National Geographic : 1915 Nov
Photo by Wehrli LAUTERBRUNNEN AND THE SPRAY BROOK, SWITZERLAND The road in the foreground is typical of the magnificent highways which enable the Swiss to maneuver their troops to the. greatest possible advantage, and which should be an object lesson to American highway builders. going up for drill, his uniform is a rail road pass, and while he acts as a soldier he need not put his hand in his pocket to draw out money for any necessary ex pense. He is entitled to no pension; but if, in the course of his military duty, he has become incapacitated, so that he is unable to earn his livelihood in an ordi nary calling, the State will respond with such assistance as may be reasonable. Moreover, the same consideration is ex tended to his widow and family should he be killed in the course of duty to his country. In war times or during maneuvers every citizen is expected to provide food and lodging for such soldiers as his dwell ing and means permit him to shelter. Should he prefer not to have soldiers bil leted at his house, he is obliged to pay into the army treasury a sum sufficient to provide lodging for them elsewhere. Every householder in Switzerland is in formed of the number of men and horses he is expected to receive, and when the annual maneuvers are held in his district he makes preparations accordingly. By this system the army train is made com paratively light, and the mobility of the force is greatly increased as a result; for it is only on rare occasions that the troops go under canvas, being billeted, whenever possible, with the inhabitants of near-by towns. Though surrounded on all sides by belligerent millions, whose interests might be served by asking her to step out of their path, Switzerland today stands an island of peace in a sea of war, because she has been prepared to maintain her neutrality and her freedom, or at least to exact such a price for them that none of the nations at war can afford to pay for their violation.