The Monument to Defence Preparedness represents the dynamism, strength, power and defensive capabilities of the Swiss people, important values in the spiritual defence of the homeland.
In the mid-1930s, the Great Depression had only seemingly been overcome, and the aggression of the National Socialist German Reich became ever more apparent. Fewer than 20 years after the end of the First World War, the Spanish Civil War brought unrest back to European soil. Located at the heart of Europe and with no sea access, Switzerland, in particular, felt the political pressure. This resulted in a strengthened resolve to militarily defend the country’s independence, thanks to a patriotic harking-back to the Confederacy’s founding history. The Swiss army grew in importance as a result of the Second World War.
In the summer of 1939, before the outbreak of war, the Swiss National Exhibition opened in Zurich. The Swiss Army was given its own pavilion. The Zurich-based sculptor Hans Brandenberger created the statue ‘Wehrbereitschaft’ (‘Defence Preparedness’) as a symbol, representing the dynamism, strength, power and defensive capabilities of the Swiss people.
Following the exhibition, the artist revised the statue before placing it on a plinth. The plinth's four sides feature the key content of the 1291 Federal Charter in all four national languages. To mark Swiss National Day in 1941, the Monument to Defence Preparedness was moved to Schwyz and inaugurated there. The statue has stood in the garden of the Museum of the Swiss Charters of Confederation since 1942. The four-ton bronze statue was funded with donations from Swiss citizens living abroad.