View Poll Results: What is your view on Switzerland?

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  • In my view, Switzerland is an artificial nation and it should join a Greater Germany ideally.

    18 27.69%
  • In my view, Switzerland is an artificial nation but it should keep its independence/neutrality.

    21 32.31%
  • In my view, Switzerland is not an artificial nation and it should keep its independence/neutrality.

    16 24.62%
  • I'm undecided/I don't know.

    4 6.15%
  • I have another view.

    6 9.23%
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Thread: Is Switzerland a Nation? Are the Swiss an Ethnic Group?

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    Is Switzerland a Nation? Are the Swiss an Ethnic Group?

    There were discussion themes here about Austria and the Netherlands and whether they're German or nations and ethnic groups of their own. What is your view on Switzerland, however?

    In your view:
    Is Switzerland a nation?
    Are the Swiss an ethnic group?
    To the Swiss, do you consider French Swiss and Italian Swiss as the same nation as you, or do you think you're more related to the Germans or Austrians?
    Is Swiss patriotism or nationalism acceptable among Germanic ideologies?
    Would you support a unification of Switzerland with Germany or Austria or do you think Switzerland should preserve its neutrality character? Under which conditions?
    I'm especially interested in the views of Germans, Austrians and Swiss from the board.

    I quote here from an old post made by a Swiss member. In my view it's an interesting way to look at:
    Quote Originally Posted by Erhard
    Switzerland is in some important points very different from all other German(ic) states in history but Iceland perhaps. We never wanted to be a part of the empowerment game, but just wanted to be left alone and live in peace. So we defeated the Habsburg army and gradually convinced the powerful players around us that we aren't a threat and that we only want to be left alone. In return, we wouldn't attack or side with anybody. And we would create a defense strong enough to deter others to use our country as a shortcut for their military operations. Based on this, the doctrine of neutrality developed, which proved as useful for us as much as the other European forces, and it is inseparately linked with Switzerland.

    It served us in my view and in the view of almost all Swiss very well, and there is no German with sane mind here that would want to give it up. It's almost exclusively non-Germans who consider it "outdated" in "modern Europe."

    Even when German nationalism was at its height, at the end of the 19th and the first part of the 20th century, only a handful of Swiss wanted to join Germany. Probably as many Austrians wanted to join Hitler's German Reich as Swiss didn't want. Not because they hated Hitler, but because the idea of independence and neutrality is so deeply entrenched in our heads.

    The German Swiss carry culturally a German identity which comes completely naturally to them but we prefer our independence and neutrality over becoming a province of a German Reich, a United Europe or a Germanic Union. If it wouldn't have been for the French, we wouldn't even have joined the United Nations so far, and I personally think it undermines our independence and neutrality already, because now the Security Council can for example decide who can fly over our airspace and march through our country. We should bail out of the UN as soon as possible to regain our credibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    Is Switzerland a nation?
    That is a question that could be disputed - but the central question would be "What makes a nation?"

    Generally we hear that a nation is usually embodied by a mixture of historical, linguistic and ethnic pointers. Also often, a major constituent of a nation is a common "mission".

    The question that is also central to this consideration is: If linguistic and ethnic heritage are continuous, but a shared history is no longer fully continuous - will the state in question became a nation of its own accord. As such, the same question could be asked for example of the Dutch - who share much of their linguistic and cultural heritage with North Germany, yet have chosen to be independent, elevating their Low German dialect to a language in its own right.

    As far as history and "mission" are concerned, the German-Swiss are evidently too remote to be seen as full members of f.ex. the German nation, but they are clearly ethnic Germans and should be seen as kin.

    It's a position one can argue about...

    Are the Swiss an ethnic group?
    In short - no. I stated above that they are still ethnic Germans, French, Italians, Ladiners/Romantsch. Whilst it could be argued that their common mission and history make them a nation, it cannot be argued that they are one and the same ethnic group - some traditions such as the Schwingen (the Swiss equivalent to our Austrian Ranggeln) are by far not deeply rooted in the French-speaking cantons as the German-speaking cantons, and even culinary traditions such as the fondue tend to be more popular in the French-speaking parts, regardless of their rank as an all-time favourite.

