Sweden 2014 – two hundred years of peace?


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?