Sweden and the Petsamo-Kirkenes Offensive, October 1944 — January 1945
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Sweden and the Petsamo-Kirkenes Offensive, October 1944 — January 1945
Title (other)
Швеция и Петсамо-Киркенесское наступление (октябрь 1944 — январь 1945 г.)
Publication type
Gunnar Aselius 
Affiliation: Swedish Defense University
Address: Sweden, Stockholm

The article deals with the problems of war and post-war Europe and the role of Sweden in the European relations in this period. The Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive and the Soviet Union military advance into northern Norway revealed the new situation when Sweden’s neutrality began to shift from adaption to Germany towards a more pro-allied stance. In these circumstances the Swedish neutrality was under the severe test: some of the cabinet ministers worried that this opportunistic shift in neutrality policy would affect the country’s international image after the war. Yet the reality imposed its conditions. This applied to the Sweden’s efforts to get Finland out of the war, reception of refugees from Finnish and Norwegian territories, ferrying wounded German soldiers across their territory. As the USSR had more military success in Lapland and Northern Norway in Swedish political and military circles increased fears about the future of the country and the post-war order. After the war, the Defense Staff stated, two antagonistic, global alliances would dominate the international system and it would be difficult for small powers like Sweden to remain neutral or independent in this environment. For Sweden to join any of the two great power blocs would obviously entail major risks. The creation of a Scandinavian defensive alliance was considered as an alternative to neutrality. Thus, it was the Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive and the advance of the USSR to the West that caused serious reflections in the political life of Sweden about the future, about how a small country should act and survive in the conditions of the continuing ideological conflict of the great powers.

The Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive, The Second World War, Norway, Soviet Union, Swedish neutrality, diplomacy, The Swedish Red Cross
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