Статьи  >  Imagine  >  Switzerland: Banks, Chocolate and Army

Switzerland: Banks, Chocolate and Army

Автор: 21.08.2020 | oddities, Switzerland, do you know
It is an open secret that this world is full of paradoxes. OUTLOOK, in its turn, tries to figure them out therefore today we’ll tell about armed forces of the world’s most militarized state that, however, hasn’t been at war with anyone for over two centuries. Our feature is about the army of Switzerland.

As nearly as everyone knows or at least has heard of Switzerland’s “eternal” neutrality. Should we have a look into history, it was acknowledged by many states since 16th century. It was ultimately “honored” during the Congress of Vienna in 1815. By the way, two years before that was the last time the Swiss made actual war as yet – when they were forced to provide Napoleon’s army with several thousand of their soldiers for the Battle of Leipzig that Bonaparte lost. Since that the country in the mountains managed to remain merely an observer of conflicts.

What helped the Swiss live relatively quietly in periods of world wars and other extreme times? The most expected answer is that the majority of the world’s money and gold are located in its banks which fostered confidence and stability of the state. In fact, security here isn’t supported from financial side alone. Despite the fact that the state claimed permanent neutrality towards all military conflicts, Switzerland has one of the most powerful armies in the world.

Every physically healthy Swiss man at the age of 18 to 51 is liable for military service. In fact, they are on service their whole lives but spend the total of 260 days tops in barracks unless being officers. Since full legal age and till the age of 30 men who are fit for service annually leave for military bases for three weeks. Later musters are down to two weeks for three years and the last stage – 14 days, prior to demobilization at the age of 51.35ddab4527c66f0c672e856bef66aa5a.jpgPhoto

It is important to understand that service with Schweizer Armee isn’t some lost time but national pride and way to acquire professional skills. Nobody washes lavatories, eats third-rate food or even stands guard there. Comfort, nutrition and security of military men are provided by private cleaning, culinary and security companies. Over the period of training all draftees, who serve under supervision of officers, are equal: a construction worker, a lawyer and a president.

More to that: men regard these musters as a chance to rest from household problems and work and to chill out – kind of picnic with real weapons and sports trainings. Still, some dodge the draft. It is only possible for three reasons: health conditions, pacifism (all peace lovers get same call-up papers only they “serve” twice as long and are engaged in civil defense, social help and public services) and paying your way out of it – by annual contributions to treasury till draft age expires. And you can guess about price rates there…

Read also: Brand history: Swiss knife

All other “dodging” schemes don’t just result in prison time – it is a conviction having which it is hard to even get a job. All in all, army is so solidly interlaced with the life of society that for the period of those three-week-long musters employers are supposed to pay at least 80% of salaries of their absent employees – and the state compensates these losses in its turn.

Number of regular army is merely 5 thousand men but they are all highly skilled experts, one of world’s the best. At that, should military state be introduced, over the period of two days more than 1.5 million well-trained men, who have had a sniff of powder, will take to arms (can be measured to super-states). And all that given population of 8 million people. It doesn’t take to be a mathematician to realize: life of every fourth Swiss is firmly tied to army and he is ready to protect his motherland any minute. More to that: upon retirement the state tries by all means to persuade its already former soldiers to buy out weapons against beneficial prices to keep them home “just in case”. According to official statistics, in free access of people there are over 6 million guns.1530077358_01.jpgPhoto

This is probably why it seems on the outside that Switzerland is quiet and dull country. Knowing that almost everybody around not just loves (there are just as many shooting ranges as cafés, it’s just tourists rarely come across them) but knows how to shoot, every potential criminal will think a hundred times before committing a felony. Even Germany of Hitler period with all the threats and ultimatums over six years of the world war didn’t dare approach the state.

Basically, local military doctrine is based on the fact that Switzerland with 80% of its relief being mountains has to defend itself in a porcupine-like manner: wind itself into a ball and let spines out. Therefore, in case of necessity, that’s what the Swiss will do. Their state is all burrowed with tunnels, bunkers and bomb shelters. Along the perimeter of the border such fortifications are made that should one blow them up, no ground access to Switzerland will remain. Eternal fogs and high mountains don’t help air bombardment either. It turns out that nature itself created conditions that men further refined to make their home an unassailable fortress.

And to conclude with: modern well-trained troops are high maintenance even for a country with such high living standards. Annually over 3 billion dollars are allocated for military purposes. Therefore a national referendum was held in Switzerland in 2001, on it the state offered citizens to fundamentally reform the army, even minimize service time. The answer was more than eloquent: population said a firm “No” so everything was left as it was. After all, banks and gold are fine, but it is far more comfortable to live knowing you can protect yourself.

