ani-mer.gif (38556 bytes)The Swiss Militia  ani-mer.gif (38556 bytes)

Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 05:34:04 -0700
From: (Carolyn Hart)

Vin Suprynowicz wrote:

THE LIBERTARIAN, By Vin Suprynowicz
'As long as a man has another cartridge or hand weapon to use, he
does not yield' Those who would blithely abandon the greatest
safeguard of liberty -- the right of the individual citizen to keep and
bear military-style arms -- aren't real strong on consistency.
Aiming to gradually erode the quality of arms we have "permission" to
bear -- back to the level of the muzzle-loading flintlock, if not the
slingshot -- they have been disingenuously mewing for 60 years that they
have no objection to arms "for which there is a legitimate sporting use."
Of course, the Constitution says nothing about hunting or skeet
shooting. Rather, it says we must be allowed to keep our arms -- no
"infringement" whatsoever, no tax, no registration, no "application for
permit" -- because the citizens constitute the militia, the most powerful
armed force in any free state. The gun-grabbers sneer that this is
an out-of-date notion, that a bunch of farmers with deer rifles could
hardly stand up to the 82nd Airborne ... let along a Chinese invasion.
But the logical conclusion of that argument is surely that we should
encourage law-abiding citizens to keep machine guns and rocket-launchers
in the closet ... not ban AK-47s, with or without pistol grips and
bayonet lugs. The victim disarmament extremists (those who would
disarm law-abiding rape victims, but not their assailants, who ignore all
such laws) ridicule this as the sheerest homicidal macho fantasy -- no
modern nation has ever thrown out a tyrant by the simple expedient of the
common folk rising up with their personal rifles, nor does any civilized
nation today allow its citizens to keep machine guns at home. Wrong
and wrong. Try placing a long-distance call to the American military
governor of Vietnam, or the Soviet military governor of Afghanistan, to
ask them how easy it was to suppress a nation of armed peasants.
And as to the advisability of "allowing" citizen militias to keep modern
military arms with them at home -- yes, Sarah, the kind "designed for no
purpose but to kill large numbers of people" -- we turn to Virginia
attorney and Second Amendment expert Stephen P. Halbrook, author of the
book "Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II," due
this spring from Sarpedon Press. Writing in the January 1998
edition of the excellent magazine "Chronicles," Mr. Halbrook points out
that "Since the origins of the Swiss Confederation in 1291, it has been
the duty of every male Swiss citizen to be armed and to serve in the
militia. Today, that arm is an 'assault rifle,' which is issued to every
Swiss male and which must be kept in the home. During Germany's Third
Reich (1933-1945), that arm was a bolt-action repeating rifle, which was
highly effective in the hands of Switzerland's many sharpshooters.
"Americans of the wartime generation were familiar with the fact that
brave and armed little Switzerland stood up to Hitler and made him blink.
As a map of Europe in 1942 shows, the Nazis had swallowed up most of
everything on the continent but this tiny speck that Hitler called 'a
pimple on the face of Europe.' The Fuhrer boasted that he would be 'the
butcher of the Swiss,' but the Wehrmacht was dissuaded by a fully armed
populace in the Alpine terrain. ... # # # "The Swiss
federal shooting festival, which remains the largest rifle competition in
the world, was held in Luzern in June 1939. Hitler's takeover of Austria
and Czechoslovakia was complete, both countries had been surrendered by
tiny political elites who guaranteed that there would be no resistance.
Swiss President Philipp Etter spoke at the festival, stressing that
something far more serious than sport was the purpose of their activity.
His comments demonstrated the connection between national
defense and the armed citizen: " 'There is probably no other
country that, like Switzerland, gives the soldier his weapon to keep in
the home. The Swiss always has his rifle at hand. It belongs to the
furnishings of his home. ... That corresponds to ancient Swiss tradition.
As the citizen with his sword steps into the ring in the cantons which
have the Landsgemeinde (government by public meeting), so the Swiss
soldier lives in constant companionship with his rifle. He knows what
that means. With this rifle, he is liable every hour, if the country
calls, to defend his hearth, his home, his family, his birthplace. The
weapon is to him a pledge and sign of honor and freedom. The Swiss does
not part with his rifle.'
Mr. Halbrook continues: "On September 1, 1939, Hitler launched World
War II by attacking Poland. Within a day or two, Switzerland had about
half a million militiamen mobilized out of a population of just over four
million. General Henri Cuisan, commander in chief of the Swiss militia,
with Operations Order No. 2: " 'At the border and between the
border and army position, the border troops and advance guard
persistently delay the advance of the enemy. The garrisons at the border
