Sweden’s Forgotten Past

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World War Two, 1942

Introduction

Sweden and Russia have quite the history. Not only in the pre-WW1 world, where they were two superpowers that could take on anything (except each other), but also in WW2 and even somewhat today.

World War Two

Throughout World War Two, Sweden was indirectly attacked by the USSR and allies, such as in the Winter War, when Swedish ships were attacked by Russian and Finnish forces. Fighting and conflict in Fennoscandia and also allies and partners of Sweden caused indirect damage to the country. Many times, Sweden or Swedish peoples were targetted accidentally or as a way to show strength in a region.

The first incident was the killing of an innocent Swedish person by accident by Germany. Then, in December of 1939, naval disputes with Finland arose as 190 ships were found close to or in Swedish waters. In 1940 as a result of the Winter War, Russia overused areas near Finland navally to gain an advantageous position, and, in the process, took down two Swedish ships. This could’ve also been a warning against Swedish support of Finland. In 1940, the town of Pajala Kyrkby was bombed by the USSR on “accident.” This was the only one of Russia’s WW2 bombings of Sweden that the Soviets recognized.

Accidents continued as Swedes were killed by mistake because they were surrounded by allies of the enemies of the USSR. In 1940, weaponized balloons fell into Sweden from Russia, but caused little damage. An important naval standoff occurred in 1942. This saw Soviet Russia invading Swedish waters, and Sweden retaliating with moving out their navy towards the area. The standoff continued for a long time, and the USSR eventually tried to even include nuclear weapons! Sweden and the Soviets both claimed it was the other’s fault.

Naval disputes continued, mostly with Germany’s waters and trading claims. In 1943, when axis powers blocked off the Baltic, this affected Sweden. Germany continued to assault Sweden, not expecting any retaliation. They were right. More “misunderstandings” occurred between Sweden, the USSR, Nazi Germany, and even Britain once!

In 1944, Stockholm and Strängnäs were bombed by the USSR because of Russian navigation errors. At the same time, Finnish cities were bombed. This too could’ve also been a warning against Swedish support of Finland. Many bombs were dropped, but no one was killed. This time, it had an impact, as Sweden stopped supporting Finland.

More blockades and attacks ensued on Sweden by “accident” by Axis powers. The continued blockade of the Baltic Sea hurt Sweden’s trade opportunities.

Overall, Sweden was targetted a lot in World War Two, but it was never proclaimed to be on purpose. Perhaps Sweden WASN’T so neutral after all, as they not only sometimes retaliated, but also supported Finland against the USSR.

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