Why Wasn’t Switzerland Invaded in World War 1? – OUT OF THE TRENCHES


Indy is answering your questions again. In this episode of OUT OF THE TRENCHES we are explaining the situation of Switzerland in WW1 and the role of Zeppelins during the war.

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Literature (excerpt):
Gilbert, Martin. The First World War. A Complete History, Holt Paperbacks, 2004.
Hart, Peter. The Great War. A Combat History of the First World War, Oxford University Press, 2013.
Hart, Peter. The Great War. 1914-1918, Profile Books, 2013.
Stone, Norman. World War One. A Short History, Penguin, 2008.
Keegan, John. The First World War, Vintage, 2000.
Hastings, Max. Catastrophe 1914. Europe Goes To War, Knopf, 2013.
Hirschfeld, Gerhard. Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg, Schöningh Paderborn, 2004
Michalka, Wolfgang. Der Erste Weltkrieg. Wirkung, Wahrnehmung, Analyse, Seehamer Verlag GmbH, 2000
Leonhard, Jörn. Die Büchse der Pandora: Geschichte des Ersten Weltkrieges, C.H. Beck, 2014

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THE GREAT WAR covers the events exactly 100 years ago: The story of World War I in realtime. Featuring: The unique archive material of British Pathé. Indy Neidell takes you on a journey into the past to show you what really happened and how it all could spiral into more than four years of dire war. Subscribe to our channel and don’t miss our new episodes every Thursday.

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20 Responses

  1. Hans Hedén says:

    Yes, England would have gone to war.

    England thought like this:

    If there's a war between Germany and France/Russia, Germany will win and then those three countrys will no longer be busy with each other and Russia will turn it's attention to the south (India) and Germany will take over Frances colonies and then start competing for our colonies and we don't want that do we?

    In short: England would have joined to keep the status quo in Europé.

  2. Adam Baker says:

    What if Germany had focused its main attempt on Russia first instead of France. The Franco-German border would of been too heavily fortified for France to make an easy frontal assault, meaning the French would have been the ones who violated Belgium's neutrality.

  3. Was Portugal and Spain neutral?Why?

  4. Blitz says:

    Well there is tons of mountains

  5. Evy! says:

    The Netherlands don't border France

  6. Germany did not even get through flat Belgium as quickly as expected. Mountainous Switzerland would have been even harder to invade and would have offered a good deal of resistance. Territory near Switzerland was not vital – the French occupied some German-held territory close to Switzerland's border in 1914 and the Germans did not try to drive them out, as it was not vital and the French did not try to advance further. In fact it was one of the quietest parts of the front for the next four years.

  7. Because you have to go through many whitish-yellow holes to get there.

  8. If the war had started later, with the arms race still gaining momentum, I personally believe that the Germans would've focused on artillery. With the strength of the defences of the French dissolving through the shelling from the Germans, they could've walked straight through. But as the British still wanted control of the sea, the French would've asked for Assistance in the form of a blockade

  9. Amali Homer says:

    What about attacking France via Luxembourg instead of Belgium or Netherlands (who doesn't have a border with France) ?

  10. Niall Cook says:

    theres no such thing as a france-netherlands border

  11. Mike Lcml5c says:

    Amazing! People aren't taught geography in school any more. No globes in rooms and very few if any maps to study. The U.S. is geography illiterates when it comes to idiosyncrasies such the fact of Belgium having a coastline on the English Channel. Here's a thought maybe the German's could have built more ships and floated their armies to France. Sailing from Kiel and Hamburg the German armada could have attacked from the sea with an amphibious land avoiding the neutrality of the Benelux.

  12. Dear lord kids today get unreal education thanks of youtube and guys like this. Thanks technology!

  13. David Bauer says:

    One of the Great "What If's" of the War. If the German's had moved through the Netherlands they could have gained a real time and positional advantage against the deployment of the BEF, and the old style Von Schlieffen plan could have worked to perfection. A few days or weeks gained by not having to smash through the Belgian forts could have been very valuable in hind sight. The problem was the old plan had been modified long before and the neutrality of the Netherlands was held in tact. Political and economic factors as mentioned played a large role. But I always thought this might be a case where Royal interests were mandated from the top and actually had some effect. The Kaiser could never cross his beloved Queen Wilhelmina, he had to keep at least one close royal relationship in tact. Good thing to for the Kaiser as he really needed her in 1918. One thing for sure, the Germans did not make the same mistake in the next war!

  14. Alan Heath says:

    During the Franco Prussian war, the Prussians attacked without going through Belgium or Luxembourg. However, I appreciate that we are looking at mountainous terrain as a glance at a map will show. Given that fact, perhaps a better plan would have been to have remained on the defensive in the west hoping that France would not intervene. Of course hindsight helps – I know how fast the Russians mobilised ….

  15. awaken1001 says:

    Re whether Germany should have gone through the Netherlands rather than through Belgium, it would have come down to the same thing for the British: a hostile power controlling the continental side of the English Channel which Britain could not allow. And for the Germans, as they were allowed by international law to trade with neutrals, Dutch ports became one of the few ports through which goods destined for Germany could come in, and it was this fact that made Britain mine the North Sea and Channel approaches as early as November 1914 and to introduce its wartime search-and-seizure policy to prevent what it deemed contraband from reaching Germany and the other central powers.

  16. "i'm not gonna answer that for another two years"… that is so cool lol

  17. Since the war started in Austria Hungary, Germany could've taken a strong defensive position along their border with France and waited. The narrow front made it equally difficult for a French attack, and Great Britain would have stayed out. Germany chose to make it a general European war.

  18. Chris Moore says:

    Britain would not have gone to war in 1914 had Belgium neutrality not been violated because they were on the verge of collapse of Civil War in Ireland in accordance with home rule. The Great War saved Britain's Empire from total collapse.

  19. The dutch at the time were very much pro german due to the U.K. 's annexation and treatment of the afrikans and boers during the the boer wars and Germany's best option was to use the resources of the dutch via trade etc.

  20. I want submarine warfare in bf1

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