Switzerland emerged as one of the most prosperous nations in Europe after World War II. Following the war, Swiss neutrality and politics were compromised internationally due to Switzerland’s association with Germany. Switzerland had made a name for itself as an anticommunist country during the interwar period, and the Soviet Union granted diplomatic recognition reluctantly. In 1946, the western Allies, especially the United States, forced Switzerland to compensate the looted western European banks with the equivalent of 250 million Swiss francs. In light of this, Switzerland decided not to join the United Nations (UN), which maintained offices in Geneva.
The Swiss economy grew by approximately 5 percent annually in the 1950s and 1960s, with little unemployment. A significant portion of foreign policy during this time was focused on negotiating bilateral trade agreements. Swiss authorities considered building a nuclear bomb during the Cold War. Paul Scherrer, a leading nuclear physicist at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, made this a realistic possibility. Due to budget constraints, substantial funds could not be allocated, so the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 was considered an alternative. By 1988, all remaining nuclear weapons plans had been abandoned.
Below are some fascinating historical photos of Switzerland in 1953.