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British Smuggling Operations from Switzerland, 1940-1944

Neville Wylie
The Historical Journal
Vol. 48, No. 4 (Dec., 2005), pp. 1077-1102
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4091649
Page Count: 26
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British Smuggling Operations from Switzerland, 1940-1944
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Abstract

This article departs from traditional writing on British economic warfare against the Axis during the Second World War by highlighting the efforts made by the British government to evade German 'counter-blockade' measures and secure access to European sources of supply. It does so by examining British efforts to obtain Swiss industrial equipment and manufactures after June 1940, when German military success effectively severed normal communications between the two countries. In practical terms, Britain's smuggling operations were enormously successful. Some £1.8m worth of Swiss contraband reached British hands by October 1944. They also, however, exercised considerable influence over the development of Anglo-Swiss relations and Switzerland's relations with its neighbours. In illuminating the scale of Britain's commercial interest in Switzerland after June 1940; the article lends weight to new writing on the Second World War, which emphasises the neutrals' importance to the war economies and political ambitions of the two belligerent camps.

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