The Federal Government of Switzerland

The Federal Government of Switzerland

The Federal Government of Switzerland

The Federal Government of Switzerland

Excerpt

If one were to choose a single word to describe the general impression that one receives upon entering Switzerland, that word would have to be "tranquillity." The sight of its green mountain meadows, fertile valleys, and shimmering lakes lulls the visitor and increases his sense of well being. Contact with the people and their work does little or nothing to disturb this overall impression. The transportation system is efficient and orderly; the hotels and restaurants are, on the whole, gracious and quiet; the factories are remarkably neat and clean; and the people appear well fed and content.

A visit to the Federal Capitol in Berne is a lesson in tact and orderliness. The corridors of the government buildings seem to lack the noise and confusion that are distinguishing characteristics of many centers of government in the modern world. In the offices themselves, government personnel conscientiously carry out their assigned tasks with a minimum of fuss and publicity. The meetings of the federal legislature, even when an important piece of legislation is under consideration, are singularly free of bombast and raised tempers.

Compared to the history of many of its neighbors, that of Switzerland is remarkably lacking in violence and conflict. Although the revolutions that shook Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had their repercussions in Switzerland, they did not foment the same violent upheavals and the almost complete break with the past that occurred elsewhere. Switzerland was also able to remain officially aloof from the two major wars of the twentieth century. Although Switzerland mobilized her manpower and stood guard on her frontiers, her standard of living was not greatly affected, nor were her cities ravaged by enemy action.

Switzerland has not, however, allowed herself to be lulled into atrophy or forced into the backwaters of modern history. From a land whose resources are poor in the extreme, Swiss ingenuity has created a rich industrial economy. Swiss manufactured products are admired and purchased in almost every country, and the revenues from exports help provide the Swiss with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Switzerland is active in international affairs, European and world-wide, and her advice is regarded with respect. She was a spirited member of the League of Nations, the headquarters of which were in Geneva. Although Switzerland is not now a member of the United Nations, the European headquarters of the United Nations is located there, as are the headquarters of a number of Specialized Agencies of which . . .

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