so is it really true that an Italian befriended the army of Liechtenstein in 1868 or not??
because I’ve seen differing info?????
the spirit of the story is true, but not the details. during the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Liechtenstein was reluctant to involve itself directly (despite the Principality’s close ties to Austria). as a compromise, the Principality sent its army (80 men) down to watch the border with Italy. David Beattie (Liechtenstein: A Modern History) summarizes:
The contingent saw no action and, indeed, no enemy. Eighty men sent out; eighty-one returned in September to general rejoicing, having been joined by an Austrian soldier who was looking for work.
so there you have it.
From David Beattie’s Liechtenstein: A Modern History (2003).
Every country has its clichés. Sometimes they are useful as a handy point of reference. Sometimes they mislead rather than illuminated.
There are two clichés about Liechtenstein: it is often described, and dismissed, either as an anachronistic fairy-tale Alpine paradise or as a haven for dubious financial operators. The truth is far more interesting. This is a study of a hunique state whose small size has both helped and hindered it throughout its history. Repeatedly, and sometimes against all the odds, it has survived imminent political and economic disaster. Its lack of natural resources, its poverty and its comparative remoteness made it uninteresting to the big predators, yet in half a century the hard work and talent of its small population transformed it from a backward agrarian land into the most highly industrialized country in Europe. Many of its industries use and produce the most advanced technology. It owes much of its manufacturing success to its liberal tax policy, which in more recent years has allowed a flourishing financial services sector to develop.
Politically, it is a constitutional monarchy based on an advanced parliamentary democracy. The House of Liechtenstein acquired the government of the territory by peaceful purchase at the turn of the seventeenth century, gave it their own name and turned it into an independent Principality. There has sometimes been tension between Crown, people and politicians, as this study will show; but more often than not that tension has been creative. At its best, the constitutional partnership has been dynamic and productive.
Liechtenstein achieved ful international sovereignty in 1806, which makes it one of the more senior European states. in the second half of the twentieth century it succeeded by trial and error, by doggedness and application, in asserting its sovereign identity at the international level. As a member of the United Nations, the European Economic Area, the Council of Europe and other international organizations it is now making its own contribution, admittedly small but always constructive and sometimes distinctive, to the wider community.
With all the caveats that causion, history and a turbulent world demand, Liechtenstein seems better placed now than at any time in its history to deal with the problems and to seize the opportunities that the future will bring.
I am struck once again by the focus difference between Beattie (Liechtenstein: A Modern History) and Raton (Liechtenstein: History and Institutions of the Principality).
- Beattie is very much focused on the internal history of the country: see his long converage of the VDBL coup attempt, as well as the pre-1921 constitutional reform “constitutional crisis”
- Raton is much more concerned with Liechtenstein’s place in the international system and with the history of Liechtenstein as it relates to the history of the rest of Europe/the world; it probably helps that Raton’s book was originally his doctoral thesis (he seems to have been defending Liechtenstein’s status as an independent state prior to the Treaty of Saint-Germain? I’m not entirely clear on what his topic was yet)
Both are interesting and useful approaches, but both are very different — I hope my followers are finding both interesting.