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Norway PM 'hated Sweden' for Nazi help

Norway PM 'hated Sweden' for Nazi help

Published: 05 Jun 2012 06:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Jun 2012 06:36 GMT+02:00

As Norwegian fighters battled the Nazis in Narvik, Sweden let Hitler’s army use its rail network to transport much larger numbers of troops than previously realized to the strategically important port, a new book reveals.

Narvik-based journalist Espen Eidum spent three years combing through the Norwegian, Swedish and German archives in his bid to discover how the Nazis had managed to get troops and supplies to the front lines in Narvik in 1940, enabling them to turn a losing battle into a decisive victory.

The results of his research prove damning for Sweden, Norway's nominally neutral neighbour.

“The Germans used the Swedish rail network on a large scale during the fighting,” Eidum told Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet following the release of his book Blodsporet, ‘The Blood Track’.

“The operation was much more extensive than historians have previously realized,” he added.

In his book, Eidum documents how the Swedish authorities in October 1940 – four months after the German victory – sought to convince Norwegian delegates in London and Stockholm that Sweden had not allowed the Nazis to transport soldiers and weapons through its territory.

The truth, however, was very different, Eidum found.

According to the book, the German foreign ministry had earlier summoned the Swedish ambassador in Berlin to inform him that Adolf Hitler had personally requested for the Nazis to be permitted to send three trains with 30 to 40 sealed carriages through Sweden to the far north of Norway.

Hitler’s representatives told the Swedes that the Germans had a number of wounded soldiers at the front and urgently needed to send in medical officers and food. The Germans also made no secret of the fact that winning the battle in Narvik was a matter of some pride for the Nazi leader.

Once Sweden gave the go-ahead, however, the Germans took the opportunity to send combat soldiers, disguised as medical staff, to the Narvik front. For every actual medical officer, the trains carried 17 ground troops, according to Eidum’s calculations.

A report sent by a Swedish representative in Berlin, who watched the officers board the train, left little doubt that the Swedes knew the trains were being used for troop movements.

What’s more, Eidum’s research indicates that the trains were also loaded with heavy artillery, anti-aircraft guns, ammunition, engineering equipment, communications equipment and clothing.

Once Norway had lost Narvik, the Swedes then paved the way for the Nazis to continue sending trains to the occupied port town, a crucial hub for the transportation of iron ore.

From 1940 to August 1943, German trains rolled across Sweden’s northernmost borders before moving on to Oslo, Trondheim and Narvik. Norwegian prisoners were also sent by train to concentration camps in Germany when the rail cooperation was at its highest ebb, the book claims.

In what Eidum says was a particularly lucrative three-year period for Swedish rail operator SJ, hundreds of thousands of Nazi soldiers were allowed to pass through Sweden as they made their way to the Eastern Front in the USSR.

Eidum also includes in his book a venomous letter from Norway’s wartime prime minister, Johan Nygaardsvold (Labour Party), sent on New Year’s Eve 1940 to his Stockholm-based party colleague Anders Frihagen.

Seething with rage, Nygaardsvold asked his government’s Stockholm representative to convey his anger to the Swedish prime minister, Social Democrat Per Albin Hansson.

“If YOU can arrange a private conversation with Per Albin Hansson you can give him my greetings and tell him there are two things I want to experience, and those are: that the Germans get hunted out of Norway and, secondly, that I get to live long enough to give him and his entire government a proper dressing down – maybe even his entire party.”

Nygaardsvold further noted that there “is nothing, nothing, nothing I hate with such passion and wild abandon as Sweden – and it is his (Hansson’s) fault.”

The recipient of the letter never showed it to the Swedish prime minister.

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Your comments about this article

07:30 June 5, 2012 by rise
I think many of the people in leading positions in Sweden were nazi themselves. That would explain much anyway. I also believe that Hitler actually got some of his inspiration from The State Institute for Racial Biology that existed in Sweden between 1922-1975:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statens_institut_f%C3%B6r_rasbiologi
07:48 June 5, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
I am under the impression that, in the years between the end of WWII and now, a disproportionate (vis a vis the rest of europe) number of wartime refugees and even 'economic' refugees have been permitted to move to Sweden (with one famous case of an entire village relocated to Sweden from Chile, in the 1950's or 1960's, right down to the brothel workers and the mayor) .

With stories like this one about German troop movements (not new, except perhaps with regard to the number of troops and the amount of equipment for that particular battle), one wonders if much of the reason for the Swedish generosity toward war zone refugees in the 2nd half of the 20th century and beyond, is sociologically or socio-politically attributable to post-WWII guilt for having aided and abetted the wrong side in 1939-1945.
07:58 June 5, 2012 by Beavis
In time I think both so called "nuetral" countries Sweden adn Ireland will own up to their governemts support of the nazi government.
08:21 June 5, 2012 by RobinHood
The decision to betray Norway and the allies was taken by Social Democrat and Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson and a few senior Swedish Social Democrat politicians in his cabinet. It caused the deaths of thousands of British and Norwegian airmen, soldiers and sailors, and Norwegian civilians. It prolonged the war by months (and millions of deaths), by giving the Nazis access to valuable Norwegian raw materials, including heavy water for their nuclear program.

