Sweden: Negotiated Neutrality
2015 (English)In: The Cambridge History of The Second World War.: Volume II. Politics and ideology / [ed] Richard J. Bosworth - Joseph Maiolo, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, 350-374 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
When the Second World War started on 1 September 1939, neutrality was the obvious choice for Sweden. Sweden had not been to war since 1814. During the First World War, Sweden was neutral. Historical experience made no other choice than neutrality possible. It was not only the choice of the government, but also the choice of the Swedish electorate. Sweden’s government was a coalition comprised of the Social Democratic Party and the smaller Farmers’ Party. The Chairperson of the Social Democrats, Per Albin Hansson, was Prime Minister. Hansson reassured the public that Sweden could defend itself if attacked, but in fact, Sweden was not ready for war. Many conscripts lacked basic military training and the army was not ready for winter operations. The government realized that it could not rely on the armed forces to enforce Sweden’s neutrality; instead, it had to negotiate the terms of its neutrality with the belligerents. For example, Stockholm had to convince the representatives of the warring great powers to accept that Sweden would continue to trade with both sides. For a vulnerable neutral such as Sweden, negotiating trade and other issues with the great powers, especially when Germany was the ascendant military power, was always a risky business, fraught with unpleasant choices and compromises.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 350-374 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128087DOI: 10.1017/CHO9781139524377.017ISBN: 978-1-107-03047-5ISBN: 9781139524377OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-128087DiVA: diva2:912760