Sweden's war aims if it will enter WWI on the CP side?

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,624
#21
My interpretation is that a lot of the "Great Swedeners" became pan-Scandinavists (until they stopped being so during the last third of the 1800s) and after that had a bit of influence over public life and discourse. But broadly speaking I'd say you are right.
Yes there were a couple of inflection to it. Pan-Scandinavianism was one of those, but looking at the timing and emphasis of that movement, the sharper critics of it already in the day observed that largely it was a vehicle for Denmark to try to push for support – not least military support – for itself in its conflict with Prussia and the Germans more generally. Which was why it pretty comprehensively deflated with the Scheleswig-Holstein war, when the Swedish government clearly came down on the side that people clamoring for war with Prussia on Denmark's side were a bunch of dangerous fantasists (beginning with HM Charles XV), and there would be no Swedish participation. (Never mind that the king protested to them that he had publicly given his Royal Word to personally lead an army of 100 000 Swedes, at a huge, rather wet party thrown by the students of Copenhagen University he had attended.)

Following that, with the unification of Germany into the German Empire, what we got was a brand of thinkers who managed to vicariously adopt Germany's cause as somehow also Sweden's, and so could also again dream of future military glory, if only by hoping to hitch the little Swedish cart to the German juggernaut. That's where the pro-war as a CP ally in Swedish politics and culture around WWI appeared – like Sven Hedin, or Fredrik Böök. It was largely the same formula for those that in WWII argued that Sweden should take part in the German-led war against the USSR. The weakness of it is that it still has this vicarious quality, requiring an adoption of Germany, which wasn't some kind of universal preference with the Swedes.
 
Apr 2018
979
Upland, Sweden
#22
Yes there were a couple of inflection to it. Pan-Scandinavianism was one of those, but looking at the timing and emphasis of that movement, the sharper critics of it already in the day observed that largely it was a vehicle for Denmark to try to push for support – not least military support – for itself in its conflict with Prussia and the Germans more generally. Which was why it pretty comprehensively deflated with the Scheleswig-Holstein war, when the Swedish government clearly came down on the side that people clamoring for war with Prussia on Denmark's side were a bunch of dangerous fantasists (beginning with HM Charles XV), and there would be no Swedish participation. (Never mind that the king protested to them that he had publicly given his Royal Word to personally lead an army of 100 000 Swedes, at a huge, rather wet party thrown by the students of Copenhagen University he had attended.)

Following that, with the unification of Germany into the German Empire, what we got was a brand of thinkers who managed to vicariously adopt Germany's cause as somehow also Sweden's, and so could also again dream of future military glory, if only by hoping to hitch the little Swedish cart to the German juggernaut. That's where the pro-war as a CP ally in Swedish politics and culture around WWI appeared – like Sven Hedin, or Fredrik Böök. It was largely the same formula for those that in WWII argued that Sweden should take part in the German-led war against the USSR. The weakness of it is that it still has this vicarious quality, requiring an adoption of Germany, which wasn't some kind of universal preference with the Swedes.
Good post. I hadn't thought so thoroughly about the whole geneaology. Can't really say I can add anything, except to build on what you point out in your last paragraph, this was hardly a universal preference. It seems even some conservative and many establishment figures generally were pro-entente. Sweden's establishment-liberal foreign secretary during WWI, K.A. Wallenberg was much more sympathetic to the entente tjhen he was towards the central powers as far as I know.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,936
SoCal
#23
Well, no - not really haha. It was mainly that I didn't read your post thoroughly, and thought you were making the same point again. :p
OK.

Yes. There is also a perception (no doubt gleefully latched onto by us Swedes) in the Baltic countries of the locals thinking back to "the good Swedish days" for those two centuries when the Russians were not there. Sweden was pretty decent from what I've understood: reigned in the Baltic German Nobility somewhat, founded universities etc. I'm sure it looks especially good in retrospect. So yes, a Swedish monarch could be good. Also, at least Estonia the coastal Swedes (rannarootslased) were not thrown out of the country en masse, unlike what happened to much of the Baltic German Nobility after 1919. So yes, it would be a very diplomatic move.
OK; makes sense.

