Swedish Armed Neutrality: what it involves

In the 1950s Sweden had the highest standard of living in the world. Armed neutrality played an important part in this. But maintaining armed neutrality is no foregone conclusion. In the 1940s each side tried to make Sweden abandon its neutrality:

“After Denmark and Norway were invaded on April 9, 1940, Sweden and the other remaining Baltic Sea countries became enclosed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, then on friendly terms with each other as formalized in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The lengthy fighting in Norway resulted in intensified German demands for indirect support from Sweden, demands that Swedish diplomats were able to fend off by reminding the Germans of the Swedes’ feeling of closeness to their Norwegian brethren. With the conclusion of hostilities in Norway this argument became untenable, forcing the Cabinet to give in to German pressure and allow continuous (unarmed) troop transports, via Swedish railroads, between Germany and Norway.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_German_troops_through_Finland_and_Sweden).

The conditions were carefully negotiated: troops were to be unarmed and on troop transports via Swedish railroads” from Germany to Norway.

As with Nazi Germany in the 1940s so with NATO today. Many question now how useful it was for Sweden to pursue its armed neutrality. But quite apart from the prosperity that followed in the 1950s the same principles apply today as did then. Compromises are necessary and have to be made with the globally dominant power. Since NATO began exercises in Scandinavia, over a large part of Northern Sweden (an obvious indirect pressure to Sweden and Finland to join NATO) Sweden’s response has been to take part in NATO exercises. One might as well take advantage of the military presence of NATO, especially since NATO chose to exercise over Swedish air space.

This is the point about the current Cold War that the EU and NATO has launched against Russia in Ukraine and now spreading over the whole world. It is precisely now that Sweden can benefit from armed neutrality.

There are other benefits, too. Most Danish jews could escape to Sweden across the narrow Oresund in the Second World War and find refuge there. See https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/denmark.html. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_of_the_Danish_Jews: “The rescue of the Danish Jews occurred during Nazi Germany‘s occupation of Denmark during World War II. On October 1, 1943, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler ordered Danish Jews to be arrested and deported. Despite great personal risk, the Danish resistance movement, with the assistance of many ordinary Danish citizens, managed to evacuate 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews, plus 686 non-Jewish spouses, by sea to nearby neutral Sweden.[1]

Sweden has always had a close relationship wit Finland, and in World War II more than 7,000 Finnish refugees came to Sweden: see http://www.konditori100.se/SiWW2/sww2fref.htm.

Air personnel of aeroplanes, mostly US on bombing runs over Germany that came down over Sweden but also personnel on Luftwaffe planes were repatriated or sometimes incarcerated for the duration of the war.

In general, armed neutrality benefitted Sweden as well as saving many lives and building up a fund of goodwill abroad. It would be a complete waste for Sweden to join NATO and have to fight in America’s global wars, whether in Libya or the Middle East.

This entry was posted in Sweden and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.