So it’s soon the start of a new year – 2014. Another year of sublime and strange Swedish things.
Over Christmas the Swedish King mentioned something in his speech, something that is repeated in the media. For Sweden, 2014 marks the 200th year of peace. In 1814, Sweden signed a treaty with Norway thereby giving them independence. And Sweden, it is claimed, haven’t been at war since then. 200 years of peace is something that the media is proud of.
But hang on a minute. Sweden was ‘neutral’ in the Second World War, but still allowed German troops to cross the nation as they occupied Norway and the country sold iron to Germany for their weapon industry.
In 1961, Sweden was involved in the war in Congo, in the 1990’s in Bosnia and, as we speak, Swedish armed forces are active in Afghanistan and the Libyan Civil War.
Maybe it’s semantic, but is there actually any difference between being in a war and being at war?
2 thoughts on “Sweden 2014 – two hundred years of peace?”
I guess it really boils down to what your definition of ‘at peace’ is. Sweden is ‘at peace’, though Afghanistan isn’t.
To start with, you’re wrong!
We forced Norway to sign the peace treaty at Moss in August 1814 and thereby creating a union with the Swedish King as the union king. The union existed until 1905 when it was terminated and we almost came to a war again, but luckily enough the war never started, even though it was very close.
But now to your question. Historically it required a declaration of war to be considered as war. And of course we can sit on high horses and question the decision to let the German division to be transported through Sweden. But it was no an act of war as defined in the international conventions. And what people seem to forget is that the Swedish government had decided that the primary objective was to keep Sweden outside the war, and they succeeded. Right or wrong, but they met the goal
The Kongo crisis was a UN mandate, so that can never be considered as a war between Sweden and another state.