Chapter

Eastern Approaches and Western Reproaches: Finland's Continuation War and the Collapse of Germany, June 1941–May 1945

John Gilmour

in Sweden, the Swastika and Stalin

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780748627462
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671274 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627462.003.0006
Eastern Approaches and Western Reproaches: Finland's Continuation War and the Collapse of Germany, June 1941–May 1945

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It would be natural to assume that Sweden was entirely focused on its relations with Nazi Germany during the years following the invasion of Scandinavia by the Germans. Yet the Swedish leadership was almost equally preoccupied by relations with the warring countries to the east, that is Finland and Russia. The Winter War had mobilised Sweden to aid its Finnish neighbour against Russian aggression. Sweden had striven then to secure a peace in order to protect its borders from Russian encroachment. Domestically, the Government sought to assuage overlapping anti-communist and anti-Russian Swedish opinion. In 1941, Finland had tied her fortunes to those of the Nazis in the Continuation War, as the Finno-Russian conflict became known. Sweden adopted an active role in seeking a separate peace for Finland until Finland signed an armistice with the Soviet Union in September 1944. As concerns about occupied Norway and Denmark grew, Sweden also sought to assist their populations in various ways including the creation and training of Norwegian and Danish paramilitary units, so-called ‘Police Troops’ in Sweden from 1943. Sweden took advantage of German reverses to negotiate stricter limits on Swedish-German trade and it effectively ceased in late 1944. The war ended on 9 May 1945 with Sweden intact as an independent and neutral state.

Keywords: Continuation War; Police Troops; Ball bearings; Madame Kollontay; Leningrad; President Ryti; Marshal Mannerheim; Stalingrad; Milorg; Operation Graffham

Chapter.  8283 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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