You know you messed up when Switzerland stops being neutral because of you

Switzerland is famously–and infamously–neutral. During WWII they happily made money of the Axis and Allied countries.

Plenty of people didn’t like Switzerland taking Nazi gold, but they held fast to their neutrality.

This doesn’t mean they trusted their German neighbors during WWII. They were very concerned about the German forces, and you’ll find Toblerones scattered all over the border. These kinds of Toblerones:

Not these:

Althought the latter are scattered throughout grocery stores and tourist shops. These cement barriers are designed to flip tanks.

But Germany wanted to protect its Swiss treasures and mostly stayed away and Switzerland stayed neutral.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, I assumed that Switzerland would maintain its neutral stance. But on the day of the invasion, my local city, Basel, projected the Ukrainian Flag on the town hall and then hung a Ukrainian flag. Organizations, individuals, and schools jumped to start gathering supplies for refugees.

Some crabby people complained about Basel flying the Ukrainian flag. They wanted Switzerland to maintain their neutrality and war against Ukraine was not reason enough to lose that neutrality.

Now, to be clear, neutrality is not something that I believe in. Sure, neutrality over unimportant things is fine–I don’t care about a lot of things. And there are some things I don’t know enough about to have an opinion, but that’s not the same as neutrality. But, a lot of Swiss people have it embedded in their culture and upbringing that they are neutral, neural, and neutral.

So, I was quite surprised when Switzerland decided not to be neutral.

And I was so very pleased. Because the reality is, there is no neutrality in situations like this. Choosing neutrality is supporting the aggressor.

Is this the beginning of a new era of non-neutral Switzerland? I don’t know. But, I’m awfully glad that my adopted homeland picked the right side.

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3 thoughts on “Swiss Saturday: Neutrality

  1. You’ve made the best point regarding neutrality – by staying neutral you validate the aggressor. I wholeheartedly agree.

    Btw, your articles are FABULOUS and have helped so many of my smaller clients to understand HR. I have an SMB bookkeeping service in CA. Thank you for all you post!!
    Have read your posts for years…

  2. All I can say is YAY. And the meme made both my husband and I laugh out loud. I will be forwarding this article, even my non-HR friends will be able to appreciate this one!

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