Switzerland. Did Switzerland escape occupation during the
war by being Nazi Germany's financial runners-up? The issue
was fueled by new information that Nazi leaders deposited
stolen gold worth billions in Swiss banks before the end of
the war. Jewish groups demanded that the banks report what
European Jews deposited into secret accounts in 1933-45
before falling victim to the Nazi terror. The Jewish World
Congress, WJC, believes that the vaults in Switzerland can
hide close to seven billion US dollars, hitherto
inaccessible to the owners' survivors. Two expert
commissions were appointed to seek the missing bank money.
Countryaah.com, the economy continued at half speed, and the Swiss
franc's strong course hampered the competitiveness of
exporting companies. Unemployment was set at just over 4%, a
figure high for Switzerland. A proposal to increase
employment by abolishing the industry's women's ban at night
and giving companies the right to freer opening hours was
rejected in a referendum in December. Mad Cow Disease (BSE)
hit hard on agriculture, and Switzerland was reported to be
Europe's worst BSE-affected country after the UK with 230
cases. However, a government proposal for the slaughter of
230,000 cows to eradicate the infection did not go through.
Parliament decreed in December that the slaughter of 1,100
animals was enough.
In October, the government decided that Switzerland from
1997 should be part of NATO's Partnership for Peace
Partnership Program (PFP).
During World War II, European powers recognized the armed
neutrality of Switzerland, which, despite pressure from Nazi
Germany, remained on the edge of the conflict. After the
war, the West blamed Switzerland for being in contact with
Germany, and the Soviet Union refused to reestablish
relations with the country that had been discontinued in
1918. After all, Switzerland's economic strength made it
easier for the country to rejoin the international
community. During the Cold War, Switzerland stood on the
western side, but in order to maintain its neutrality, the
country did not join the UN.
The Swiss economy experienced an incredible boom in the
post-war period. Export industries with goods such as
chemical products, foodstuffs and machine parts developed
into large transnational enterprises. In 1973, Switzerland
ranked fourth in terms of foreign direct investment -
surpassed only by the United States, France and England.
For example, in 1989, the largest transnational Swiss
food company, Nestlé, had 196,940 employees worldwide and
sold for $ 29.360 million. It worked through branches in
Algeria, Bahamas, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
the Philippines, Ghana and Madagascar.
As in the other capitalist countries in Europe, Swiss
economic expansion was partly based on foreign workers.
These came mostly from Italy and Spain. Between 1945 and
1974, the number of foreigners increased from 5 to 17% of
the population. The rejection of immigrants came to light in
a number of referendums, and in the 1974-76 crisis, tens of
thousands of foreigners had to leave the country.
Due to its political neutrality, Switzerland did not join
the EC. Since 1960, however, the country has been a member
of the EFTA Free Trade Association. In 1983, Swiss
development assistance accounted for almost 5% of investment
in poor countries.
In 1959, the Socialist Party returned to the Federal
Council with two representatives. Since then, the
composition of the Government has remained stable, and about
80% of voters have been represented in the government.
Since Switzerland is mostly governed by political
compromises, the population has lost interest in the
elections. In 1979, the turnout for the first time was below
In line with this development, new organized flows
emerged in the country. In the 1980s, groups such as nuclear
opponents and feminists emerged. The latter was at a
referendum in 1981 an amendment to the constitution that
provides equal rights for men and women. As another new
movement, mention is made of the violent youth actions
against the consumer society.