Civil-military relations in low-intensity conflict: Switzerland's territorial defense during World War II
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Switzerland's experience in the Second Wolrd War differs markedly from that of any other European nation and offers a unique historical oppurtunity to study civil-military relations in a democratic environment under the strain of a long-lasting existential threat. Entirely on its own and surrounded by and extremely aggressive enemy block, Switzerland has to struggle in that hazy, difficult-to-define situation between war and peace, which in modern terms would be referred to as "low intensity conflict". Thus military and civilian authorites were literally forced to think in terms of modern national security policy and to adopt a holistic security philosophy. It becamse apparent that the disproportionate role of the military component did not measure up to the threat and was at odds with a modern, overall security policy. The results were not limited to the serious, practically insoluble conflicts between millitary and civilian authorities, the preparedness and the dissuasive power of the army itself was thus called into question. The historical experience showed clearly that modern territorial defense requires first and foremost a balance between the individual components of security policy carefully adapted to the political, economic, and psychological realities of the nation. The military component, on the other hand, can only fulfill its mission if it can concentrate the personnel and material resources at its disposal on it original task of military defense; in the terminology of World War II, the army is responsible for "warfare", not "national defense"
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