The Cold War: Sweden

Figure 1.-- This snapshot shows children part of the Spåntorps at the Swedish Air Force Tullinge Base during the 1950s. The Air Base was fiest ooened (1946). We are not sure what what Spåntorps meant. It could be are foor civilian dependents of the Air Force personnel or perhaps the civilian families helping to maintain the base. Sweden to maintain its neutrality was the smallest country during the Cold War to develop its own high-performance jet aicraft. The Swedish Air Force ran its Södertörns Schools at Tullinge (1974-86).

Sweden was neutral in both World War I and II, an unlike most other neutrals, manged to maintain their neutrality and were not invaded. The country like Switzerland was surrounded by NAZI occupied or allied countries and for a time expected a NAZI invasion as was the fate of neighboring Norway. Based on internet conversations with some Swedes, it is not fully understood that without the Allied victory, Sweden would have been annexed by NAZI Germant which wanted both the iron ore mines and tge prople they regarded as valuable genetic material. Had the soviets won the War unchecked by the western Allies, Sweden would have become another Soviet EasterN European satellite. While neutral, Sweden played an important role in the NAZI war effort. Most importantly, much of the iron ore feeding the NAZI war industries came from Swedish mines. The Swedes also allowed German military units involved in the campaign against the Soviet Union to pass thrugh Swedish territory. Unlike Switerland, the Swedes never tuurned Jews over to the Germans. After World War II, the Cold War developed and again Sweden pursued a neutral course. And as part of that policy, Sweden maintained a strong military including a modern air force. Of course Sweden by itself no matter how well armed could never have resisted a major Soviet attack, especially as the country never devloped nuclear weapons. And while publically neutral, Swedish military planning was premised on assistance from the West in case of Soviet attack. Essentially, Sweden like European NATO countries benefitted from the American secyrity umbrella. There was a nuclear weapons program, but eventually terminatd as the costs were so high. This was a major problem in the overall Swedish defense effort. And there were secret American military commitments. Thus while not joining NATO, Sweden's independence was possible only because of NATO and the American commitment to Western Europe. Swedish sources insist that they also sought to maintain their independence by building a strong, prosperous society at home. This of course was fine, but meaningless in case of a Soviet military invasion. And fear of the Soviets led to the secret military and itelligence cooperation with the West. Hunts for Soviet submarines in the Baltic were part of Swedish Cold War history as well as hiding areas for American submarines. The Cold War was not just about military secutity concerns. Economics were also an important matter which would rather than the militry decided the outcome of the Cold War. Sweden like other countries with market-based economies, substantially out performed the Soviets and their Eastern Ruropean sattlites and their Commnunist planned economies. Sweden was, however, a small country and did not have a sufficently large market that would have enabled its econmy to develop without access to the foreign markets. As Europe began to integrate, Sweden initually joined the British organized Outter-Seven to compete with the Inner-Six (Common Market). Eventually the Outer-Seven including Britain joined the Common Market countries which forged the European Union (EU). Sweden joined the EU (1995).

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Created: 12:46 AM 1/20/2017
Last updated: 12:46 AM 1/20/2017