Mr Hansson does not reflect the values of normal Swedes, then or now, but Mr Hansson's treachery did not prevent Swedes from voting for the Social Democrat party for decades after. Modern Swedes feel no shame, mostly because modern Swedes know very little about it. Modern Norwegians know a lot about it, and even now, find it difficult to forgive, forget or even trust a Swede.

The affair does prove that God is in fact Norwegian. Not only did he give them the fjords, Per Albin Hansson died from heart failure as he stepped of a tram in 1946.

The modern Swedish Social Democrat party still celebrate Mr Hansson as the most successful Swedish prime minister ever; it is time he was renounced by them as the traitor and war criminal he was.

Norwegians who want to give Mr Hansson their regards can find him at the Norra begravningsplatsen in Stockholm.
08:26 June 5, 2012 by rolfkrohna
Then we helped the Germans, now we help the USA. Why do we never learn.
08:47 June 5, 2012 by skogsbo
It's a good job all the posters here have been brave enough to go to war themselves, knowing they will certainly die, or that if they did something that members of their families might suffer. It's easy to be brave 60years after the event when you weren't even there or alive. The Swedish Prime Minister probably saved a lot of Swedish lives by just going along with the Germans, I have no idea of party politics at the time, but it seems the journo spent 3 years confirming largely what everyone already knew.

I think to suggest that modern norwegians are well informed and that is their reasoning for not trusting Swedes is some what of an exaggeration. They are nordic brother and sister, they are hate each other, whilst still loving at the same time!
08:48 June 5, 2012 by beam_me_up
@rolfkrohna

Grow up!
09:26 June 5, 2012 by RobinHood
"Mr Hansson does not reflect the values of modern Swedes."

Except Skogsbo, who actually believes the treacherous little weasel was correct to support the Nazis.
09:29 June 5, 2012 by Breizh
I shall be thankful to the journalist if he/she would name the English, Polish and French soldiers fighting for the defense of Narvik as well. My great grand father, who fought in the 27e demi-brigade des chasseurs alpins of the French Expeditionnary force, is still buried there.
09:32 June 5, 2012 by gpafledthis
You "hate" Treblinka but create malmo !! Truly a good thought would die from loneliness in sweden !!
09:49 June 5, 2012 by Ranjit T Edward
I hate to think that Sweden helped the Nazis. Still, their action surely did exactly that. Having said that, I think it lies in the fact that the general disposition of a swede is being non-confrontational, non-involvement and non-opinionated. Which actually might not be a good thing. This is prevalent even today. In that context, allowing the Nazi's to use Sweden, might have been more like, what we do not know does not exist, or lets pretend we did not know.
10:56 June 5, 2012 by Opinionfool
More a case of "either let those trains through or be officially invaded" than any significant complicity.
11:14 June 5, 2012 by jonathanjames61
lets forget about this 1940 incident,its 2012,hope the Swedes will not vote another Nazi related party to power,its 10 percent now and the third largest party in Sweden,with most of its members working at The Swedish immigration office,so this time its not only helping the Nazi,s but also having a political power to Cary out their actions.
11:16 June 5, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
@ Skogsbo

You seem to be suggesting that only those who have been involved in a war/were alive at the time of WWII are entitled to have an opinion here.

On the one hand, the Swedes have a long tradition of neutrality: at the same time, there will always be those who accuse the country's leaders of moral cowardice in WWII.

As always, the charitable view is that the truth lies somewhere between the two

@Breizh - my condolences for your grandfather. My uncle was a British commando who escaped from Norway when the nazis overran it. He also knew of comrades executed by the gestapo, having been handed over by the Swedes.
11:57 June 5, 2012 by eurobloke
I find it worrying that some people seem to forget that many "neutral" countries in the WWII unofficially support one side more that another. For example

*USA (which was neutral until 1941) - helped the UK with the Lend-Lease programme.

*Ireland - despite the hatred of the British, many volunteered to supply themselves for the Allies like the Swedes helping the Finns in the Winter War and the Continuation War, plus helped with weather intelligence for the D-Day landings The Taoiseach (prime minister) and the time Éamon de Valera notably gives condolence message to the Germans when Hitler committed suicide.

*Portugal - Helped the British by supplying airbases in Azores and the Axis by supplying tungsten from the Minho region (useful for weaponry).

