What could be the worst April Fools prank that a neutral country amid warring nations could ever receive? For the people of Schaffhausen during World War II, it was some 60 tons of explosives that 50 American B-24H Liberators dropped on their town. While the timing is uncanny, this was no April Fools’ prank because the incident was purely accidental. 

Switzerland’s Neutrality

Getting involved in war is no easy business. Resources are diverted, the country’s priorities are changed, and military forces are slowly getting depleted. Fortunately, neutrality in warfare became a recognized “stand” during a conflict. When you’re under neutrality, your country’s spared from the havoc of both sides, and you could help in the form of humanitarian aid if the administration wishes to do so. 

During World War II, Switzerland chose to remain a neutral country. It was not the first time they did it. Their self-imposed military neutrality can be traced back to 1515, after losing to the French forces after the Battle of Marignano. They did not take sides when World War I ensued, although they took refugees into the country. This remained until World War II when they were active in helping those who fell victims to the ongoing conflict.

Switzerland was not alone. Thirteen other countries chose neutral during the Second World War: Afghanistan, microstates of Andorra, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Vatican City, and Yemen.