- Apr 2017
My source is Wikipedia, so you can take that with as much reliability as you want. Sweden during World War I - WikipediaYou're going to have to actually source that one for me, because Sweden bloody well was NOT in that kind of negotiations.
Sweden's line since the Crimean war was consistently that no war with Russia, even if won, would bring guarantees against a future Russian attack on Sweden. I.e. unless other great powers were going to actively guarantee fighting Russia on Sweden's behalf in the advent of a successful reconquest of Finland, Sweden wasn't interested. And even should one or more such power make the offer (none did) successive Swedish governments had a fairly jaundiced view of 1) their willingness to actually honour any such commitment, and 2) their ability to do so even if they would. Fight Russia alone, and Swedish national survival would instantly be on the line. So no wars with Russia. (Already Charles XIV's death-bed advice to successor Oscar I in 1844 was "Only fight a war with Russia if you have exhausted every other possibility – with Britain, never"!)
The Swedish QUEEN, who was German, might gave been mouthing off in Berlin, but that's about it. In the Swedish constitutional monarchy the royals made as much actual foreign policy as the British royals, i.e. bugger all.
The watershed moment in Swedish politics – when the queen wanted her husband Gustaf V to grab the "reins of power", i.e. a little royal coup d'état – was in 1913 on the basis of a populist agrarian movement, "The Farmer's March" to Stockholm. 30 000 "stout yeomen" were drummed together to make their opinions known to the majesty. The write/explorer Sven Hedin was on standby speech-making and preparing proclamations. (Hedin hero-worshipingly doted on the Kaiser, and in WWI became Sweden's most outspoken public champion of Sweden joining Germany in the war.)
But when push came to shove, while the majesty graciously received the marchers at the royal castle, and accepted their petitions, he did nothing else. Judicious move on his part, since the very next day the Socialist Party had organised a public manifestation in Stockholm at least twice as large. The royals trying something in the autocratic line would have had the democratic Social Democrats in the streets in force ASAP. (The king was friends from school with the Socialist leader Hjalmar Branting, and so might have had advance notification of rather more than contemporaries assumed.)
During the early years of the 20th century the sympathies of the Swedish monarch, King Gustaf V, and of the Swedish military, were believed to be with the Germans due to cultural links and a shared fear of Imperial Russia. Whilst King Gustaf was married to a German (a granddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm I), the Swedish Marshal of the Realm, Ludvig Douglas, was also known to be a strong proponent of an alliance with Germany. In November 1910 the general staffs of Germany and Sweden had even met in secret to discuss a joint offensive against Saint Petersburg, although this meeting ended without a binding agreement being reached.[
And more extensively during the war:
In early 1915, Arthur Zimmermann, the Under-Secretary of State at the German foreign ministry, approached Hammarskjöld, who was on a visit to Berlin, with an offer of potentially forming a "Nordic Block" under Swedish leadership in return for an alliance between Sweden and Germany. Whilst Hammarskjöld rebuffed this first offer, Zimmermann persisted and approached Ludvig Douglas with an offer for a renewed Swedish Empire covering Finland and the Baltic provinces of the Russian Empire. Douglas then conveyed this offer to King Gustaf on 8 June 1915, and also to Hammarskjöld and Wallenberg, however only King Gustaf received it positively.
Following this failure, Prince Maximilian of Baden, a cousin of the Swedish Queen Victoria, made a further overture to King Gustaf. Prince Max had been instructed by Kaiser Wilhelm II and Erich von Falkenhayn, who wished to integrate Sweden into the German Mitteleuropa, to obtain an alliance with a view to a joint attack on St. Petersburg, in return Germany was willing to offer material and military support as well as the promise of the Åland Islands (which contained a Swedish-speaking population), an adjustment of the frontier, and an independent or autonomous Finland. King Gustaf rejected this offer on 20 November 1915 as, without a clear casus belli, he could not be sure of popular support for the war.
Whilst talk of an alliance eventually came to nothing, Sweden did favour Germany over Russia in at least one important respect. Knut Wallenberg, without the knowledge of Hammarskjöld, allowed the Germans to use Swedish ciphers to communicate with their embassies overseas, and these communications were carried over the telegraph cables used by Sweden to communicate with their embassies. This allowed the Germans to communicate with their embassies via Stockholm without their communications being so easily censored and intercepted by the British. Despite claiming that they would end the practice in late 1915, a scandal erupted when it became known that a telegram from the German embassy to Berlin proposing that certain Argentine ships be "sunk without trace" had been transmitted via the facilities of the Swedish foreign ministry.[