*Spanish - Provide intelligence to the Axis.
12:05 June 5, 2012 by Brianito
Good one Beavis, shows your level of intellect - obviously history is definitely not your strongest subject!
12:52 June 5, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
Swedish politicians & the academic elite of Olof Palmes generation have a collective guilt over this ..hence Swedens foreign & immigration policy over the past 50 years. Their choices in WWII & the cold war are of course totally pragmatic & benefitted only Sweden & Swedes themselves..after all why not ? it was somebody elses war...not theirs. Add to this the benefits to Swedish industry gained during WWII & the rebuilding aftermath ...perhaps Norweigians have a right to think of Swedes as a smug lot...time for Sweden to get off the fence..I think not...unless there was some money to be made !
13:03 June 5, 2012 by engagebrain
eurobloke - re Ireland

As a further measure if his displeasure at Irish citizens fighting against fascism, De Valera persecuted returning soldiers once the war was over - a time when there could be no possible doubt about the intrinsic evil of the Germain regime.

re skogsbo who wrote

' The Swedish Prime Minister probably saved a lot of Swedish lives by just going along with the Germans'

Undoutedly true- but had the German invasion of Norway failed and Swedish iron been withheld the course of the war would have been entirely different. - shorter & millions fewer dead and Swedes might a little more ntaional pride.
13:23 June 5, 2012 by Svensksmith
When you have a weak army and nothing to fight with, your choices are limited. Just as they would be today.
13:29 June 5, 2012 by Beavis
Brianito your obviously a simpleton and believe in Irish "church history" Eurobloke and engagebrain, you hit the nail on the head- thankfully facts like this are finally being released by all the so-called nuetral countries. deVelera was a true monster
14:04 June 5, 2012 by rohermoker
In this case apeasement worked, The Swede's were not invaded. Except for the few thousand troops in the Winter War, they were selling to both sides, in that you always back the winner.
14:28 June 5, 2012 by dw
I highly recommend the book "Sweden, the Swastika and Stalin: The Swedish Experience in the Second World War" by John Gilmour as a good introductory reading into the role of Sweden in the 2nd world war.
14:57 June 5, 2012 by skogsbo
engage, had the Swedes withheld the Iron Ore, they would have occupied, then used the Swedes as slave labour, until they died.

SimonD, Sweden isn't neutral, it doesn't take sides, or assist equally!! Plus yes, if you didn't live in Sweden at that time, it's hard to actually know the real perception of the people. I think they were between a rock and hard place. Clearly the more honourable thing to do is fight, creating another front etc.. but it didn't happen and I hardly see it pivotal to the war. The Germans were in a position to take what ever resources they want, it's just a question of how many lives they took with it and how high the moral high ground is that you stand on afterwards. Perhaps the Swedish PM of the day, was edging his bets?
15:37 June 5, 2012 by engagebrain
skogsbo

When Germany invaded Norway, without any plausible reason, they were already at war with Britain and France. A sucessful defence of Norway would have left Germany in a far weaker position, with, in a decent world, Sweden & Norway added to its opponents. Since Germany has no land borders with Sweden or Norway the invasion was logistically very difficult and failure a real possibility - Sweden choosing to assist rather than oppose the invasion was critical.

Sweden's failure to assist its closest neighbour is hard to justify and if similarly self serving policies had been adopted by other countries the 1000 year Reich would still be running.
16:22 June 5, 2012 by Youdee
Someone told me about this in August 1983. This isn't news.
16:36 June 5, 2012 by Uncle
God, what is the discussion about?

RobinHood is telling storys of Swedish "betrayal" of the UK, with which it never was in an alliance before WWII, engagebrain pounds on Sweden for "helping" nazis.

Sweden was pro nazi country. It was never hidden and never quieted. As a diff though from Romania, Hungary, Japan, Italy and Thailand, it did not send soldiers to Stalingrad and Okinawa. What is the prob? If something, it betrayed Nazi Germany when it cut all relations with it towards the end of war and started assisting allies.

As for help, hell, there were plenty nations besides Spaniards, Persians and Bosniaks, who did their outmost to assist the nazis.

Even France - the "victor" in the WWII was straining in the happy times of finding Jews to deliver to the nazis and providing german soldiers with the finest wine possible. So? Apparently France is a brave victor against oppressive Nazism and a member of Security council.

Sweden did EVERYTHING to protect SWEDES like a normal country should. That was it and Norway can say whatever they want, but surely they would have it much easier if Swedish "buffer" would be swimming in blood instead of them.
17:02 June 5, 2012 by skogsbo
engage, if you pick you seasons then Sweden is very easy to invade. It has over a 1000km of coast line, but not large cliffs to prevent a landing force. It controlled the baltic already so invading Sweden would be easy. Not to mention the short hop from Denmark. Whilst the northern terrain is more heavy going and some of Sweden's terrain does lend itself to guerrila warfare, neither nations forces were of the scale to do little more than hold off the germans for a few weeks. Britain was already having a raw deal in Europe before regrouping after Dunkirk. What other nations in Europe resisted for very long? the French hoped their imaginary line which was like a seive was going to save them.

