Arms Transfers, Neutrality and Britain's Role in the Cold War

Anglo-Swiss Relations 1945-1958

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Great Britain was neutral Switzerland's main supplier of heavy weaponry during the early Cold War. Marco Wyss analyses this armaments relationship against the background of Anglo-Swiss relations between 1945 and 1958, and thereby assesses the role of arms transfers, neutrality and Britain, as well as the two countries' political, economic and military relations.
By using multi-archival research, the author discovers "traits of specialness" in the Anglo-Swiss relationship, analyses the incentives for Berne's weapons purchases and London's arms sales, sheds new light on the Cold War arms transfer system and the motivations of the participating states, and questions the sustainability of neutrality during the East-West conflict, as well as Britain's role from a western neutral and small power perspective.
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Biographical Note

Marco Wyss, Ph.D. (2011) in History and Politics, Universities of Neuchâtel and Nottingham, is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Contemporary History, University of Chichester. He has published extensively on aspects of World War II and the Cold War, notably Un Suisse au service de la SS (Alphil, 2010).

Table of contents

List of Tables, Figures and Photographs…xi
Acknowledgements ...xiii
Abbreviations... xv

Introduction ...1
1. Anglo-Swiss Relations... 4
2. Arms and Technology Transfers ...7
3. Neutrality... 15
4. Britain’s Role ...27
5. Method and Sources ...31

PART ONE: MUTUAL ATTRACTION 1945–1949
1. A World in Motion... 41
1.1. Switzerland: Suspect but Healthy... 42
1.2. Great Britain: Overstretched, Bankrupt, but Influential... 47
2. Anglo-Swiss Relations 1945–1949... 51
2.1. Self-Interested British Advocacy for Switzerland... 51
2.2. Economic Interdependence... 57
2.3. The Field-Marshal in the Alps... 60
3. Vampires ‘off the Shelf’... 71
3.1. Establishing the Armament Link... 71
3.2. The Technology Gap... 75
3.3. Swiss Missions to Britain... 78
3.4. British Aircraft against Home Production... 86
3.5. An Unfinished Business? ...88
3.6. Dénouement ...91
4. ‘Homemade’ Vampires? ...97
4.1. Mutual Interests ...97
4.2. Independence? ...100
4.3. Gold and Tourism... 105
4.4. Supply Priorities and US Intervention... 110
Intermediate Conclusion I... 115

PART TWO: STORMY HONEYMOON 1949–1953
5. A Divided and Unstable World ...123
5.1. Switzerland: The Western Neutral ...125
5.2. Great Britain: Clinging to Grandeur ...133
6. Anglo-Swiss Relations 1949–1953... 139
6.1. Different Perceptions but Common Interests... 139
6.2. Continuous Economic Adjustments... 147
6.3. A Tamed British Lion ...154
6.4. Swiss Defence Cooperation despite British Criticism ...160
7. Engines and Venoms ...175
7.1. Dependence?... 175
7.2. Towards Self-Reliance... 182
7.3. Business versus Security ...192
8. Centurion I... 207
8.1. The First British “No” ...207
8.2. Centurions Made in Switzerland?... 218
8.3. Project Ross... 228
8.4. Role Reversal ...233
Intermediate Conclusion II ...245

PART THREE: MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE 1953–1958
9. A World in Tension... 255
9.1. Switzerland: The Recognised Neutral... 258
9.2. Great Britain: The Fading Power... 265
10. Anglo-Swiss Relations 1953–1958... 273
10.1. Cordial Opportunism ...273
10.2. Modus Vivendi... 277
10.3. Silent Security Partnership... 280
11. Centurion II ...291
11.1. Centurion versus Patton... 291
11.2. The Enemy Within... 299
11.3. The Rieser Affair...306
12. Hunter... 315
12.1. Interim Solution... 315
12.2. Temptations... 321
12.3. Aircraft Competition... 331
12.4. Doctrinal Doubts... 339
Conclusion... 349

Appendices...363
1. Organisational Charts... 363
2. Exchange Rates ...364
3. Photographs... 365

Bibliography...371
Index ...393

Readership

All interested in the history of the Cold War, arms transfers, neutrality, Anglo-Swiss relations, as well as Britain and Switzerland's foreign, defence and armaments policies.

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