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Conflicted May 15, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Interesting piece this on the lack of coming to terms with the Second World War period in Sweden, where real but patchy actions to push back against the Nazis were matched or more by compromises with them. I have a degree of sympathy for the Swedish. Like this island, it was by dint of geography placed in a very difficult situation – perhaps an impossible one. That said some of the compromises made appear self-serving or excessive.

Yet the author makes a very clear point that:

…most important of all – when Denmark and Norway had their postwar legal and moral purges dealing with collaborators and local Nazis, Sweden did nothing of the kind. No self-examination or moral debate took place. Those who had sympathised with Hitler simply went silent, and continued their lives as if nothing had happened.

That is an issue never encountered in this state – simply put pro-German sentiment was fairly diffuse and politically near enough conspicuous by its absence at state level and relatively, though not entirely, low in the broader polity.

Whether that dynamic described by the author is key to the rise of the far-right in Sweden is another matter entirely. Other states which did have at least some reckoning also have far-right movements of varying sizes, and it seems to me that more recent developments internationally have, arguably, had a greater impact in terms of shifting the political ground on which matters are contested. But, that said perhaps the lack of self-reflection did allow the seeds of the far-right to persist more strongly than might have been otherwise.

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1. EWI - May 15, 2019

That is an issue never encountered in this state – simply put pro-German sentiment was fairly diffuse and politically near enough conspicuous by its absence at state level and relatively, though not entirely, low in the broader polity.

Moreover, not an issue encountered after 26-county independence (the RIC paramiltaries aside); the old Dublin Castle infrastructure either continued in service to the new Free State (a British polity-derived entity) or migrated to keep serving a retrenched Anglo supremacism in the north).

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2. Dr. X - May 15, 2019

The Jews of Denmark were saved by the Danish resistance, who were able to smuggle them by sea from occupied Denmark to Neutral Sweden.

If Sweden had not been neutral, it would most likely have been occupied by the Reich, just as its neighbours were. And then, would Denmark’s Jewish community have been able to escape to safety?

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EWI - May 15, 2019

If Sweden had not been neutral, it would most likely have been occupied by the Reich, just as its neighbours were.

Sweden had a ‘certain consideration’ for Nazism which put Éire in the ha’penny place, including but not limited to free rail passage for German forces to reach Norway, and being a vital supplier of arms and materials for the German war effort.

A non-neutral Sweden might have intervened against the USSR in the Winter War, intervened against Germany in the Norwedian conflict etc.

It’s worth noting that neutral Norway was about to be invaded by both England and Germany when the Germans happened to get there firstv(this is why the English could land almost immediately).

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3. FergusD - May 16, 2019

But I thought most of Europe was neutral before the war started, it was just that some were invaded. Did Denmark, Norway, Holland etc declare war on Germany along with France and the UK? According to Wikipedia Holland was neutral, until invaded. So for some reason Germany respected Sweden, and Ireland’s, neutrality but not that of others. Strategic reasons?

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