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The current time is: 11/22/2017 6:58:01 PM
 (1946-1999) Other 20th Century Battles
AuthorMessage
anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6041
The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/19/2017 7:28:06 AM

Quote:
Switzerland served as a repository for Jewish capital smuggled out of Nazi Germany and the states threatened by it, and also for vast quantities of gold and other valuables plundered from Jews and others all over Europe.

Right up until the end of the war, Switzerland laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen assets, including gold taken from the central banks of German-occupied Europe.

At the war's end Switzerland successfully resisted Allied calls to restitute these funds,[n] and in the Washington Agreement of 1946 the Allies contented themselves with acceptance of a mere 12% of the stolen gold.

Holocaust survivors and the heirs of those who perished met an implacable wall of bureaucracy and only a handful managed to reclaim their assets.

As it turns out, some of the dormant accounts were taken by the Swiss authorities to satisfy claims of Swiss nationals whose property was seized by Communist regimes in East Central Europe.


Question-Is that the end of this disgraceful act of seeming embezzlement??? Surely the UN could have been active i this case.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6041
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/19/2017 9:56:55 AM
As already noted, throughout the war, but particularly toward the end, when it became clear to German leaders that the Reich would be overrun, vast amounts of plundered property were spirited to Switzerland.

Even before the end of the war, in April 1945, the US Legation in Bern advised Washington that "the Swiss agreed with the Germans to accept 3,000 kilos (6,600 lbs.) of gold for use against 'diplomatic' services".

There are, in fact, varying estimates of the value of these assets. However, one document suggests that the Germans succeeded in seizing US $587 million in gold, of which US $402 million was "shipped to or through Switzerland" truly a money-laundering operation unprecedented in scope and magnitude

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1396
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/19/2017 8:20:03 PM
Jim, I would argue that you're not describing neutrality here, but the well-known Swiss love of money. Their neutrality may have made such laundering more easily exercised, but I wouldn't equate neutrality with greed.

I believe that a fair amount of German money – whether simple German capital or plundered items – was also showing up in Brazil, Argentina and in other locations in Central and South America, and many of them were our allies during the war (however skittishly).

More than that, until very recently I believe the Swiss have been able to maintain the anonymity of it's overseas bankers. But they're not alone in doing that, although pressure is on most tax havens.

I agree: Switzerland made the most of the war while remaining neutral. The point is that they continued to do so well into this current century. Their greed was not a feature of neutrality, but rather a feature of banking mechanisms designed to protect – for a substantial fee – the anonymity of the account holder.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2882
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/19/2017 8:56:02 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Switzerland served as a repository for Jewish capital smuggled out of Nazi Germany and the states threatened by it, and also for vast quantities of gold and other valuables plundered from Jews and others all over Europe.

Right up until the end of the war, Switzerland laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen assets, including gold taken from the central banks of German-occupied Europe.

At the war's end Switzerland successfully resisted Allied calls to restitute these funds,[n] and in the Washington Agreement of 1946 the Allies contented themselves with acceptance of a mere 12% of the stolen gold.

Holocaust survivors and the heirs of those who perished met an implacable wall of bureaucracy and only a handful managed to reclaim their assets.

As it turns out, some of the dormant accounts were taken by the Swiss authorities to satisfy claims of Swiss nationals whose property was seized by Communist regimes in East Central Europe.


Question-Is that the end of this disgraceful act of seeming embezzlement??? Surely the UN could have been active i this case.

Regards

Jim
--anemone





Jim,

I would say the most horrific discovery was that a good deal of this Nazi Gold had large traces of dental mercury in it!!!!! (also actual gold fillings from the Jews!)

[Read More]

Talk about sinister, I'd say sick!
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6041
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/20/2017 3:30:28 AM
Brian/Dave-IMHO the statement below says it all


Quote:
At the war's end Switzerland successfully resisted Allied calls to restitute these funds, and in the Washington Agreement of 1946 the Allies contented themselves with acceptance of a mere 12% of the stolen gold.

Holocaust survivors and the heirs of those who perished met an implacable wall of bureaucracy and only a handful managed to reclaim their assets.

As it turns out, some of the dormant accounts were taken by the Swiss authorities to satisfy claims of Swiss nationals whose property was seized by Communist regimes in East Central Europe.


