1. January 2019 – Stories of Swiss Diplomacy

«Stories of Swiss Diplomacy» is the name of a series of articles published on swissinfo.ch with the collaboration of the Dodis research center. During the year 2019, Andrea Tognina writes each month an article based on documents from the Dodis online-database to historical topic of Swiss foreign politics. Historians of the resarch centre provide informations from their fields of expertise an to general tendencies of international relations.


The long road to the Geneva Conventions of 1949


Seventy years ago, Switzerland achieved a modest diplomatic coup. Notwithstanding the relative isolation in which it found itself after the Second World War, due to having maintained relations with the Axis powers, it succeeded in organising a major diplomatic conference in 1949 with the purpose of revising the Geneva Conventions. This was an essential step in the development of international humanitarian law.

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Also in SpanishRussian and Japanese.

Wie die Schweiz den Weltraum eroberte


Seit Ende der 1950er-Jahre war die Schweiz im Rahmen der internationalen Weltraumforschung sehr aktiv. Man war sich damals bewusst, dass sich die Aktivitäten teilweise am Rande der schweizerischen Neutralitätspolitik bewegten. Sie dienten aber den Interessen der Schweiz als Forschungs- und Industriestandort.

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Also in Russian.

Lektionen in direkter Demokratie für Frankreich


Im Rahmen der Debatten in Frankreich über eine Abstimmung über die Einführung einer Bürgerinitiative wurde oft auf das schweizerische Demokratiemodell verwiesen. Schon 1978 versuchte ein Schweizer Bundespräsident, einem französischen Premierminister die direkte Demokratie zu erklären.

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When the death of a diplomat challenged Swiss neutrality

On this day 40 years ago, Hugo Wey was shot dead on his way to work in El Salvador. The death of the Swiss chargé d’affaires against a background of growing tension in the Central American nation showed that Swiss neutrality was not enough to protect diplomats from the fallout of local conflicts.

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Also in Spanish and Portugese.

How a trip from Bern to Bucharest changed Swiss diplomacy

Fifty years ago, Swiss diplomacy embarked on a new path when cabinet minister Willy Spühler travelled to Romania. It was the first time a Swiss foreign minister had visited a country in Eastern Europe.

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Also in Russian.

How the Swiss and Brits have dealt with Europe

In recent years, Britain and Switzerland have both had complicated relationships with the European Union, as seen recently with Brexit and Swiss-EU talks over a long-term framework accord. But from the 1960s onwards, both countries’ approach to European integration differed significantly.

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The day Palestinian militants attacked Zurich Airport

Fifty years ago, an airplane about to take off from Zurich for Tel Aviv was attacked by four armed Palestinian militants. The dramatic events shocked the public and had a major impact on Swiss foreign policy.

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Also in SpanishRussian, Chinese and Arabic

Aubert’s African adventure, a turning point for Swiss foreign policy

Forty years ago the Swiss foreign affairs minister spent two weeks travelling around West Africa. The visit opened a new chapter in Swiss foreign policy and triggered considerable controversy and heated debates back home about neutral Switzerland’s role in the world. 

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