Germany would have won if it wasn't for the RAF, had Britain lost the Battle of Britain (before the US even joined the war), then their would have been no where in Europe that the Allies could have used as a staging post to launch D day style landings and gain ground back from Germany. The only war then remaining would be between Russia and Germany to decide where their borders would be.

Having served for over 20years I'm all for defending what is yours etc.. but you can't pick the scabs off 60year wounds, very folk alive today know what the rationale was at the time in Sweden's decision. Meanwhile right now, look at what is happening in other countries today and nobody says or does a thing?
17:18 June 5, 2012 by RobinHood
@ Engagebrain

The Nazis had several excellent reasons for invading Norway. Norwegian iron, steel and minerals, bases for German U boats and surface ships, access into the north Atlantic tying down a huge British home fleet to defend the northern and western approaches, strangling convey routes between the west and Russia, protecting trade routes with Sweden, and keeping Sweden compliant are among them.

Sweden's betrayal of their neighbour bought significant benefits to the Nazis. Western supplies to Russia suffered massive interdiction, greatly lengthening the war and multiplying Russian casualties. Much needed Norwegian and Swedish iron ore and steel built the Nazi panzer armies, vast British resources were devoted to defending its now threatened eastern coast. The war was lengthened by months, even a year, and in that time, millions of people suffered horribly and died, and the ovens burned brightly, but as Skogsbo said, Swedish Prime Minister Hansson saved thousands of Swedish lives, so that's OK then. Swedish industry and business did very nicely too. Prime Minister Hansson was well aware of these benefits to the Nazis when he made his decision to deceive the allies and betray Norway.

Without Swedish transit rights and significant logical assistance to the Nazis, invasion of Norway was impossible. You are correct that Swedish cooperation was essential. There is no evidence the Nazis threatened Sweden with invasion of Sweden at all, or could have invaded even if it wanted to. The Baltic is considerably wider than the English Channel and the German fleet weak. The German army had absolutely no marine equipment, capability or experience. It took the allies years to prepare, eqip and train for D day, a much easier operation than crossing the Baltic. Skogsbo's invention of a German naval invasion of Sweden is fantasy. Prime Minister Hansson was so sympathetic to the Nazis, it just wasn't necessary to invade Sweden. Those infamous trains moving Jews and Norwegian resistance fighters from Norway to Auschwitz, and German armies into Norway, weren't "German" trains, they were Swedish trains owned and operated by SJ, and driven by Swedish engineers on the orders of their prime minister.

If anyone deserved to die laying in the gutter of a Stockholm street it was Hansson. If anyone deserves a place in Hell, right next to his Fuhrer, it is Hansson.
17:20 June 5, 2012 by NickO.
People seem confused about Sweden's precarious position during this time. You have to realize that the only reason Sweden wasn't occupied by the Nazis like Denmark and Norway was because there was no need to. Sweden was literally locked into the Nazi domain, there was no option but cooperation which was the entire purpose of Germany's invasion of Norway and Denmark.

Now you can look at the reasons for this. Principally the fact that England & France never really tried to defend Scandinavia and only sent a token force of recruits, not even out of training to "crush" the Nazis in Norway. And the only reason they sent them was to save face and act like they had tried to oppose Hitlers occupation of Norway.

So there you have neutral Sweden, stuck in the middle. Thankful that Hitler hasn't yet decided to invade them unlike other neutral countries like Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway and Denmark. Angry that the Allies left them to their fate just the way they let Poland get crushed, done nothing to help Finland in the Winter War and only pretended to do something to help Norway.

And now in hindsight you are upset that Sweden was forced to cooperate with Germany? The Allies left Sweden to die and unless Sweden wanted to be occupied and ruled by a merciless Nazi psycho like Norway was, Sweden had to keep Hitler pacified.

Neutral Sweden declaring war or making some sort of "stand" against Germany would be beyond foolish. Laughable.
20:16 June 5, 2012 by johan rebel
The twin pillars of Swedish foreign policy: cowardice and hypocrisy.

What else is new?
20:32 June 5, 2012 by skatty
I think the fact is that Sweden wanted to keep itself out of the war in any price (Neither had the ability, nor the wish to face Nazi Germany).

Anyway, double standard has always been a basic standard in Swedish policy; in the past, in the present, and in the future!

Of course, Sweden is not the only country, witch survives on double standard policy and probably can't be entirely blamed; however, it may be considered the only country with a double standard policy in a portfolio of wishing peace for everybody, I mean really everybody in this world, who doesn't want peace!
20:33 June 5, 2012 by Trenatos
People seem to forget that Sweden was one of very few communication points between allied forces, repeatedly cracked Nazi cryptos *because* we let them use our phone systems (Making it easy for us to tap the lines).

We did not recieve any Allied help in fortifications, neither did many other Scandinavian countries.

