mmmmmmBacon12345: Switzerland isn’t just politically neutral, they’re in the middle of inhospitable mountains that will crush your army if you try to invade
Switzerland gets to remain neutral because everytime someone says “We should invade Switzerland!” someone pulls out a topographical map, points to the big spikey area in the middle of europe and goes “Fuck that! We’ll go around!”
The Swiss have secret bridges, tunnels, forts, and even air bases hidden among the Alps. Any attempt at invading them would result in them pulling back, breaking the infrastructure, and poking the back of your supply lines leaving your army hungry, cold, and trapped in inhospitable enemy terrain
Fuck that! Let’s go around
TheRealTinfoil666: Switzerland is protected by good mountains and the fact that every adult male is an army reservist. They keep military-grade rifles in their homes, just in case.
Other countries try to just stay out of the way, or try to ensure that there is a balance of potential enemies/friends that would help them if one of *their* enemies tries to invade.
One last category is countries that have little resources or strategic value. Their neutrality is preserved by not being worth invading.
cemaphonrd: Every country will have different circumstances, but in Switzerland’s case, it’s a mixture of historical tradition, and strategic considerations.
When Switzerland revolted from the Hapsburgs in the 15th century, they gained a great deal of independence, but stayed within the Holy Roman Empire, meaning that anyone that attacked them risked a war with the other German states. At the same time, in the wars that led up to their independence, they developed a fantastically effective fighting style, and most of their neighbors, (France especially) figured out that hiring them as mercenaries was much more productive than trying to conquer them. So they were able to enjoy several centuries of independence, which was formally recognized at the Congress of Vienna that concluded the Napoleonic Wars, which was generally respected by the other European powers during the 19th century.
As far as strategy is concerned, it a small, mountainous, (and until the post-WWII era, fairly rural and poor) with a strong tradition of independence and citizen militias. Invading Switzerland would be a very costly proposal for little gain.
hyretic: I think you’re misunderstanding the term neutral to mean pacifist or something. If they were invaded they would defend themselves just like any other nation.
deep_sea2: Some neutral countries get invaded, some do not. The UK attacked neutral Denmark during the Napoleonic Wars. Belgium, Albania, and Luxembourg were invaded in WWI. The UK invaded neutral Iceland and the USA was neutral before Japan attacked them during WWII.
Some neutral countries, like Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden, were not attacked. In some cases, leaving neutral countries alone is the better strategy. If there is nothing to directly gain by attacking a country, it is best to avoid doing so. Also, a country can officially be neutral, but still support your cause. You can trade freely with a neutral country, and if the enemy doesn’t invade, then that trade can go on uninterrupted.
In the case of Switzerland, an invasion is a bad idea. Only in a war between France and Germany does an invasion of Switzerland become a tactical advantage. However, doing so would be suicidal. Since Switzerland has an official position of neutrality, their entire military doctrine is based on defense. All major roads, rail lines, bridges, and tunnels are rigged with explosives. They are experts at using their mountainous terrain in a defensive posture. Swiss men are conscripted into the armed forces, and they keep their weapon when discharged, which means a larger portion of their citizens are trained and armed. During the World Wars, an invasion through Switzerland might eventually have become successful, but at a huge cost of personnel, resources, and time. It would be easier to find another way. Also, Switzerland is the banking capital of the world. If country were to invaded, they might find that their money might magically disappear.
HugePilchard: Neutral doesn’t mean that they’ll just sit there and say “What? You’re coming in? Oh, alright. Here’s the keys to the country, the bins are collected on Tuesdays.”
Switzerland has national service, and a fairly large military as a result. What the Swiss won’t do is wade into a conflict between two other nations, but you can bet that they’ll be there defending themselves if another nation comes in.
Equally, you can bet that their neighbours aren’t particularly keen on seeing them invaded, either. Occupying forces have, historically, had a habit of moving on from the last place they took over and moving into other countries. If Switzerland got invaded, their neighbours and possibly their neighbours’ allies would be tooling up, ready to overthrow the invaders.
SlidingObscure: Switzerland will never be invaded b/c that is where the global kleptocrats keep their money and their retirement villas.
WRSaunders: The better question is “What’s in it when you invade Switzerland?” The answer is “nothing that’s worth the work”. As others have said the mountains are rugged and the country is very well armed. They don’t harbor terrorists, and they make nice watches.
Countries don’t get invaded “just because”, there has to be a darn good reason.