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Pro-German general War widens cultural divide in Switzerland

(RTS Geopolitis/

The First World War heightened existing antagonisms between German and French speakers in Switzerland, who tended to support different sides in the conflict. 

The French-speaking part of the country was pro-Allied Powers and angry that the federal government had not protested the 1914 German violation of Belgian neutrality.

Switzerland was bound to Germany culturally and economically, and many high-ranking military and civilian leaders, including General Ulrich Wille, head of the Swiss armed forces, openly sympathised with the German cause.