The Swiss Alps with some of the highest mountains in Europe, who's tops are on occasion covered in local glaciers and with lakes in many of there valleys. The Alps spread in to neighboring Liechtenstein, France's Savoy Region, the far south of Germany, the Austrian Tirol and the upper reaches of northern Italy.
~60% of Switzerland is in the extremely mountainous mid and southern Alpine Mountains region. ~30% are hills and relatively flat valleys carved out by glaciers called "Mittelland" (English: Midlands) in the north and middle. ~10% come in the form a chain of older, Jurassic Era, mountains called the Jura Mountains that run through the north and along the western border, as well as partly over the border in to France. Basel is a small enclave of the Rhine River Valley, Aaragau is a similar flat land and far south is pre-Alpine flat land.
Bern lies on the Swiss plateau in the Canton of Bern, slightly west of the center of Switzerland and 20 km (12 mi) north of the Bernese Alps. The countryside around Bern was formed by glaciers during the most recent Ice Age. The canton of Aargau is one of the least mountainous Swiss cantons, forming part of a great table-land, to the north of the Alps and the east of the Jura, above which rise low hills and wooded or farmed valleys.
Many mountains are very high, snowy and dificult to clime, The Eiger is a 3,970-metre (13,020 ft) mountain of the Bernese Alps, overlooking Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland, just north of the main watershed and border with Valais. It is the easternmost peak of a ridge crest that extends across the Mönch to the Jungfrau at 4,158 m (13,642 ft), constituting one of the most emblematic sights of the Swiss Alps. The region around theses moutain are either of an Alpine or high mountain type climate.
The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly between the nations varied localities. It can range from from glacial conditions on the mountaintops to the often pleasant near Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip around Ticino canton. The large alpine type areas like Graubünden remain drier than pre-Alpine areas and as in the main valley of the Valais, were wine grapes are grown. The wettest conditions persist in the high Alps and in the Ticino canton which has both periods of heavy rain and bright sun from time to time
A Chinook Wind like weather phenomenon known as the föhn can occur at any time of the year and is characterised by an unexpectedly warm wind, with rain falling in in the south of the country and dry winds in the mountain and central plateau.
Zürich has, depending on the definition used, nominally an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb), with four distinct seasons. The Foehn wind, which plays an important role in the northern alpine valleys, has also some impact on Zürich.
The climate of Geneva is temperate, oceanic (Köppen: Cfb). Winters are cool, usually with light frosts at night and thawing conditions during the day. Summers are pleasantly warm and winters are not to severe.
Zürich is the most populated town today with ~300,000 people and has been the lead population cener a century. It is sometimes referred to as "Downtown Switzerland" for publicity reasons.
About 40% speak the local Züritüütsch dialect and a total of about 65% the population speak Swiss Standard German or it's dialects.
The Swiss did not want to be occupied by a foreign power ever again after the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte!
The Soviets considered them a Western proxy and in no way neutral due to their love of Western banking issues, so the Swiss thus feared that the Warsaw Pact would invade the to get hold both their cash and the strategic Alpine crossings. They knew the Soviets would like to hold what was the crossroads of Europe and spread out from their in to the rest of Europe. Zürich was the only known target in the 1960s and 1970s, but it was a long way down the Soviet target list. The towns of Lucern and Schwyz were also thought to be possible strategic targets according to both the Swiss and Soviet military planners.
Controlling these passes also remained a cornerstone of the Swiss strategy of neutrality by being useful to as many European nations as they could at any one time, with plans for a final retreat in to the higher Alpine mountains and around the strategic passes. A determined resistance war would then insure Swiss national survival..
The fortifications them selvesEdit
Work on the Swiss National Redoubt (Schweizer Alpenfestung or Réduit Suisse) system started in 1880 and in was in use until 2010, when the larger part was shut down. The Battery Motto Bartola was built between 1888 and 1890 and the Battery Foppa Grande was installed in 1953 and was deactivated in 1997.
Late Victorian stuff was built at Airolo, the Oberalp Pass, Furka Pass and Grimsel Pass, all in the central Alps. Additional positions were constructed in the area of Saint-Maurice, which had an army camp at the time, using then new mining and tunnelling techniques in the steep mountainsides of the glacial valley. This was started with the opening of Gotthard railway 1882. Some minor aditions were made to the camp in the run up tom WW1.
The Guisan plan was developed Swiss General Henri Guisan and involved extensive fortifications along the River Rhine and at Vallorbe in the Jura and in other places. A major fort was built at Vallorbe in the run-up to WW2. The Swiss had seriously fortified there nation ever since they learnt the Nazis were plaining to invade them in WW2. The gold reserves of the Swiss National Bank in Zürich were moved farther away from the German border, from Zürich to the Gotthard Pass and to Bern. Zürich was also accidentally bombed during World War II.
A dense network of passive and active barriers, hidden mountain bunkers along with and large and small fortifications allowed considerable flexibility in the disposition of Swiss forces, and thus represented an almost optimal scenario of defence in depth. Resistance armies would strike any invaders as well. This expanded massively during the Cold War!
The most important buildings of the Réduit were the fortifications of Sargans, St. Maurice and the Gotthard region. A lesser and older fort was at Vallorbe in the Jura.
By 1990, Swiss army intelligence which had built up files on nearly 8,000 "suspect persons" including "leftists", "bill stickers", "Jehovah's witnesses", people with "abnormal tendencies" and anti-nuclear demonstrators; all of whom had failed to meet the then Swiss national ideal- a bunch of isolationist, money worshipping, environmental inclined racists.
The Battery Motto Bartola was The Battery Foppa Grande was installed in 1953 and was deactivated in 1997 all of the installations were deactivated by 2010.
- Operation Square Leg (1980) and Exercise Hard Rock (1982)
- Germany's Fulda Gap
- Swedish pseudo-neutrality
- Seven days to the River Rhine (1979)
- French nuclear plans and the Force de Dissuasion
- North German Plain
- Finnish pseudo-neutrality
- Operation Northern Norway
- The southern Danube route
- Soviet/NATO invasion of Finland
- The week of war policy
- Operation Gladio
- Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie
- Greece, Turkey and southern Italy
- Cold War secret police organisations
- How Governments become Authoritarian
- Nations in 1988
- Nations in 1991
- O.T.L. history notes
- Today's OTL types of economies, societies and regimes
- Why the USSR broke up in reality
- River Elbe Line