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Britain, Switzerland, and the Second World War$
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Neville Wylie

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206903.001.0001

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The View from the Central Blue: The Violation of Swiss Neutrality by the Royal Air Force

The View from the Central Blue: The Violation of Swiss Neutrality by the Royal Air Force

(p.197) 6 The View from the Central Blue: The Violation of Swiss Neutrality by the Royal Air Force
Britain, Switzerland, and the Second World War


Oxford University Press

Although Britain made deep inroads into Switzerland's economic and financial neutrality, it was the over-flying and accidental bombing of Swiss territory by aircraft of the Royal Air Force that represented the most conspicuous and consistent abuse of Swiss neutral rights during the war. This chapter explores the physical and diplomatic fall out of these incidents, showing the damage they caused to British interests in Switzerland and the lengths to which the British government went to ease tensions with the Swiss. Though the concessions London granted — a moratorium on flights near the Swiss frontier over Christmas and a series of minor restrictions on Bomber Command's operational activities — had little appreciable impact on the number of violations of Swiss airspace, the episode nevertheless sheds interesting light on the extent on Britain's willingness to take Swiss interests into account in planning military operations.

Keywords:   overflight, neutrality, airspace, bombing, RAF, Bomber Command, Switzerland

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