Switzerland, or officially the Swiss Confederation is a land-locked country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by the German Empire, to the east by Austria-Hungary, to the south by the Italian Federation and to the west by the Commune of France.
The Swiss Confederation saw crisis in 19th century. In several cantons liberal powers prevailed, calling for more democracy and more centralism. This met the opposition of the catholic, conservatively dominated cantons who formed the Sonderbund in 1845. The Sonderbund War erupted in 1847 which saw the liberals as victors. In 1848 a Federal Constitution was ratified, turning the loose league of cantons into a Federal Stae with a new federal capital in Bern. The new constitution created new institutions like the (Bundesrat) Federal Council, Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly), and Bundesgericht (Federal Court). Switzerland remained neutral throughout the Weltkrieg, although there were various domestic conflicts between German and French speaking Swiss citizens. In addition economical problems arose, completely surrounded as the country was by warring nations. The radical left gained a lot of support during that time, and in 1919 a strike in Geneva called for by the workers movement attempted to push through major social changes. The attempt failed because of the fear of spreading of French syndicalism and its subsequent repression by Swiss government, but in its wake social reforms were begun, bringing about higher wages and shorter work days. In 1919 the system of proportional representation was introduced. The conservative Freisinnige lost their majority while the social democrats grew stronger. Into the 1930s domestic politics were governed in response to the conflict between social democrats and conservatives. The struggles between communities in Switzerland are now taking more political values: French-speakers are more socialist, Germans more conservative and Italians more clerical. Will the rising belligerence in Europe have consequences on the neutral Confederation?
A curious particularity in modern Europe, Switzerland is a liberal parliamentary republic with strong traditions of direct democracy, enclosed amongst conservative and otherwise authoritarian regimes. There is no Head of State per se, instead the Federal Council, comprised of Seven Members elected by the Federal Assembly, assumes the functions of Head of State as a collegial body. The Head of Government is the President of the Federal Council and is referred to as President of the Swiss Confederation.
Switzerland is comprised of 22 Cantons (or 25, if one counts the six half-cantons separately) and brings together four different linguistical communities.
President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Department of Finance: Albert Meyer.
Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs: Giuseppe Motta
Head of the Department of Justice and Police: Johannes Baumann
Head of the Militärischer Nachrichtendienst: Roger Masson
Chief of Swiss Armed Forces: Jakob I. Huber
Chief of the Swiss Land Forces: Johann August Sutter
Chief of the Swiss Air Forces: Oskar Bider
Switzerland follows a policy of armed neutrality: while observing neutrality in foreign relations, the Swiss Armed Forces are ready to react to any threat to the country.
The Swiss Army is very large for such a small country. It comprise six well-trained and well-equipped infantry division and three elite mountain division. In case of invasion the army is supposed to retreat into the mountains and fight a war based on guerilla warfare with the help of the population against the occupying forces.
The Swiss Air Force consist of only one squadron of tactical bombers.
Friendly relations with Germany and Austria-Hungary.
Unfriendly relations with Commune of France.