The Neuchatel Affair
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This thesis, a historical case study, focuses on the conflict between Prussia and Switzerland in the middle of the nineteenth century. Specifically, the thesis examines the sources of the struggle, political developments during its course, and the military measures taken by both sides, including the operational plans for what might well have been a major war. Through this conflict, one can observe that the Concert of Europe, established after the defeat of Napoleon, was no longer functioning as it did in 1815 and immediately after. Since the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Neuchatel was simultaneously a Prussian Principality and a Swiss canton. In the face of Prussian efforts to resolve this ambiguity by force, the Swiss presented a common front, setting aside the lingering divisions of the Sonderbund War (the Swiss Civil War) from a few years before. In addition to the fact that they were able to re-unite in the presence of a common foe, the Swiss impressed the Great Powers with their determination to defend themselves. The Swiss action during the Neuchatel Affair was arguably a major factor behind the continued respect for Switzerland's neutrality by the Great Powers.
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