Sweden - a shame in WWII history?

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Tomgus, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Tomgus

    Tomgus New Member

    Talking to an older relative some years ago about Sweden during W II and the governments cowardness against Germany during the first years of the war I was told: You know nothing of how it was? Of Course you don´t in any case of history you havn't lived through but looking at Sweden's position during the war gives a very big deal of shame. Not that many Swedes were nazis (There was political nazi parties who failed to take place in the parliament even during the 30's) but we had a cultural connection to Germany before the war. As an example Germany was the second language in schools - after the war it was English. The Swedish crown prince, Gustaf Adolf killed in an air accident i Copenhagen - was married to Sibylla, a German woman who's father was a nazi. In the Miltary Council the Commander of the Armed Forces, Thörnell got an German military decoration direct from Hitler - during the war!

    The most shameless Swedish "actions" as I see them was:
    1. The evasion to help Finland military during the Winter war 1939. Before the war the government gave promisies to that.
    2. The transits of German forces and equipment on Swedish railways during the first years of the war.

    After the war the Swedish industry was nearly unharmed and that lay the foundation of the Swedish postwar wealth.

    One of the best symbolic signs of the Swedish cowardish attitude during WW II came in the Swedish TV-series "Någonstans i Sverige" eng. "Somewhere in Sweden". In one scene in the early parts of the series an upper class apartment in Stockholm is showned during the early war years. On the mantelpieceis is a photo of Hitler. Later in the series, after 1943, the same mantelpiece is showned but now the photo is changed to one of - Winston Churchill!!!
  2. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    From an english view point it is one of those Catch 22 situations. Sweden was friends with Germany, but then Germany's war machine kicked in and it had to make a decision: oppose it and got he same was as Finalnd and Norway, or be friendly and neutral.

    Yes the actual aiding of Germany military transport and Steel etc was a shame, but I wouldn't call it an idictment of the country as a whole. It had to face the realities of help or be invaded.

    The situation then was not easy, it wasn't for any country involved.
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

  4. Tomgus

    Tomgus New Member

    Hi Annie! Never seen that site, thanks. But a Swede called Bosse Schöön has made some TV-programmes and written some books about "The Swedes that fought for Hitler." There are som myths about that still living in our country. One is that the Swedish soldiers in Hitlers army didn't know anything about the Holocaust but Schöön showes that some soldiers even work as guards in the camps in Poland. Another is that most Swedish volunteers fighting for Finland where nazis. Wrong! Of course there was some - often continuing fighting for Waffen-SS on the east front later in the war. But most of the Swedes in Finland were idealists that wanted to help where the Swedish government "betrayed" the neighbours. An amazing thing that I read in one of Schööns bookis that also 50 Englishmen fought on Germanys side in Waffen-SS. I have heard about William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw and Mosely but not about that before!
  5. urqh

    urqh New Member

    Joyce was an enigma of a person since you mention him. A traitor to Britian many say, but his family and passport links with Eire and USA put him in the areana of one of the wars great curiosities to me.

    As for Sweden. Between a rock and a hard place comes to my mind.

    I have worked in Stockholm over many years. Whenever ww2 is mentioned and it seldom was, I found that in the main, my colleagues almost to a man were in awe of Churchill and his stance.

    The tv series you speak of was constantly on the tv in my hotel room, and darn it, I couldn't understand a word...but it looked a real epic of a series. I know there are clips on you tube which actually has some pretty good videos of Swedish forces during the war and some really great ones of the Danes before the war.
  6. spidge

    spidge Active Member

  7. Tomgus

    Tomgus New Member

    Hi Urqh! Thanks for interesteing views from your stay in Stockholm. I think you're very right that WWII is seldom talked about from ordinary Swedish people that lived through that time!
    Spidge: Thanks for excellent interesting link!
  8. urqh

    urqh New Member

    No prob..I have a soft spot for Swedes and Sweden. Stockholm is my favourite city. Especially in winter with the harbour iced up around by the Royal castle island or whatever it is. I worked in Globen opposite the railway station at BGC or visited it if you can call that work. Globen on Hockey day is something else.

    Guy who worked for us, a Swede, was constantly talking about Winston Churchill, his hero and wouldnt hear a bad word about him even from us Brits. Noticed too, as you do, being ex forces at airport, servicemen coming and going...They breed em big in Swedens forces...I wouldnt argue with em.
  9. Heidi

    Heidi New Member

    The first thing a country should do in this situation is to protect you're population as best as you can,even if you have to go neutral.
    If the emeny is a lot stonger than you are,there's no point fighting them and risking you're whole country/cultrue/population to be taken.
    I think those kind of countries are not cowards,they were protecting there population and culture.
  10. Dismayedsoul

    Dismayedsoul New Member

    Maybe not only cowards

    After all it seems that Sweedish Gouvernement gave occasion to Ally to have a close sight of the crashed german rokets on sweedish soil.
  11. Charlie Prenicolas

    Charlie Prenicolas New Member

    Interesting insights on Swedish participation in World War II!
  12. zuukko

    zuukko New Member

  13. seotut

    seotut Guest

    It's not about shame, defnitely not in the present. After all, they were neutral, and they did the best they could to protect their citizens.

    According to wikipedia:

    Sweden also became a refuge for anti-fascist and Jewish refugees from all over the region. In 1943, following an order to deport all of Denmark's Jewish population to concentration camps, nearly all of Denmark's 8,000 Jews were brought to safety in Sweden. Sweden also became a refuge for Norwegian Jews.
  14. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Sweden had a population of around 6 million in 1940. The Swedish government didn't had much of a choice, as the Soviets were not interested in an alliance with them.

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