At the peak we had 800.000 soldiers at the ready to protect our country from an invasion force.

It was a tough call too, since we since before had a *neutrality policy* of not engaging in combat on foreign soil. The decision was made to stand by that policy and be prepared for an invading force instead.

Post WW2 however, our views have changed and we are now highly involved in various operations around the world, as well as keeping one of the best equiped armed forces in the world.

Swedens history is not one of cowardice, know your facts before you start spouting your damn mouth.
20:54 June 5, 2012 by planet.sweden
Perhaps the most predictable and depressing aspect of this story with regards to modern Swedes is that once again it has taken a foreigner to unearth Sweden's dark history.

Why were no Swedes interested investigating this aspect of Sweden's history?

It was the same with the Swedish eugenics programme which was virtually ignored here until foreign academics, historians and newspapers (notably British) picked up on it in the late 1990s and belatedly forcing the country into a wider recognition of this crime, and Göran Persson's government into an apology.

The problem as ever with Swedes is a deeply rooted tendency to conformity and compliance. Not only don't they think outside the box or ask the big questions, they tend to turn on anyone who does. To this day it does not pay to be of an independent mindset in Sweden, their tolerance of such things, and indeed their understanding of the real meaning of free speech, is very limited.

Sweden's WWII was and remains a disgrace. As disgraceful is the nation's refusal to face up to this fact to this day. Instead they feed themselves an airbrushed history, one that focuses on the private actions of one man (Raoul Wallenberg) and ignores the wider Swedish peoples sympathy for, and the governments collaboration with, Nazi Germany.
21:24 June 5, 2012 by rise
Swedish king Karl XII tried with to invade Norway. He got shot in Norway. Jämtland and Härjedalen has been Norwegian. Now Swedish. Betrayal during WWII is nothing...
21:41 June 5, 2012 by skogsbo
planet sweden, skatty, robinhood, engage, johan rebel.... this is great so come the big collapse of order in the EU I won't be alone in the taking up of arms. I presume after such strong words you'll be prepared to take arms and die for your country? Perhaps you can be Swedish resistance and put your families lifes at risk too, from your stance I gather you would stop at nothing to maintain honour?
21:55 June 5, 2012 by Maggie Malay
#skogsbo

"Sweden isn't neutral, it doesn't take sides, or assist equally!!" - not sure what you're talking about here; doesn't one meaning of neutrality mean 'not taking sides'?

In any case, Sweden IS generally regarded as a neutral country

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_neutrality

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/se-neutrality.htm

"Having served for over 20years I'm all for defending what is yours etc." - yes and now it looks like you spend all your time on this site being the proverbial 'pain in the butt.'

The original story does no more than confirm what many already know about Sweden's past
21:59 June 5, 2012 by jack sprat
@ planet sweden,

Excellent post and right on the money in every respect.

By trying to sweep it all under the carpet the Swedes have simply made a rod for their own backs and in the process made life a little more difficult for todays generation.

The one big plus factor for Germany was that they faced up to their shortcomings head on and as a result are now better able to deal with what happened back then.

Unfortunately for todays generation of Swedes they still face repeated embarrasment every time there is the vaguest mention of WW2 and can never hit the channel change button swiftly enough every time a WW2 doc or similar comes on the TV.

The Germans can now even have a laugh at such as the "Don't mention the war" remark in Fawlty Towers.

Unfortunately not so the Swedes, who immediately tend to look for the nearest stone to crawl under.
23:30 June 5, 2012 by Svensksmith
What country does not have a few skeletons in the closet?
23:49 June 5, 2012 by engagebrain
robinhood

My apologies for lacking clarity - my reference to Germany not having good reason to invade Norway was meant to cover morality rather than possible military advantage. Morality is relevant as it puts Sweden failure to assist its nearest neighbour into stark relief.

I agree with Robinhood and disagree with Skogsbo, that logistically the German invasion of Norway and potentially of Sweden, was very risky and German forces could not have been maintained in the face of allied naval power. Hence the need for a short campaign and the critical value of Swedish assistance. with Germany defeated in Scandinavia and the Biritsh and French forces undefeated the war could have turned out very differently.
00:16 June 6, 2012 by Uncle
skogsbo

"Germany would have won if it wasn't for the RAF, had Britain lost the Battle of Britain"

I am sure. And without the Dutch partisans also. And what would one do without Bahrain and Nauru then???

Apparently running in panic away in Dunkirk and then not just folding and dying, but actually being able to sometimes shoot a plane or two that bombed the hell out of England, is a great victory. Like Iraq celebrated the glorified victory over the US in the first Gulf War, merely because it survived.

All of this, when in the eastern front 35 millions were crushed into a bloody porridge. When an entire German army disappeared under Stalingrad. When the entire bulk of Armored SS panzer divisions was eradicated.

