Surrender (military contract)

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Preamble to the military surrender of the Dutch States General to the Republic of Bern on January 8, 1714 (Bern State Archives)

Surrender (also military surrender ) was called a contract , in which a power another gave permission on their territory troops dig .

The military capitulations of the Swiss Confederation

In the state treaties of the Confederation with other states, military matters were summarized in a separate chapter (from Capitulum , Latin for "the little head"), called surrender .

From the 14th to the 19th century, the Swiss Confederation concluded offensive and defensive treaties with seventeen foreign princes and states , which included military capitulation.

Content of the military surrender

The military surrender (or private surrender, if one of the contracting parties was a private person) stipulated the area of ​​operations and the purpose of the troops and regulated the recruitment, pay, food, duration of engagement, vacation, uniforms, armament, ammunition, the medical care and troop stocks. It determined the procedure for the appointment of officers, pensions, commissions, and the manner in which justice was administered and the practice of religion. Often it also contained a provision on mutual aid in the event of an attack on one of the contractual partners and usually granted the canton a right of recall if it needed it. The prohibition to fight against compatriots or to serve in the colonies or at sea was not always observed.

The recruitment

The request for permission to raise troops was directed by the applicant's envoy to the daily statute for the attention of the individual allies. They alone were responsible for the recruitment on their territory until 1798.

Since the end of the 17th century, the contingents previously recruited for the duration of a single campaign became permanent troops.

The extraterritoriality

The regiments recruited on the basis of surrender remained subjects of their place of origin. Own disciplinary and court proceedings, special courts, legal books, regulations, oaths, drums and other signals as well as marches and flags preserved their extra-territorial , federal character. Court decisions were made without the right to appeal and could not even be collected by the king as employer. The cantons stubbornly maintained these privileges. Even trials of strangers against members of the regiment were settled before the federal court martial.

From the 18th century, the regiments carried the name of their colonel as well as flamed flags (in his and the colors of the capitulating cantons) with a continuous white cross, as well as a motto.

The Swiss officers had extensive disciplinary and administrative competencies, were responsible for their unit in their canton and had to report to it monthly on the progress of the service.

In France in particular, the Swiss troops had higher wages than the locals and a variety of privileges.

End of the surrenders

The Federal Constitution of 1848 put an end to the capitulations. Its conclusion was banned in 1849 and the remaining ones were repealed by the Federal Assembly in 1859.

During the total revision of the Federal Constitution in 1999, the ban on military surrender was deleted without replacement as it was no longer appropriate.

See also


  • Marcel Burin de Roziers: Capitulations militaires entre la Suisse et la France. Diss. Law Faculty of the University of Paris, Arthur Rousseau, Paris 1902.
  • Heinrich Türler, Viktor Attinger, Marcel Godet: Historical-Biographical Lexicon of Switzerland . Fourth volume, Neuchâtel 1927, p. 445.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Federal Constitution of September 12, 1848 in the first Federal Gazette 1849:

    Article 11
    No military surrender may be concluded.
    Article 12
    The members of the federal authorities, the federal civil and military officials and the federal representatives and commissioners may not accept pensions or salaries, titles, gifts or medals from foreign governments.
    If they are already in possession of pensions, titles or medals, they have to refrain from enjoying pensions and wearing the titles and medals during their term of office.
    Subordinate civil servants and employees can, however, be approved by the Federal Council to continue drawing pensions.

  2. Federal law, concerning advertising and entry into foreign military service (of September 30, 1859):

    Article 1
    Entry into those troops abroad that are not to be regarded as national troops of the state concerned is prohibited to any Swiss citizen without the approval of the Federal Council.
    The Federal Council can only grant such a permit for the purpose of further training for the purposes of the patriotic defense system.

  3. Message of the Federal Council on a new Federal Constitution (from November 20, 1996):

    191.23 Falling out without replacement
    Existing constitutional provisions that are clearly out of date or have lost any conceivable scope of application and are therefore completely superfluous can be deleted without replacement (e.g. military surrenders, Art. 11 BV, ...).