The Front at Home – <i>Beredskapstiden</i>

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 Front at Home – Beredskapstiden

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Beredskapstiden – the stand-by period – was the defining term for the Home Front. As the Second World War raged outside its borders, Sweden experienced a calmer beredskapstid within. Swedes did experience real fears of invasion, with disruptive conscription, air raid precautions and for some, casualties from military action. The necessity during the war for an outward display of cross-party and political unity which dampened open debate and stifled criticism of foreign policy in the Riksdag did not extend across all political issues. Almost everyone suffered from shortages, economic hardship, rationing, black marketeers and official surveillance while refugees flooded into the country. These shared experiences together with an active media and growth of popular entertainment contributed to a lowering of class barriers and an expectation of a fairer post-war society. For many, the radio was an entertainment medium to escape weightier subjects. The second mass-medium after radio was film. Swedish productions vied with foreign imports to attract burgeoning audiences. Theatre was a significant provider of wartime entertainment primarily for urban audiences. The hunger for diversion extended to reading material and the period saw record levels of book production, both in real and relative terms. Amazingly, sport remained high on the agenda of the Swedish public, despite an inevitable reduction in foreign fixtures.

Keywords: Kvinnoföreningarnas beredskapskommitté (KBK); Rationing; black marketeers; cinema; radio; Theatre; social change; Farming; Air raids; Literature

Chapter.  12093 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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