Also, read Max Hastings "Armageddon". Interesting book about the western front, where the democratic countries soldiers on the west refused to attack at night and at day were sitting in the bushes and the western front was held by sorry remains of German troops many times smaller than the allied army for a YEAR. At the same time when soviets and nazis where ripping each others faces off. I mean LITERALLY.

"One has to be a very brave man, to be a coward in the Red Army". Stalin

No, but I am sure that the war was won by Britain... Extreme contribution there. Excellent job, chaps! Bloody marvellous.
01:15 June 6, 2012 by engagebrain
Uncle

If Britain had folded after Dunkirk the war would have been over - Britain was Germany\s last remaining opponent and the invasion of the USSR had not started. Indeed the USSR and Germany were allies, having divided up Poland while the USSR swallowed the Baltic states and hacked a chunk out of Finland. You are right to note that the majority of the casualties occurred on the eastern front, but the Axis forces captured in North Africa were about the size of the army defeated at Stalingrad. Also the Soviet war effort was greatly assisted by supplies sent from the US & UK and the bombing campaign eroded Germany's ability to produce war material and pulled the German air force away from the eastern front. The size of the Soviet Unions casualties can also be attributed to gross incompetence especially in the opening stages of the war in the east.

Trowbridge H. Ford

your idea that Sweden's friendly neutrality was significant in the surrender of German forces in Norway is absurd. The allies strategy was to ignore German forces in Norway and they surrender for the rather basic reason that no more military supplies will ever come from Germany since the third Reich has collapsed. That Sweden carries a diplomatic note here or there has no bearing on the reality of the situation and in no way exonerates the Swedish government's role in the second world war.
06:56 June 6, 2012 by Praestantia
What a load of rubbish! Sweden took in almost ALL of Denmark's Jewish citizens when Germany invaded Denmark.

To call Sweden a Nazi sympathizer is ridiculous. The Scandinavians were tricked just like the rest of Europe and when they realized exactly what was happening they took action against Germany.
08:38 June 6, 2012 by rise
#44

Yes Finland is always ignored and forgotten. There's much talk about "how could Sweden betray its brother Norway" - a "brotherhood" that only exists in the mind of foreigners. Norway has been under the Danish king through the centuries. Denmark has always been Sweden's sworn enemy. Now, if Sweden acted with treason, it was against Finland, which IS Sweden's brother! Maybe that's why 10000 Swedes voluntary joined in Finland's fight against your ally, the invading Soviets. The only one officially helping Finland was Germany. Thank you Germany.
09:21 June 6, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Finland has no reason to be ashamed. They fought Russia because of the Russian theft of vast parts of their territory (at a time when Russia was also invading or co-occupying other nations that were friendly to the West, like Poland), and their temporary alliance with Germany was merely one of the age old recipes of history, namely 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend', not because they felt a need to fill ships or railway cars with Jews and Roma out of admiration for Nazi ideology. Finland's resistance of the Russian army in the winter war was a land battle that is even more impressive than the Battle of Britain, given the imbalance of manpower and resources, and Finland was the first to pay back their war reparation penalties and Marshall plan debts after hostilities ended.
09:50 June 6, 2012 by engagebrain
Trowbridge H. Ford

to function armies need continual military supplies and replacements for the wounded and dead. German troops in Narvik were at the extreme end of an almost nonexistent supply chain and, given allied naval power would have run out of supplies - without Swedish assistance.

In 1945 the German forces in Sweden have no purpose - there is nothing for them to do, there is no third Reich. The mechanics of their surrender is of minor interest but strategically their surrender is inevitable.

I would agree that the failure of the French forces to attack Germany while the bulk of the German army is fightng in Poland requires explaining.
11:30 June 6, 2012 by Uncle
engagebrain

First of all Czechoslovakia was given away by british to the german "allies" way before Poland. It does not mean that they were actually allies.

Africa. Lets look at WIki. Germans 19000 dead (rounded up). 130000 captured. And you had a bag of Italians captured (wow, an achievement). Stalingrad - Germans 500000 dead (25 times). Total one million one hundred and thirty casualties. Yep - totally the same.

As you doubt soviet competence, lets look at the germans ( you do not doubt that they kicked a$$ right?) out of 8 million dead german soldiers 75-80% were mixed with soil on the Eastern front (variation depends on calculations). Does it clarify the role of the UK in a better way?

As for the Lend Lease I totally agree. The US part there was massive and effective. WITHOUT UK it could have been still done. However your wonderful arguments in no way support the theory that the war was won due to RAF, as was suggested.

These English statements are getting a bit on the nerves. Once I heard a bragging statement that the British red coats are the only ones who had success against Napoleon until 1812. A bit of reading shows that after the first battle won against the UNCLE of Napoleon, brits ran away to Spain and were shaking there while praying that Napoleon does not notice them. At this very time Prussians, Austrians and Russians were dying in their hundreds of thousands.

