Sweden and the Cold War: A Historiography of a Work in Progress

In: International Bibliography of Military History
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  • 1 Stockholm University, Sweden

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This article provides an updated and comprehensive historiography of Swedish military history research concerning Sweden’s security policy during the Cold War for an international audience in the English language. The article reviews the important books and articles on the subject from the early 1990s to the present and evaluates them in an accessible way also for those not familiar with Swedish Cold War history. The article identifies and makes use of three schools of research in order to categorize and systemize this research, namely a moderate school, a critical school, and a radical school. One of the main points of the article is that much of the differences between the critical and the radical school has to do with the fact that the two schools focus on different levels of analysis and thus in reality are more compatible than their proponents may think.

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    Kjell Engelbrekt, “Den sjuttonde alliansmedlemmen?” in Internationella Studier, No. 4, 1999, 61–72.

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    Ola Tunander, “The Uneasy Imbrication of Nation–State and NATO: The Case of Sweden” in Cooperation and Conflict, Vol. 34, No. 2, 1999, 169–203; Hans Weinberger, “The Neutrality Flagpole: Swedish Neutrality Policy and Technological Alliances, 1945–1970” in, Technologies of Power: Essays in Honor of Thomas Parke Hughes and Agatha Chipley Hughes, eds. Michael Thad Allen and Gabrielle Hecht (Cambridge, Ma., 2001), 295–331; Hans Weinberger, Technology: and the de/construction of Swedish neutrality during the cold war (Stockholm, 2002); Hans Weinberger, “A Small/Medium-sized Great Power in the North: Swedish Neutrality During the Cold War Through the Geostrategic Lens” in The Cold War, Military Power and the Civilian Society. Report from the conference in Bodø, Sept. 12–13, 2002, ed. Karl L. Kleve (Bodø, 2003), 45–64; Ann-Sofie Dahl, “The Myth of Swedish Neutrality” in Haunted by History: Myths in International Relations, eds. Cyril Buffet and Beatrice Heuser (Oxford, 1998), 28–40; Johan Kristoffer Hell has, in a less than well supported study, termed the Swedish policy during the Cold War ‘strategic deception’ (Johan Kristoffer Hell, Strategic Vulnerability: Understanding Sweden’s National Security Policies During the Cold War (Münster, 1996); Mikael Holmström, “Svenskt dubbelspel under kalla kriget” [Swedish Double Play during the Cold War] in Svenska Dagbladet, October 11, 2003; Magnus Haglund, “Jovisst var vi hemliga NATO–medlemmar!” [Of Course We Were Secret NATO Members!] in Kungl. krigsvetenskapsakademiens handlingar och tidskrift, No. 5, 2002, 125–128.

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  • 6

    Johan Gribbe and Mikael Nilsson, “The Foreign Domestic: Hard Artefacts and Soft Politics in Sweden During the First Half of the Cold War, 1945–1967” in ICON: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology, vol. 11, 2005, 51–62; Hans Weinberger, “The Neutrality Flagpole: …”, 295–331; Hans Weinberger, ‘‘Technology: and …; Hans Weinberger, “A Small/Medium–sized …”, 45–64; Hans Weinberger, “‘På sidan om de stora kraftlinjerna’? Teknik, vetenskap och det kalla kriget” [On the Side of the Main Power Lines? Technology, Science, and the Cold War] in Vetenskapsbärarna. Naturvetenskapen i det svenska samhället, 1889–1950, ed. Sven Widmalm [The Science Bearers: Natural Science in Swedish Society, 1889–1950] (Hedemora, 1999), 352–368; Hans Weinberger, “‘Det rörde sig väl om ofarliga ting’ Svensk neutralitetspolitik och synen på teknik” [‘‘It Was Probably No Risky Business”: Swedish Neutrlity Policy and the View of Technology] in Arbetarhistoria. Meddelande från Arbetarrörelsens Arkiv och Bibliotek, no. 92, 4/1999, 31–36.

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  • 17

    Jacob Stridsman, “Erik Boheman – västvänlig svensk diplomat under det kalla kriget” in Hett och kallt – Tre studier i svensk säkerhetspolitik och strategi gentemot västmakterna i början av det kalla kriget. Hot and Cold—Three Studies in Swedish Security Politics and Strategy towards the Western Powers in the beginning of the Cold War, ed. Kent Zetterberg (Stockholm, 1999), 99–141.

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  • 24

    Erik Noreen, Brobygge eller blockpolitik? …, 225–226.

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    Mikael af Malmborg, “Sweden – NATO’s Neutral ‘Ally’? …” in A History of NATO …, 295–314.

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    Ibid., p. 313.

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    Magnus Petersson, “Brödrafolkens väl”, 282.

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    Charles C. Silva, Keep Them Strong, Keep Them Friendly: …, 8–10. Silva has chosen to use this concept instead of hegemony, although he refers to the latter in passing.

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  • 49

    Charles C. Silva, “Att omvärdera svensk utrikespolitik 1945–1950”, 13.

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    Robert Dalsjö, Life–Line Lost: …, 223–224.

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    Hans Lödén, För säkerhets skull …, 405.

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    Robert Dalsjö, Life–Line Lost: …, 27–28.

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    Mikael Nilsson, Tools of Hegemony: …, p. 411.

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    Oleg Ken et al., Švecija v politike Moskvy …, 429–431.

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    Mikael Nilsson, “Amber Nine: NATO’s Secret Use of a Flight Path over Sweden and the Incorporation of Sweden in NATO’s Infrastructure” in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 44, No. 2, April 2009, 287–307.

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  • 74

    Mikael Nilsson, “Aligning the Non-Aligned: A re-interpretation of why and how Sweden was granted access to US military materiel in the early Cold War, 1948–1952” in Scandinavian Journal of History, Vol. 35, No. 3, Sept. 2010, 290–309.

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