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Adriano Boschetti, an archaeologist who works for the Canton of Bern, said that Americans have already shown a large amount of interest in the historic objects. A local owner of a nearby mountain hut has been asked to keep watch and make sure parts of the plane are not destroyed or stolen. T emperatures have risen to over 35 degrees celsius in parts of Switzerland in recent months, as the country has experienced one of the hottest and driest summers since records began in Temperatures have soared across Europe this summer, with other unusual side effects. Zoos in France have been forced to give gorillas banana ice cubes.

The Aletsch Glacier, which is the biggest in the Alps, will almost disappear by the end of the century, they warn. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.

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In Italy, cows have been producing 15 per cent less milk to due to the dry grass. While in Germany, gherkin farmers have struggled to reap crops. We glossed over the corner of neutrality in most people, the neutrality that is also the instinct to save one's skin. The extent to which the ''truth'' about World War II was shaped by the often cynical political imperatives of the postwar years is now becoming clear. As the British historian Norman Davies has pointed out, the only war crimes deemed worth investigating in ''were those committed by the defeated enemy. There was, for example, no appetite to discover who killed 26, Allied Polish officers in the Katyn forests in because the Soviet Union, at war's end, was an ally.

Later, the issue was simply buried in the Soviet sphere. Similarly, Western attempts to probe who killed whom in Yugoslavia between and -- and particularly the role of the Catholic church in quisling Croatia's genocidal drive against Serbs and Jews -- were scarcely serious because they met political objections. To look too closely was to destabilize Yugoslavia; and to criticize the Catholic church was to play into the hands of the Communists.

The truth, beside such calculations, was of little moment. Politics was paramount. The same is certainly true of Switzerland, Sweden and Portugal, states that all became part of the Western family after Switzerland and Sweden were lands of freedom and democracy. Pressing them on their war records was not a priority in the West. Immediately after the war, the United States did attempt to press Portugal to surrender 44 tons of German gold by freezing its assets in the United States. But seven years later, with America anxious to get Portugal into NATO and secure an important strategic base in the Azores, the matter was dropped.


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In Switzerland, as in Sweden, the facts of an uneven war record have been broadly known for some time. Switzerland let some Jewish refugees in, but it turned others away.

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It secured food and other supplies from Germany and Fascist Italy; its bankers did business with both. Especially in the later years of the war, it proved a valuable listening post for Allied intelligence services.

Mayer, a professor of history at Princeton University. It is the new spirit of our times that has led to the current scrutiny. That spirit has also been evident elsewhere. It is only recently, in , that France has fully acknowledged its responsibility in the deportation of Jews and only recently that the early Allied awareness of the Holocaust has become widely acknowledged. The truth, with its inevitable moral ambiguities, can now be told.


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  • Part of this questioning spirit seems to have stemmed from the disasters that followed the cold war's end. The genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda posed -- shockingly -- a basic question: and what did you do?

    Second World War plane found after 72 years as heatwave melts Swiss snow

    Faced by this question, the old, neat certainties about history, about who was good and who evil, who upstanding and who a coward, have tended to fall away. The fact is that the ''neutral'' in any war or crisis -- those, that is, who rest immobile or are borne along with the tide -- are far more numerous than the outright heroes or the outright villains. What has also become very clear in recent years is the importance of light being shed on history.

    Yugoslavia's destruction, in many ways, was an old war refought. The obfuscations of Swiss banks and the Swiss Government, the shredding of old documents and the retreat into invective appear to do no service to future generations of Swiss citizens.

    Swiss neutrality

    Our vision of wartime ''neutrality'' was an illusion. But so, too, in some ways, was our vision of ourselves. The neutral countries were imperfect, but perhaps we were all less perfect than we believed.