    There is a strong Alemannic heritage in the larger part of Switzlernad, and for the similarity between the Southern German tribes - Alemanni and Bavari, we share a good number of traditions with them to this day; and their language is clearly an Upper German dialect, whose speech continues in different grades of "severity" across all borders with German-speaking nations.

    Maybe the interchange that have helped shaping a Swiss national identity - with traditions of all the constituent peoples being somewhat shared by all - make it a nation ... but the difference in preference for a type of tradition allows them to maintain their previous Germanic or Gallo-Romance heritage?

    Is Swiss patriotism or nationalism acceptable among Germanic ideologies?
    Is Austrian patriotism acceptable? Is East German patriotism acceptable? Is even regionalism acceptable? The question fits in right there. If we can accept that regional nationalism is acceptable, then Swiss nationalism must also be permissible.

    For having a different "mission" and somewhat independent history (albeit still being somewhat linked of course) than the rest of the larger German cultural area, it could however be argued that the Swiss have a higher legitimation to claim a nationalism based upon that distinction.

    Would you support a unification of Switzerland with Germany or Austria or do you think Switzerland should preserve its neutrality character? Under which conditions?
    I oft tend to leave the Swiss out of that equation, because they tend to have their own way anyway. Such is maybe even a good thing, they are of the beacon of sense.

    If they wished to join a union with Germany and/or Austria then I would be the last to deny them that wish, in fact I would welcome them with open arms - provided however, that mainly the German-speaking parts would be merged, to allow a linguistic and cultural continuum: Especially if unified with Austria, such a conglomerate which would then hold approx. 15-16 million people could hardly "swallow" the 1.5-2 million that are of a different linguistic background than us - at least not at this point of time.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    The Swiss should rejoin our Reich. The Alemanni are already Germans, the others can either become independent territories or get special administration geared towards Germanisation.

    What is now called Switzerland essentially emerged from a feud within our Reich that is no longer of relevance today. The Swiss have done very well in the Old Swiss Confederacy, but already ceased to be of much significance when their celebrated neutrality was devised. This was not necessarily a disadvantage in the past, but it is today when all weight is needed to tip the scales of globalisation. Being neutral means taking the side of the hegemon and it will only result in the end of neutrality under his terms.

    By analogy, I also support the inclusion of other Continental West Germanic tribes and sub-groups into a polity that serves our folk.

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    They are a nation in the political and historical sense, however not in the ethnic sense. I mainly agree with Erhard's views. I think they're largely German. Out of 26 cantons, only 5 don't have German as an official language: Ticino, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Jura. However, overtime, the Swiss have gained a unique identity, like the Dutch. I don't think there is a Swiss ethnicity as such, usually one refers to them according to ethno-linguistic traits: Swiss Germans, French Swiss, etc.

    I think they should remain independent and neutral for the time being at least. In particular, Switzerland is better off staying out of the EU. It is probably the most democratic country there can be at present, with a system of direct democracy, less tainted by corruption than EU countries. The Swiss constitution allows citizens to call a referendum on any issue, from joining the EU to changing a street name or some other minor local issue. Of course if they wanted to join Germany I'd see no reason to oppose that, but I don't see it happening in the near future at least.

