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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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Francs, Banks, and Gold: Britain and the Swiss Financial Market

Francs, Banks, and Gold: Britain and the Swiss Financial Market

(p.229) 7 Francs, Banks, and Gold: Britain and the Swiss Financial Market
Britain, Switzerland, and the Second World War


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines British and U.S. efforts to put a stop to Swiss purchases of German gold and limit the financial and technical support given to its enemies by the Swiss banking sector. In both these areas, British officials grossly misjudged the scale and intensity of Swiss financial collaboration. The chapter explains how thinking on the Swiss case influenced broader debates on the issue of ‘loot’ and ‘gold’, and gave rise to a series of currency control measures designed to protect British interests from malevolent activities of Swiss banks. It sheds light on Britain's own dependency on Swiss gold and currency markets, but argues that it was the weakness of Britain's own financial warfare machinery that explains the lack of sustained pressure placed on the Swiss government, national bank and financial sector.

Keywords:   gold, finance, currency, Swiss National Bank, financial warfare, loot

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