Swiss citizens voted to keep their army as the best way of maintaining their nation's neutrality, even though the highly mobilized force has scarcely fired a shot in anger during its four centuries of existence. A proposal to abolish the army by the year 2000 was rejected by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Although it has only about 1,800 full-time military personnel, Switzerland can mobilize 625,000 trained soldiers in 48 hours--more, it says, than West Germany. The initiative drive had sparked a fierce debate on the usefulness of the army in a small, neutral country.
From Times staff and wire reports
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