Brits need to relax with their statements. Submitting iron age half cavemen in provinces does not quite compare to opposing the greatest leaders in the world (with the exception of the seven years war, where Brits were calmly hanging in the ocean and shooting from far away after eliminating other navies, while Fredrick the Great did the dirty job on the ground against 4 fronts).
16:04 June 6, 2012 by engagebrain
unclel - you have major chip on your shoulder about Britain, why ?

In the North Africa campaign the total Axis casualties (dead and captured) were around 500 000.

In WWII Britain fought for 6 years and suffered around 400 000 military dead.

Most German casualties were on the Russian front, but Russian casualties were very much higher - which does speak to competence, especially in the first few years and the Russian performance when invading Finland was dire.
17:02 June 6, 2012 by Uncle
engagebrain

I truly love the brits. Funny, cool nation with great history, Industrial revolution invention, exploration history, books, music etc. I even think that as colonists, UK was the most humane nation compared to the rest. And STATISTICALLY the average bra size in England is the biggest in Europe. Which is good.

HOWEVER I like historical justice.

You know very well that the fighting in NA was nothing compared to Eastern Front. In NA 20 thousand dead germans caused the rest to run to be prisoners of war, whereas in the east everyone fought to the last drop of blood, since they knew that there will be no mercy on the other side. Also, you know perfectly that Italians in NA were even worse soldiers than the Romanians under Stalingrad, so to count them as a serious opposition is funny.

You know very well that I did not even compare the casualties of Soviets to the Brits, but simply casualties of Germans. I do not even argue with the competency of the soviets, which is irrelevant.

Say, if England would lose, Germans could theoretically bolster the eastern front with 20% additional percent. If soviets would fold, the western front would be bolstered by 80% QUALITY UNITS of the German army.

Canadians also fought hard, but no one in their right mind would claim that Canadians were deciding power in winning the war.

UK indeed assisted. It was useful. It even distracted some German forces. But the European war arena was a war of two big dudes - Russians and Germans, whereas UK was simply an auxiliary force that was working on convincing the USA for two whole years not to get involved, in order to "bleed" the soviets enough and dancing around Europe for 3 years since the start of war, avoiding the real meat grinder.

But this is completely irrelevant to the theme. I just had to react to the patriot above who was singing ballads to the RAF as the winner of war.
17:37 June 6, 2012 by engagebrain
Trowbridge H. Ford

Yes the 250 000 thousand Germans soldiers in Norway are fighting nobody - they have been ignored, they are in the wrong place, they are of no military value, they pose no threat, there will be no invasion from Denmark. The war is over, Hitler is dead, they will get no more supplies, orders or letters from Germany. They surrender, there is nothing else to do.

Uncle you are clearly obsessed - I write quite clearly that the bulk of the German casualties occur on the Eastern front. As to the timing of D day, that it was a close run thing in 1944 suggests that an earlier invasion might well have failed. The UK was of course sinking German naval forces and bombing Germany and eroding Germany's industry- preventing a tank being built is as effective as destroying a tank. While I do not seek to downplay the result of the German invasion of Russia you seem to deliberately underplay the military and economic effort that Britain puts into defeating the third Reich.
07:31 June 7, 2012 by NordicCrown
One of the opening comments of this link says: "The German forces, led by General Franz Böhme, surrendered their weapons on midnight, 8 May 1945 after orders from the German High Command, and afterwards conducted themselves in an exemplary manner."

Of course they did - remarkable the prospect of facing a War Crimes Trial !!

The title of the article was "Norway PM 'hated Sweden' for Nazi help". It may welll be the PM had in mind the cumulative effects of nazi occupation - like the deportation of men, women and children from Televaag, into separate concentration camps - after every builiding in the village had been razed to the ground. Not to mention the nazis shooting up to a hundred hostages in reprisal for any single German killed.
08:24 June 7, 2012 by skogsbo
engage, I never suggested the RAF won the war, but it saved britain from invasion. Without which trying to retake Europe back without an airhead and a nearby training ground would have proved near impossible. If not before, but certainly since then Airpower has been recognised as pivotal to any battlefield. Hitler knew this and wouldn't even consider a land invasion of the UK unless he had air supremacy.

uncle, you can't judge the quality of a nations war or fight on numerical deaths, the idea is to hold you ground, or ideally gain ground with loosing people. Perhaps the UK learnt more from the pointless deaths of WW1 than the Germans or the Russians, who persisted in through innocent lives into the battlefield month after month as cannon fodder?