They are not called the Gnome of Zurich for nothing who fitmly believe that anything that falls into their laps is Treasure Trove without rules ie Finders Keepers

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6041
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/20/2017 9:00:24 AM
Many Britons blamed Swiss bankers for possessing significant holdings of sterling The phrase was made famous during the 1964 Sterling Crisis in Britain when Harold Wilson, a politician in the British Labour Party and Prime M9nister-, referred to Swiss bankers and financial speculators as "Gnomes of Zurich"

The "Gnomes of Zurich" is a euphemism for Swiss bankers. The name is meant as an insult because gnomes, most often found in fairy tales and legends, traditionally are regarded as secretive and greedy. And, Zurich - Switzerland's financial hub - is home to a high number of Swiss banks, which have been at the bottom of the WW2 gold and other assets left with them for safe keepimg and never returned/

Regards

Jim
.
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson
, Posts: 3454
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/23/2017 12:58:23 PM
 The topic of this thread is best considered in perspective. Consider -- nation-states are hardly large groups of Boy Scouts, seeking to do what is proper. Rather, nation-states, like practically every other group, operate in their own self-interest. Switzerland saw a chance to make money from the war. Probably they did the same during the First War.

 Sweden's case is even more arguable. The Swedes allowed the transit of German troops from Norway to Finland, from which they invaded Soviet territory. And the iron ore trade . . .

 The Turks cut a deal with Great Britain and France in October 1940 and then reneged on it less than a year later, because Germany looked to be the victor in the war. Yet, in 1945, the USA was ready to back Turkey to the hilt to ward off Stalinist designs on the Bosphorus.

 National self-interest doesn't make what these nation-states did proper, but IMO it provides a better measuring stick for assessing why they did what they did at given points during the war.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6041
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/23/2017 1:34:12 PM
Bill-A most interesting analogous look at the ways nation states do what seems best (and also righy) for them in given instances-- from Greed to Treachery and "The Devil take the Hindmost"

However i think Switzerland dishonesty,arrogance and finally malfeasance to be a world disgrace IMHO and I wonderat how they got away with it; but after your mini dissertation---- maybe I should not be so surprised ????!!

Regards

Jum
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson
, Posts: 3454
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/23/2017 1:53:54 PM
Jim,

 I think there are significant nuances. The behavior you note in Switzerland was likely an accumulation of self-serving and greedy acts by individuals in their banking sector. The effect in sum is hardly admirable, but there is a world of difference between that situation and the one in which the German state set as policy, and authorized subordinates to carry out, the mass murder of civilians based upon a notably arbitrary set of racial criteria. It is for this reason that the bulk of the outrage was focused against the Germans ... because their state stood behind the crimes.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
Posts: 6041
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/23/2017 2:17:10 PM

Quote:
It is for this reason that the bulk of the outrage was focused against the Germans ... because their state stood behind the crimes.


You sure are a clever man Bill Wilson--are saying "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" The Holocaust was undoubtedly an abomination-Hitler said "Who remembers the Armenians" There have been some dreadful happenings among men throughout history and most have faded from memory.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson
, Posts: 3454
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/23/2017 2:28:00 PM
Jim,

 My read of modern history indicates only a few instances in which nation-states openly authorized or encouraged their peoples to acts of overt criminality. Switzerland's long history with banks notwithstanding, I don't see these acts as being in the category of state-sanctioned crimes. The dominant cultural mentality in Switzerland may be one of allowing the banks much leeway, but, again, that is not the same as the Swiss state having openly instructed the banks to behave in a criminal manner.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1396
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/23/2017 8:47:40 PM

Quote:
Switzerland's long history with banks notwithstanding, I don't see these acts as being in the category of state-sanctioned crimes.
.
I agree, Bill. And I don't see these or other actions necessarily linked to neutrality.

IIUC, Swiss banking policy is simply Swiss banking policy. Doesn't start up with a war in the offing; doesn't shut down with peace. Doesn't favour anybody but the Swiss

I get Jim's argument: that the Swiss stayed relatively unscathed during the war, and that they made a lot of money out of other folks' misery. More, at least their banking system turned a blind eye to the rape of European Jewry. But as far as I know, that blind eye is still (as much as possible) applied to anyone wishing to use the Swiss banking system.

Whether the Swiss were particularly accommodating to Germany is another question, and one that you attempted to put into some context. Your wrote:
Quote:
Rather, nation-states, like practically every other group, operate in their own self-interest. Switzerland saw a chance to make money from the war. Probably they did the same during the First War.

 Sweden's case is even more arguable. The Swedes allowed the transit of German troops from Norway to Finland, from which they invaded Soviet territory. And the iron ore trade . . .

 The Turks cut a deal with Great Britain and France in October 1940 and then reneged on it less than a year later, because Germany looked to be the victor in the war.