and between the border and the works and positions making up the
defensive front continue resistance up to the last cartridge, even if
they find themselves completely alone.' "This astonishing order was
the opposite of the policies of the other European countries, which
either surrendered to Hitler without a fight or surrendered after a brief
resistance. For example, in April 1940, Denmark's king surrendered the
country after a meeting with the Nazis and instructed his forces not to
resist. Norway resisted, although 'unlike Switzerland' it had no armed
populace and was ill- prepared for combat. "In response to the
invasions of small neutral countries, Switzerland issued its 'directions
concerning the conduct of the soldiers not under arms in event of
attack.' Intended as a warning to Germany, it was pasted on walls all
over the country. It prescribed the reaction against surprise
attack and against the fifth column as follows: " 'All soldiers and
those with them are to attack with ruthlessness parachutists, airborne
infantry and saboteurs. Where no officers and noncommissioned officers
are present, each soldier acts under exertion of all powers of his own
initiative.' "This command for the individual to act on his own
initiative was an ancient Swiss tradition which reflected the political
and military leadership's staunch confidence in the ordinary man. This
command was possible, of course, only in a society where every man had
his rifle at home. " 'Under no condition,' the order continued,
'would any surrender be
forthcoming, and any pretense of a surrender must be ignored: If by
radio, leaflets or other media any information is transmitted doubting
the will of the Federal Council or of the Army High Command to resist an
attacker. this information must be regarded as the lies of enemy
propaganda. Our country will resist aggression with all means in its
power and to the death.' ... # # # "France collapsed in
June, 1940 after only a few weeks of fighting. Paris was taken without a
shot being fired. The Nazis promptly proclaimed the death penalty for
possession of firearms in France and other occupied countries.
"In contrast, Cuisan recalled the high duty of the soldier to resist:
" 'Everywhere, where the order is to hold, it is the duty of
conscience of each fighter, even if he depends on himself alone, to fight
at his assigned position. The riflemen, if overtaken or surrounded, fight
in their position until no more ammunition exists. Then cold steel is
next. ... The machine gunners, the cannoneers of heavy weapons, the
artillerymen, if in the bunker or on the field, do not abandon or destroy
their weapons, or allow the enemy to seize them. Then the crews fight
further like riflemen. As long as a man has another cartridge or hand
weapons to use, he does not yield. ..." Even old men and children
were issued armbands, identifying them as Ortswehren (local defense) so
they could not be shot as partisans under international law, when the
time came for them to shoot any invader they saw. Hitler never
invaded Switzerland. Would you have? Nor has any dictator -- military
or otherwise -- ever attempted to rule the Swiss cantons by "executive
order" ... like the one Bill Clinton haughtily signed to outlaw the
import of AK-47 variants which his own ATF had found to be in full
compliance with current law. "There was no holocaust on Swiss soil,"
Mr. Halbrook concludes. "Swiss Jews served in the militia side by side
with their fellow citizens, and kept rifles in their homes just like
everyone else. It is hard to believe that there could have been a
holocaust had the Jews of Germany, Poland, and France had the same
Folks ask me: "I'm just one person, what can I do?" Buy an M1-A,
or an AR-10, at $1,100. These are better weapons than are currently
standard issue in the U.S. Army. If you can't afford those, buy a surplus
M-1 Garand at $500, or even a 1917 Enfield, at $250. For the smaller
women and teens, a surplus M-1 carbine apiece, at about $350. Six
magazines for each rifle and a couple thousand rounds of surplus
ammunition (in bulk) may set you back $800. Do it before autumn of
1998, when the Brady Bill allows national gun registration, even for LONG
GUNS. But only if you want America to remain a free country, of
course. Freedom is always optional. Vin Suprynowicz is the
assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Readers
may contact him via e-mail at . The web
site for the Suprynowicz column is at
The column is syndicated in the United States and Canada via Mountain
Media Syndications, P.O. Box 4422, Las Vegas Nev. 89127. *** Vin
Suprynowicz, "The right of self-defense is the first law
of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine
this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing
armies are kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear
arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if
not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction." -- Henry St.
George Tucker, in Blackstone's 1768 "Commentaries on the Laws of

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