Liechtenstein during the Second World War
Lichtenštejnsko ve druhé světové válce
Source document: Studia historica Brunensia. 2020, vol. 67, iss. 2, pp. 81-102
ISSN1803-7429 (print)2336-4513 (online)
License: Not specified license
The Principality of Liechtenstein with an area of 160 km2 had 11,000 inhabitants during the Second World War. Following the Anschluss of Austria in March 1938, Hitler's Germany directly bordered Liechtenstein. The unarmed principality declared its neutrality on 30 August 1939, similar to Switzerland. There was a constant danger of a German Anschluss, both from the Reich and through a local Nazi movement. But in April 1939, in a patriotic signature campaign, 95.4% of all those entitled to vote expressed their willingness to preserve the country's independence. From the Reich's perspective, Liechtenstein was like an appendage to Switzerland. Switzerland, however, would not have defended Liechtenstein, for reasons of neutrality. From 1940 to 1944, Liechtenstein, together with Switzerland, was completely surrounded by the Axis Powers of Hitler and Mussolini. Metal processing companies were founded at the end of 1941, the Presta company produced sleeves for Swiss anti-aircraft grenades, and Hilti Maschinenbau produced metal pieces for German auto and armaments companies. The "Volksdeutsche Bewegung in Liechtenstein" celebrated Hitler's victories. But the prince, the government, the parliament, the scouts, the clergy and the vast majority of the people rejected the Nazi ideology. At the end of April and beginning of May 1945, the war came closer, as the French pushed German troops towards Feldkirch. During the night of 2/3 May 1945, 492 members of a Russian-German troop crossed the border; they were interned. On 12 May 1945, Prince Franz Josef II congratulated President Beneš. The Czechoslovak President passed Decree No. 5 on 19 May 1945. The confiscations in Czechoslovakia also affected Liechtensteiners, namely the prince, members of the princely family and 30 other Liechtenstein citizens. They all, although neutral during the war, were treated as "Germans", their property has been confiscated.