The Battle for Sweden's Mind – Propaganda and Censorship

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:
The Battle for Sweden's Mind – Propaganda and Censorship

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With the Germans protesting about Swedish press coverage almost daily and the continuing controversies over foreign propaganda, the Swedish authorities had their work cut out in 1940–3 to contain threats and manage information in the country. Since 1766, Sweden had recognised press freedom as a constitutional right but this was considered problematic by several in the Government concerned about the damaging effect on Sweden’s relations with the major powers. Confiscation and a transport ban with the implicit threat of censorship provided the Government with the means to suppress press articles judged incompatible with the Swedish national interest. The most favoured instrument for press control was confiscation of the edition in question rather than imprisonment of the publisher. Despite press freedom being one of the icons of democracy, the Coalition Government’s curbs on the most outspoken publishers seem to have been reluctantly accepted by most politicians and the general population as a humiliating price to be paid for restraining a potential cause of German aggression while they were in the military ascendant.

Keywords: Propaganda; Censorship; Grey Slips; de grå lapparna; Karl Westman; Torgny Segerstedt; Statens Informationsstyrelse; Folkberedskap; PWE (Political Warfare Executive)

Chapter.  11606 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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