Arms Industry and Civil Defence
World War II
World War II
Sweden was never drawn into the Second World War. In contrast to most of Europe's countries, Sweden escaped the world conflict almost unhamed. Nevertheless, the war made a deep impression on the Swedes wich in many ways shaped the building-up of Sweden's post war society. The aim of this article is to identify and trace the development of two major institutional complexes that both have their roots in the Second World War experiences and both have had a central but at the same time neglected position in Sweden's post-war history. First, the defence industry that was built up during the War but never dismantled afterwards. Instead, foreign policy, military doctrines, as well as public support and even the mentality of the Swedes were reformed in order to incorporate a strong defence industry in the post-war society. Sweden is till today manufactures a disproportional amount of the world's weapons. Second, a civil defence was built up that eventually turned out to be one of the strongest and most well organized in the world. Both these institutional complexes in many ways mirrored the welfare state. But as both these complexes represented Warfare - the anti-thesis of Welfare - their existence have not been regarded as representative of the welfare society built after the Second World War. The role, and even the existence, of the institutional complexes of military industry and civil defence had thus been suppressed in Sweden's 20th century historiography.