Cover photo

Вам это будет интересно:
Holy beauty! What are the most famous abbeys in the world hiding?
What do you imagine when you hear the word "abbey"? I'm sure most people will first of all think of Westminster. But what if I said that in fact it is no longer an abbey? So what makes these medieval buildings so special? Let's look at the example of buildings from different European countries.
Where stars are “set glowing”
There’s hardly anything that compares to bright-starred sky and silence. It is the stars that OUTLOOK want to tell you about or more precisely about the places with the best view on them. In Europe it is recommended to go stargazing not to some place but to… Slovenia. Point is, this small country is one of the cleanest in the world and consequently isn’t that polluted with smog.
This is a real service! Japanese taxi
The first thing every tourist shall learn in a country is a transport system. Very often it seems to be complicated and confusing, and it takes weeks or even months to make head or tail of it. OUTLOOK reader Natalia Usenko visited Japan and is sharing her impressions about the most comfortable and safest transport in the world.
Unforgettable Tschäggättä: Horrors in Lötschental Valley
In February Switzerland changes beyond recognition: reckless power of pre-Lent carnivals, insatiable gluttony and cat’s choirs of Guggenmusik rush into the streets. Only evil spirits are kind of weak – same glamorous vampires and emaciated zombies. Want it to become really scary? Head to Lötschental Valley to celebrate Tschäggättä: infernal characters from Alpine folklore will haunt you in your dreams!
Your breakfast, Sir! How people start their day around the world
A mini toast, a slice of cheese and a sip of strong coffee. "That is not a buffet!" a waiter will pronounce indignantly, looking at the disgruntled tourist’s face. The generous Ukrainian soul cannot understand how locals manage to eat their full with that. Therefore, before going to a new country, you need to know exactly whether in the evening you should prepare a couple of sandwiches to indulge them in the morning,...
Taxi in New York Style
Next ‘character’ of our cycle about symbolic means of public transport is yellow cab of New York. It is impossible to imagine the Big Apple and especially its centre, Manhattan, without those bright and incredibly handy cars. Seemingly, there are more “checkers” than people.
Let's ride! On four paws through Switzerland
Dog sledding is a national passion in Switzerland: it is for a good reason that one of the best European camps for training sled dogs is located in the forest village of Saint-Cergue, nested behind the Jura mountain. The way into the huskies’ realm goes through sunny pine forest along the picturesque route Jura Alpine Trail from the mountain of La Dôle in the valley of the Col de la Givrine.
Slippery fun: Best world open air ice rinks
They build ice hotels and carve ice fountains pouring white wine, make samovars and even kerosene lamps. Photographers went even far and got the hand to use dry ice to create the effect of smoke and fog in picture. In the spirit of holidays, OUTLOOK prepared for you a selection of the world most popular ice arenas.
VIDEO: Vanilla, pistachio... orchid
With the assistance of the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Ukraine we visited Damascus and enjoyed very interesting place. Watch!
Borders cannot make harm: The most famous enclaves of the world
Today OUTLOOK travels along the cities and countries that are considered as the most interesting from the point of view of geography and administrative management. Moreover, they are enclaves as they are located within the territories of other states.
On the Move. Street food from around the world. Part 2
Do you happen to get hungry? That is great as we go on with our story about the most popular street food from around the world. It’s freshly cooked - fall to, you guys! Let's start with the South Asian countries, namely Singapore - seafood-rich in vitamins and minerals occupy a key place in the diet of residents ...
Look at sky above. The best planetariums in the world
For better or worse, travelling to distant planets and stars exists only on the pages of science fiction and in Hollywood film industry. Although the possibility of space tourism crept close, yet, Jupiter and Saturn are still way not close. Nevertheless, from long ago there are special objects that seem to shrink the universe making it accessible. We are talking about planetariums and observatories.
Brand history: Swiss knife
There is probably no man on Earth who wouldn’t have a Swiss knife or its look-alike. And though the idea of a pocket knife may have originated nowhere near Switzerland, it gained global fame thank to a Swiss Karl Elsener and is now associated unbreakably with his motherland and perfect Swiss quality. OUTLOOK tells the story of the most famous and popular knife of the world.
Dirty-faced aristocrats
Profession of a chimney-sweep has recently entered the list of the most rear occupations in the world. And as far back as some hundred years ago almost every European citizen was able to tell a lot of interesting things about these guys doomed to be covered in smear. We didn’t invent a time machine but we managed to get some facts about representatives of this vanishing trade.
Water gates. Impressive world harbors
Airports, railway and bus stations are almost always erected at a human whim, while ports and harbours are joint creation of homo sapiens and nature. In this article OUTLOOK presents you the most beautiful port destinations with their own unique character worth exploring.
Dinning out with the twist: World most off-beat restaurants
Marketing gurus and restaurateurs are enterprising and ready to do anything to increase flow of visitors to their food courts. Quite often, their methods of "flirting" with the public are the same, interior designs and menus are not much different. So, we have collated for you the world’s wackiest, weirdest, out-of-this-world dining establishments.
Accompaying persons, please leave the train: the most interesting trains on planet
Despite ongoing development of air transport, many people across the Earth still love to travel by train for various reasons. Though the majority of passengers associate trains with a rather slow way to travel compared with airplanes, and are concerned with low comfort which can be still at the level of last century, reading through our selection below...
Alternative day in Copenhagen: Christiania, the bulwark of freedom
All of us, one way or another, strive for freedom, personal or national, material or spiritual, which is illusory and unachievable, and at the same time very real in terms of our ideas about it. An alternative village of Christiania in the centre of the Danish capital is another attempt to achieve complete freedom from the laws of the material world.
VIDEO: Antique and industrial Kyiv
When sending stuff to trash can or throwing it away to a dumpster we don’t suspect that it doesn’t always mean death for it, now and then even in the contrary – it is a beginning of a new life…
Round the edge of the world. Cape Horn
For sailors to round Cape Horn situated in the very South of Argentina is a success that equals to Everest ascent for alpinists. Rush under sails around “sailor’s graveyard” defying gigantesque waves and hurricane wind turned out a success for the first time on January, 29, 1616.
Outlook facebook page