Domestic battles on foreign soil

Around 1900, Swedish political and ideological debate was about… Sweden: defence, unions, voting rights, the forest, workers’ and women’s rights. The international political issues that dominated foreign coverage before the First World War – the Boer War, the Balkan question, alliance systems and German rearmament – did not divide opinion to any significant extent back home. The only non-local issue to ruffle Swedes a bit was Finland’s agony under the Russification decree. However, Finland was not a controversial issue. There were – as yet – no Swedes with a passion for Russian power politics.

Yet as early as the First World War, the Swedish debate on opinions had become more continental. Germanness, Francophilia and Anglophilia were emphasised and given concrete applications. Expressions of bitterness and distrust between the supporters of the Central Powers and Entente Alliance were strikingly shrill and belligerent, a forew...

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Nathan Shachar

Journalist och författare.

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