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Thursday 25th July 1940

General Guisan and his 600+ high ranking Army Officers at the Rütli meadow in 1940
During its darkest hour in 1940, Switzerland was surrounded by aggressive fascist armies, with no allies within reach, its politicians quavering and its people were beginning to lose hope of retaining their freedom
General Henri Guisan stepped into the growing despair and on 25th July 1940 he took the entire 600+ Swiss officer corps by paddle steamer along Lake Luzern to the Rütli Meadow, the same spot where pike-wielding herdsmen had formed the Swiss Confederation in 1291
Invoking the spirit of their medieval forebears, he informed his officers that Switzerland would fight back against any invader and issued his famous order:-
"Fight to your last cartridge, then fight with your bayonets - No surrender
- Fight to the death - Switzerland
he declared "would never surrender"
General Guisan lit a torch that would guide the continent's only remaining democracy until the end of the war

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updated - Lakes Brienz, Geneva,
Luzern, Thun, Zurich, Konstanz, Maggiore, Como, Garda 25th July 2005   e-mail   (c)2005 John B Bird