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Sweden, the Swastika and StalinThe Swedish experience in the Second World War$
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John Gilmour

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748627462

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627462.001.0001

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Military Matters

Military Matters

(p.209) 10 Military Matters
Sweden, the Swastika and Stalin

John Gilmour

Edinburgh University Press

The defence budget-cut in 1925 had reduced military strength which the 1936 re-armament decision tried to reverse. By 1939, the Swedish navy was rather obsolete. Sweden had only 150 aircraft that were elderly and slow. There was almost no development of either tanks or anti-tank weaponry before 1941. The defence planners had developed defensive war-scenarios based on Russian aggression. Their plans were rooted in a fear of Soviet Russia while the likelihood of trouble with Germany was dismissed. After April 1940,the Government was resolved to resist any Norwegian-style invasion by Germany. The emphasis in the armed forces was on strengthening their equipment and training. By 1941, Swedish defence thinking had altered substantially due to experience and observation of successful German military operations. The strategy remained defensive: to resist any invasion of Sweden from any quarter. The Swedish military caste changed fundamentally in both leadership and attitude. The strength of Swedish defence increased substantially as resources poured into the three services after 1940 and the formation of a Home Guard (Hemvärn) force. The politicians were firmly in charge of the country’s defences. The will to resist was apparent from spending, conscription, mass-mobilisations and the creation of irregular forces.

Keywords:   Army, Navy, Air force, Olof Thörnell, Beredskap, fria kriget, Lotta, Hemvärn, Per Edvin Sköld, Conscription

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