Authored Book

Britain, Switzerland, and the Second World War



Wylie N (2010) Britain, Switzerland, and the Second World War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This is the first comprehensive study of British policy towards Switzerland during the Second World War. Switzerland occupied an ambiguous place in British belligerency. While epitomizing the kind of political values Britain claimed to uphold in declaring war against Nazi Germany in 1939, its inexorable drift into the Axis orbit after mid-1940 inevitably prevented British officials from isolating Anglo-Swiss relations from Britain's broader diplomatic and strategic objectives. The book situates British policy towards Switzerland within the history of the British blockade and financial warfare campaign, the Holocaust, Anglo-American relations, and the Allied strategic bombing offensive. It argues that Britain was more successful in benefiting from Swiss neutrality than has hitherto been assumed, especially in the acquisition of manufactured goods, secret intelligence and humanitarian services. London retained a stake in the maintenance of Swiss neutrality long after the severance of direct communications in June 1940. At base, however, British policy was shaped by a set of entrenched beliefs about Switzerland and Swiss neutrality that proved resistant to change, despite the growing evidence of Swiss-German economic and financial collaboration. British policy towards Switzerland rested on a view of Swiss neutrality that was forged as much from the preconceptions of British officials as from a dispassionate reading of Switzerland's place in the war.

Britain; Switzerland; Second World War; neutrality; strategic bombing; Holocaust; blockade; financial warfare; secret intelligence; United States;

Publication date31/12/2010
Publication date online01/01/2010
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationOxford

People (1)


Professor Neville Wylie

Professor Neville Wylie

Deputy Principal