Swiss neutrality - Politics | PoFo

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Early modern era & beginning of the modern era. Exploration, enlightenment, industrialisation, colonisation & empire (1492 - 1914 CE).
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By nonesuch
Switzerland is rather famously known for its neutrality. Does anyone know when their policy of neutrality began and what were the circumstances?
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By Potemkin
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By Potemkin
Ooh ooh, I got another one....


By Decky
Hmm I feel pretty non comital about Pote's vids.

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By noemon
Ioannis Capodistrias:

In 1809 Kapodistrias entered the service of Alexander I of Russia.[29] His first important mission, in November 1813, was as unofficial Russian ambassador to Switzerland, with the task of helping disentangle the country from the French dominance imposed by Napoleon. He secured Swiss unity, independence and neutrality, which were formally guaranteed by the Great Powers, and actively facilitated the initiation of a new Constitution for the 19 cantons that were the component states of Switzerland, with personal drafts.[30] In the ensuing Congress of Vienna, 1815, as the Russian minister, he counterbalanced the paramount influence of the Austrian minister, Prince Metternich, and insisted on French state unity under a Bourbon monarch. He also obtained new international guarantees for the Constitution and neutrality of Switzerland through an agreement among the Powers. After these brilliant diplomatic successes, Alexander I appointed Kapodistrias joint Foreign Minister of Russia (with Karl Robert Nesselrode).

Kapodistrias' statue facing the Old Fortress in Corfu.
In the course of his assignment as Foreign Minister of Russia, Kapodistrias' ideas came to represent a progressive alternative to Metternich's aims of Austrian domination of European affairs.[29] Kapodistrias' liberal ideas of a new European order so threatened Metternich that he wrote in 1819:[29]

Kapodistrias is not a bad man, but honestly speaking he is a complete and thorough fool, a perfect miracle of wrong-headedness...He lives in a world to which our minds are often transported by a bad nightmare.

—Metternich on Kapodistrias, [29]
Metternich then tried to undermine Kapodistrias' position in the Russian court because he realised that Kapodistrias' progressive vision was antithetical to his own.[29] Although Metternich was not a decisive factor in Kapodistrias' leaving his post as Russian Foreign Minister, he nevertheless attempted to actively undermine Kapodistrias by rumours and innuendo. According to the French ambassador to Saint Petersburg, Metternich was a master of insinuation and he attempted to neutralise Kapodistrias because he viewed him as the only man capable of counterbalancing Metternich's own influence on the Russian court.

More than anyone else he possesses the art of devaluing opinions that are not his own; the most honourable life, the purest intentions are not sheltered from his insinuations. It is thus with profound ingenuity that he knew how to neutralize the influence of Count Capodistrias, the only one who could counterbalance his own

—French ambassador on Metternich, [29]
Metternich, by default, succeeded in the short term since Kapodistrias eventually left the Russian court on his own, but with time Kapodistrias' ideas and policies for a new European order prevailed.[29]

He was always keenly interested in the cause of his native country, and in particular the state of affairs in the Seven Islands, which in a few decades’ time had passed from French revolutionary influence to Russian protection and then British rule. He always tried to attract his Emperor's attention to matters Greek.
By nonesuch
So, a Greek in the service of the Russians helps establish Swiss neutrality to frost the French! How convoluted is that? Much thanks, noemon.

@Potemkin: I know I sbouldn't encourage you but I like that one even better.
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By Potemkin
@Potemkin: I know I sbouldn't encourage you but I like that one even better.

I agree, nonesuch. "...Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?"
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By KlassWar
With a population made of ethnic French, ethnic Germans and ethnic Italians and surrounded by States more powerful than itself and made respectively of Frenchmen, Germans and Italians... Doing anything but remaining neutral is basically impossible.

One could say that Switzerland is structurally neutral by design.
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By Potemkin
Oh, I agree KlassWar. But it's still fun to laugh at them for it.

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