Once again, this whole scenario is doubtful to me (I'll explain soon, I'm not studying anyway) but I'm not sure about Sweden loosing "a lot of lives". Sweden is a small country, would have been 1/10th of Germany at the time. Sweden was also not terribly militarized (and the military was also not terribly well maintained) at the outset of World War 1. I'll come back to that.
That makes sense. That said, though, I was talking proportionately here.

Right. Had a gut feeling the age didn't quite add up there...

It seems to have been a not too close relation, but not too far away either. I'm sure it could theoretically be ramped up if the geopolitical situaton would prove advantageous for it...
Agreed.
 
Jun 2017
2,905
Connecticut
#24
What are Sweden's war aims going to be if it will enter World War I on the Central Powers side? Is it going to demand Finland, Livonia, and Estonia or is it going to settle for less? Also, is there anything else that Sweden is going to demand? I'm presuming that Petrograd is going to be off-limits since it's the Russian capital.

BTW, here's a map of historical Swedish territorial expansion and contraction:



@NordicDemosthenes Any thoughts on this? After all, you previously told me that you're an expert on Swedish history. :)
Tbh if this was realistic it would have probably happened. The WWI "what can I get for being on the right team" system seemed it could get through to any government.
 
Likes: Futurist
Jan 2009
1,264
#25
Coming a bit late to this party, but...

Finland had a rather strong nationalistic spirit in late 19th and early 20th century. We had had a cultural renaissance of Finnish language, the flowering of the use of Finnish language, and under the relatively benevolent Russian autonomy in mid-19th, we even got a national Senate, post office, currency... Thanks to the russification policies in late 19th and early 20th centuries, Finland turned very pro-independent, and there were volunteers training and fighting in the German army, preparing for 'the liberation' of Finland.

Against that background, I don't see a reunification with Sweden, with Finland becoming a junior partner again, being very popular. Given that Sweden let Norway go peacefully, I also don't see Sweden being all that eager to go to war in order to acquire a territory that would be very likely to revolt against Swedish rule as soon as the Russians would be pushed back. Especially as a revolt against Sweden would have a much better chance of success than against the much bigger Russia. While a lot of the elites in Finland were still of Swedish heritage, it seems to me that they also preferred to rather be the big bananas in an independent Finland, than the second fiddle in Sweden.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,624
#26
The Swedish situation was largely settled already in the first decades of the 19th c. – between the "Great Swedeners" (storsvenskarna) who wanted renewed war and the reconquest of Finland, if need be, and the "little Swederners" (småsvenskarna) who advised simply accepting that the Great Power days were over and not coming back, and the objective needed to be to build as good a society as possible within the new borders. Effectively the times and development was on the side of the little Swedeners. The success from the 1830's of Liberal reforms and economic development within the borders of the realm while maintaining peace with its neighbours was hard to argue with.

Still, there was always a small, loud, fringe of people dreaming of renewed Swedish Might of Arms, the reconquest of Finland, fantasizing over how Finland supposedly was smarting under the Russian Yoke. But already at the time they were getting pretty comprehensively panned by the progressives. It was observed that rather than smarting Finland was in fact also using opportunities provided by the Russian empire. (Like how 400 Finnish military professionals served in the imperial armies with the rank of General, or higher.)

And it was always a sore point how regardless of what some might dream of, Sweden just wasn't going to be a military powerhouse again.

There was a competition in the late 19th c. for best "Patriotic" sculpture. The other entrants have rightfully been forgotten, and the one still remembered was Sven Boberg's satirical entry entitled "Sleep in peace", featuring "Mother Swea" asleep on her throne, with the grimacing faces of Charles XII and Gustaf II poking out of a pair of high boots:
1560083595292.png
 
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