Sunday, 14 June 2009
C in C
- Commander in Chief 0f theSwiss Army inWW1.
At the dawn of the First World War, Switzerland confirmed its will to remain neutral and to avoid the conflicts which were going to set Europe ablaze. However, Switzerland was divided between the German-speaking Swiss who favored the Central Powers, and the French-speaking Swiss whose opinions tended to support the Allied Powers. As a Germanic-speaking Swiss, and close to Kaiser Wilhelm II, Wille benefitted from the pro-Germanic current and the disparity within the Swiss Federal Council, which counted only one member from the French areas . In 1914, at the outbreak of warfare, a general mobilization of all military forces was issued. Wille, then a Colonel, was named General of Switzerland by the Federal Parliament on August 8, 1914 with 122 votes, against 63 votes for the other candidate, Theodore Sprecher von Bernegg. Von Bernegg would soon assume the rank of Chief of the General Staff and a reliable partner of Wille's. The opponents of the general described him as “militarist” whereas his partisans saw in him a chief ready to manage an army in mobilization thanks to his pedagogical talents. Wille decided to concentrate the bulk of his forces (238,000 men and 50,000 horses) close to the borders, particularly in Ajoie and Engadine