Sweden: Armed Neutral

August 22, 1952

Report Outline
Friction Between Sweden and the U.S.S.R
Sweden's Traditional Neutrality Policy
Swedish Position Between East and West

Friction Between Sweden and the U.S.S.R

Shooting Down of Swedish Planes by Soviet Planes

Soviet attacks on two Swedish airplanes in flight over the Baltic Sea in mid-June directed new attention to the hazards of Sweden's middle position in the East-West power struggle. Stockholm's vigorous diplomatic reaction to the plane incident underlined the nation's determination not to knuckle under to high-handed Soviet action. But there was no outward sign that the incident itself would cause Sweden to reconsider its decision to remain outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Despite the growth of East-West tension, the Swedish government has officially adhered to a policy of avoiding “entangling alliances” in the hope that Sweden may be able to stay neutral in event of a third world war. Its traditional neutrality policy helped the country to avoid active involvement in the two previous world wars and at the same time to maintain a relatively prosperous domestic economy.

Stockholm's present course of steering clear of alliances is coupled with a program to strengthen the nation's military defenses. That basic policy appears to be solidly supported by a majority of the Swedish people. It is therefore not likely to become a major issue in the national elections in September, although some secondary aspects of the policy may be challenged.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cold War
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
War and Conflict