Refuge from the Reich: American Airmen and Switzerland During World War II


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Refuge from the Reich: American Airmen and Switzerland During World War II

Imagine the courage of a U.S. aircrew whose plane is rocked by explosions at 26,000 feet. The engines smoking, wounded crying, pilots desperately trying to control the falling craft, secretly unsure whether to shout the dreaded order: "Bail out!" A final moment of terror occurs when fighter planes suddenly appear alongside the stricken craft-and then a sigh of relief. The agile fighters are marked with the white cross of Switzerland. The crippled bomber is escorted to an airfield, and to safety.By 1943, a multitude of U.S. airmen who just months earlier had been farmboys, clerks or students were soaring over Germany, braving the vicious wrath of the Luftwaffe and storms of enemy flak. Thousands of flyers died; thousands more fell into Nazi hands. But for over 1,700 U.S. airmen, salvation came from a small, surrounded country that defied Hitler throughout the war. Refuge from the Reich is the story of how the world's two oldest democracies came into contact amid the raging inferno of Nazi-held Europe.Having parachuted or crashlanded into Switzerland, U.S. airmen encountered a world they were unprepared for: a country where food and heat were rationed and every man was a soldier, subject to instant mobilization to counter the German threat. There were clashes of culture, as well as episodes of high drama. And, by the end of the war, there was an overriding sense of warmth and respect between U.S. airmen and the Swiss who had given them shelter.Refuge from the Reich tells the gripping story of U.S. flyers waging history's greatest air campaign, while providing a firsthand, insiders' view of the small democracy that was able to offer safety to our airmen, while facing dangerous odds of its own.

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European Theater Hitler & Third Reich US Air Force Refuge from the Reich: American Airmen and Switzerland During World War II
Imagine the courage of a U.S. aircrew whose plane is rocked by explosions at 26,000 feet. The engines smoking, wounded crying, pilots desperately trying to control the falling craft, secretly unsure whether to shout the dreaded order: "Bail out!" A final moment of terror occurs when fighter planes suddenly appear alongside the stricken craft-and then a sigh of relief. The agile fighters are marked with the white cross of Switzerland. The crippled bomber is escorted to an airfield, and to safety.By 1943, a multitude of U.S. airmen who just months earlier had been farmboys, clerks or students were soaring over Germany, braving the vicious wrath of the Luftwaffe and storms of enemy flak. Thousands of flyers died; thousands more fell into Nazi hands. But for over 1,700 U.S. airmen, salvation came from a small, surrounded country that defied Hitler throughout the war. Refuge from the Reich is the story of how the world's two oldest democracies came into contact amid the raging inferno of Nazi-held Europe.Having parachuted or crashlanded into Switzerland, U.S. airmen encountered a world they were unprepared for: a country where food and heat were rationed and every man was a soldier, subject to instant mobilization to counter the German threat. There were clashes of culture, as well as episodes of high drama. And, by the end of the war, there was an overriding sense of warmth and respect between U.S. airmen and the Swiss who had given them shelter.Refuge from the Reich tells the gripping story of U.S. flyers waging history's greatest air campaign, while providing a firsthand, insiders' view of the small democracy that was able to offer safety to our airmen, while facing dangerous odds of its own.
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