In some ways, World War II feels like a very long time ago. But on the sheer rock face of a quarry in Switzerland stands a stark reminder of the nations that tried to remain neutral during that terrible period. Just miles from the German border, the area in which it is located was of enormous strategic value at the time.
While Switzerland had a stance of armed neutrality during both the First and Second World War, the general populace still lived in fear. As early as 1939, the Swiss mobilized to defend their borders. And because of the country’s close proximity to Germany, there was a very real risk of invasion.
However, the Swiss government knew that its armed forces were no match for the German war machine. And so a plan was drawn up, known as the “National Redoubt.” It would mean abandoning much of the Swiss heartland to the Germans while the army withdrew to the Alps.