBN 3-85823-560-1 .
- Alfred Kölz (Hrsg.): Source book on the recent Swiss constitutional history . 2 Bde. Stämpfli, Bern 1992–1996, ISBN 3-7272-9381-0 (Volume 1: From the end of the old Confederation to 1848 ) / ISBN 3-7272-9383-7 (Volume 2: From 1848 to the present ) .
- Alfred Kölz: Modern Swiss constitutional history . 2 vols. Stämpfli, Bern 1992-2004, ISBN 3-7272-9380-2 . (Volume 1: Your basic lines from the end of the Old Confederation to 1848) / ISBN 3-7272-9455-8 (Volume 2: Your basic lines in the Confederation and cantons since 1848).
- Hans Rudolf Kurz : Swiss battles . 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Francke, Bern 1977, pp. 165-171, ISBN 3-7720-1369-4 .
- Bibliography of Swiss History (BSG) , published annually from 1913 onwards and in a database from 1975 onwards
- infoclio.ch, the specialist portal for the history of Switzerland
- Diplomatic documents of Switzerland (DDS)
- Interactive electoral atlas on the Swiss National Council elections since 1919
- Swissworld, chapter "History"
- SRG SSR Timeline, multimedia chronicle of Switzerland
- Political Atlas of Switzerland
- Christof Dipper : Switzerland - The Birth of Contemporary History from the Spirit of Crisis , Version: 1.0, in: Docupedia Contemporary History , March 22, 2011
- Roger Sablonier: Founding time without confederates. Politics and society in Central Switzerland around 1300. Baden 2008, p. 116ff.
- Roger Sablonier: Founding time without confederates. Politics and society in Central Switzerland around 1300. Baden 2008, p. 163ff.
- Marc Tribelhorn and Simon Teuscher: No people of free, noble farmers In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of January 13, 2018
- Roger Sablonier: Founding time without confederates. Politics and society in Central Switzerland around 1300. Baden 2008, p. 141ff.
- See Thomas Maissen: Schweizer Heldengeschichten - and what's behind them. Baden 2015.
- Maissen, Geschichte der Schweiz, pp. 123–125
- Ulrich Pfister: Witches. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Andreas Fankhauser: Helvetic Republic. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Déclaration des Puissances portant reconnaissance et garantie de la neutralité perpétuelle de la Suisse et de l'inviolabilité de son territoire, Paris, le 20 November 1815
- 1816 - The year without a summer on SRF from July 24, 2016
- Disaster in front of a blood-red evening sky in Tages-Anzeiger from April 6, 2015
- "1816 - the year without a summer": The discovery of the last famine in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on January 4, 2016
- 1816 - the year without a summer: When nature upsets people's lives in Neue Zürcher Zeitung from June 1, 2016
- Frankenstein and Vampire: How the Tambora Explosion Inspires World Literature in Neue Zürcher Zeitung on June 7, 2016
- Dominic Pedrazzini: Napoleon III .. In: Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz .
- Thomas Maissen : When Switzerland Succeeds in Revolution , NZZ, August 31, 2018
- Robin Schwarzenbach: Federal Councilor against General: In the middle of the Franco-German War, a dangerous power struggle breaks out in Switzerland In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of January 27, 2020
- admin.ch: Federal law regarding homelessness of December 3, 1850.
- Rolf Wolfensberger: Homeless. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Marco Jorio: Die Sans-Papiers von 1850 , In: NZZ Geschichte , No. 27, March 2020, p. 110
- The long path of Swiss Jews to equality in the Berner Zeitung of January 13, 2016
- John Lang Hard: The anarchist movement in Switzerland from its beginnings to the present day and the international leader. Barsinghausen 2012 (Book on Demand).
- "The screaming, groaning and groaning of the wounded sounded horrific" In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of June 8, 2020
- Jakob Messerli: Time systems. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . January 25, 2015 , accessed June 5, 2019 .
- Marc Tribelhorn: The dawn of a new time - how Switzerland synchronized its clocks with the world 125 years ago In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of May 27, 2019
- At the same time, the term “Swiss” was generally used in northern Germany for the milkers employed on large farms .