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    Switzerland has been around for how many centuries? A nation that can last that long is not an artificial construct. What Switzerland is, is a confederation of cantons, each with a very high degree of autonomy. The Swiss heritage is one of Republicanism & local governance, very different from the other Germans who were ruled by hereditary sovereigns or by police states such as the Third Reich or the DDR. The Swiss have an Alpine culture that gives the Swiss-Germans more in common culturally (despite the language differences) with the French, Italian & Ladino Swiss, then with the Mecklenburgers or the natives of Obersachsen. And a common history. In any case it should be left up to the Swiss to decide if they should be absorbed into a Great Germany, a decision that would be made by plebecite - an option they would lose in a Greater Reich.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    In your view:
    Is Switzerland a nation?
    Yes, I see Switzerland as a nation and the Swiss have all rights to be proud of themselves. The "Eidgenossen" share an interesting and quite patriotic history.
    Are the Swiss an ethnic group?
    No, it´s a mix of different ethnicies. The Deutschschweizer, the Rätoromanen, the Italoschweizer (Tessiner) and the Französisch-Schweizer. But they are fine with being one country, so I don´t see a big problem there.
    Is Swiss patriotism or nationalism acceptable among Germanic ideologies?
    I totally think so, I supported the SVP (with Christoph Blocher) during the last elections, for example. My family visits Switzerland regularly, and some relatives have their own lodge there (in Graubünden, the largest canton). I love the Swiss pride (so many people have the Swiss flag in their garden, often along with the flag of their canton ) and the Swiss way of life. Sadly the EU gains more and more influence on Swiss politics. I hope Switzerland will remain independent in the future.
    Would you support a unification of Switzerland with Germany or Austria or do you think Switzerland should preserve its neutrality character?
    I think it´s okay as it is. But I´ve experienced that not less people from the Austrian state "Vorarlberg", who are Allemans like the Swiss (and speak the same language), would support a reunification with Switzerland! This means that Vorarlberg would leave Austria to join Switzerland. Anyway, I don´t think this is a realistic goal.

    EDIT: Thanks to Deary for the small correction!

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    Switzerland has been around for how many centuries? A nation that can last that long is not an artificial construct.
    Switzerland's existence was guaranteed by the rivalry of European powers. They had a marvelous infantry and knew how to exploit their terrain, which won their independence from the Habsburgs and added one Ort after another, but during the last centuries any of Switzerland's neighbors could have easily annexed it if unimpeded by third parties. It is a situation not unlike Luxemburg's. The fact that Switzerland is still multilingual is also a product of this power constellation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    What Switzerland is, is a confederation of cantons, each with a very high degree of autonomy. The Swiss heritage is one of Republicanism & local governance, very different from the other Germans who were ruled by hereditary sovereigns or by police states such as the Third Reich or the DDR.
    True, this would have to be aligned to our common interest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    The Swiss have an Alpine culture that gives the Swiss-Germans more in common culturally (despite the language differences) with the French, Italian & Ladino Swiss, then with the Mecklenburgers or the natives of Obersachsen.
    How about their Alemannic kin just across the border(s) in Elsaß, Baden, Vorarlberg? The diversity of the German tribes is not exactly news and no reason why we should not brotherly stick together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    And a common history.
    We had that until the Swabian War.

    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    In any case it should be left up to the Swiss to decide if they should be absorbed into a Great Germany, a decision that would be made by plebecite - an option they would lose in a Greater Reich.
    Any further unification of Germany, even if it is Austria or Luxemburg or Liechtenstein, will likely be met with violent hostility from the benevolent West and they are a greater military threat than the Swiss are. It is better to have popular sentiment on our side, though, and this should be expressed in a plebiscite, I agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    The Swiss have an Alpine culture that gives the Swiss-Germans more in common culturally (despite the language differences) with the French, Italian & Ladino Swiss, then with the Mecklenburgers or the natives of Obersachsen.
    Hmm, but your comparison is of different tribes. By that rule you could also say the Schleswig-Holsteiners have more in common culturally with the Danish than with the Bavarians or Austrians. But the Alemannic dialects spoken by the German Swiss are also spoken in other communities like in Liechtenstein and Austrian Vorarlberg.