These two side would have fought each other down to the last man standing, but it doesn't mean their fighting prowess was any better or worse, they certainly suffered through poor leadership, equipment and decisions though.
16:45 June 7, 2012 by Ranger
Comment: You couldn't trust a Swede back in the days of WW2 and you still can't trust any of them today. Sweden's international reputation is a country filled with liars, deadbeats who don't pay their bills and criminals including a corrupt judicial system. There must be something wrong with the educational system because it appears to be a country filled with very stupid and ignorant people.
17:34 June 7, 2012 by Uncle
skogsbo

"uncle, you can't judge the quality of a nations war or fight on numerical deaths, the idea is to hold you ground, or ideally gain ground with loosing people. Perhaps the UK learnt more from the pointless deaths of WW1 than the Germans or the Russians,"

Oh God, are you serious? Brits WERE HIDING ON AN ISLAND! Following you reasoning, Fiji people were the ultimate strategists, because they lost the least people per capita!

When USA and UK finally were kind enough to appear on the mainland, German force that could not hold a village on the eastern front, held the ENTIRE western front for an additional year. The entire ally force was moving only due to the bravery of special forces. Everything is detailed in "Armageddon, the Battle for Germany 1944-1945".

UK's "learning" was hiding until the enemy is ripped apart to nothing and then CAREFULLY, without fuss, with huge mistakes in Holland and Belgium, slowly move forward. Smart and sneaky. Good job! Russians should have done it also... Hold on, they have no Island. AAAA they should have went to the moon and wait until german soldiers become old and THEN strike back. That would be smart. What dummies!
18:58 June 7, 2012 by Smiling Canuk
From everything I've read, Swedish public opinion was about 50/50 at the start of the war but turned against Germany towards the end as news of the concentration camp autrocities became known (and also why support a losing side). The Swedish industrialists were definately opportunists during the war and today its something that many Swedes seem to prefer not to talk about.
02:39 June 8, 2012 by bezjaj
Sweden-The Mecca of double standard..

The Wehrmacht used Sweden as a weapon lab and test area in 1920-39, owning Swedish armament companies. 90 % of Stockholm where nazis..

They become filthy rich on the war..working with everybody that paid..and dependable who where winning..

The Americans discussed to bomb the SKF bearing factories that kept the Tigers rolling.

Without Sweden the war would be 2 year shorter...and millions of ppl saved..

Remember that during the last year of the war, more ppl died than under the 4 previous..
08:50 June 8, 2012 by chris ainsworth
...no mention of this topic in DN.....
11:48 June 8, 2012 by planet.sweden
21:59 June 5, 2012 by jack sprat

I too am full of respect for the Germans in the way they have openly come to terms with the War. There's been no back sliding there at all, and as such the Germans are now a valued and equal part of Europe.
13:38 June 9, 2012 by Max Reaver
#56, #30,

touche!
12:09 June 11, 2012 by absolut
Just another attempt of a Norwegian to criticise Sweden no matter what Somehow they can't handle that we are successful, irrespective in what area, not to mention Melodifestivalen!
09:59 June 12, 2012 by Jim__in_Vietnam
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Edmund Burke

I never respected "neutral" nations. There is nothing high-minded about selling steal to Nazis (So they can kill British, French, Russians, etc.)

But I do not look to Sweden for leadership in anything of worth. Beautiful women, though.
01:59 June 13, 2012 by hawkeye ajustralia
yUncle

The battle of Britain not only saved Britain it also saved Sweden because if the Brits had lost then the Germans would have had a free hand in Europe to do pretty much what they wanted.

After the British withdrew from France they had almost means of return as they had lost so much equipment and arms when they evacuated. It took time for the US to ship enough materiel and troops to the UK before they could invade Normandy.

What I don't understand is the hostility i read in the Swedish blogs toward Britain and the US. If they hadn't of done what they did Sweden would be living under a brutal German or Russian rule right now.- then again maybe you Swedes would have preferred that to Sweden's inevitable rule by Islamic extremists which will be soon coming your way.
18:43 June 22, 2012 by Iraniboy
skogsbo has a point here! In Sweden it is totally accepted that they should sleep with the stronger side and help the victims during the day so they can be alive themselves and also help the victims so they feel less guilty of this collaboration.

Even today's policies are continuation of their old policies during WW2. Sleeping with the US, Israel and helping the Iraqi. Palestinians refugees. You can hardly find a Swede that accept US policies but they all agree they should satisfy the US and pledge for friendship so they can help the victims.
02:20 June 25, 2012 by David M
I believe that where we are going is more important than where we have been. We are not responsible for the sins of our fathers.
18:49 July 9, 2012 by nikoda
Most countries were denazified after WWII... but not all!
20:59 July 13, 2012 by Eric1
Nazism killed as many as 10 million people. Socialism/Communism has killed 100 million yet we condemn Nazism but rarely Socialism/Communism.
14:34 July 20, 2012 by Demurgien
So? Why should swedish blood gets spilled because of a german-polish war?

It's a shame that the norwegians had to endure a german attack and occupation, but the germans needed to controll Norway in their war against the allies.

Both the swedes and the finns tried to create an nordic alliance in the 30's but both Denmark and Norway refused. Sweden had no reason to support Norway or the allies.
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