- Extract from Swiss history . After Karl Dändliker , completely reworked and continued by Max Bandle. 5th revised edition. Zurich 1977, p. 179
- Mitchell Geoffrey Bard, Moshe Schwartz: 1001 Facts Everyone Should Know about Israel . Rowman & Littlefield, 2005, ISBN 978-0-7425-4358-4 ( google.co.il [accessed January 16, 2020]).
- Hans-Urs Wili : Federal Interventions. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Urs P. Engeler, Big Brother Switzerland, 1990
- Patrick Imhasly: The Spanish flu - a forgotten catastrophe In: NZZ on Sunday 6 January 2018
- see list of members of the Swiss Federal Council
- Gaudenz Meili (script and direction): Treu und Glaube - 50 years peace agreement in the machine and metal industry (1988). Video streaming Condor-Film-AG, Zurich 1987.
- Lukas Gschwend: Death penalty. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Federal Council (Switzerland) : Proclamation of the Federal Council and the parliamentary groups regarding neutrality. Swiss National Sound Archives , March 21, 1938, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
- Proclamation of the Federal Council and the parliamentary groups regarding neutrality. (PDF) In: Stenographic Bulletin of the Federal Assembly. National Council (Switzerland), March 21, 1938, accessed October 26, 2019 .
- Mauro Cerutti: World War II, Second, Section 6: Refugees. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Speech by the Federal President and extraordinary meeting of the Federal Councils and election of the general. National Council (Switzerland), August 28, 1939, accessed October 26, 2019 .
- Hans Senn: World War II, Section 1.5: Switzerland affected by the military. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Jörg Krummenacher: Refugee Policy in World War II: Switzerland rejected more refugees than assumed In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of June 9, 2017
- Stefan Mächler: Switzerland in World War II: When the authorities closed the border, they knew what that meant for the rejected Jews In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of August 11, 2017
- ASMZ 2005, Sicherheit Schweiz: Allgemeine Schweizerische Militärzeitschrift, doi: 10.5169 / seals-69835
- Erich Aschwanden: 3700 soldiers surround rebellious Schwyzers In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of September 25, 2017
- Jörg Krummenacher: Swiss people also died in the Nazi concentration camps - there is no memorial for them yet In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of August 10, 2018.
- Peer Teuwsen: Swiss concentration camp victims were forgotten for a long time. Now, for the first time, there is a secure list of victims In: NZZ on Sunday October 26, 2019
- Nazis killed over 200 Swiss people in concentration camps In: Blick online from October 27, 2019
- The concentration camp survived - and then spied on by Switzerland In: Blick online from October 28, 2019
- See http://www.gesetze.ch/sr/0.982.1/0.982.1_000.htm
- Christoph Wehrli: Looking back - "Save what can be saved" In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of January 9, 2017
- Sabine Bitter: «I wanted to be part of this war». Retrieved April 13, 2018 .
- Swiss Nazis - "My grandfather was a murderer" In: SRF from January 21, 2018
- www.hechingen4you.de: Bisingen concentration camp - The perpetrators
- War criminals: The concentration camp leader with the Swiss passport: Johannes Pauli, a life with violence In: Bz Basel from May 31, 2020
- Eric Flury-Dasen: Cold War, Section 1: Foreign Policy and Foreign Trade. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/0_193_501/index.html Statute of the International Court of Justice of June 26, 1945
- Marco Jorio: Nuclear weapons. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Christian Thumshirn: 60 years Hungarian Revolution: How recorded the Swiss Hungarian refugees in Neue Zürcher Zeitung on 22 October 2016
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- Sensitive deal with terrorists in Tages-Anzeiger from January 20, 2016
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- tagesschau.de: Right-wing populist Blocher not re-elected (tagesschau.de archive)
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- Albert Steck: "The boom is over again." In: NZZ on Sunday, March 3, 2019.
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- The population of Switzerland 2012. Federal Statistical Office: Neuchâtel 2013 ( Memento of the original from June 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , P. 2
- Federal Statistical Office, Foreign Population
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- Bibliography of Swiss (BSG) ( Memento of the original from May 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.