Liechtenstein’s military history


Liechtenstein follows a policy of neutrality and is one of the few countries in the world that maintains no military.

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance Liechtenstein often saw combat. The castle at the heart of the country was twice ruined in sieges by the Turks in 1529 and 1683. The tiny nation of Liechtenstein gained its independence in 1806. It is a landlocked mountain country bordered on the west by Switzerland and the east by Austria. Occupied by French then Russian then French again then finally by German troops during the Napoleonic wars, Liechtenstein has been free since 1813. During Liechtenstein’s last military engagement in 1886, none of the 80 soldiers sent were injured, and 81 returned, including a new Italian “friend”.

The army was abolished soon after the Austro-Prussian War. The demise of the German Confederation in that war freed Liechtenstein from its international obligation to maintain an army, and parliament seized this opportunity and refused to provide funding for one. The Prince objected, as such a move would leave the country defenceless, but relented on 12 February 1868 and disbanded the force.

In March 2007, a 170-person Swiss infantry unit became lost during a training exercise and inadvertently crossed 1.5 km into Liechtenstein. The accidental invasion ended when the unit realized their mistake, and turned back. The Swiss army later informed Liechtenstein of the incursion and offered official apologies.


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