    In any case it should be left up to the Swiss to decide if they should be absorbed into a Great Germany, a decision that would be made by plebecite - an option they would lose in a Greater Reich.
    What makes you think a Greater Reich wouldn't allow this option? It happened with the Saarland, where a plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935; 90.3% of those voting favored re-joining Germany. The unification with Austria also had a plebiscite, where the unification received 99.73% of the vote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    Hmm, but your comparison is of different tribes. By that rule you could also say the Schleswig-Holsteiners have more in common culturally with the Danish than with the Bavarians or Austrians.
    They do. And they share a common history. But unlike Switzerland which is a confederation of equals (cantons), Schleswig-Holstein was in a personal union with Denmark under a Danish King. The Swiss mode of confederation protects the French, Italian & Ladino Swiss from domination (at least excessively) by the Swiss Germans.

    But the Alemannic dialects spoken by the German Swiss are also spoken in other communities like in Liechtenstein and Austrian Vorarlberg.
    Liechtenstein is under the protection of & in a customs union with Switzerland. There was a movement in Vorarlberg to become a Swiss canton after WWII, but the allied powers vetoed the idea.


    What makes you think a Greater Reich wouldn't allow this option? It happened with the Saarland, where a plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935; 90.3% of those voting favored re-joining Germany.
    Saarland had been a part of Germany until November, 1918. After 16-years of French exploitation, reunion with Germany (rather then independence & domination by France) was probably the preferable choice.

    The unification with Austria also had a plebiscite, where the unification received 99.73% of the vote.
    This took place after the Nazi Germany had occupied Austria & was overseeing the plebecite. The Nazi occupation took place after the plebecite was announced. It might have turned out differently if the Nazis hadn't occupied the country first. Also, the situtation in Austria after WWI (the 20s & 30s) were chaotic in the aftermath of the fall of the Hapsburg Empire. How might a plebecite on unification with Germany in 1913 (by the German inhabitants of Austria) turned out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    They do. And they share a common history. But unlike Switzerland which is a confederation of equals (cantons), Schleswig-Holstein was in a personal union with Denmark under a Danish King. The Swiss mode of confederation protects the French, Italian & Ladino Swiss from domination (at least excessively) by the Swiss Germans.

    Liechtenstein is under the protection of & in a customs union with Switzerland. There was a movement in Vorarlberg to become a Swiss canton after WWII, but the allied powers vetoed the idea.
    Yes, because these tribes are related. The ethnicity and identity doesn't stop at borders. Since not all the Germans are the same, it's not expected for the Swiss to be 100 % like the Germans in Germany. But on a general notation, the Swiss Germans and the Germans have more in common than the Swiss Germans and the Swiss Italians. The Swiss mode of confederation which you mentioned is a perfect example of true multiculturalism. That means many cultures living in one place but none dominating the other. Even though most cantons are German and the Rhaeto-Romans are fewer, the system protects their identity from extinction.

    Saarland had been a part of Germany until November, 1918. After 16-years of French exploitation, reunion with Germany (rather then independence & domination by France) was probably the preferable choice.
    Yes, I agree but I think you're missing my point a little bit. My point was the Reich allowed some plebiscites in the past times and I'm not seeing why any future Reich, if it will exist in the future times, wouldn't allow a plebiscite for Switzerland.

    This took place after the Nazi Germany had occupied Austria & was overseeing the plebecite. The Nazi occupation took place after the plebecite was announced. It might have turned out differently if the Nazis hadn't occupied the country first.
    The Austrians greeted Hitler and the National Socialists with cheers and happiness, like in the Sudetenland. These weren't occupations in my view because it wasn't by force, it was the majority people's will. Occupations were in Poland, France and other subsequent operations.

    Also, the situtation in Austria after WWI (the 20s & 30s) were chaotic in the aftermath of the fall of the Hapsburg Empire. How might a plebecite on unification with Germany in 1913 (by the German inhabitants of Austria) turned out?
    Of course after WWI it would have been different, you feel a little different after being used to being an empire. You just have to find the right place and the right time, which the National Socialists did.

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