National Movement of Switzerland

The National Movement of Switzerland (German: Nationale Bewegung der Schweiz or NBS) was a Nazi umbrella group formed in Switzerland in 1940.

The NBS had its roots in the 1938 foundation of the Bund Treuer Eidgenossen Nationalsozialistischer Weltanschauung by Rolf Henne after he was removed from the leadership of the National Front by the more moderate Robert Tobler.[1] In 1940, this group absorbed a number of tiny Nazi supporting organisations to become the NSB under Henne and Dr. Max Leo Keller. Other groups absorbed included the Eidgenossische Soziale Arbeiterpartei and elements of the National Front, whilst the group also officially bore the name Mouvement Nationale Suisse as an appeal to Francophone Swiss.[2] Keller had worked with Heinrich Himmler and brought with him Andreas von Sprecher, who was SS-trained, to run the new group's propaganda department.[1]

Keller, Jakob Schaffner and Ernst Hofmann, as representatives of the NBS, received an audience with President Marcel Pilet-Golaz where they demanded much closer relations with Nazi Germany, leading to eventual incorporation.[1] This was followed by a Munich conference in October 1940 in which Reinhard Heydrich and Franz Riedweg invited the leaders of the NBS and other Swiss groups in order to increase cohesion.[1] Ultimately the meeting strengthened the hand of the NBS as the remnants of the Bund Treuer Eidgenossen Nationalsozialistischer Weltanschauung as well as the Eidgenössische Soziale Arbeiter-Partei and Ernst Leonhardt's Nationalsozialistische Schweizerische Arbeitspartei agreed to be absorbed into the movement.[1]

Despite this strengthening the group was soon gone as the Swiss Federal Council feared that annexation by Germany was just around the corner.[1] In a series of moves against the most extreme groups, the NBS was closed down on 19 November 1940, by which time it had 160 cells and around 4000 members.[1] The group continued to work underground for a time before a police crackdown which led to most of the leadership fleeing to Germany.[1] Whilst in Germany Keller set up the Bund der Schweizer Nationalsozialisten as an émigré movement, although its influence was limited and he eventually returned to Switzerland in 1941.[1] Meanwhile, various NBS units continued to be active secretly, mostly with help from the SS, until the end of the war.[1]

See also

External links

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Alan Morris Schom, A Survey of Nazi and Pro-Nazi Groups in Switzerland: 1930-1945, Simon Wiesenthal Center
  2. Georges André Chevallaz, The Challenge of Neutrality: Diplomacy and the Defense of Switzerland, Lexington Books, 2001, p. 95
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