I gotta ask: by your own definition, what did either nation do wrong? The Swiss continued to be Europe's banker, though because of its isolation it would have been hard to bank with any states but Germany, Italy and Vichy France. Sweden continued to supply raw materials to nations with whom she maintained neutrality, but it was pretty hard for Allied nations to haul iron ore over the hump of Norway or through the Skagerrak-Kattegat. Sweden treated countless Allied fliers who found themselves in the country well, as they did Allied PoWs who got that far in their escape attempts. Yet they also fired on a/c that invaded their air space without permission or with possible hostile intent.

I do think Turkey was a different issue. In fact, by the agreements with UK and France she was committing to the Allied side, with that interesting escape clause concerning Soviet Russia. She was a non-combatant, but hardly a neutral.

How about all the other neutral states during the first eight months of the war. Belgium and Holland were fully prepared to shoot down any a/c – Allied or German – which entered their air space. In doing so, they made any potential British bombing campaign moot. Now, it is pretty clear that the British couldn't have done much actual damage during that time, but the need to respect the neutrality of Belgium and the Netherlands hindered any attempt. Do we blame them for that?

Are we skating around the elephant in the room by not mentioning the USA? Biggest neutral of them all. Made billions as the "arsenal of democracy" while losing very few during those 27 months it was officially (though I admit, rather fraudulently) neutral. Had a good "test bed" for weapons without having to work out the wrinkles first.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson
, Posts: 3454
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/24/2017 3:58:03 AM
I gotta ask: by your own definition, what did either nation do wrong?

 I think of the three cases, Sweden is the most problematic. Not because of the iron ore trade, although the pursuit of that trade led to weighty consequences for Norway among others. But because of the Swedes allowing an entire German infantry division to transit their territory.

 That may not sound so bad at first glance, but what if the Allied air forces had been able to strike the German units in transit ? Would Sweden have cried foul (most certainly) and performed the "aggrieved neutral" dance ? For me, the bottom line is that Germany's military was at war, and by allowing German troops to cross Swedish territory out of convenience, the Swedes opened themselves to legitimate strikes by Germany's enemies.

 My point is that neutral nations should demand their territorial integrity be respected. Switzerland shot down aircraft of both the Germans and the Allies during the war -- and had every right to do so. The Turks played games with "alliances", but did not become militarily involved in the war, and as far as I know, did not allow military forces to transit their territory. (Read up on how the Germans got naval craft into the Black Sea. Quite the overland effort.)

 Everything else is IMO shades of grey.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Posts: 59
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/25/2017 1:13:37 PM
You do seem to be right about physical presence of troop formations. However, in some ways Switzerland seemed to play pretty closely with the Germans.

When the Swiss shot down US bomber (who had stayed over Switzerland), they did so in German-made fighters. Then, US prisoners in POW camps were often poorly treated by Swiss soldiers in very German-esque uniforms who were being advised by German officers. Meanwhile, many downed German air crews were sent swiftly back to Germany.

BWilson
, Posts: 3454
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 10/27/2017 1:06:18 AM

Quote:
You do seem to be right about physical presence of troop formations. However, in some ways Switzerland seemed to play pretty closely with the Germans.

When the Swiss shot down US bomber (who had stayed over Switzerland), they did so in German-made fighters. Then, US prisoners in POW camps were often poorly treated by Swiss soldiers in very German-esque uniforms who were being advised by German officers. Meanwhile, many downed German air crews were sent swiftly back to Germany.
--jahenders


 I think some of that was opportunism; thinking they were sensing which way the wind was blowing. The Swiss also tacitly worked with the French Army and the U.S. 6th Army Group in 1945 to prevent too many Germans from trying to becoming interned there as a way of evading becoming Allied POWs.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 2882
Re: The Sinister Face of Neutrality
Posted on: 11/8/2017 9:12:43 AM

Quote:

Quote:
It is for this reason that the bulk of the outrage was focused against the Germans ... because their state stood behind the crimes.


You sure are a clever man Bill Wilson--are saying "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" The Holocaust was undoubtedly an abomination-Hitler said "Who remembers the Armenians" There have been some dreadful happenings among men throughout history and most have faded from memory.

Regards

Jim
--anemone



Good point Jim!

Haven't heard from you since this post, we miss your great topic threads that you seem to start!

Hope all is ok, & you carry on!

Regards,
Dave

BTW The Swiss haven't been involved in siding totally with the good guys since this guy!?

[Read More]
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."