The Toblerone Line, One Sweet Barrier

During  World War II, Switzerland was surrounded by Axis powers (Germany, Austria, Italy and occupied France).  Switzerland worked to avoid an invasion.  Some of their means of doing so, like allowing use of their railroad system connecting Italy to Germany, were controversial.  Others, like the Toblerone Line, were less so. This post isn’t about bribing the enemy with Toblerone Swiss chocolate, (no matter how tasty).  The Toblerone line is 10 km (6 mile) series of fortifications that runs across the canton (like a state, but smaller) of VaudSwitzerland from Lac Leman to the top of the Jura mountains (between Bassins and Prangins).  The Swiss Army constructed it in the 1930’s to protect against invasion. The official name for these defences was the Promenthouse Line.  However, it resembles to Toblerone’s pyramidal chocolate pieces linked together at the base that it became known as the Toblerone Line. Having taken in civilian refugees and witnessed previous confrontations between France and Germany, Switzerland was justifiably concerned about the rise of the Third Reich and possible invasion during World War II.   The Swiss military began preparations and built a series of defenses.  They were concerned about an invasion, an occupation, being divided up after the war, and the general devastation of war.  They had good reason to be concerned.  Hitler actually drew up plans for invading Switzerland.

They are HUGE!

This defensive concrete line made of dragon’s teeth.  Weighing 16-tons each, they are enormous pyramid-shaped blocks of concrete.  They were driven into the ground and covered with earth.  These barriers were meant to stop tank invasions. These sorts of installations are known as tank traps because they present significant difficulties for tanks.  Tanks can overcome these barriers with  ammunition that reduces them to rubble.  As a result, they are more of an obstacle than an impregnable barrier. Although similar defensive installations could be found throughout Switzerland, for obvious reasons they are more common in near Switzerland’s borders.  The preservation of the Toblerone Line makes it one of the best-known installations.   Private individuals began working to preserve it.  They wanted to ensure future generations would know about Switzerland’s wartime defenses.  They got sponsors and worked with the defense department.  In 2006, it became part of Switzerland’s system of trails that crisscross the country.

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15 thoughts on “The Toblerone Line, One Sweet Barrier

  1. That’s amazing! My husband was asking me just the other day why Hitler didn’t invade Switzerland during WWII. Now I know he was contemplating it. And I’m also craving a Toblerone bar for some odd reason.

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  11. Yes, but remember that the USA had actual plans drawn up to invade the UK, And vice versa. Nearly every great power had plans like that in case of a change of heart of the intended country (so if Switzerland began harbouring and supplying allied troops, an invasion would be necessary to prevent this)

    Switzerland willingly turned in jews who fled there, tortured allied POWs, supplied Germany with materials and transport and even had their uniforms based on a similar (Albeit older) German design, as well as having almost every Nazi officer who fled do so through Switzerland (the rest were through the Vatican).
    people like to forget that the Swiss were neutral in the same regards as Sweden or Spain: they stayed out of the Conflicts, but were very much on the Axis’ side, due to cultural similarities, similar ideals and good trade benefits.
    one last thing, Nazis weren’t seen as evil monsters before they lost the war. To be on their side was like being on NATOs side, they are a powerful ally, with good benefits and bad repercussions to be on their wrong side. Switzerland had defences, yes. but the chances of a conflict between them and Germany (or any other axis powers) was very slim, even if the Alps didn’t exist.

    NAMASTE

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